2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Cabin for Real People
by Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor on February 2, 2016
It's hard not to be impressed by our long-term 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. Clever design clues abound and it's clear that engineers spent a lot of time sweating the details.
Take its cabin. By cold, hard numbers, the cabin is smaller than that of the outgoing car. Yet there's actually more usable space inside. I'm 6 feet 1 inch tall, with a long torso, and I never feel cramped in there (I even have to slide the seat forward on its track a few clicks).
The sill is easy to navigate, but not so low that the bottom edge of the door drags on standard-height curbs (the large-radius trailing edge helps with this and furthermore allows the latch pillar of the chassis to be stouter). The seatback is designed to give you a couple extra degrees of recline than before. Its armrests are scalloped out a bit near your elbow. Footwell space is ample. The underside of the seat bottom is a skotch closer to the floor — all several minor revisions that make a real difference in its livability.
As for my colleague catching his sleeve on the multimedia knob when going for a gearchange, I can only assume his shirts have droopy, flouncy wizard-sleeves. For me, (and I suspect many others) this phenomenon is nonexistent.
There's a real sense of space, too. Yes it's a small cabin, but it doesn't induce claustrophobia. The slim dashboard, a glovebox located behind you (rather than consuming knee space up front) and the body-color door cards all give a sense of airiness by visually bringing the outside of the car into the cabin. I do wish the steering wheel telescoped, though.
This attention to detail extends to its outward vision, too. The windshield is placed closer to the driver so that its effective viewing angle is wider. Door-mounted side view mirrors team up with a tiny corner window to provide additional outward view. The creators of the Miata recognize how crucial it is to be able to see out of your sports car. The contrast in philosophy with cars like the Camaro is stark.
Like all Miatas, the rear three-quarters visibility is terrible, blocked by the wide "pillars" of the soft top. Good thing the top is ridiculously easy to drop. You can stow it in less than two seconds, and that's no exaggeration. Mazda has simply made a mockery of every other automaker's convertible top with this one.
The 2016 Miata truly is a sports car for the people.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 4,452 miles