2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Comfort vs. Fun
by Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor on March 17, 2016
Whenever we need to attend an industry event and it's not ridiculously far away, we take one of our long-termers to rack up some miles. For my trip out to Pahrump, Nevada, I was given the choice of our 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata or the Viper. Neither are really known for long-distance comfort, but I've made longer trips in far less accommodating vehicles without too much whining.
Some of my colleagues have commented on the Miata's seats, but as an average-size male adult, I was just fine with them. The driver seat is a little firm, which prompted me to pull my wallet out of my back pocket, but it's shaped well enough to eliminate most hard points.
Mazda compares the seat construction to a hammock that suspends the occupant with appropriate support where needed. Does it work? Probably.
The main issue for me wasn't seat comfort, it was noise. Newsflash: Miatas are loud inside. Road noise ranged from an ever-present din to an intrusive rush, depending on the road surface. That's what the stereo is for, right?
Speaking of road surfaces, the Miata exhibited some weird behavior on one stretch of highway. This section had longitudinal grooves cut into the pavement that would drift left and right every now and then. When those grooves were not in line with the path of travel and when a bump would appear, the Miata developed a momentary shudder that felt like a wheel was out of balance. No big deal.
None of these drawbacks diminish the Miata's core strength, though. Once I hopped off the highway onto a serpentine road through Death Valley, I didn't care about comfort or quietness. This little roadster is stupid fun and its lack of power meant that I wasn't in danger of getting a career-ending ticket. It's about as responsive as vehicles with more than two wheels get.
I wouldn't think twice about road-tripping in the Miata in the future, as long as there are some fun roads squeezed in there.
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 7,632 miles