2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Three Days Will Cure What Ails Ya
by Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor on May 4, 2016
After a few weeks of driving practical, family-friendly cars like the Ford F-150, Volkswagen Beetle, Honda Civic and GMC Canyon, I found my inner child desperate to break free when the weekend signout sheet made its way to me. To my surprise, my prayers were answered as the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata was still up for grabs. I only drove it once, briefly, at the beginning of this year when I picked up Phil from Carmax after he sold our long-term 2015 Ford Mustang. Three days to really acquaint with the little red roadster sounded great.
At 6-foot-4, I'm on the upper boundary of people that can fit in the Miata's tight cabin. There's a considerable amount of setup involved to get the seat in the right place. Slam the seat rearward. Get in. Scoot the seat forward. Recline the seat. Move forward a few clicks more. Recline the seat. Angle the seat forward and move back a couple clicks to compensate for the overcorrection I made a moment ago. Wash, rinse and repeat a few more times.
Within two minutes of driving, I understood why people buy this car. The shifter is in a natural position, and the throws are tight. You always know exactly which gear you're in. Steering effort is light but there's plenty of feedback. The ride is also a lot better than its diminutive size and sporty demeanor suggest.
There aren't many negative qualities here that sneak up on you. You get into this car knowing that the quarters are cramped and the trunk miniscule. The only thing that may not manifest on a short test drive is the considerable wind noise at cruising speed. If that's a dealbreaker, you may want to wait for the power hardtop version due for release next year.
None of this detracts from the joy of driving the Miata. It definitely cured me of the Commuter Car Blues. Next time I want to inject some fun into my commute, I'll leave the Viper key on the board and grab the Miata fob instead.
Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor @ 9,005 miles