2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Tight Ergonomics
by Ronald Montoya, Senior Consumer Advice Editor on November 25, 2015
Editor's note: Both Ron (author of this post) and Mark (author of the previous MX-5 post) submitted similar thoughts about the MX-5's kooky placement of its infotainment controls within a day of each other. Herewith, Ron's take on the setup and other cabin confines.
Our long-term 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a blast to drive. And if you only focus on that, the ergonomics are just fine. Any other task will require +1 to your dexterity skills. The green squiggly lines in the above photo comprise my "Punch-Out!!"-inspired driver's arm.
Let's take a closer look at some of the ergonomic challenges in the MX-5.
I bumped my elbow on the cup holders a few times when I reached for the control knob. You can avoid this in one of two ways. First, you can contort your arm like a T. Rex and raise your elbow upward when reaching back. Bonus points if you can reach the volume knob, which is just behind the control knob.
Why not use the volume control on the steering wheel? Glad you asked. The steering wheel volume button doubles as the voice control prompt when you press it. I intended to get more volume by pressing the button upward and instead found myself telling the voice control to "cancel" a few too many times.
The second solution for the ergonomic challenge is to remove the cup holders. You can store one of them on the passenger side (red arrow) and the other one goes in the glovebox (orange arrow).
The MX-5 has a touchscreen, which offers all the functionality of the control knob and would alleviate the reach issue. However, the system locks out this function while the car is moving.
I realize that space is at a premium in a roadster and short of crafting a smaller, unique part for the MX-5, I don't know where else I would place the existing control knob. But its current location makes it a pain in the elbow.
What do you think? Chalk this up to life with a small car? Or would it be a deal-breaker for a buyer?
Ronald Montoya, Senior Consumer Advice Editor