2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata

A droptop roadster races to the fore

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Price as Tested: $32,950

EPA Ratings: 27/34 mpg

0-60 mph: 5.8 seconds

When the first generation Miata debuted over 25 years ago, no one really knew what to expect. But this little Mazda went on to become the best selling two-seat sports car of all time, and more have probably been raced—on the amateur and professional level—than any other single model, ever. Needless to say, expectations weigh heavily on this, the all-new, fourth generation model.

The latest MX-5 certainly looks very modern. The design team met the challenge of blending the simple cleanliness of the original with the company’s current Kodo-Soul of Motion design language. The designers shrink-wrapped it around the driver and mechanicals, leaving the 2016 Miata four inches shorter yet with more usable space in the cockpit and trunk. Dropping the hood three-quarters of an inch and raising the fenders give it a distinctly vintage-911 vibe, with the road seeming to rush right at you.

And rush the new MX-5 does; Mazda may go on and on about how they didn’t chase numbers, but 0-60 in under six seconds and insanely high cornering levels bespeak the superb engineering that resulted from a 150-pound weight loss, and the tangible lack of inertia that you feel every time you swivel the perfectly weighted steering or apply the brakes.

The 2016 MX-5 Miata lives up to—and exceeds—almost all expectations, even from folks like myself who have owned and raced them. It’s faster yet more efficient, corners harder yet rides softer, runs quieter and more comfortably, is smaller outside yet bigger in, and has loads more tech. It also delivers (in spades) on Mazda’s stated goal of putting driver satisfaction first. Compared to any sports car at almost any price, the Miata is almost unrivaled as a good time.

Here is what Mazda has to say.