2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata
The rarely remodelled Mazda Miata just got its third revamp, and it’s got us fired up.
In the 26-year existence of the Miata, Mazda has only remodelled it three times. The 1990 Mazda Miata was the first of its kind, introduced to the world as a small roadster. It was lightweight and boasted mechanical simplicity. At the time, it was technologically advanced, and anyone who owns one to this day would still call it a reliable sports car. Ever since, and unlike most vehicles, the Miata has not been updated and reintroduced to the world each year. It was almost a decade before Mazda introduced the second-generation Miata to the world. Whatever the reason, Mazda clearly knows what they are doing — to date, the Miata holds the Guinness World Record as the world’s favourite lightweight, open-top, two-seater sports car, having sold 900,000 units. Not bad for a car that has only been refashioned three times in 1999, 2006 and now 2016.
When the Japanese automotive designers first created the Miata in Hiroshima back in 1989, they said they wanted to bring back the spirit of the ’60s sports car. Their goal was to replicate those lightweight and fun-to-drive vehicles that offered nimble handling and free-spirited, open-air motoring. Almost three decades later, the Miata still maintains that lighthearted reputation. This new model looks European, with its slick lines and high-pitch front fenders — living up to the Old German word it was named for. The front-end design slants from the sides down to the front of the car to give it a bit more of an intimidating face as opposed to the bubblier look that past models have had. The 2016 MX-5 Miata is even lighter and smaller than the generation before it, having impressively shed over 100 kg (220 lbs). Yet despite the weight loss, the car has somehow gained cabin space, offering extra room inside this compact two-seater.
Although the Miata has been updated to meet modern-day standards, Mazda made the smart choice to not overcomplicate the car with technological and electronic luxuries. It maintains its infamous simplicity by offering modern drivers just the necessities, like a designated area for your phone, a top-of-the-line sound system and stereo, and even USB ports for mobile charging. The convertible roof is not even electric. It’s completely manual — simply unclip the single latch in the centre, throw it back and press down to click it in place. Exactly what we expect of the traditional Miata we know and love, the 2016 MX-5 Miata is a sprightly vehicle that drives with a lot of pep and energy. It’s a light and fun ride — it doesn’t give off an intimidating roar, but it’s peppy and easy. This was an important car for Mazda, as they had to live up to the Miata brand’s reputation of breaking records. They were able to do so, maintaining the MX-5 Miata’s authenticity and simplicity while revolutionizing it.