Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Mazda Reclaims the Miata Heritage

Mazda first rocked the world 26 years ago when it introduced the Miata MX-5. The car promised all the fun of a small roadster, without the headaches of the old classics from other manufacturers. Since then, the Miata has become a favorite of many enthusiasts, accumulating a dedicated base of fans. With the 2016 model a new generation of the vehicle launches, and this time around the car gets back to the basics that first made it great.

The roadster maintains its fun and affordable position in the market, despite many other vehicle increasing in price and becoming more bloated. In fact, Mazda was able to shed about 150 pounds versus the previous generation of the MX-5. The automaker also designed the vehicle to have a perfect 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution, which maximizes handling in any situation.

A roadster should be fun in every way, including how it looks. Mazda used its Kodo – Soul of Motion design language for the MX-5, making it appear more modern. With a longer hood, shorter overhangs, wheels pushed to the four corners and an occupant area positioned further back, the vehicle seems to be in motion even when it is parked.

Of course, a roadster is only as good as its experience with the top down, and in that area the new Miata excels. Opening and closing the top is easy enough the driver and passenger can stay seated the whole time. Even though a wind control system is in place, the feeling of having the breeze ruffle your hair can still be enjoyed. Speakers are even embedded in the headrests, making it easy to hear music while driving topless.

Under the hood of the 2016 Miata is a Skyactiv-G 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that literally breathes life into the car. It puts out a spunky 155 horsepower and 148 lb.-ft. of torque. Showing that the new model is truly made for enthusiasts, the engine is a mated to a six-speed manual transmission, which provides snappy gear changes without too much effort.

The innovative powertrain on the MX-5 not only makes the car fun to drive, it also helps conserve gas. According to Mazda, the 2016 model achieves 25 percent better fuel economy than the previous generation of the roadster. The EPA estimates the car gets 27 mpg in the city. For those who want the ease of an automatic transmission, it gets 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, which are some impressive numbers.

When Mazda designed the 2016 Miata MX-5, it aimed for the Japanese ideal of Jinba Ittai, which is making the car and driver one. As a result, engineers and designers worked hard on every aspect of the roadster, making them more human-centric than ever before. For example, the different pedals were laid out to go along with the natural movements of a person's feet, increasing comfort during long driving sessions. Visibility is greater, thanks to the A-pillars being positioned back further and the hood dropping down. Other controls in the vehicle were made to be highly ergonomic, making it easy to use them in a variety of situations.  

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