Tuesday, April 28, 2015
The 2016 Miata Is Darned Near Perfect
By Andy Lilienthal
We're facing automotive bloat these days. Many cars just keep getting bigger and heavier—you can almost count on it. However, this is not the case with the upcoming 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. Compared to the outgoing '15 Miata, the '16 will actually have a slightly shorter wheelbase (90.9" vs. 91.7"), it will weigh less (2,332 lbs vs. 2,480), and get 25% better fuel economy (27 city, 36 highway, 30 combined vs. 21 city, 28 highway, 24 combined). Now granted, it's new 2.0-liter engine makes less horsepower (155 vs 167), but it makes more torque (148 ft/lbs vs. 140 ft/lbs) using the new SKYACTIV-MT engine. With the weight reduction, the power-to-weight ratio is nearly unchanged—but the car will be more efficient. To me, this all sounds perfect. Smaller, lighter, and more fuel efficient: The Miata just might be the perfect car—assuming you don't need four seats and a big-ass trunk.
The first Mazda MX-5 Miatas rolled off the assembly line April 20, and the officially goes on sale in the U.S. on May 5 at 9:00am PST. There will be three models: Sport, Club, and Grand Touring. However, sales will begin with 1,000 Launch Edition models. The MX-5 Launch Edition comes equipped with features reserved for the MX-5 Grand Touring trim, in addition to Advanced Keyless entry, which is optional in other trim levels. All 1,000 Launch Editions are painted Soul Red with a Sport Tan leather interior – a combination exclusive to the Launch Edition for 2016. Prices start at $30,195 for the manual-transmission equipped version and $31,495 for the automatic. To purchase an MX-5 Launch Edition, customers can currently preregister at LongLiveTheRoadster.com and will receive a reminder email prior to orders opening on May 5. Customers will then have the opportunity to place a $500 deposit toward the purchase of a 2016 MX-5 Launch Edition, also providing them the opportunity to select a dealership from where they can take delivery. MX-5s are expected arrive in dealers starting late summer.
The Launch Edition's sole option will be the choice of a six-speed SKYACTIV-MT manual transmission or the six-speed automatic, the latter of which carries an MSRP of $31,2702.
At the opposite end of the MX-5 lineup, the 2016 MX-5 Sport has a starting MSRP of $24,9153, riding on 16-inch alloy wheels and carrying a host of new standard features such as a six-speed SKYACTIV-MT manual transmission, cruise control, LED headlights and tail lights, Bluetooth phone pairing and audio streaming, leather-wrapped shift knob, power door locks, single USB input and cruise control.
As in the Launch Edition and all models, an automatic transmission option is available as a $1,075 option. Advanced Keyless entry is available for $130 (standard with automatic transmission).
Those who want to step up to a higher level of content will have a choice between distinct trim packages: the distilled, performance-focused MX-5 Club or MX-5 Grand Touring, with premium amenities and technology.
MX-5 Club has a starting MSRP of $28,6004 and adds 17-inch gunmetal alloy wheels wrapped in 205/45R17 tires, front air dam and trunk-mounted rear lip spoiler, piano black seat back bars and exterior mirror caps, Mazda Connect with a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system and commander control knob and an AM/FM/HD/SiriusXM satellite radio with a nine-speaker Bose audio system with headrest speakers—all in addition to MX-5 Sport's standard equipment. A limited-slip rear differential, Bilstein shocks and shock-tower brace are standard when equipped with the manual transmission.
Moving to MX-5 Grand Touring endows the roadster with 17-inch bright alloy wheels, leather-trimmed heated seats, automatic climate control, Bose nine-speaker audio system with headrest speakers, AM/FM/HD/SiriusXM radio, Mazda Connect and a seven-inch touchscreen monitor, commander control knob, Homelink garage door opener, rain-sensing wipers and adaptive headlights in addition to MX-5 Sport's standard equipment. Mazda's i-ACTIVSENSE suite of safety features including blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and lane-departure warning. MX-5 Grand Touring has an MSRP of $30,0655.
The MX-5 will remain a outstanding performance bargain and will likely remain an absolute blast to drive. We look forward to spending some time behind the wheel. Power, fuel economy, and world-class driving dynamics all in one package: The latest Miata just might be the perfect car. I'll take a white one just like the car above.