"Are you looking for a good time in a small package? Well, I may have the answer..."
And it’s the Mazda MX-5, because Miata.Is.Always.The.Answer. Currently in its 4th generation, better known as the ND generation by car enthusiasts, the 2022 model year receives no big exterior changes but is now available in platinum quartz metallic paint. Nonetheless, the Miata maintains its charm. The sleek head and tail lights present an upscale elegance, while the aggressive front-end and sculpted body show off its sporty nature.
Mazda claims the MX-5 is engineered with the driver in mind, so yes visibility along with an almost perfect 50/50 weight distribution and standard RWD set-up should definitely help enhance the driving experience.
Convertible operation is easy as 1.2.3. *Convertible operation and seating demo*. 1. Unlatch 2. Pull back 3. Click in place. Lots of headroom for me at 6’4” but I think anyone taller may feel cramped. There’s a tilt & telescopic steering column with a slightly skinny steering wheel, but overall it’s comfy in the driver’s seat.
All trims come with a 7 inch touchscreen also controlled via knob below shifter with wired android auto and apple carplay integration, with available wireless apple carplay on upper trims. However there is no wireless charging option on any trim level.
On top of small trunk space, there’s a lot of hard plastics, and passenger legroom is compromised by the transmission tunnel, so your cupholder should go behind your elbow which I find annoying. I just throw them in the rear center console which is lockable.
Now when you’re ready to drive, a couple of things to note are the body-colored door panels which can tend to get hot and with the top down, the sun can wash out your infotainment screen... but the good part is once you get this thing out on the road, you forget about all of that stuff. That’s because the MX-5 is simply a fun car to drive. From carving up Angeles Crest to taking it to the track, the MX-5’s driving dynamics fits into a wide range of drivers’ wants and needs. All trims include a 6-speed manual transmission with an optional automatic transmission only offered the priciest grand touring trim for an additional $500.
That’s fine because people who purchase a Miata really want to get an experience out of it with that manual transmission. The clutch pedal is light, the shifter is easy to operate with short throws, and the steering is precise. All of this combined with some open air enjoyment... you can easily forget that there’s no space to place your phone.
Propelling the MX-5 is a 2.0L 4-cylinder making (graphic: 181 hp/151 lb-ft) . Although the power numbers seem small, the low weight of the car makes up for the lack of power and also keeps the Miata agile. New to assist with that agility, Mazda introduces Kinematic Posture Control, dubbed K.P.C. which slightly applies the brakes to the inner rear wheel when cornering to help lessen body roll.
The MX-5 was already a carver of twisty bits, but the added technology coming from the KPC system gives you an even more confident connection with the road. Standard features keeping you safe on that road include lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and smart city brake support. Upper trims receive a Torque-sensing limited-slip differential, sport tuned suspension with Bilstein shocks, and front shock tower brace. Noting that these features are not available on the automatic transmission...
...And that’s another reason to just stick with the manual transmission. As for ride quality, it isn’t too firm given the Miata’s sporty nature. It’s tuned just right to enjoy the ride. Maybe even enjoy it too much you may get caught singing when the top is down... like me.
You’ll also sing to the tune of these fuel economy numbers (Manual 26 city/ 34 Hwy, Automatic 26 City/ 35 Hwy). There’s even a shift indicator that suggests which gear would help produce the best efficiency.
Pricing for a base soft top Sport trim starts at (graphic: $27,650) not including destination charges. Standard features include LED lighting, 16-inch wheels, keyless entry, cloth seats, 6-speaker audio system, cruise control, rear view monitor, and 2 paint options. The Grand Touring trim starting at $32,650 adds automatic headlights, leather seats, navigation, rain-sensing wipers, automatic climate control, and offers that automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
Though the affordable sports car segment is shrinking, the Mazda MX-5 Miata endures, offering a driving experience that makes you feel like a kid operating a racing simulator at an arcade. There’s a reason why the Miata has earned a cult following.
00:00 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata
3:49 Driving Impressions
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