Long-form

Long-form blog posts and editorials. Topics cover both personal and the world at large. 

INTRO: 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata

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While I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with the WRX STI, after three year of blissful ownership it was time to move on. You can read all about it in a previous blog post. To sum it up, the STI is a very rapid point-A to point-B car indeed, but it’s numerous small faults and shortcomings squandered away any confidence I had in the car, and thus it was on to the next. 

Having owned front-driven and all-wheel drive cars, the next logical destination was a rear-wheel drive sports car. From the very first moment Mazda released the details on the new ND MX-5 Miata, I was hooked. Only the fourth new generation in its illustrious 25-year existence, the ND’s exterior styling finally departed from the signature ‘cute’ of the previous models into something decidedly modern and purposeful. What really sold me however was the 100kg diet from the NC, and - rare in a modern car - dimensionally smaller than the old car.

The only question was whether or not I’d fit in one. My 5’10” frame with an unnaturally long torso prevented me from fitting properly in the NC MX-5. Seated in the optimal position, my eyes were level with the top of the windscreen, which obviously isn’t very safe at all. Thankfully, I fit in ND quite well, with a one-and-a-half finger gap between the top of my head and the fabric roof. So with the knowledge that I can fit, I acquired a 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport a bit over three weeks ago.

The ND is available in three trim levels: Sport, Club, and Grand Touring. All are motivated by the same 155hp SKYACTIV 2.0L four-cylinder engine and power sent to the rear wheels. The Club trim adds 17inch wheels, Bilstein shocks, torsen limited-slip differential, Mazda Connect infotainment system, and optional forged BBS alloys with 4-pot Brembo front brakes. The Grand Touring does without the trick dampers and locking diff, and instead provides customers with comfort items such as blind spot monitoring (in a Miata?) and cross-traffic alert, auto adaptive headlamps, heated leather seats, and automatic climate control.

The reason I chose the Sport was primarily due to not wanting to pay the almost $3,000 extra for the Club spec (the BBS and Brembo package is another $3,000 on top of that). As a car enthusiast of course I’d love to have all those performance addenda, but paying over $30,000 for an MX-5 just feels wrong. I’ve no need for the fancy infotainment system, as the ability to connect an iPhone via Bluetooth is plenty enough for music and navigation (contemporary infotainment systems still pale in comparison to the modern smartphone for speed and ease of use). The Grand Touring is even dearer in price than the Club, and for a car whose developmental philosophy is trimming weight by the gram (the ‘gram strategy’), the luxurious amenities offered in the GT seems entirely counterintuitive. No thank you.

Besides, the MX-5 Sport’s 16 inch wheels with 195 section tires is a proper laugh in the face of ever increasing wheel and tire sizes in performance cars (boggles my mind a Porsche GT3 RS runs a 21inch wheel), and I absolutely adore them. Ticking the box for either the Club or Grand Touring would’ve lost me those wonderful donuts. I’ll find out in the ownership term if running economy car-sized wheels is any detriment to the thrill of driving.

My Ceramic Metallic (that’s silver in Mazda speak) MX-5 has but one option: the $130 advance keyless entry. It allows access to the doors and trunk-lid, and operates the engine all without me having to take the key-fob out of my pocket. I normally wouldn’t tick the box for non-essential options like advance keyless, but purchasing an absolute poverty-spec ND MX-5 at this time would entail waiting two additional months for one to be ordered from Hiroshima. The final damage to wallet for the car came in at $25,865.

Much like how automotive magazines do long-term car tests, I’ll be doing monthly updates on this blog about my ownership experience with the Miata, and will expand upon the varying details of the car, how it drives, the quirks and criticisms as the months roll by. For now, in the brief few weeks I’ve owned the car, I’m massively enjoying the car’s lightweight demeanor, sharp steering, comfortable seats, and just about the best manual gearbox I’ve every rowed. And right, the top comes down too, which is an altogether different experience indeed. Stay tuned. 

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Date acquired: November 2015
Total mileage: 485
Mileage this month: 485
Costs this month: $0
MPG this month: 31