There's no question that it's time to retire the old gal in favor of a new model, but positive things first. We can somewhat understand the appeal of the current Miata. The steering was taut and direct. The high-revving 167-horsepower engine, although buzzy, pulled just fine even though we'd like to see the power bumped up to around 200. The brakes were decent. The seats were fairly comfortable despite the thin bottoms and the interior overall fit like a glove, if a slightly undersized one. So there's still some fun factor left.
But this car just doesn't cut it in the modern world, where so many others have become so good. The six-speed manual was notchy and there was enough vibration up the shift handle to massage the palm of your hand at a stoplight. The suspension was somewhat jiggly on back roads and more sound insulation would have been appreciated. The interior dimensions are still too tight for those of us six feet or over. To drive more comfortably, we'd need to amputate the left arm and lose a few inches off the torso.
So if you must have an MX-5 right now, skip the new one, save some money and buy a lightly used version. And if you really want the feeling of an old MG, then buy an MG. As for us, we'll wait and see what the company debut in Paris has to offer.
We like the look of the 2016 Miata and the idea that Mazda has chosen to keep weight down. Beyond that, rumors about the new car are downright confusing. The MX-5 needs more power, but Mazda is said to reduce the new model's powerplant to 130 horsepower, with later plans to offer a larger engine (although no evidence of a turbo). Interior dimensions are said to be smaller when they should really increase to fit the taller drivers. A modern Miata trademark, the power retractable hardtop, has oddly been eliminated. So we eagerly await more information and clarification from Paris.
Price: $23,720 (Sport)
0-60: 6.1 secs (AutoGuide, 2014)
Curb weight: 2,480 lbs. (Sport)
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