New

Mazda MX-5 2.0 (A) | That Same Feeling

BY Dr Kevin Co

We've sampled the well-balanced manual version previously, but we needed a second opinion - hence we got our Doc, an ex-owner himself, to give us his impression

Photos by Azfar Hashim

Making its debut back in 1990, the MX-5 set a mark as a lightweight, pocket-sized fun-to-drive convertible. And even into this fourth generation, the MX-5 retains everything that made it an iconic car of the 90s.

That said, there is no denying how the completely reworked and redesigned MX-5 now has a more aggressive stance: The hood slopes forward to a narrow cross-section front end that features the car’s blacked-out grille, which is then combined to a pair of restyled headlight cluster (featuring LED running lights).

As noted, the dimensions of the MX-5 are about the same as the old. However, where the old version made you feel as if you were perching, the new model, with a lowered seating position, hugs you instead. At the same time, you would think outward visibility would be impossible because of the height difference; surprisingly, the view for both the front and rear is surprisingly excellent.

Lets face it: The Miata, although a fun car to drive, is just a tiny place for two. Despite the fact that there is adequate room for a 1.8-meter tall driver, it is not overly generous. However, it is much better in this design than it was in the third generation (where the driver’s position was about an inch higher). Indeed, you would be surprised with the difference just an inch could make. That aside the seats are comfortable and supportive, holding you in place quite nicely with excellent support.

The instrument panel features a seven-inch LCD screen that could operated by touch or a rotary knob. And I am glad to report the display is easily visible, and all of the control buttons are a simple reach away.

Once again like its predecessors, the MX-5 Miata is a fun convertible. Not exactly the fastest, but the 2.0-litre SKYACTIV’s 160 horsepower, 200 Nm inline four engine will move you from 0 to 100 km/h in roughly seven-odd seconds. The engine & transmission pulls strongly to the redline: Performance like this surely distinguishes itself from other smaller, peaky engines that have a narrow power band that falls flat towards higher end. Plus there is always a little more in reserve, which makes this convertible even more pleasurable to drive.

For fans of self-shifting ‘boxes, here is very good piece of news: The automatic gearbox is not the boring choice anymore! I had a blast with the pedal shifter too, as it enables me to control the car much better without thinking too much about my heel-and-toe. Oversteers are much easier to hold too (not that I am encouraging), and somewhat in this case, better resale value does make it quite the obvious choice.

Through turns and around corners, the MX-5 induces high level of confidence - much of this has to do with the low center of gravity, together with the independent front and multi-link rear suspension, which as a whole makes the car inherently more stable. The engineers definitely did a great job with the ride and handling package.

Driving the MX-5 is somewhat like a dance of sorts as the car is constantly giving feedback, old school style, without the fancy nannies.

The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a beautiful little convertible. Like its predecessors, it is excellent to drive; I used to own a NC-generation 8 years ago and I must confess, driving this all-new version delivers a similarly great feeling.

But all that said, undeniably, Mazda cannot overlook the fact that the crowd wants a bit more performance under the hood…