A day may come when we let go of the wheel and allow artificial intelligence to handle our driving, but this is not that day. Not if Mazda has anything to do with it. When the 2016 MX-5 Miata was unveiled last fall, the Japanese two-seater was the object of more praise than a royal baby. We couldn’t wait to get our hands on one.
Our Club Edition arrived sporting an additional performance package, most notably 17-inch forged BBS-brand wheels—the same kind that annoying Volkswagen kid down the block saved up for all winter. An extremely low driving position tested our flexibility, but the cabin is extraordinarily comfortable. Up top, the manually retractable stowaway fabric roof is quick and easy to operate. If the skies open, it’s a two- or three-second button-up job, max.
Or you could just try to outrun the rain. Fitted with Mazda’s Skyactiv-G two-liter engine, the car is punchy when prodded and comes equipped with a track-worthy tuning package, including Bilstein dampers and a limited-slip differential for those who opt for the manual transmission. Revved high, the engine rarely sounds overworked, and though it doesn’t pack half the power of most players in its category, it has no shortage of quickness. Top down, 60 feels like a spirited 90.
As for everyday sensibleness—come on, it’s a roadster. But considering its dazzling looks, gratuitous fun and sub-$30K price, do we really have to argue about practicality? Not this day.
MAZDA MX-5 MIATA
Engine: Two-liter four-cylinder | Horsepower: 155 at 6,000 rpm
Torque: 148 lb.-ft. at 4,600 rpm | Zero to 60: 5.9 sec.
MPG: 27 city, 34 highway | Price: $28,600 base