2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata

WHAT WE LIKE: What we like best about the MX-5 Miata is the MX-5 Miata. Oh, there have been quibbles. We are, after all, professional quibblers. But the Miata embodies such clarity of purpose, and so compellingly delivers on its promise of being simply a fun car to drive, that our logbook notes have fallen into a predictable template. “The Miata [some trivial concern], but the car is so satisfying, I just don’t care.” The light clutch pedal, short shift throws, and perfectly modulated braking response turn this car into the equivalent of a trainer jet for advanced driver training. There are many faster sports cars and many cars with more power—most of them, in fact—but there aren’t many things as well realized as a Miata.


WHAT WE DON’T LIKE: We do not like that our Miata is now back on a set of Bridgestone Blizzaks in preparation for the trials of another upper-Midwest winter. Nothing wrong with the Blizzaks, mind you. It’s just that sometimes, when we look out our office window and see crisp blue sky, we can fool ourselves into imagining there’s time left in the season for one more top-down romp with our old friend. Spying the aggressive siping on the winter tires stops cold that particular idyll. Other minor, but oft-noted, objectionable traits include excessive road noise on the expressway, cramped interior quarters for our larger staffers or for long-legged passengers, and the lack of a telescoping steering wheel. As noted above, though, all of these complaints are quickly followed by acknowledgement that to remedy these concerns, which would be considered failings in the regular-car realm, would require adding unnecessary weight and would detract from what is actually an almost perfect thing.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Once safely away from touch-parking Angelenos, not much of anything has gone wrong with our Miata. A check-engine warning light was traced to a bum mass-airflow sensor, which was replaced under warranty at our 20,000-mile service. We paid $94.99 for that visit, which included an oil change, inspections, and a tire rotation. The car’s computer requested the 30,000-mile service a bit early. We paid $74.02 for the oil and filter change and inspection at 28,810 miles.

WHERE WE WENT: Our little bisque-colored Miata has stayed close to home since returning from California. We drove to Holland once recently. But as it turns out, Holland is in Michigan. We’ve also discovered that more than one staffer has been visiting Indiana, for reasons that are not entirely clear. Otherwise, the Miata has served admirably and efficiently as a commuter and short-squirt joy rider. Read more...

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29 Dec 2016