Mazda MX-5 2016 Review

 

The fourth generation MX-5 was Mazda’s most awaited reveal this year. After news that the company reached the benchmark of 947,000 examples sold since the model’s inception, 25 years ago, the eagerness of both the public and auto magazines increased, spurred by spy shots and computer renderings.

Mazda MX-5 2016

At the 2014 Paris Motor Show, the big reveal took place for the European crowd, but synchronized unveilings were scheduled at the same time for Japan and North America, so that the audience wouldn’t miss the opportunity of seeing the Mazda MX-5 2016 in premiere. How does it look?

In short, stunning. The new design makes the older generations look like tree trunk carvings and the competition like bricks on wheels. Making use to the fullest of the “KODO – Soul of Motion” concept used in the Mazda 3 and 6, the designers created one of the best looking sports cars in the world. The third generation MX-5 wanted to appear as having rough lines, but the overall impression it left was nice, rather than aggressive. However, that holds true for the 2016 model, which looks more like a baby Jaguar rather than your typical Mazda.

The fascia received a much larger and wider air intake with horizontal frets, which occupies most of the front bumper, while two smaller air inlets on the side are used to channel air to the front brakes, to aid their cooling. The bonnet swoops down vigorously and if you think it seems lower than the older generation, you’re right – it’s lower, shorter and wider than the model it replaces and that gives it an impressive stance on the road, even when standing still. The headlights are narrow and sharp, and feature LED technology, including LED day-running lights. The side profile is very athletic, with only a turning indicator and a door handle disrupting the cleanliness of the lines. The shoulders are arched and wide, prolonging up to the rear, where the same line incorporated the rear lights and the boot lid. Underneath, the rear bumper houses, on either side, what seems at first glance to be air outlets, but in fact are white, clear glass lights. A double end sport exhaust, found on the right side of the car completes the picture.

The engine is pushed further back, towards the windshield and it is mounted in a longitudinal position. The bonnet benefits from active technology, which will help protect pedestrians in case of an impact and will comply with every European regulation, including Euro NCAP. Compared to the model it replaces, the new Mazda MX-5’s wheelbase has been reduced by 15mm, while the length has been cut by 105mm; the ride height was lowered by 20mm and the width has increased by 10mm. The SkyActiv technology is employed in this model too, with the SkyActiv chassis made of high strength steel, and aluminium and steel body panels. Overall, it’s 100kgs lighter than the outgoing generation, with the soft-top weight though to be around 2,300 pounds. The suspension system includes double wishbones in the front, complemented by a multilink setup at the rear, as well as new brakes with a larger surface area and stronger pistons.

 

 

Mazda MX-5 2016 – 5 Point Review

 

Design

Making use of the new signature Mazda design “KODO –Soul of Motion”, the fourth generation Mazda MX-5 2016 is one of the most beautiful cars ever penned by the company. Even if shorter by 105mm, it looks more dynamic and athletic than the model it replaces and the cleanliness of its lines is an immediate eye-catcher.

Even if the length has been reduced, the interior space has remained quite decent, as the engineers and designers strived to deliver an optimum driving experience. Circular air vents create an air of sportiness, while the instrument cluster has been reworked, with a large, centrally mounted rev counter, flanked on the right by a speedometer and on the left by a digital display, also with a circular outline. The three spoke steering wheel is more profiled and features a metallic lower spoke. A LCD display, similar to the one found in the Mazda 3 is located on the dash, while the central console features a basic design, with A/C controls, usb ports and a CD player.

Driving

Since the Mazda MX-5 2016 has barely been revealed, there have been no test drives, so the way it handles remains, at least for now a question of speculation. If we take into account the use of SkyActiv technology, which made the Mazda 3 handle as good as the Ford Focus, then the small sports car must fit in the same pattern. The chassis is lighter and more rigid, so body roll should be kept to a minimum. The use of multilink suspension in the rear will significantly increase its responsiveness and new setting applied to it mean that it will be above the behaviour of the third generation.

Reliability

The Mazda MX-5 2016 is thought to come with new SkyActiv engines – starting with the basic 1.5 litre petrol and finishing with the top tier 2.0 litre petrol, with the power output between 130 and 165 horsepower, but a top-performance version is rumoured to have 200 bhp. Seeing how the Mazda 3 performs in terms of reliability, its smaller, sportier brethren will most likely share the same characteristics, that is, be dependable and trouble free.

Running costs

The new model is rumoured to cost in the region of £20,000, which means that it will be at the same level as the car it replaces, only better. The SkyActiv technology employs less moving parts, which means that wear and tear will not set in as soon as in cars featuring a classic construction. Mazda did not offer an estimate of the fuel consumption figures at the launch, so we’ll have to wait for the first test drives to have some clear indication on its on-road behaviour.

Practicality

The former generation had a decent interior arrangement, so that even tall drivers could sit comfortably behind the wheel. The fourth generation is wider and lower, with a modified driving position and an overall lower center of gravity, so expect to have an even better experience than in the old MX-5. The third generation boot space was limited to 150 litres, so the new model should have at least the same, if not more, but don’t bet on a saloon-standard boot!

 

We’ll have more information on the Mazda MX-5 2016 in the coming months, maybe it would be wise to get a feed to be the first to know.

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