$17,311 - $21,180

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata was new.


Performance: 9.3

The fully redesigned 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata has less horsepower than many rivals, but auto writers say it feels quick, corners with agility and delivers a fun driving experience, especially with its slick-shifting standard manual transmission.

  • "Formerly known as the Mazda Miata, the new Mazda MX-5 is a little smaller than its predecessor, weighs less and has a bit less power, yet it's still as nimble, quick and fun as ever." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "What's it like to drive? It's sublime." -- AutoWeek
  • "At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, I'll say that the ND [current generation] Miata is one of the best enthusiast cars I've ever driven." -- Autoblog
  • "It's easy to find rhythm driving a car like this, perfectly sized for narrow stretches of two-lane road, just enough power to keep a big, goofy grin plastered on my face." -- Automobile Magazine

Acceleration and Power

The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 155 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional. The 2016 Miata gets better fuel economy than most sports car rivals, at an EPA-estimated 27/34 mpg city/highway with the manual and 27/36 with the automatic. Premium fuel is recommended but not required.

The 2016 Mazda MX-5 doesn't have as much horsepower as rivals like the Ford Mustang or Subaru BRZ, but critics say the Miata feels quick nonetheless. Some point out that the Miata is fun to drive, even at slower speeds. Reviewers add that the 2016 Miata feels much faster than the 2015 model, thanks in part to the 2016 model's reduced weight. The 2016 Miata's manual transmission earns plenty of praise from reviewers, thanks to its short throws and light, yet precise, clutch.

  • "This Miata is lighter than the outgoing NC generation [previous-generation Miata] by about 180 pounds, and lighter than the NB [earlier generation] by more than a few pounds, too. That means it feels fast, faster than the old car by a good margin, and maybe even faster than the more-powerful Subaru BRZ." -- AutoWeek
  • "Plus, 155 hp power means you eke out the Miata's dynamics at legal speeds. 45 miles per hour in an MX-5 is a far more exhilarating experience than that same speed in any supercar. So yeah, it's not powerful. But to paraphrase Jay-Z, the MX-5 is a super car, not a supercar." -- Autoblog
  • "The six-speed manual in the new Miata moves as all should; short, agile and notched like an oiled rifle bolt." -- Yahoo Autos
  • "It comes standard with an all-new 6-speed manual transmission, and even if you don't know how to drive stick, it's worth learning just so you can enjoy this one. The action is light, the shifts are short, and the clutch operation is simply spot-on." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

The rear-wheel drive 2016 Mazda MX-5 has more agile handling than most cars on the market, critics say, so it's easy to navigate the Miata through a winding road. The Miata reacts quickly when you turn the steering wheel, according to auto writers, though some note that there is some play in the wheel on center. The Miata's brakes are powerful, according to auto writers, and they stop the car smoothly. Test drivers like that the Miata doesn't ride harshly over rough roads like some competitors do, such as the Subaru BRZ.

  • "As with all Miatas, this latest generation is a willing dance partner when the road begins to bend. Approaching a curve with aggressive intentions rewards drivers with precise and predictable results." -- Edmunds
  • "… the Mazda MX-5 still handles better than 90 percent of the cars on the road. It changes direction quickly, and with its small size and view from the front seat, you can place your tires on a dime at any apex." -- AutoWeek
  • "At slow speeds and poor road surfaces - the way we spend most of our time driving - the Miata avoids the kind of jarring that can leave a Subaru BRZ owner bruised." -- Yahoo Autos
  • "The steering is quick, and while the electric assist suffers from a slight dead spot on-center, it actually helps make the MX-5 feel less nervous on the road than its predecessor." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The steering, which is electric, is light but communicative. It's a car you control with fingertips, not a car you manhandle. It builds load accurately at speed and the rack is delightfully quick. It's one of the best electric assist steering systems I've used. That's paired with brakes that are easy to modulate and grab super hard when asked." -- Jalopnik

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