Since 1989 the Miata has stolen the hearts of car enthusiasts due to its light weight, small stature, modification potential and rear-wheel drive setup; amongst other things. But, has it become too refined, therefore moving farther away from its lineage? What the original (and still relevant) factors of the Miata have created is a true entry level driver’s (sports) car that provides a purely pleasurable experience behind the wheel. But, this 4th generation may have adopted too much of the present advancement of cars that it is just not raw enough for the intended enthusiast market.
But for $30K or so, the MX-5 Miata 4th generation is quite an impressive vehicle for the price. Mazda delivers with a great luxury interior that has all of the necessary infotainment and safety options as well. The cabin is quite spacious for this size car and it drives as smooth and luxurious as the look of the interior may suggest. The trunk space is also quite a nice surprise being quite spacious for this size car. But despite all of these pleasurable things, the Miata 4th generation needs some revisions in the performance arena to truly spell Miata.
Being a RWD setup with a NA engine at this price point and trying to be the pinnacle of entry level sports car or the perfect fit for a build, the suspension and steering are too soft/smooth. One would expect or want to feel the road a bit more while needing some give from the steering when pushing the Miata, especially when previous generations offered this more to a tee; but the 4th generation doesn’t quite offer that.
Although the light/quick steering response along with the smooth ride provides an equally pleasurable and fun experience that still teaches one that the Miata is a legendary car in the canyons, the MX-5 is supposed to be an entry level RWD sports car that one can beat on, not an entry level luxury coupe; even Forbes mentions the rawness. However, this smoothness is nice to have if you are not going to push the car and just want a fun little sporty commuter car in the canyons and on the surface streets. It does take off from a dig quite well with good throttle response that gives one confidence enough to make traffic passes, etc. So, there is certainly a give and take.
At the end of the day, the lack of rawness doesn’t quite take away that it is still a Miata. The Mazda inline 4cyl still has that nice growl, and the car is is still an animal on the canyon roads. The advancements of a more luxurious cabin and smooth ride is just part of the natural development of cars these days that actually makes a purchase of a new Miata a pretty good buy.
Ratings (Letter Grade F-A):
-sound system: C-
-trunk space: A
-drive modes/adjustability: C+
-brakes: A (aftermarket Willow)
-standing acceleration: A
-engine sound: B-
-overall performance: B-