All hail the king of summer.
– Detroit, Michigan
As if you needed more proof that the new, fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata is like, the best car, let me tell you a true story. Over the recent Labor Day weekend, I was driving a McLaren 570S that you’ll be able to read about very soon. Senior Editor Jake Holmes had the Miata. And while the McLaren is an amazing – amazing – car, after I swapped keys with Jake and gave him the McLaren on a warm Sunday evening, I let out an audible “yessss.”
Outstanding supercars be damned, the Mazda MX-5 Miata is the rightful king of summer.
- The Miata is the most driving fun you can have at legal speeds. That’s the best thing about this car – you don’t need to be doing 140 kilometres per hour on a two-lane backroad to experience its true greatness. Throw it into a bend at 65 km/h and the car feels like it rotates around you. Cruise down the freeway at 120 km/h with the top down and you won’t need to go even a smidge faster to crack a smile. I’m a huge believer in the theory that it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than the inverse, and the Miata is tangible validation of that philosophy.
- To expand on that point, all parts of the driving experience are an enthusiast’s dream. I love the engaging, short throws of the six-speed manual shifter. The steering wheel is thin, but light and communicative in action. The chassis flexes and rolls to the exact degree I want, to really feel what every single tire is doing as I move down the road. It’s honestly one of the most involving motoring experiences you can have today.
- You can really notice and feel how every part of this car was designed around the driver. It’s not just in the driving experience, either. The tops of the seatbacks aren’t too huggy or plush, to allow for a better range of motion so you can raise and lower the soft top with one hand. The design of the A pillars and doors work to direct air into the cabin in a specific way, so you’re not bombarded by wind at higher speeds. Hell, even the driver’s H-point is at the car’s pitch center, so when the roadster dives, your body moves at the exact same angle as the Miata. Perfect.
- The recent launch of the Fiat 124 Spider has only reaffirmed my love for the Miata’s design. This car looks so good, especially in Ceramic Metallic, and I’m firmly in the camp of disliking the Fiat’s appearance. If the Miata doesn’t win you over by being the superior driver, its looks ought to seal the deal.
- Kudos to Mazda for bringing all of its safety technology down to the tiny Miata, but I don’t really get it. Blind-spot monitoring and lane-departure warning don’t really feel all that necessary in this car, and bloat the as-tested price of this Grand Touring model to $39,400.
- My only other complaint is that I can’t get the exact Miata I want. The Club model is the one to get, with its limited-slip differential, extra chassis bracing, and available Brembo brakes and BBS wheels. But only the Grand Touring gets you things like heated leather seats (great for chilly drives with the top down) and niceties like automatic headlights. This isn’t enough to make me not want to buy one, of course – I’m just being picky, though I’ve heard a number of other Miata customers complain about this exact issue. Otherwise, the Miata is exactly the same across all trim levels (powertrain and handling wise), so no matter what, you’re getting a great car.
Photos: Steven Ewing / Motor1.com