2016 Mazda MX-5
For as long as we’ve been testing cars, we’ve yet to come across one that brings as much pure driving joy for the dollar spent as the Mazda Miata roadster. And even though it’s now officially the MX-5, and more and more sophistication has crept into the design over three generations, the all-new 4th gen, 2016 MX-5 keeps the good times rollin’.
It’s hard not to have a good time behind the wheel of the 2016 Mazda MX-5. As while this 4th iteration roadster may no longer look as far back, or be as basic, the pure sports car spirit of the original 1990 Miata is fully intact.
Like most recent Mazda’s, a significant effort is made to take the weight out, despite adding in more creature comforts. Weight is down 150-lbs. to 2,332.
And as before, there’s just enough go from the engine to make things fun, though now it’s the SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter I4 at 155-horsepower and 148 lb-ft. of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard, and it feels just as good as we remember. A 6-speed auto is available as well, but please only if you must.
At our test track, the MX-5 hops off the line better than ever. And while it’s easy to pine for more power, we’re actually quite happy with the engine’s output. It took 6.8–seconds to reach 60 on a slick track, and 15.4 to complete the ¼ at 89 miles-per-hour.
When it comes to cone work, the first thing you notice is the new electric power steering. Turn in is still razor sharp and precise, there’s just a very light feel to it now, maybe too light. The car itself however, feels far more solid overall. Still, it’s just as entertaining as ever tossing it around with playful amounts of oversteer.
The suspension remains double-wishbone front and multilink rear, but this time around, Club trim includes the sport suspension with Bilstein dampers and a shock tower brace; as well as a limited slip rear.
Averaging 60 MPH stopping distance of just 111–feet means the braking is done with the same no-nonsense efficiency as the rest of the car.
The leaner, meaner MX-5 has a much more modern look of course. It also sits lower, and is a hair wider.
The face is still friendly, but the rest of the car is a little edgier, almost BMW-like, with its Euro-esque sculpted rear. Both head and tail lights are full LEDs with LED DRLs of course.
Club trim adds a sharper-looking front air dam and black side mirrors; while the Brembo/BBS package really spices things up with painted calipers, side sill extensions, rear bumper skirt, and of course 17-inch forged BBS wheels.
True to tradition, a manual soft top is standard, folding and latching easily right from the driver’s seat. No word yet on whether an optional hardtop will return.
Inside, available features abound, fully displayed here in Club trim, like a dash top 7-inch screen. Touch controls are limited to when you’re sitting still. This Commander Controller is use when moving. Push button start is standard. But the remainder of the interior, from round air vents to big analog gauges is as clean and simple as ever.
Most importantly, the shifter falls readily to hand as always, and we quickly felt right at home. More comfortable seats with extra adjustments are always welcome, and they still hold you tight as well.
As for complaints, we understand the need of the Commander Controller, but its console placement is too far back for easy use, and we could use a little more girth to the steering wheel.
Mazda says that the MX-5’s trunk is smaller, but we actually found it more useful than before.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the manual are 27-City, 34-Highway, and 30-Combined. Even better are the numbers for the automatic at 27-City, 36-Highway, and 30-Combined. And they both share a great Energy Impact Score of 11.0-barrels of oil used and 4.9-tons of CO2 emissions per year.
Prices have increased, now starting at $25,735 for Sport trim; this Club, at $29,420, and top shelf Grand Touring at $30,885. Still, no one else offers this much roadster fun for the dollar.
So, back to where we started. Even with all the improvements, Mazda has not compromised that great Miata persona. The 2016 Mazda MX-5 does indeed deliver a lot more than just sports car basics, but those basics are still what this little roadster gets exactly right.
- Engine: 2.0 liter I4
- Horsepower: 155
- Torque: 148 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 6.8 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 15.4 seconds @ 89 mph
- EPA: 27 mpg city/ 34 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 11.0 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 4.9 tons/yr
2024 Mazda CX-90
A Force To Be Reckoned With
If you’ve been following Mazda lately, you’ll know they’ve been fielding some serious new designs; you could even say, they’re latest efforts are 10-times better than before. After all, the CX-3 became the CX-30, then CX-5 became the CX-50, and now it’s the CX-9’s turn. So, let’s find out if this all-new CX-90, their largest SUV yet, is a real multiplier or if it’s all just a numbers game.
Don’t think of this 2024 Mazda CX-90 so much as an updated version of the CX-9, as it’s more of a complete rethink of their 3-row crossover, the first built on an all-new, large vehicle platform for the brand. And this platform carries a host of surprises. Not only does it make the CX-90 bigger by every dimension, but it’s a rear-drive architecture, and features all-new powertrains, including the brand’s first plug-in hybrid, and even an inline-6 engine.
Why an inline-6 to replace the CX-9’s turbo-4? Well, in general terms, I6s are better balanced, run smoother, and can deliver more torque at lower RPM. Just ask the BMW faithful, or any of the truckers you see going down the road hauling more than 20-tons of cargo with their inline-6s.
There are 2-versions of the longitudinally mounted 6, both assisted by turbocharging and a 48-volt mild hybrid system. Output for the base Turbo is 280-horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque; this Turbo S cranks it up to 340-horsepower and 369 lb-ft. The PHEV, on the other hand, is based on a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter I4, working with a 100-kW electric motor to deliver 323-horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque. A 17.8-kWh battery delivers 26-miles of EV driving.
It’s not the prettiest SUV, but it does have very smooth body work; plus, the longer hood and 7½-inches of wheelbase stretch over the CX-9, give it more stately proportions. All CX-90s come with i-Activ all-wheel drive and the brand’s first 8-speed automatic transmission; the longer wheelbase allows tow ratings to step up from 3,500-lbs. to 5,000.
At the test track, our Turbo S launched effortlessly with good grip on the way to a 6.4-second 0-60. The smooth vibes continued throughout the ¼-mile, with refined power delivery, seamless shifts, and a noticeably more solid and stable feel at speed than the CX-9. Our best time was 14.7-seconds at 98 miles-per-hour.
Through the cones, it still behaves like a Mazda, with very good steering feel and a solid presence in corners at low to moderate speeds. Some understeer and body roll will show up when pushed hard, but Mazda’s Kinematic Posture Control uses subtle selective braking to help the vehicle rotate, and safety systems will step in well-before it gets out of sorts.
There’s a nice firm feel to the brake pedal, delivering good stopping results of 118-feet from 60 miles-per-hour. You can feel a lot of weight transfer, but nosedive was well contained.
Another unique element the CX-90 brings is seating arrangements for 6,7, or 8. It’s the 8-seater that’s standard with 3-across bench seating for 2nd and 3rd rows. 7-seaters get either captain’s chairs in the 2nd row, or more contoured seats for the 3rd; 6-seaters sport 2nd row captains and the contoured 3rd row. Cargo capacity varies with seating, but is at best 15.9 cubic-ft. behind the 3rd row, 40.1 behind the 2nd, and 75.2 with all seats folded.
As far as what it’s like to actually live with, the CX-90’s cabin is a clear step up, including on some trims suede-like materials, intricate stitching, and real wood, all consistent with what we’ve seen from the brand lately. A 10-inch dashtop touchscreen is standard for infotainment, with upper trims getting a larger 12.3-incher. We applaud Mazda’s inclusion of plenty of old-school manual controls for radio and climate, which keeps menu diving limited to secondary functions. PHEVs get a few unique controls and readouts to monitor drive modes and battery level.
Overall, the CX-90 is highly functional, entertainingly sporty to drive, and will be more competitive in the ever growing 3-row family crossover segment; and its posh interior may even attract luxury buyers on a budget.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the Turbo S are 23-City, 28-Highway, and 25-Combined. We averaged a good 26.5 miles-per-gallon of Regular.
Pricing begins with the base Turbo at Select trim for $40,970, PHEVs are available in Preferred trim and above starting at $48,820, and the Turbo S starts at $53,125.
Force multiplier is a military term for when strategic elements come together to produce results greater than would have been possible without them. Well, no high-level math skills are necessary here to see that the 2024 Mazda CX-90 is clearly more than just a much better CX-9; it’s now a force to be reckoned with in the 3-row family crossover segment.
- Engine: 3.3-liter I-6
- Horsepower: 340
- 0-60 mph: 6.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 118 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 26.5 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 369 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 14.7-seconds at 98 mph
- EPA: 23 City / 28 Highway / 25 Combined
- Starting Price: $40,970