REVIEW: 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club is Pure Driving Fun

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2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Down Profile

The Mazda MX-5 Miata Club was completely redesigned for 2016. It’s the 4th generation of this beloved little roadster and the redesign celebrates its 25th anniversary. In its latest incarnation, the MX-5 is better than ever.

There are three different trim levels available. It starts with the Sport, moves on to the Club, and tops out with the Grand Touring. The Grand Touring is the fanciest with leather seats and a more compliant ride, but for pure driving enjoyment, the Club is our top pick.

The Mazda MX-5 Miata Club has a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine paired to a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic. We highly recommend the manual as it’s the best way to get the most out of driving this car.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Top Down

You’ll have 155-horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque for tossing the Mazda MX-5 Miata Club through turns. It’s a lot of power for such a small car and gives it plenty of get up and go.

There is electric power steering, which is a first in the MX-5, and it’s tuned to weight up the more you turn. It provides well-adjusted feedback so you are never in doubt about the surface beneath the wheels.

On smooth stretches of road, especially with lots of twists and turns, this car is nothing but fun. If you like driving, then you are going to love driving this car. It’s a driver’s car if ever there was one.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Down Rear

The Club is available with Brembo front brakes as a $3,400 option. The package includes 17-inch dark alloy wheels and keyless entry. The brakes and wheels look good and balance out the front air dam, rear lip spoiler, rear bumper skirts, and side sill extensions that are standard on the Club trim.

The MX-5 is at all times focused on being driven. It’s part of the reason the cupholders slide into spots that are almost impossible to reach at the rear of the center armrest.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Rear

One cupholder can be repositioned to the front by the passenger’s knees, but this isn’t much of an improvement. The best solution is to pop them out altogether. You’re buying an MX-5 to drive, not so you can chug down a 64-ounce beverage.

The cabin is expectedly low so entry and exit are tough for those who aren’t as agile. Once in the seats, they’re comfortable and heavily bolstered. Seating is not soft and leans more toward being stiff, especially with bolstering that may be tight for larger occupants.

It all goes back to the driving focus of the Miata. That bolstering is exactly what you need to hold your body in place when you swing through turns.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Profile

The manual soft-top is easy to operate and should be put down at every available chance. The only drawback to the soft-top is that it is loud even when it’s closed. During long highway drives, especially in windy or rainy weather, the noise is obtrusive.

The infotainment system control is the one sour note we found with the MX-5. It’s operated by a dial on the center console that is too easily brushed with your forearm, especially when shifting gears.

More than once we inadvertently changed the radio station or otherwise changed things on the screen. It’s also easy to hit while resting your arm on the center armrest.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Dash

Infotainment includes a 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio, SiriusXM radio, and AM/FM/CD. Sound comes from a 9-speaker Bose audio system that fills the cabin. It can be tough to hear the music when the top is down in a convertible, but not in the MX-5.

There are speakers built into to the headrests to overcome wind noise. They’re positioned so that you don’t realize they’re even there most of the time. Only when you turn your head and have an ear to the seat will you realize they’re playing sound at all.

Another neat feature of these speakers is that when you receive a call, only the headrest speakers on the driver’s side relay sound. This gives you a little bit of privacy when there’s a passenger along for the ride.

Storage is minimal with no glove box and just a small space behind the rear seats. The trunk is also small, so there will be no packing for a week’s vacation.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Trunk

Standard safety features include dynamic stability control, traction control, side-impact beams, and front and side airbags. There is no rearview camera, something you’ll miss in parking lots where the MX-5 is often dwarfed by larger vehicles.

The 4th generation Mazda MX-5 Miata carries on a 25-year tradition. It’s a roadster built for driving, without any fussiness.

If you’re looking for a plush, luxurious ride, then this isn’t the best choice. If you’re looking to drive a ragtop that makes the most of every corner and will put a smile on your face, then the MX-5 is a perfect choice.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club

Base price: $28,600

Destination charge: $820

Price as tested: $33,120

  • Superior Handling
  • Headrest Speakers
  • Manual Transmission


  • Wind noise with the top closed
  • Very little interior storage
  • Flimsy sunvisors
Nicole Wakelin

Nicole Wakelin