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2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review: A Seamless Connection between Man and Machine

Image Source: Pixabay

The 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a unique two-seat roadster that stands out on the road. Designed for those who appreciate the synergy between car and driver, this convertible roadster is unmatched in its category. Priced under $40,000, it doesn’t face much competition, leaving out rivals like the BMW Z4 and Porsche 718 Boxster. The updates for 2022 are minimal, with a modest $540 price increase and the addition of brake-based torque vectoring for the base model’s inside rear wheel.

The 2022 Mazda MX-5 has a distinctive appearance. While small in size, this roadster boasts masterful design elements such as a long front end, a compact rear, and smooth curves reminiscent of winding Appalachian roads. Its flawless body design earns praise, while the minimalist interior perfectly embodies the essence of a no-fuss driver’s car.

Mazda outfits the MX-5 with standard 16-inch alloy wheels, though the preferred option is the 17-inch wheels in dark silver finish. The front end features a striking grille, with aerodynamic lines flowing gracefully over its rounded contours towards the back, where charming circular taillights add to its overall appeal.

The black soft cloth convertible top can be effortlessly raised or lowered with a single hand motion, but the RF body-color hard top with interlocking pieces exudes a more upscale vibe. Opting for the Club RF with the Brembo package transforms the top to black, and includes eye-catching red front and rear brake calipers showcased beside 17-inch BBS forged wheels.

The MX-5 is engineered for driving pleasure. As the epitome of a sports car, it embodies compactness, lightweight construction, rear-wheel drive, and a close-to-the-road driving experience. Its exceptional handling and driving dynamics allow it to hold its own against more powerful competitors on twisty tracks, thanks to its rear-wheel drive configuration and perfect 50/50 weight distribution.

Despite its modest specs of 181-hp 2.0-liter inline-4 engine delivering 151 lb-ft of torque, the MX-5’s true essence shines through in its driving experience rather than on paper. Accelerating from 0-60 mph in just under 6.0 seconds, the MX-5’s driving dynamics evoke a sense of speed and excitement. Its direct steering enables precise control, while the available limited-slip rear differential enhances cornering stability. The MX-5 excels in its connection to the road, thanks to its front double wishbone and rear multi-link suspension with aluminum arms that reduce weight and enhance responsiveness. Although the ride is compliant, the short wheelbase and firm dampers make the MX-5 prone to skipping on uneven surfaces, especially in the heavier RF models.

New for 2022, Mazda introduces Kinematic Posture Control, a brake-based torque vectoring system that aids cornering by applying a slight brake pulse to the inner rear wheel to maintain stability during turns. This feature enhances the limited-slip effect, ensuring improved handling. While the Club and higher trims offer appealing options, the effectiveness of this system will be assessed with further testing.

This year, a 6-speed automatic transmission is exclusively available on the Grand Touring trim. While priced $500 lower than the manual transmission, the manual variant is the preferred choice for enthusiasts due to its engaging driving experience. The manual transmission complements the MX-5’s firm clutch pedal and precise short shifts, providing a seamless connection between driver and machine. For the Club models with manual transmission, an optional Brembo/BBS/Recaro package at $4,500 further enhances performance with added features like Brembo front brakes, 17-inch forged BBS wheels, heated Recaro bucket seats, red rear brake calipers, and black aero elements.

In terms of fuel efficiency, the MX-5 Miata delivers average mileage. The rear-wheel drive MX-5 equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission boasts an EPA-rated fuel economy of 26 mpg city, 35 mpg highway, and 29 mpg combined, whether with the soft or hard top. The 6-speed automatic transmission variant offers slightly better efficiency at 26 mpg city, 35 mpg highway, and 30 mpg combined, although the manual transmission promises a more engaging driving experience.

While the MX-5 Miata has not been crash-tested by the IIHS and NHTSA, its petite stature, lightweight construction, and exposed design make it less favorable in collisions. Mazda equips the MX-5 with LED headlights and taillights, automatic emergency braking at lower speeds, blind-spot monitors, and lane-departure warnings. The Grand Touring trim further includes adaptive headlights and automatic high beams to enhance visibility and safety.

Inside, the MX-5 boasts a sleek black interior with cloth seats and soft-touch surfaces. The minimalist design is accentuated by chrome-like plastic accents on the switchgear and steering wheel. Designed for two occupants, the front seats are snug, with no rear seats for added practicality. The compact interior necessitates traveling light, as the limited storage space accommodates only essential items. While the cloth seats offer manual adjustability and decent comfort, individuals with wider frames or taller statures may find the seating accommodations somewhat restrictive in terms of knee and headroom.

The removable cupholders are more of a hindrance than a convenience, often impeding legroom when in place. With minimal cabin space, storage options are limited to the compartment behind the center armrest or in the trunk, which offers a mere 4.6 cubic feet of cargo capacity. The RF variant provides better insulation from external elements compared to the soft top, while a windscreen between the rear headrests helps reduce wind noise, enabling conversations at normal volumes even with the top down. Additionally, the available headrest speakers facilitate phone calls through the infotainment system while cruising at highway speeds.

In terms of value, the 2022 MX-5 Miata offers standard features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to enhance the infotainment experience. However, the 7.0-inch touchscreen interface may be cumbersome to use, with small menu icons that are challenging to navigate while driving. Fortunately, the inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto allows for easier interaction, enabling drivers to access essential functions more conveniently. Basic features such as Bluetooth connectivity, power amenities, keyless entry, and a leather-wrapped telescoping steering wheel further improve the overall driving experience.

Priced at $31,815, the Club trim includes wireless Apple CarPlay for iOS users (Android users may still require a cord), a trial subscription to satellite radio, and a premium Bose 9-speaker audio system with headrest speakers. Additional enhancements comprise black 17-inch wheels, a rear lip spoiler, Bilstein dampers, a limited-slip rear differential, and a front shock tower brace.

One drawback for the Club trim this year is the absence of the RF variant, restricting it to the soft top configuration. Those interested in the RF model must opt for the Grand Touring trim, priced at $33,815, with an extra cost ranging from $2,700 to $2,750 depending on the chosen transmission. For the Club trim, the RF variant is only available when selecting the pricey Brembo BBS Recaro package. With this package, the Grand Touring trim is priced at $36,315, while the RF hard top variant reaches $39,215. While $40,000 may buy a variety of sports cars, this package ensures a comprehensive upgrade without the need for extensive aftermarket modifications.

Ultimately, the 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata offers an unparalleled driving experience that seamlessly combines performance and style. Continuously evolving to stay ahead of the curve, the MX-5 remains a top choice for enthusiasts seeking an exhilarating weekend drive. Mazda’s commitment to excellence ensures that the MX-5 delivers on all fronts, making it a driving marvel that truly resonates with automotive enthusiasts.

Image Source: Pixabay

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