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Review of the 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Establishing an Exceptional Link Between Machine & Human

The 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata, a two-seater roadster, presents a distinctive vibe unlike any other vehicle on the streets. The Miata is a two-seat convertible designed for individuals who appreciate the connection between humans and machines. The best-selling roadster globally faces minimal competition under $40,000, outshining rivals like the BMW Z4 and Porsche 718 Boxster. The latest updates for 2022 include a price bump of $540 and the addition of brake-driven torque vectoring for the inner rear wheel on the base model.

The appearance of the 2022 Mazda MX-5 is unique. Despite its petite size, the roadster boasts impeccable design, featuring an elongated front, a cozy rear, and curves reminiscent of a mountainous road. The flawless exterior design earns the car extra points while the simple interior design adds to the appeal of being a hassle-free driver’s car.

Mazda accentuates the sleek profile with standard 16-inch alloy wheels, although the preference lies with the striking 17-inch wheels in dark silver. The front of the car plunges dramatically into a cheerful grille, allowing air to glide over its curved frame towards the back, where circular taillights round off the charming aesthetics.

The black soft top can be effortlessly raised or lowered with a single fluid motion, while the RF body-color hard top with interlocking sections exudes a more appealing aura. The Club RF, equipped with the Brembo package, boasts a black painted top, red front and rear brake calipers standing out against 17-inch BBS forged wheels.

The Miata is engineered for driving pleasure. The MX-5 embodies the essence of a true sports car: compact, lightweight, rear-wheel driving, and close to the road. Its exceptional handling and driving experience keep it competitive on winding tracks against more robust rivals. Sporting a rear-wheel drive and a perfect 50/50 weight distribution.

Though the Miata’s 181-hp 2.0-liter inline-4 engine generating 151 lb-ft of torque may not appear overwhelming on paper, it accelerates from 0-60 mph in under 6.0 seconds. However, it’s the driving dynamics of the Miata that truly ignite the driver’s passion. Nestled so close to the ground, lowering the top, and revving the engine towards the 7,200 rpm limit creates an illusion of greater speed both in feel and sound.

The precise steering complements the ability to rotate the rear end for maintaining speed through corners, especially when equipped with a limited-slip rear differential. The charm of the Miata lies in its harmonious bond with the road. The front double wishbone and rear multi-link suspensions incorporate aluminum arms to trim down weight and enhance handling responsiveness. While the ride quality is comfortable, similar to other small roadsters with a short wheelbase and firm suspensions, the Miata may skip over rough surfaces, particularly in the heavier RF variant.

Among the new features for 2022 is the inclusion of Kinematic Posture Control, a brake-driven torque vectoring system. A slight modulation of the brakes squeezes the inner rear wheel during turns to stabilize the car’s cornering stance instead of uplifting as the weight shifts to the opposite side. According to Mazda, it amplifies the effect of the limited-slip differential. Opting for this feature on the Club and higher trims is recommended, and further assessments on its efficacy will be provided after more comprehensive testing.

This year, a 6-speed automatic transmission is exclusively available on the Grand Touring trim. Despite being $500 cheaper than the 6-speed manual, the automatic fails to deliver the same exhilarating experience as the manual gearbox. The Miata is tailored for manual transmission enthusiasts, with a responsive clutch pedal and precise gear shifts that establish a seamless connection between hand and foot. Reserved for the Club models equipped with the manual transmission is the Brembo/BBS/Recaro package, priced at $4,500, which adds Brembo front brakes, BBS 17-inch forged wheels, heated Recaro bucket seats, red rear brake calipers, and black aerodynamic elements.

In terms of fuel efficiency, the MX-5 Miata attains average ratings for a compact car. The featherweight, rear-wheel drive Miata with the 6-speed manual gearbox achieves an EPA-rated 26 mpg in the city, 35 mpg on highways, and 29 mpg combined, irrespective of the soft or hard top configuration. Equipped with the 6-speed automatic, the car witnesses a slight improvement in efficiency at 26/35/30 mpg. However, for an enhanced driving experience, the manual transmission remains the preferred choice.

Neither the IIHS nor the NHTSA have conducted crash tests on the MX-5. Nevertheless, the physical traits of the Miata – compact dimensions, lightweight construction, exposed nature, and subordinated stature compared to other vehicles – do not position it favorably in collision scenarios. Mazda equips the Miata with LED headlights and taillights, automatic emergency braking at speeds below 19 mph, blind-spot monitoring, and lane departure warnings. The top-tier Grand Touring trim receives adaptive headlights and automatic high beams.

Internally, black dominates the color scheme on the cloth seats and soft-touch surfaces. Some chrome-like accents on the switchgear and steering wheel enhance the minimalist design language. The two-seater roadster, with its cramped front seats and absence of rear seating, may not be the most practical choice for daily commuting. The Miata demands occupants to travel light, adhering to its minimalistic ethos. The manual-adjust cloth seats offer adequate comfort but may feel restrictive for broader builds, and taller individuals could encounter challenges with legroom and headspace.

The removable cupholders serve their purpose effectively only when detached to prevent interference with knees. Avoid bringing coffee cups into the car and resort to storing drink bottles in the central armrest compartment or trunk. With a mere 4.6 cubic feet of cargo space, the trunk accommodates two carry-on bags and a backpack. The RF variant yields a quieter ambiance shielding occupants from external elements better than the soft top, where rainy sounds might seem amplified. A windscreen wedged between the rear headrests minimizes wind disturbance, enabling passengers to engage in normal conversations, and with the integrated headrest speakers, phone calls can be managed through the infotainment system with the top down even at highway speeds.

The 2022 MX-5 Miata excels marginally in the value proposition. Integrating standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto enhances the Miata’s infotainment setup. The 7.0-inch touchscreen interface in the Miata showcases Mazda’s infotainment system, although the touchscreen functionality can be cumbersome due to minute icons difficult to tap while driving. Customizing presets using the console dial can also be tedious. Fortunately, the inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mitigates this issue, allowing for more user-friendly navigation via the dial. Basic features encompass Bluetooth connectivity, power amenities, keyless entry, and a leather-wrapped telescopic steering wheel.

The Club trim, priced at $31,815, introduces wireless Apple CarPlay (Android users require a cable), a trial for satellite radio, and a premium Bose 9-speaker sound system with headrest speakers. Upgrades include black 17-inch wheels, a black rear lip spoiler, Bilstein dampers, limited-slip rear differential, and a front shock tower brace.

One noticeable downside this year is the Club trim solely offering the soft top variant. The RF version, transforming the Miata into a year-round vehicle, is restricted to the top-tier Grand Touring model priced at $33,815, requiring an additional $2,700-$2,750 depending on the transmission type. Access to the RF variant on the Club trim mandates the premium Brembo BBS Recaro package. This package elevates the Grand Touring trim to $36,315, or $39,215 for the hard top configuration. Despite spending $40k, the package guarantees a comprehensive sports car experience without extensive aftermarket modifications.

Ultimately, if you seek a source of weekend amusement that radiates joy while possessing a high-end appearance at a fraction of the cost, the Mazda MX-5 Miata stands out as an unparalleled choice. Mazda’s commitment to updating the Miata continually ensures it remains contemporary. The 2022 Mazda MX-5 is a testament to automotive brilliance that warrants exploration by all driving enthusiasts, graciously provided by Mazda.

Image Source: Pixabay

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