2016 Miata Road Trip Complete

Ed
By Ed Higginbotham
May 29, 2015 | Mazda

Miata fans young and old turned out to see the new roadster.
The gathering of Miatas in the parking lot was pretty impressive, too. This is just some of it.

We made it. We had traveled well over a thousand miles in the new ND-chassis Miata. How was it? Well you’ll have to wait until Monday at midnight for that. All journalists have to wait until June 1 to divulge any driving impressions. But don’t worry, we’ll fill you in as soon as possible.

At the end of our journey, we pulled into Lime Fresh Mexican Grill—one of our favorite watering holes during race weekends at Daytona International Speedway—and were greeted by many friendly faces and quite an impressive display of Miatas from every generation. We spent a great evening chatting with friends, old and new. Thanks to everyone who came to hang out and check out the car.

Want to know how this Miata stacked up? Check back in on Monday!

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Comments
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Flight Service
Flight Service MegaDork
5/30/15 5:32 p.m.

That thing is stunning

Rupert
Rupert Dork
5/30/15 6:58 p.m.
Flight Service wrote: That thing is stunning

Unless all the energy is spent into designing how well it connects rather than how well it drives!! An E connected Car is not a Sports Car! IF YOU'RE PLAYING WITH THE STUFF ON THE DASHBOARD, YOU'RE NOT LOOKING OUT THE WINDSHIELD!!!! THERE IS NOTHING SPORTY ABOUT DRIVING A MOBILE HOT SPOT! You might as well take a bus or a train!

If you're more worried you'll miss an instant picture of your granddaughter/son sitting on the commode for the first time than whether or not you carve the next apex, you're not a Sports Car Driver! Buy a Mercedes sedan!

Advan046
Advan046 SuperDork
5/30/15 7:10 p.m.

Maybe I will be authorized to get one by the family in five years or so. I like it.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/30/15 9:32 p.m.

On Monday we can tell you how well it connects with the road. And I have no idea what the above rant is ranting about.

neon4891
neon4891 UltimaDork
5/30/15 9:45 p.m.

I would guess the big, out of place touch(?) screen, and the various non driving features that many of those have these days.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/30/15 10:06 p.m.

Our test car had GPS navigation but, yes, I believe that all MX-5s have the screen. I need to confirm, but I believe it's due to the impending requirement for rear backup cameras across the market. Yell at Washington. Our M235i has such a screen, too, despite not having navi. Why not making the MX-5's screen retract? I'm guessing that would add weight and complexity.

By the way, small teaser: The base 2016 Mazda MX-5 weighs one pound more than a 1994 Miata. Not bad, eh? The new car is also 2 inches shorter in overall length.

Flight Service
Flight Service MegaDork
5/30/15 10:28 p.m.

With todays tech, it is unnecessary to have the center stack as it is. A single touch screen can do everything we need, radio, HVAC, seat heaters and what not, for less money and less weight.

Just another improvement. Just remember Automatic transmissions aren't good for road racing, just ask Porsche about the PDK.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/31/15 10:25 a.m.

You can't use a touch screen without looking at it. Some functions (HVAC, volume) are best controlled by a dedicated knob or button. Some work well through a screen. Voice control can help.

There's a version go the new Miata without the screen. Dunno if it's coming to the US. It has what looks like a 70s alarm clock instead.

Junkyard_Dog
Junkyard_Dog SuperDork
5/31/15 11:14 a.m.

So does the screen do anything that the other knobs and dials don't do? Like if it were to somehow fall off the car what would be effected?

Flight Service
Flight Service MegaDork
5/31/15 11:54 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner:

I don't know of anyone who can use anything without looking at it. Back when I did haptic research in college, we found that everyone looks at the center stack for everything. Time varies based on intuitiveness, but everyone looks.

Flight Service
Flight Service MegaDork
5/31/15 11:54 a.m.

why is everything bold? weird

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy PowerDork
5/31/15 1:23 p.m.

I expect you to stay up tonight and advise us all about this at 12:01 am.... And east coast time too.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/31/15 1:40 p.m.
Flight Service wrote: In reply to Keith Tanner: I don't know of anyone who can use anything without looking at it. Back when I did haptic research in college, we found that everyone looks at the center stack for everything. Time varies based on intuitiveness, but everyone looks.

Really? I have an iPod with a click wheel that I use when running. It stays in my pocket, I can control my music without having to get it out so I know it can be done without looking. Similarly, my Miata uses a click wheel iPod for a stereo so I can control it without having to look. The way it sits in the car, I couldn't read the face if I wanted to. There's a reason I use click wheel devices for this, because otherwise I'd have to be staring at a screen the whole time.

I know where all the knobs are for my stereo and HVAC on my cars, so I don't need to study them. Possibly a quick glance to calibrate my reach for some of the buttons, but it's definitely not a look-poke-read-poke feedback loop. There's a big difference in amount of attention required to interact with a screen vs a knob that does a single thing. Interacting with a touch screen isn't much different than texting.

Even if we assume that nobody can operate anything without a reassuring glance, the difference between "okay, that one there is the volume" and "select audio controls, find volume, move slider to right" is considerable when we're talking about 1-2 tons of steel filled with gasoline and meat moving at 110 feet every second.

When you were doing these studies, were the subjects dealing with vehicles that were new to them or did they have a couple of weeks (at least) in the cockpit? I'm curious about the results. Anything published?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/31/15 2:05 p.m.

At least in the case of the MX-5, the display can be turned off.

Flight Service
Flight Service MegaDork
5/31/15 2:16 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner:

The work was for Honda. There are a few white papers that have been presented. As the only undergrad on the program I received no credit or mention but I am happy to answer any questions. It was cool stuff, right up until we found out your couldn't do drive by wire in the states.

MCarp22
MCarp22 Dork
5/31/15 3:04 p.m.
David S. Wallens wrote: I believe it's due to the impending requirement for rear backup cameras across the market. Yell at Washington.

I thought this was actually a rear visibility requirement that is being solved with reverse cameras?

Either way, in this particular car I'd be happy to have one for those times when the top is up.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
5/31/15 5:33 p.m.

The touch screen foil is real. The FR-S has one to control the tunes. I cannot change stations or functions without looking at it. The buttons on the Pioneer in the 4runner never gave me these problems.

MCarp22
MCarp22 Dork
5/31/15 5:57 p.m.
Appleseed wrote: The touch screen foil is real. The FR-S has one to control the tunes. I cannot change stations or functions without looking at it. The buttons on the Pioneer in the 4runner never gave me these problems.

Does the FR-S have a click wheel like the Mazdas? You're not forced into touching the screen.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/1/15 7:23 a.m.

Now that the media embargo has passed, I can discuss driving impressions--specifically the in-screen dash. After 1200 or whatever miles, I didn't really notice it--other than when looking at the navi. From the behind the wheel, the screen doesn't rise above the wipers so it's not blocking the view. Plus you can turn it off. It's kind of in the right position so you can see it with a quick glance, too. I know, it looks obtrusive. I didn't find that to be the case.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
6/1/15 7:41 a.m.

In reply to MCarp22:

Sorta. There is a knob that will change the station. The pre-sets and function (radio cd aux) are all touch screen.

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
6/1/15 7:47 a.m.
David S. Wallens wrote: Now that the media embargo has passed, I can discuss driving impressions--specifically the in-screen dash. After 1200 or whatever miles, I didn't really notice it--other than when looking at the navi. From the behind the wheel, the screen doesn't rise above the wipers so it's not blocking the view. Plus you can turn it off. It's kind of in the right position so you can see it with a quick glance, too. I know, it looks obtrusive. I didn't find that to be the case.

My only issue with the screen is that it looks out of place- as if someone put a touch screen tablet right on the dash.

I'm wondering if that was a late change due to an the new back up camera law. So late that the could not use a more integrated option.

My friend has a 2015 Fusion, where the back up display is in much smaller radio display- I'd have measure the actual size- but that kind of system would be easier to integetrate into the Miata's dash, and make it look less like a tablet.

I get that it's probable that you would not notice it, and that it's required- I'm just suggesting that a better job could have been done doing the same thing.

Oh, and I'm 18 months into owning a MFT installed Fiesta. I still prefer knobs, too. I'll not get it again.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/1/15 8:16 a.m.

Our M235i's dash is so similar regarding its display. Maybe it's the start of a new trend.

NOHOME
NOHOME UltraDork
6/1/15 8:35 a.m.
Rupert wrote:
Flight Service wrote: That thing is stunning
Unless all the energy is spent into designing how well it connects rather than how well it drives!! An E connected Car is not a Sports Car! IF YOU'RE PLAYING WITH THE STUFF ON THE DASHBOARD, YOU'RE NOT LOOKING OUT THE WINDSHIELD!!!! THERE IS NOTHING SPORTY ABOUT DRIVING A MOBILE HOT SPOT! You might as well take a bus or a train! If you're more worried you'll miss an instant picture of your granddaughter/son sitting on the commode for the first time than whether or not you carve the next apex, you're not a Sports Car Driver! Buy a Mercedes sedan!

Rupert:

Besides being a bit of an elitist performance car snob like so many of usYou are missing the genius of Mazda marketing. Mazda wants and needs the sheeple who drive electronic showrooms to buy this car. AND SO DO WE ENTHUSIAST!

It is only by letting the unwashed masses pay for the cost of design and manufacture that Mazda can afford to build us the car that us enthusiast really want. If these people took the bus, we could not have Miatae.

The other group that missed this was the Toyobaru team who went out and designed the car that it thought enthusiast wanted. Look how that turned out even though the cars are quite close in design intent and market segment.

MCarp22
MCarp22 Dork
6/1/15 8:42 a.m.
Appleseed wrote: In reply to MCarp22: Sorta. There is a knob that will change the station. The pre-sets and function (radio cd aux) are all touch screen.

Ah, those are steering wheel controls on the Miata. Makes a big difference.

alfadriver wrote: I'm wondering if that was a late change due to an the new back up camera law. So late that the could not use a more integrated option.

It matches the styling on other new Mazdas, so I don't think this is a late change.

Toyman01
Toyman01 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/1/15 8:59 a.m.
Flight Service wrote: why is everything bold? weird

Because Ed breaks the board every time he posts something.

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
6/1/15 9:17 a.m.
MCarp22 wrote: It matches the styling on other new Mazdas, so I don't think this is a late change.

For a car that's so well integrated, that every single part is thought out (part of the GRM review), that's not cool.

Could have used a smaller screen in the same spot and integrated it with flowing lines instead of just placing a tablet on the top of the dash.

I guess I should not complain- it's not as if I'm getting one anytime soon. But this is one reason why I'm not.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/1/15 10:09 a.m.

When I sat in the MX-5 last summer, I wondered if the screen would be intrusive. To be honest, it never was an issue during this trip. We turned off Thursday evening, though, just to see what no screen felt like.

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
6/1/15 10:24 a.m.

I've gotta say......if the screen is the biggest bitch folks have with the new MX-5, it must be a pretty wonderful machine.

I'd also rather have knobs and buttons instead of a distracting screen. ( I've found that-- for me--- touch screens are never an improvement over a center stack) However, if all I have to put up with is a silly screen that (as David said) you don't really notice, and the payoff is having a lighter, more communicative Miata---- I'll take the TV in the dash. I'll just leave it off.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/1/15 11:14 a.m.

My wife's Civic Si uses the screen to adjust the volume of the radio. Yeah, I'd rather have a knob, even a little one.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/1/15 11:20 a.m.

Using a touch screen for things like radio volume is a dumb idea. Dangerous, even. David, does the new Miata require that or can you use the big knob by the shifter?

One of the first things I'll look into when we get one of these is a screen delete. It's definitely a sore spot for people, I'll have to see what you give up by deleting it.

spider94r
spider94r New Reader
6/1/15 11:44 a.m.

Our '14 Mazda3 has the same system in it and we can do pretty much everything without touching the screen. There's voice control for the NAV and phone functions, steering wheel controls for the radio, phone and some dash display options, and the click wheel controller in the console for scrolling through songs, playlists, favorites, contacts, controlling the NAV display, setting options - pretty much everything.

It's really a nice system to use and very quickly you don't notice it anymore. It just becomes part of how you experience driving the car.

You do have to look at it sometimes, though.

Kevin

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/1/15 11:54 a.m.

MX-5 has a volume knob down by the shifter and other controls.

The Civic's volume is better described as part of the touchscreen:

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
6/1/15 11:56 a.m.

Uhhh... starting to see test data on this car, and i can't really brain around any of it.

I didn't care that it "only" made 155hp from the start, but the numbers it's doing sound hard to believe for only 155hp.

turboswede
turboswede MegaDork
6/1/15 12:06 p.m.
Swank Force One wrote: Uhhh... starting to see test data on this car, and i can't really brain around any of it. I didn't care that it "only" made 155hp from the start, but the numbers it's doing sound hard to believe for only 155hp.

Its called, "area under the curve" and Mazda has apparently made it as large as possible while working with the gearing to use all of it pretty effectively.

rcutclif
rcutclif GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/1/15 12:07 p.m.
Swank Force One wrote: Uhhh... starting to see test data on this car, and i can't really brain around any of it. I didn't care that it "only" made 155hp from the start, but the numbers it's doing sound hard to believe for only 155hp.

Automobile Mag article Claims 1/4 of 14.5 at 94 mph.

Wallace Racing Calculator Gets pretty durn close with 2300 lbs, a light driver, and 155 hp.

I'm actually impressed at how close they model each other. Good work Wallace Racing Calculator.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
6/1/15 12:11 p.m.

Maybe that's 155...at the wheels.

captdownshift
captdownshift GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
6/1/15 12:13 p.m.

In reply to Swank Force One:

Gearing is a beautiful magic :)

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
6/1/15 12:14 p.m.
Appleseed wrote: Maybe that's 155...at the wheels.

That's honestly how i'm feeling at the moment. Mazda has done that before. Anxious to see dyno charts.

All i know is that STR is about to get real interesting.

rcutclif
rcutclif GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/1/15 12:25 p.m.
Swank Force One wrote:
Appleseed wrote: Maybe that's 155...at the wheels.
Mazda has done that before.

They also totally botched the HP number for the renesis RX8 launch. So maybe they are also trying to go conservative so that they don't get another performace car that doesn't live up to the claim?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/1/15 12:42 p.m.

Those of you on Instagram can find some extra photos of our trip under my feed, too. #grmphoto should help you find them.

Flight Service
Flight Service MegaDork
6/4/15 8:26 a.m.

The impressiveness of this design goes beyond words. This is the first time in mine and my wife's relationship that I, my mom, her, her mom, and her step dad have ever liked the same car. Ever.

That is an amazing feat on its own.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/4/15 9:27 a.m.

Finally people are starting to understand area under the curve and the "weight" part of power/weight ratios. Those magazine performance times have gone a long way to sending the trolls back under their rocks, thank goodness.

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
6/4/15 9:29 a.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: Finally people are starting to understand area under the curve and the "weight" part of power/weight ratios. Those magazine performance times have gone a long way to sending the trolls back under their rocks, thank goodness.

Area under the curve matters less for 0-60, though. Area under the curve/maybe deflated numbers are demonstrated by this thing doing 5-60 faster than an Ecoboost Mustang. (though i'm sure weight is a huge part of that.)

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson UltimaDork
6/8/15 9:49 a.m.

The pricing is out for the launch edition, but is there a configurable price list for the regular cars out there yet?

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
6/8/15 9:53 a.m.

IIRC the prices for all models are out there, not sure if there is any configurability apart from the Brembo package for the Club.

Rupert
Rupert Dork
6/8/15 10:06 a.m.

In reply to NOHOME:If that's what it takes to get something driveable, I guess I'm good. And from the pictures the screen doesn't look too obtrusive anyway. I'm thrilled the dash seems to have seperate heater knobs and such as well! Sometimes running a good heater with the top and windows down can be a great option.

Boy I'm glad we're now out of Bold Font!

Mark_Booth
Mark_Booth New Reader
6/9/15 3:50 p.m.

Ed, Please share your thoughts on seat comfort during the extended road trip in the ND. My wife and I have been known to spend up to 6 weeks at a time touring the country in our NB. We've got a Launch Edition on order and would appreciate feedback on long trip seat comfort. Thanks!

Mark

Mr_Clutch42
Mr_Clutch42 Dork
6/9/15 6:04 p.m.
David S. Wallens wrote: Our test car had GPS navigation but, yes, I believe that all MX-5s have the screen. I need to confirm, but I believe it's due to the impending requirement for rear backup cameras across the market. Yell at Washington. By the way, small teaser: The base 2016 Mazda MX-5 weighs one pound more than a 1994 Miata. Not bad, eh? The new car is also 2 inches shorter in overall length.

For plenty of vehicles (even my E36 ), you can't see low stuff when you're backing up, like small children, etc., so backup cameras are a safety issue. Also, how is the fitment in the driver's seat? I'm a tall guy.

Mark_Booth
Mark_Booth New Reader
6/10/15 11:01 a.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: Finally people are starting to understand area under the curve and the "weight" part of power/weight ratios. Those magazine performance times have gone a long way to sending the trolls back under their rocks, thank goodness.

Unfortunately, the magazine performance times only deterred them for about a week to 10 days. The rocks have lifted and some are crawling back out.

Mark

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