CHANGES FOR 2016:

– All-new model

When it comes to driving enjoyment, few vehicles can top the Mazda MX-5. For 2016, the world’s bestselling roadster has been redesigned from the wheels up to be more driver-friendly and usable without sacrificing the pure driving experience.

Where most vehicles gain size, weight, and power with every iteration, the MX-5 is the opposite. Not only is it smaller and lighter than its predecessor, the latest version is actually close in size and weight to the original MX-5 from the late ‘80s. Despite this, the latest MX-5 isn’t a bare-bones experience: the cabin is stylish and well made, the standard equipment list is more generous than before, and depending on trim, it’s jam-packed with unexpected gizmos including a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, noise cancelling speakers, lane departure warning, and a blind spot monitor. What you won’t find is last generation’s power retractable hardtop roof.

Every Mazda MX-5 features a 2.0-litre direct-injected four-cylinder engine that’s now paired to a six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic. Power and torque are down slightly to 155 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque, but the engine has a more usable power band. This, in conjunction with the reduction of weight, makes the MX-5 faster and more fuel efficient than it’s ever been.

Out on the open road, Mazda’s efforts have paid off. Every aspect of the MX-5 from its short-throw shift action, to its fluid handling and communicative steering make for an experience that’s pure driving bliss.

As before, the MX-5 comes in three trim levels: GX, GS, and GT.

GX includes a manual folding cloth roof with glass rear window (previously vinyl), air conditioning, mesh aero wind blocker, locking rear centre console storage compartment, cruise control, trip computer, power windows, power mirrors, keyless entry with push-button start, LED headlights, LED taillights, 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlight shut-off, six-speaker AM/FM/CD player with driver headrest speakers, and a USB port with aux-in jack.

Opting for the GS adds 17-inch alloy wheels, gloss black roll bar and exterior mirror finish, LED daytime running lights, rain-sensing wipers, auto on/off headlights, alarm, red stitching for seats, silver interior trim, body-colour interior door trim, leather-wrapped shift knob and parking brake handle, seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, a second USB port, HD Radio, and a strut tower brace. Models with manual transmission also receive sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers, limited-slip rear differential, and induction sound enhancer. Cars with the automatic transmission receive paddles for manual shifting.

The GT trim level adds a host of unexpected technology and luxury features to the MX-5. In addition to dark-finish 17-inch alloy wheels, the GT also receives heated leather seats with red stitching, automatic climate control, Bose nine-speaker audio system with headrest speakers and active noise cancellation for both driver and passenger, interior roof liner, automatic high beams, adaptive front headlamps, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, auto-dimming driver’s side mirror, heated door mirrors, auto-dimming rear-view mirror with garage door opener, and satellite radio. As with the GS, models with the manual transmission also receive sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers, limited-slip rear differential, and induction sound enhancer.

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