The New York International Autoshow is here. I think people go to shows like these for two main reasons:
- It’s a good chance to take a close look at cars you might want be considering for purchase. You can walk right up to them and get a feel for what they look like in real life instead on a computer screen. Usually you can even sit in them to see if you can get comfortable or if the blindspots are outrageously big and no matter how high you make the seat you still can’t see over the dashboard.
- Pure fantasy. An autoshow might be the closest you can get to Maserati Quatroporte or Porsche 911 GTS. You may never get another chance to smell the leather on a Mercedes SL or see your reflection in the chrome wheels of Maybach.
Sure, I took the time to sit in a 2016 Ford Focus (felt too much like my 2013). I was impressed with the new Honda Civic. And I even investigated the 2016 Honda Fit (exterior: 3/10, interior: 9/10). But really I was there for number two on the list. Thankfully, my fantasies are a little bit more attainable than the Porsches and Maybachs.
You see, reader, I was there to bask in the glow of the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. Newly designed for the 2016 model year, the new Miata (or the ND as it is known by Miata fans) is supposed to be a return to the things that made the car great in the first place: lightweight and driver involvement. The third generation car, the NC, is sometimes criticized for having grown too heavy and too cushy, but Mazda aimed to correct that with the ND.
This is the Sport model, with a 155-bhp Skyactive 2-liter, 4-cylinder engine and 6-speed manual transmission. With the soft top, it weighs in at a svelte 2333 lbs, which is less than the 1997 200 SX SE-R that I used to own and love. It’s also less than the 1993 Toyota Corolla LE that was my first car. In fact, it’s only about 300 lbs heavier than the original NA but you will probably die less if you get into an accident in an ND. Prices in the US start at $24,915.
But the big news at the New York International Autoshow wasn’t the Miata in Sport trim, it was the unveiling of the 2017 Miata RF, which comes with a folding, retractable hard top. It’s not on sale yet, so prices are not known at this time. Here it is with the top down. This Targa-esque majesty comes with what is sure to be a more comfortable cabin in cold weather and a 200-lbs weight penalty.
Last of the production models is the 2016 Global MX-5 Cup Race Car. Priced at $53,000, lucky owners up to 6'4" tall will get to compete in the 2016 Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup series. The powertrain seems to be similar to that of Sport, but the car only weighs 2100 lbs. A look at the interior shows just how close to stock the cup racer really is.
There was two other Miatas on display, the Spyder and the Speedster, both retro concept cars harking back to the days of Porsches that could kill James Dean. The Speedster saves weight by eliminating the windshield and roof. Make sure you wear a helmet or else the stones embedded in your face will add more weight to the car and slow you down.
The Spyder has the same basic idea of weight-saving at heart, but you get to keep the roof and the windshield. Instead, the size of the top has been reduced to the point where the car would get an R-rating from the MPAA.
That’s all I’ve got from the auto show. There was also a 2016 Club edition on display, but I didn’t get any pictures. Anyway, hopefully I’ll be updating this blog someday with my own Miata.