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Motoring: 2016 Mazda MX-5, much better in the winter


The Mazda MX-5 is best enjoyed when you cannot put its roof down due to the cold and when the roads are covered in fluffy snow.

Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | March 14th, 2016

When I first drove the 2016 Mazda MX-5, the fourth generation model of this iconic Japanese sports car, back in the summer of 2015, I didn’t get along with it.

I didn’t enjoy its speed and thought that its handling was mediocre.

I guess what I needed to fully appreciate the new MX-5 was a change of climate.

Queue a cold week in February with lots of snow in the forecast and a 2016 Mazda MX-5 wearing Pirelli SottoZero tires; would this be the recipe for fun or a disaster?

It took me about 60 seconds to realize that I was in for a good time. Not only did the new MX-5 handle well with its winter shoes on, but the cold air seemed to have given it some extra grunt as well.

It might only have a 2.0 litre, four-cylinder motor, with SKYACTIV technology, that produces 155 horsepower and 148 pounds per foot of torque, but the cold dense air of winter sure suited it well; I quite enjoyed the power this time around.

In addition to the power, I was shocked by its handling. Icy roads should have been a recipe for an impending crash when driving a light, rear-wheel drive sports car, but no matter the road conditions, the little Mazda just trekked through it.

Furthermore, when there was quite a bit of snow on the ground, it was the most enjoyable drift machine I had ever come across. Its chassis is wonderfully communicative, and due to its low center of gravity and light mass, it was easy to swing its tail out at every opportunity. I probably spent most of the week driving sideways, which is probably the reason why my average fuel economy figure was 7.6 litres per 100 kilometres in my winter test, compared to 7.1 litres per 100 kilometres in my summer test.

So, if you’re looking for a fun car to drive all year long, the MX-5 is hard to beat, and given that prices start at just $31,900, it’s a good value too.

Potential buyers would be interested to know that the new MX-5 is quite comfortable on long drives; although the engine does buzz at high RPM on the highway, which might be a bit tiring for some.

It can also be well equipped; my tester had a wonderful infotainment system with navigation. My only complaint is I wish my GS trim tester had heated seats, but that is available on the GS Sport Package and the GT trim.

As for the looks, you’ll either love them or hate them. I wasn’t a fan of it at first, but it has grown on me.

So there you have it, the 2016 Mazda MX-5.
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