2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review - Driving Distilled


They’re coming for our cars. It may not be tomorrow, but indicators point toward a future where personal transportation options may be severely restricted. Gleaming alloy air-cars two lanes wide may be our transportation solution going forward.


From my stringback-gloved hands, I proclaim. While I’ll take the train should my commute dictate, I still find both solace and pleasure in engaging with a genuine driver’s car. A car that doesn’t need a “SPORT MODE” button conspicuously glaring next to the CVT drive selector knob. In the 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata, the start button IS the sport mode.

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Junkyard Find: 1993 Mazda MX-5 Miata

The Mazda Miata has been with us for well over three decades, becoming the best-selling two-seat sports car in history along the way. Miatas were popular as quasi-sensible commuter cars in North America well into our current century, which means that I should have been seeing at least a couple in every junkyard I’ve visited for at least the last 15 years. In fact, I still see many more discarded MGBs and Fiat 124 Sport Spiders than I do Miatas, so this reasonably intact ’93 in Crystal White paint caught my attention immediately (naturally, there was an ’81 Fiat Spider 2000 a few rows away).

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Tesla Cybertruck Delayed Until At Least 2023

During last week’s earnings call, Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed that the Cybertruck would be delayed until at least 2023. That places the polygonal pickup two years behind its original schedule. But who among us with knowledge of the automaker’s production history actually thought it would be delivered on time?

Delaying products has become a hallmark of the Tesla brand and Musk doesn’t seem to be sweating it. Rather than focusing on launching a new vehicle for 2022, the business wants to prioritize increasing capacity and finalizing its move from California to Texas. Now based in Austin, Tesla made $5.5 billion last year compared with the previous record year of $3.47 billion in net income posted in 2020. Musk said the shift into routine profitability is proof that EVs are viable, adding that the company could have done even better if factory output hadn’t been so constrained last year. Unfortunately, those hurdles haven’t dissipated for 2022, encouraging the automaker to wait on both the Tesla Cybertruck and Roadster.

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Stick With It: Mazda MX-5 Drops Automatic in Most Trims

Yes, you read that headline correctly. For the upcoming 2022 model year, Mazda has binned the automatic transmission in all trims of the sporty MX-5 roadster save for its most spendy spec, the Grand Touring. Don’t say Hiroshima isn’t doing its part to #SaveTheManuals.

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Junkyard Find: 1996 Mercedes-Benz SL 320
Mercedes-Benz built the R107 SL-class, in all its stodgy-yet-sporty glory, from the 1971 through 1989 model years. I have documented quite a few of those iconic SLs and SLCs in car graveyards over the years, but have not paid much attention to their successor: the R129, built from 1989 through 2001. Today, we fill in some junkyard-history blanks with a mid-production R129, found in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service yard last month.
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2021 Mazda MX-5 Upgrades, Pricing Announced

The Mazda MX-5 is the automotive embodiment of ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.’ Despite having gone through several generations since its debut in 1989, the Miata has remained remarkably consistent. But the industry believes there’s a subset of motorists who absolutely cannot live without vehicular connectivity and active safety technologies, even on a petite roadster that’s supposed to be focused on entirely on driver engagement.

This is why Mazda sells the luxury-oriented Grand Touring trim and has decided to continue sprucing it up for the 2021 model year. Though we cannot say this makes it the best option for everyone.

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Tesla Roadster Delayed, Cybertruck Prioritized

Tesla CEO Elon Musk appeared on the Joe Rogan Podcast this week, mentioning that the resurrected Roadster stands to see less love as the company turns its focus to other projects. Rogan, who already owns a Model S P100D and is an avid car collector, said he was interested in picking up the new Roadster once it becomes available. To that, Musk had some bad news. Higher-volume cars would have to come first.

“Roadster is kind of like dessert,” he said. “We gotta get the meat and potatoes and greens and stuff.”

The rest of the interview saw the two men discuss Musk’s opposition to unconstitutional lockdown orders resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, as well as humanity’s growing need for symbiosis with technology in order to ensure we’re not left behind as artificial intelligence begins to surpass us — boring stuff that has nothing to do with cars.

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2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club RF - The Last Hope

They’re coming for our cars, people. “Alternative mobility solutions” are all the rage at many big automakers attempting to virtue signal (and electric-scooter) their way into social acceptability. I’m pretty certain that I heard a sweaty politician say something like, “Hell yes, we are going to take your crossover!” Even some automotive journalists have called for outright bans of private cars.

I suppose this is where I photoshop a Momo Prototipo into the infamous “from my cold, dead hands” Charlton Heston photo.

Do me a favor, friends. Let’s stem the tide. Take these car-haters for a ride in a proper sports car, like this 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF. Better yet, let them drive. All other worries of the world wipe away like raindrops on the windscreen as the right hand slots the shift lever into third, all while the corners of the mouth gently turn upward. The Miata is our last hope for motoring freedom.

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Retro Chic: Ferrari Dusts Off the Monza Name for Limited-edition SP1 and SP2

Ferrari plans to launch two limited-edition supercars using the Monza formula and name. The open-topped pair are said to have “the most powerful engine Maranello has ever built.” That’s a 810-horsepower, 6.5-liter V12, according to the automaker’s September press announcement. We imagine it’s the same unit currently residing in the 812 Superfast.

As you might imagine, the single seat Monza SP1 and double-chaired SP2 aren’t meant for aimless weekend cruising. Inspired heavily by the 1948 166 MM Barchetta, 1954 750 Monza, and 1956 860 Monza, they’re pretty hardcore for a modern-day automobile. Alleged (by the manufacturer) to be capable of a 0-to-62 mph sprint in 2.9 seconds, with 0-to-124 mph passing in 7.9 seconds, the duo are said to be capable of at least 186 mph. We wouldn’t recommend trying that without a full-faced helmet, as neither model comes with a windshield.

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It's About Time: The Officially Official Reveal of BMW's New Z4 Roadster

After the prolonged teasing of both the new BMW Z4 and Toyota Supra, it’s nearly impossible to have any feelings left on the matter. We equate it to the rare sensation of desperately needing to urinate for an extended period before it mysteriously goes away. It’s impossible to know why or how that feeling left you, especially considering that’s now how things are supposed to work. But, inexplicable as it may be, it still happened.

That doesn’t mean you’re unrelieved when you finally make it to a bathroom. It just wasn’t the big event you were hoping for. The Z4 unveiling is a lot like that. We’re glad it’s finally here, but Bimmer’s returning roadster has been teased out, leaked, and speculated upon so much that it’s not that big of a deal anymore.

Alright, let’s see what BMW has for us.

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2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata First Drive - Tuned By Tufnel

Take a good look at the photos throughout these virtual pages. A really good look. If you haven’t been obsessively reading about the refreshed-for-2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata, you are no doubt puzzled by the “First Drive” tag in the title.

Indeed, Mazda didn’t change anything visually significant in this, the fourth model year of the fourth generation of the legendary Miata. From the outside, the only real clue is the appearance of a gash in the rear bumper for a rear-view camera. But under the hood, it becomes clear that Mazda engineers channeled the storied fictional guitarist in turning the already excellent Miata to eleven.

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BMW Z4 Production Confirmed in Austria by End of Year, Toyota Supra Details Still MIA

While rumors that BMW’s upcoming Z4 roadster would begin production at Magna Steyr’s facility in Graz, Austria, for months, it wasn’t until late last week that the company was actually willing to confirm them. Unfortunately, the manufacturer hasn’t been willing to do the same with the Z4’s sibling car — the Toyota Supra.

Considering that the pair share a common platform and development team, it would make a lot of sense to see them occupying the same factory. But Toyota has remained incredibly tight lipped on the car, only offering us a singular taste by way of the Gazoo Racing concept from the Geneva Motor Show. Meanwhile, BMW has been parading the Z4 around endlessly and even went so far as to show productions test mules lightly camouflaged in self-released “spy shots.”

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Ace of Base: 2018 Fiat 124 Spider Classica

Many corners of the internet expected the roadster shown here to show up as an Alfa Romeo Spider, not a Fiat 124 Spider, when rumours surfaced all those years ago about the MX-5 donning a natty Italian suit. Perhaps Fiat Chrysler made its decision at the time based on Fiat’s larger dealer network or some sort of answer provided by Sergio’s Magic 8 Ball.

Whatever the reason, we now live in a world where a brace of affordable and fun two-place roadsters are on offer. While the fraternal twins share a great deal, their clothes are different, as are their hearts. We’ve already deemed the base Mazda MX-5 to be worthy of AoB mention; can its Italian brother turn the same trick?

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Jaguar Engages in Yet Another 'Once-in-a-lifetime Project' With D-Type Roadster Revival

Jaguar has announced the D-Type is re-entering production this week, part of a “once-in-a-lifetime project” designed to get 25 examples of the iconic racer back on the streets. While it’s always exciting to see a venerable model resurface after a six-decade absence, this is nothing new for Jaguar. The company did a limited continuation of the E-Type coupe in 2015, the XKSS in 2016, and a singular electric-powered E-Type prototype in 2017.

That means the “new” D-Type is just another entry in Jaguar Classic’s ultra-premium heritage collection. However, this does not mean the continuation cars aren’t any less cool than a penguin perched atop a glacier adjusting his brand-name sunglasses.

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Tesla's Big Gamble With Other People's Money

Unless you were living under a rock or on the moon late last week, you know Tesla introduced not one but two concepts on Thursday night — a Class 8 semi truck and a kinda-sorta-maybe Roadster (is it a roadster or a targa? It’ll only cost you a quarter mil to find out).

Since then, many corners of the internet have been yammering about the feasibility of Tesla’s plans, not to mention the wisdom of taking eyes off the very important ball that is the Model 3 in favor of two models that likely won’t appear until the next decade.

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  • Stuart de Baker Wyoming is the 9th largest state, but has the lowest population of any state, and so with ~580,000, it's the most sparsely populated state. Of course they're not interested in EVs. And the ranges do tank in the frigid Wyoming winters. Anyone who is in a one car family, and drives long distances with any frequency, is not going to be buying an EV at this point. I'm saying this as someone who thinks that global warming is the biggest, most urgent problem humanity faces right now, and I live in the Boston area. But I'm a one car person, I drive long distances multiple times a year, and I love my Civic (stick).
  • Michael500 It will flop like the Corvette boat did. The bankrupt GM management will probably rebadge a Volt/Cobalt/Sunbird/Vega and think everyone will like it.
  • Cprescott Pontiac worked in the USA. Buick only worked in China. Logic in brands here in the states be damned.
  • Buickman dilutes the brand.
  • CaddyDaddy $500 for an X1 xDrive $14 on a 36 month lease. That's two less Starbucks per month. The marquee chasers will be happy to pay the extra.