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Mazda’s MX-5

Two all-new Mazda’s arrive for 2016

By Don Armstrong

This summer, Mazda pulled the wraps off the long-awaited remake of the MX-5 Miata and a reboot of the CX-3. Bay Area Houston’s In Wheel Time crew was invited to the party in L.A. where we got to experience driving both through the twisty hills just north of the city.

MX-5

The Mazda suits don’t refer to it as the Miata any longer, but rather the MX-5. Call it anything you’d like but we call it “awesome.”

The sleek interior of the MX-5

The sleek interior of the MX-5

Lighter, more nimble and with a skin drawn tighter all around, the all-new MX-5 offers more of everything – except horsepower; 12 less than last year’s model. But add a 6-speed transmission and make it 150-pounds lighter than its predecessor and it feels like a 25-horsepower increase – at least.

Engineering the new MX-5 was at the forefront of the redesign and it shows in all the little things, some which might not be apparent. The driver is now centered behind the steering wheel and the pedals below are directly inline with the driver.

Interior stitching is impeccable, material choices are superb and accent color highlights the designer’s attention to details.

The convertible top is another example of think tank study. Its one-handed operation from the driver’s seat that’s so easy; a 5-year old could raise it.

This ultimate fun factor starts at $24,915.

2016 Mazda CX-3 (8)

Mazda’s CX-3

CX-3

The old-school way of thinking may find the new Mazda CX-3 in the “hot hatch” category, but since everyone seems to be buying Crossover SUV’s these days, it will be battling for a place in the rapidly expanding subcompact class.

The fifth vehicle in the lineup to sport Mazda’s KODO—Soul of Motion design and signature SKYACTIV Technology, the CX-3 gives the first-time buyer and empty-nester the convenience of an SUV in a smaller package with a lower ride height. Getting it in the garage and tight parking spaces is a lot easier too.

Interior of CX-3

Interior of CX-3

The 2.0-liter, 146-horsepower, 4-cylinder engine is paired exclusively to a 6-speed automatic transmission and gets 29-MPG city and 35-highway.

Because of its diminutive size, you might think that the second-row passengers would not have any legroom, but that’s not the case. Most six-footers will ride just fine.

All CX-3’s come with push-button start and a laundry list of options including radar cruise control and smart braking with collision warning.

Pricing begins at $19,960.

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