While all the other auto journalists at the LA Auto Show attacked a bunch of crap that will never really get built like a pack of wild dogs, I went to a secluded, dark room in the back of the convention center and found the most important car there is: the 2016 Mazda Miata.
Why didn't more people swarm after the Miata, especially considering this is the first time it's gotten major auto show exposure in the U.S.? I don't know. People are stupid. But what I do know is that the new Miata looks pretty amazing in person.
I think it's fair to say that looks have never been the Miata's strong suit. The original one is a classic, now, thanks to its grinny face, ultra-compact frame and pop-up headlamps. In its day it was written off as overly cute. The second generation NB Miata looks like more of a classic sports car, but it's also a bit bland. And the last NC Miata, well... have you heard how well it handles?
The new car is different. It's a stunner. It makes jaws drop when people see it, mark my words. "Cute" doesn't even enter into your vocabulary here. From most angles it looks like a baby Jaguar F-Type, especially from the rear. I mean that in a good way, especially since the Miata is smaller and cheaper.
As for its size, while I wasn't able to drive it — I attempted a hot wire until a Mazda rep came over and threatened to call the cops, and I was like, call them, don't think I can't jail, blah blah blah, it was a whole thing — I did sit in it for a while.
It still feels very small, which makes sense because it is smaller than the old car by several inches all around. It's still in the same general size ballpark, though. If you've driven an NC Miata, this will feel very similar.
That interior is a huge improvement, though. The outgoing car felt pretty dated inside, a victim of being on the market for about a decade. Now, it feels modern and even premium, but not so overly-technologized that it detracts from the roadster goodness we all love. As far as cars go in 2014, it's all very simple and straightforward. That's what you want.
Anyway, seeing the new Miata in person was a very satisfying experience. It's off to a great start. I can't wait to drive one.