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Will the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata steer as well as past versions?

The first two test drive reports are in. Both say the steering is not as tight as the prior generation.

Today both Autoweek and Consumer Reports published their initial test drive reports of the U.S. Spec 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. First the good news – there is no dramatic lack of power in comparison to prior models mentioned by either publication. Now the news that is not so much bad as worrisome. The steering was not as sharp as the prior, 3rd generation (called “NC” by insiders and fans).

According to Autoweek, who tested the sporty Club trim, the steering “…just doesn’t feel as good as the previous generation. The first few inches of movement just a feel a little rubbery, where the last did not.” Autoweek went on to report that “(the new 2016) Mazda MX-5 still handles better than 90 percent of the cars on the road. … It’s just that the NC generation was probably better than 97 percent of the cars on the road.” You can read the full text and complete commentary here.

Consumer Reports also tested a Club version. Remember, the Club is now the Miata with the larger diameter, lower-profile tires, Bilstein shocks, shock-tower brace and other sporting equipment. This is the Miata meant to be the sports car version of the convertible, not the entry model, or touring model. Consumer Reports says in its initial report “…the road feel is a bit less telepathic in the new model—even in our borrowed Club version with sport suspension and Bilstein shocks. The initial turn-in of the steering wheel brings a biting response, but communication from the steering gets a touch vague after that.”

The two testers who drove the cars are not in our network, or we would have reached out and asked if they had the same test car. It is very likely, and it may be that the Miata will have some adjustments made before it is sold widely this fall. Torque News will have a chance to drive the Miata next month or in August, and we will provide our impressions as soon as possible.