Monday, May 27, 2024
Reviews2024 Mazda MX-5 First Drive Review: The Cure, if Only Temporarily

2024 Mazda MX-5 First Drive Review: The Cure, if Only Temporarily

The 2024 Mazda MX-5 gets upgrades no one ever thought it needed


2024 Mazda MX-5 Pros

– Drives better than ever.

– Excellent manual gearbox.

– Updated rear differential and steering.


2024 Mazda MX-5 Cons

– New wheel designs are “meh”…I’m trying…


2024 Mazda MX-5 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Life is a roller coaster. Most of us will live through extreme highs which will inevitably be offset by intense lows. This is called balance and it’s one of the pillars of the Universe. It’s understood that, like good and evil, highs and lows cannot exist without one or the other. Thankfully, Mazda created the MX-5 Miata over 35 years ago to help us navigate both poles.

I’ve been blessed with an incredible life, a supportive loving family including exceptional children, and the best possible friends any person could ever hope to have. All have helped and continue to support me through what has so far been the most exacting period of my life so far. My passion for cars and my career also have their role to play and an invitation from Mazda to drive the updated 2024 MX-5 could not have come at a better time.

2024 Mazda MX-5 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Miata love

Since its debut in 1989, the Mazda MX-5 Miata has carved out a niche as the epitome of affordable sports car fun, combining reliability with the thrill of a rear-wheel-drive layout. Evolving from the original NA through to the current model, each generation has refined its predecessor’s legacy without losing the essence of what made it great. From the introduction of the retractable hardtop in the RF model to significant horsepower improvements, the journey to the 2024 model has been one of thoughtful enhancements that respect its roots.


Screen and lights

For 2024, the Miata introduces several key upgrades that enhance its user interface and aesthetic appeal. A notable inclusion is the 8.8-inch display screen, which responds to touch inputs with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Mazda’s typically minimalist cabin otherwise stays intact. This feature necessitated a comprehensive rewiring which explains the backup camera’s increased resolution.

2024 Mazda MX-5 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Additionally, new wheel designs and fresh color options such as Aero Grey alongside redesigned headlights and taillights push the visual appeal forward without detracting from its iconic look.


2024: In the pursuit of perfection

The pursuit of perfection is a quest that spans across all forms of art and technology. In the world of automobiles, this quest is about more than just speed and efficiency; it’s about the harmony of design, performance, and joy. The Mazda MX-5 Miata has stood for all of this, even the lesser-loved NC, as the roadster’s always embodied the spirit of what many consider to be the quintessential driver’s car.

There was nothing wrong with the 2023 MX-5. But, using the Porsche 911 approach – stretch the model and continually improved – someone in the Mazda house actually did, and made it better. Steering, somehow, steering got better. Via software tweaks, steering feel has been enhanced with a reduction of on-centre play and friction. There no longer is any delay, not that there was much, when dialing input from on-centre. But that’s not all.

2024 Mazda MX-5 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

The rear locking differential has been improved with less pre-load to have less an impact on initial turn in. Power is more evenly distributed as the steering wheel unwinds as the diff now operates in a more proactive and not reactive manner. In other words, it responds quicker. And it works seamlessly. Furthermore, the MX-5 now has a track DSC mode so that the nanny will let you hang out longer but never long enough to scuff the paint.

Under the hood, the 2024 Miata continues with its naturally aspirated 2L engine, delivering 181 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. Paired with a six-speed manual transmission, the MX-5 promises tactile joy and one of the most involved driving experienced under six figures. Others include the Honda Civic Type R, the SubaYota BGRZ86 twins, and the Porsche 718, and that’s it. 


Breathing

2024 Mazda MX-5 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Driving the Miata, particularly on iconic roads like the Angeles Crest Highway, is to experience liberation on wheels. The connection felt through the steering and the responsive throttle is as exhilarating as it has ever been. Over my 25 years of driving various Miatas, each journey reiterates the car’s core appeal — it is not just about driving; it’s about the feeling of being alive. Of breathing and being thankful because no matter what, life is good.

The 2024 MX-5 Miata now more than ever (never thought it would be possible) beautifully encapsulates Mazda’s philosophical pursuit of automotive perfection and Jinba-Ittai, a feeling of unity between driver and vehicle. While other cars may opt for more power or more gadgets, the Miata remains true to its roots, offering a pure, undiluted driving experience that stands tall among the greatest driver’s cars in the world.

The hours that were given to me behind the wheel of the 2024 Mazda MX-5 temporarily cured me of the weight of life. Sadly, and selfishly perhaps, Mazda wanted the keys back at the end of the drive day…

2024 Mazda MX-5 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Mazda MX-5 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Mazda MX-5 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Mazda MX-5 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Mazda MX-5 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Mazda MX-5 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Mazda MX-5 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Mazda MX-5 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Mazda MX-5 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

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Matt St-Pierre
Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

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