2016 Mazda Miata MX5 GT
1990 Generation 1
1999 Generation 2

2006 Generation 3

I have loved all my Miata's. I have had a generation one, generation two, the last one 2006 was the first year of the generation three. The 2006 was an auto-stick, it was okay but driving the sweet six speed on a Miata is half the fun. My latest MX5 is a six speed. There’s comfort in the latest Miata—sorry, MX-5 Miata. It’s not the comfort of plush leather seats, a soft ride, or opera windows. It’s the comfort of knowing that even in its fourth generation, Mazda’s two-seat roadster steadfastly remains a Miata.

The MX-5 is sui generis partly because of its size and the toylike character that size confers. As the world around it grows—cars are bigger, mediums are larger, waistlines are rounder, SUVs still exist—the defiant Miata retains roughly the same dimensions of the 1990 original. What did you look like a quarter-century ago?

More impressive, the new MX-5 has actually slimmed down a bit from the previous, third-generation car. It has a shorter wheelbase and is nearly a half-inch lower.

But if the car looks and feels trim, it seems bigger inside. Cabin space is better conceived and allotted than before, the seat reclines farther, and there’s a tad more headroom. The steering wheel tilts but doesn’t telescope, the sills are slightly higher, and the seats are lower by nearly an inch. In the last Miata, a high seat and low doors gave the driver the impression that he was on top of the car instead of in it.