“A few weeks ago, I went into a mall in search for silence and serendipity. Calmly, I was able to find a nice coffee shop where I could work on the photos of this article. As I transferred the photos from my SD card into my laptop, my coffee cup carelessly slapped the butt cheeks out of my SD card as I laid it down carelessly on the table. Alas, my dear old Apple MacBook Pro warned me in a cautious fashion that my SD card was rudely ejected as if I was Roman Pearce with his ‘Ejecto Seato’, essentially wiping my SD card cleaner than myself. Thankfully, Mazda Philippines and Toyota Motor Philippines understood our situation, and were very kind to let us borrow the Mazda MX-5 and Toyota 86 for another two days to clean up my careless act, and we thank them very dearly for it. We also thank you, our viewers and fans, for your patience and understanding.”
-Isaac B. Atienza-
A Lesson About Jinba Ittai
Welcome everyone to the most successful roadster of all time. Since it was launched around the late 1980s, Mazda’s MX-5 or Miata has been known to be the best selling sports car of all time. Why is that? Its formula has always been centered around being small, light-weight, and quick enough for it to be able to get your hair all over the place. It is what small British roadsters used to be, except for the fact that the MX-5 is able to start every morning.
This 4th generation MX-5 is just stunning to look at. It gives you the thrills and excitement by just staring at it. The MX-5 continues a unique tradition of delivering sporty rear-wheel-drive handling in a very affordable package. The combination of modest power outputs and a nimble chassis means it’s a great way to learn a car’s dynamics such as weight transfer and understeer, but it should deliver reliability and everyday usability that you wont necessarily get from the hardcore major league sports cars. Previous generation Miatas were arguably Mazda’s dynamic model high point. Progressing to the later generations were generally improving, eventually becoming more powerful as generations went by. It also meant the MX-5 also became bigger and heavier, consequently a bit less exciting to drive.
Now with the latest technologies at their disposal, Mazda, with its Skyactiv engineering program on full swing, insists its customers that they have returned the MX-5 back to its old template. Shorter, lower, wider and most importantly, lighter than its NC predecessor. The new generation MX-5 comes with a choice of a 1.5 or 2.0-litre engine, but in the Philippine Market, we only get the 2.0 petrol option, good for 155 hp and 200 Nm of torque.
Now, if you’ve been around with Mazda for a while, you might have heard this term “Jinba Ittai” which in actual translation means, “the oneness of horse and rider”. It may be hard to understand, but the moment I got inside the MX-5 and started driving it, it became a natural extension of my being. A bit cheesy? Well let me expound further. When Mazda released the first generation MX-5, the company ignited a revolution within the company. Former program manager for the MX-5 at Mazda Japan, Takeo Kijima, worked hard to implement the newest technologies together with the Jinba Ittai principle to ensure the best driving experience. “When the car and driver are in perfect harmony” Kijima said, “driving is fun.” In the same way a horse and rider communicates through tactile response, Mazda aims to create the same relationship between car and driver. For instance, the location of the gear lever, whether it’s more in the front, off to the side, or farther back, will determine which muscles are used to operate it.
Back to the present. Driving the MX-5 is unlike any other experience. You feel the lightness, the way the car’s chassis moves through the corners demands you to drive it more and more. Despite its low entry height, getting in the MX-5 feels so cozy, that you get this sense of oneness with the vehicle. You really have grown a car from your ass.
I’ve spent quite an amount of time with the MX-5, whether that be in traffic, open roads, mountain roads, highways, and on the track. I’ve never felt more thrilled in any of those places. It really is a special car, a car that you just love right from the beginning. Fun would be an overused word for this so I’d call it delightful.
I know what you guys are thinking, from the beginning I’ve been praising this car and you’re waiting for whatever faults it has, but really, how could you find fault in a car that is the most fun delightful to drive. Sure it’s noisy in the cabin when you have the roof up, or the fact that it has a manual folding roof in the first place. It also has no glove compartment, but I don’t care. How could you care for any of those things when you can just drive. Drive for hours on end day and night, with the roof down, with your favorite jam on the MZD Connect infotainment system, or you could just listen to the glorious engine note in the first place. Plus, the roof is easy to stow anyway in mere seconds with a simple mechanism that even a toddler could figure out.
Aside from the driving experience, the MX-5 is also an absolute joy to use everyday, with it’s comfortable seats, comfortable driving position, and ergonomic cockpit layout. The best part of all this in my opinion is the MX-5’s price. At P1,850,000 with excise tax, the MX-5 is the most affordable sports car you can have. In my books, the MX-5 is one of the best sports cars regardless of class and price.
Exterior Design: ★★★★★
Interior Design: ★★★★☆
Space and Practicality: ★★★☆☆
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★★☆
Value For Money: ★★★★☆
Overall: 4.2 out of 5
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