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1996 Mazda Miata Review
A sporty, zippy cruiser.
Reviewed by Automotive on
A revival of the traditional two-door sports roadster, the 1996 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a sporty, inexpensive vehicle that is fun to drive. Offering more reliability and all the performance of its classic counterpart, the M-Edition comes with a host of luxury features and performance enhancers that put it in a class of its own. Drivers can expect all the exhilaration of the classic European roadster without the headaches of constant maintenance. A fun and affordable vehicle, it is a solid performer with little competition.
Engines: 1.8-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual
Models: Mazda MX-5 Miata, Mazda MX-5 Miata M-Edition
The 1996 Mazda MX-5 Miata meets 1997 side-impact standards a year early. Power and torque have also been increased to cope with the added weight.
The 1996 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a small convertible designed with the traditional styling cues of classic European roadsters from the 1950s and 1960s. With a rounded design, the bumpers are integrated into the body and the headlights pop up. Sporty features include flared fenders and ducktail crease at the rear. The M-Edition is characterized by its rich metallic blue exterior paint, named Starlight Mica. Luxury features include alloy wheels. The convertible top is not power-driven, though it is easily removed or attached.
As a two-seat roadster, the 1996 Mazda Miata base model comes with basic standard features including an AM/FM/cassette audio system, cloth seating, dual airbags, and bucket seats. Air-conditioning and cruise control are optional features, which can be added to the base model, while they come standard on the M-Edition. Other luxury standards available for the upgraded model include an AM/FM/CD audio system, leather seating, a Nardi wood shift knob, power steering, and power locks and windows.
Performance & Handling
The 1996 Mazda MX-5 Miata offers a balance of performance and handling. While not attaining the speeds of a standard sports car, shifting from gear to gear is rather smooth, making it a fun vehicle to drive. The Miata M-Edition features a larger wheel base and low-profile tires for better handling at high speeds, as well as limited-slip differential. Both models feature four-wheel power disc brakes and gas-pressurized shocks.
Standard safety features for the 1996 Mazda MX-5 Miata include driver and front passenger airbags, monocoque chassis construction, and side-impact door beams. There are no published crash test results.
EPA Fuel Economy
- Small, sporty design
- Luxury standard features and performance upgrades of the M-Edition
You Won't Like
- Limited cargo space
- Two-seater, not ideal for families
- Airy design not best for winter climates
A sporty, zippy cruiser.
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