2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata, All you want to know & watch about a Great Car
2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Club First Test: Still Squatty and Fun
The new Kinetic Posture Control system doesn’t erase the Miata’s body motions—and we’re OK with that.
We’ll take any excuse to get behind the wheel of the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Very few cars provide an instant jolt of joy like the Miata can, so when Mazda claimed it somehow improved the sports car’s cornering abilities for model year 2022, that was a more than good enough reason to get one in for another round of testing.
Other changes for 2022 include a new interior and exterior color, plus standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for the mid-level Club trim. Additionally, the six-speed automatic transmission option is now exclusive to the top-of-the-line MX-5 Grand Touring, which means the Sport and Club are only offered with six-speed manuals.
Why It’s Important
The fourth-generation “ND” Miata hasn’t veered away from the formula that made the two-door roadster an instant hit when it made its debut more than three decades ago. Relatively affordable with a starting price under $30,000, the lightweight, no-frills Miata continues to stand out thanks to its unmatched fun behind the wheel (and that it exists at this point essentially in a class of one).
The 2022 Mazda Miata attempts to retain its fun-to-drive nature while sharpening its cornering abilities thanks to its new Kinematic Posture Control (KPC) system that aims to reduce body roll by applying the brake to the inside rear wheel while cornering. KPC is standard on all trim levels including our test vehicle, an MX-5 Club RF featuring other performance-enhancing upgrades like Bilstein dampers, a limited-slip differential, and Brembo brakes.
Pros: What We Like
The 2.0-liter inline-four carries over unchanged, and that’s OK. Power is more than adequate and enough to propel our test car to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and through the quarter mile in 14.5, times on par with those of the last couple ND Miatas we’ve tested. The manual gearbox is simply a joy to row thanks to short, precise throws, and the brake and gas pedal placement is ideal for heel-and-toe shifting.
“It’s been a while since I’ve driven a Miata, and I had forgotten what a good instructor it is,” road test editor Chris Walton said. “Everything you do has an immediate impact on what the car does. Throttle application, brake application, steering—every response is always on display.”
So how about that KPC? In an ideal world we would’ve had a non-KPC example on hand and driven the two back to back. That said, if KPC was indeed doing its thing, we couldn’t tell. There’s still a considerable amount of body roll and rear-end squat even driving at about 80 percent of the car’s cornering limits. And that’s OK in our book—the motions only add to the Miata’s playful nature, one that very few sports cars can match. The softly sprung suspension also ensures the Miata’s ride quality is comfy enough that it can serve as a daily driver.
Cons: What We Don’t Like
It was business as usual on the figure-eight course, where body roll can degrade the performance if you aren’t smooth with your steering, brake, and throttle inputs. Again, KPC didn’t seem to affect or intrude on our driving experience, but we wonder if it had something to do with this car’s figure-eight time of 26.8 seconds.
That’s slower than a 2021 MX-5 RF Grand Touring (by 0.7 second) and a 2019 MX-5 Club roadster (by 1.6 seconds) we previously tested. If it was to blame—which seems likely, considering it involves activating a brake—it would be nice to be able to deactivate KPC in situations where tenths of a second matter, such as on an autocross course.
The Bottom Line
We certainly appreciate Mazda’s efforts to improve on the already great Miata, but we wonder if the new KPC system is more change for change’s sake than a real benefit.
Looks good! More details?
|2022 Mazda MX-5 (RF Club) Specifications|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$39,810|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, RWD, 2-pass, 2-door convertible|
|ENGINE||2.0L direct-injected DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|POWER (SAE NET)||181 hp @ 7,000 rpm|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||151 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||2,423 lb (51/49%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||154.1 x 68.3 x 49.0 in|
|0-60 MPH||5.9 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||14.5 sec @ 95.0 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||112 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.85 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||26.8 sec @ 0.64 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||26/34/29 mpg|
|EPA RANGE, COMB||344 miles|