When the all-new and much-anticipated 2016 Mazda Miata was finally unveiled early this month at a simulcast event held globally, Mazda showed off the car, threw out some keywords, and then evaded all questions that steered away from the car's look and style. The unveil of the new Miata was, according to Car News Cafe, a lot of hype and not much substance.
"..the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata was shown off with lots of hype about KODO and SKYACTIV but little detail as to the car's underpinnings beyond its new look."
The design does speak of the carmaker's collaboration with Alfa Romeo, however, with a more clipped nose and a smoother take on the classic Mazda Miata form overall. The rounded headlights and eye-like housing around them create the "anthropomorphic look reminiscent of the original Miata," says the New York Times' Automobiles.
The car does have a very sporty, fast-paced, but elegant design that speaks of fun and speed, says The Globe and Mail. This is what makes the current Mazda Miata a popular vehicle today, and what has made it popular since its inception 25 years ago, agrees Car News Cafe.
The trouble, however, comes from the Mazda hype marketing for the car. As the New York Times pointed out, the hype is "a well-honed tool in the playbook of every automaker." Mazda is working that with the Miata in order to drive enthusiasm and build long-term, repeated press coverage on the car up to the 2016 Mazda Miata's official release next year. Yet the down side is that much press will be turned towards speculation rather than fact, which could muddy the waters when the actual release comes about.
Witness the headline at Jalopnik, one of the internet's most popular automotive destinations, which touts the rumor that the Mazda Miata will have a tiny, underpowered engine this go-round.
"Insane Rumor Says 2016 Mazda Miata Will Have Basically No Power"
Of course, Jalopnik is calling out the rumor rather than perpetuating it, but repetition is repetition. The rumor seems to have begun at Motoring, an Australian magazine, which reported that the new Mazda Miata will weigh 2,248 pounds and be powered by a 1.5-liter SKYACTIV engine putting out only 128 horsepower. Jalopnik seems to think the engine would more likely be the 155 horsepower 2.0-liter SKYACTIV currently offered in the Mazda3 compact.
The challenge for the 2016 Mazda Miata will be in attracting new buyers. Currently, the majority of American and Canadian new car buyers are over the age of 55, while the bulk of the remainder are families looking for five seats or more. The young, semi-affluent, two-seat roadster buyer is hard to find in today's market. As The Globe and Mail points out, quoting Mazda Canada president Kory Koreeda, the Miata must be good enough to entice younger buyers away from their smart phones long enough to drive it, and then figure out how to pay for the insurance to own it.
Can the 2016 Mazda Miata do that? We will begin to find out next year.