For its fourth generation, Mazda has replaced the Miata's habitually smiling mug with something approaching a sneer.
The Miata's rear end now draws likenesses to the Jaguar F-Type owing to its taillamp shape.
Rear three-quarter visibility is a bit challenged in the Miata with the top up, as it is in nearly all convertibles.
Even a quick glance at the profile reveals tidy overhangs and well-judged proportions.
Our midlevel Club trim is all business, with a front air dam and sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein shocks.
A subtle rear lip spoiler is also part of the Club package.
A quick peek in the Miata's interior reveals a much more modern office space.
Note how low the dashboard sits, which helps aid visibility and add a feeling of spaciousness -- key in such a small interior.
We eschewed leather and went for Mazda's grippy and light cloth seats, which are breathable and feature an unusually svelte frame for maximum interior space. Our Club model gets built-in headrest speakers.
This rev-happy 2.0-liter Skyactiv four cylinder features 155 of the hardest-working horses in the business.
This isn't typical convertible weather, but we're powering through what's left of another Detroit winter to see if the Miata is a viable four-season partner.
The aftermarket will no doubt find ways to stuff big intercoolers in here.
Seventeen-inch dark gunmetal alloys are wrapped in Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60 winter rubber while the snow flies. The lightweight wheels do a good job of showing off our Club model's Brembo uprated brakes.
LED headlamps are standard on all Miatas (they're not only brighter, they help save weight). Our Club trim also receives LED running lamps.
Note how the headlamps and the air dam seem to draw to a common point down the road.
Note that the Miata's tires aren't particularly wide -- this is a car that's as much about feel as it is about absolute grip.
It's unusual to still see a mast antenna in this day and age.
Note how far back the engine is set in the chassis. It's effectively a front mid-engine design.
All business here. Manual hand brake, three simple dials for HVAC controls, and a tidy three-spoke wheel.
Note how designers chose to use two different shapes of HVAC air vents, an unusual strategy that helps emphasize the driver area.
This six-speed manual is one of our favorite gearboxes in all the world.
A perfectly nice six-speed automatic is also available, but why do that to yourself? This is a driver's car.
Mazda Connect infotainment features a multiway controller on the transmission tunnel and a seven-inch tablet-like touchscreen.
Audio, Bluetooth telephony and voice control buttons on the steering wheel are easy to get used to.
No fancy adaptive cruise control here.
A simple multifunction digital readout keeps tabs on things like fuel level, total range, engine temp and outside air temp.
A large, easily legible centrally mounted tachometer speaks to the Miata's priorities.