Probably one of the last cars on Earth to be converted to autonomous operation will be the Mazda MX-5. Or as legions of lightweight roadster lovers whisper to themselves as they catch a glimpse of the two-seater, top-down and ready to turn just about any road into an adventure, Miata. It isn’t that engineers couldn’t someday patch together dynamic cruise control, cameras, radar, auto braking and other electric bits to convert the miniscule Mazda into a rolling HAL 9000. (“It would be much safer if you let me drive, Dave.” Yeah, sure, when you pry the key fob from my very happy hands.)
But the zoom-zoom folks aren’t about to let that happen anytime soon. The Miata is, as it always has been during its 26 years on this orbiting sphere, about being in the moment — an up close and personal partner in the driving experience. Even as other carmakers gave up on the affordable lightweight roadster segment and followed buyers of crossovers and SUVs, Mazda has steadfastly carried the two-seater torch first lit by the Brits after World War II. Now for 2016, an all-new fourth-generation MX-5 Miata renews its driver-focused mission with even greater intensity.