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Four generations of the Mazda MX-5 Miata have brought us to the latest model. During each generation, Mazda made some upgrades without major changes. Most of the time, the upgrades add required tech or small comfort changes that we notice. The latest upgrades, which create the Miata ND3, aren’t as noticeable to most drivers.

Driving experts understand the differences

Regular highway or city driving in the 2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata might not feel much different from the last model year. Some drivers could notice the steering system change, but the limited-slip differential upgrades aren’t noticeable until you carve up some corners in this car.

Mazda didn’t alter the Miata’s looks, power, or tech, which is where most drivers would notice changes. The changes are subtle but significant, especially when driving experts get behind the wheel.

White and Red 2024 Mazda MX-5 Miatas driving In a City
2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata In a City | Mazda

How was the Mazda MX-5 Miata steering system changed?

The supplier of electric motors for power steering systems changed a magnetic part within their motors. This changed the part’s behavior, which gave Mazda the opportunity to recalibrate the steering system.

Dave Coleman, the Vehicle Dynamics Manager for Mazda cars, is a steering expert with a benchmark set at the Lotus Elise. By reducing friction in the steering system, the Miata’s steering was dramatically improved. The result is a steering system that feels a little heavier in the center and is more precise. This makes steering more predictable and avoids the play that was part of the ND2 Miata.

What changed in the differential?

Mazda created a new cam mechanize to allow for different ramp angles on acceleration and deceleration for the limited-slip differential. This changes how and when the diff locks and unlocks.

To avoid oversteer or understeer in turns, the car has increased diff lock during deceleration and reduced locking during acceleration. This allows the ND3 Miata to avoid the strangle handling of the ND1 and ND2 models.

Is the Miata broke?

While most would argue the Mazda MX-5 Miata wasn’t broken and didn’t need to change, these upgrades are significant to driving experts. The beauty of these subtle changes is that they don’t lose anything that makes it a Miata. This car is still fun to drive, eager to please you on the road, and weighs less than 2,500 pounds, making it a lightweight roadster many drivers love.

If anything, Mazda improved the zoominess of this car, reminding us of the brand’s old tagline; “zoom zoom.”

Source: Motor1