Photo Credit Creative Syndicate

Production for the 2016 Mazda Miata began April 20 in Japan. Cars for the U.S. market are expected arrive in dealers starting late summer.

The wait is almost over, Mazda North America said at the end of April, when it at long last announced complete pricing for the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata and that production had begun. The first 1,000 cars earmarked as Launch Edition models.  

The bad news is that Miatas for the U.S. market will not be available until late summer.

All U.S.-spec Miatas will have the same powertrain, a 155-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and standard six-speed manual transmission or optional six-speed automatic. All models at launch will have the manual soft top; no mention yet of the power retractable hardtop.

The new model is about 150 pounds lighter, with a curb weight of 2,332 pounds with manual transmission and 2,381 pounds for the automatic.

Mazda says fuel economy has improved by 25 percent, now with an EPA-estimated 27 mpg city, 34 mpg highway and 30 mpg combined.

There will be three trim levels; listed starting prices include the $820 freight charge from Japan:

Sport: $25,735, with soft top and six-speed manual. Standard features include 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, LED headlights and taillights, Bluetooth phone pairing and audio streaming, leather-wrapped shift knob, power door locks, single USB input and cruise control. Add the six-speed automatic for $1,075 option and the Advanced Keyless entry with push-button is available for $130 but standard with automatic transmission.

Club: $29,420, with soft top and six-speed manual. Standard features include: 17-inch gunmetal alloy wheels with 205/45 tires, front air dam and trunk-mounted rear lip spoiler, piano black seat back bars and exterior mirror caps, Mazda Connect with a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system and commander control knob, satellite radio with a nine-speaker Bose audio system with headrest speakers.

A limited-slip rear differential, Bilstein shocks and shock-tower brace are standard when equipped with the manual transmission.

For sportier handling, add the package for $3,400 that equips it with forged, lightweight BBS 17-inch wheels, Brembo front brake rotors and calipers with painted front and rear calipers, functional aerodynamic side sill extensions and rear bumper skirt.

Grand Touring: $30,885, with soft top and six-speed manual. Standard features include: 17-inch bright alloy wheels, leather-trimmed heated seats, automatic climate control, Bose nine-speaker audio system with headrest speakers, satellite radio, Mazda Connect with and seven-inch touchscreen monitor, commander control knob, garage door opener, rain-sensing wipers and adaptive headlights. Mazda’s i-ACTIVSENSE safety features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and lane-departure warning.

2016 MX-5 Launch Edition: $31,315, with six-speed manual and soft top, and $32,390 with automatic. Standard features include Soul Red paint with a Sport Tan leather interior and Advanced Keyless entry.

Fans can preregister for Launch Edition Miatas online at LongLiveTheRoadster.com. Customers will then have the opportunity to place a $500 deposit toward the purchase of a 2016 MX-5 Launch Edition and choose a dealership from where they can take delivery.

Those who actually take delivery of a Launch Edition model will receive a Mazda-branded Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker in a customized gift box and other swag from Mazda’s upcoming Heritage Collection apparel line.

Mark Maynard is online at mark.maynard@utsandiego.com. Find photo galleries and more news at Facebook.com/MaynardsGarage

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