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Mazda’s bubbly MX-5 Miata gets an aggressive makeover for 2016

There are many “important” cars, but few are as fun as the Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Like the Ford Mustang or the Toyota Prius, the Miata is a car that defines its segment and its maker’s identity.

So there’s a lot riding on the all-new 2016 Miata.

The fourth-generation Miata is here, and Mazda hopes it will bring this small sports car back to to its roots while still making it fresh and appealing to a new generation of buyers.

That this car is more revolution than evolution is immediately apparent. The 2016 Miata adopts the “Kodo” design language used successfully on the rest of Mazda’s current range, giving it a much more dramatic look than the outgoing version.

While previous Miatas emphasized simplicity, this one sports a bold grille, aggressive slashes for headlights, and sweeping lines.

Related: Mazda MX-5 Miata celebrates 25th anniversary

That front end isn’t the most elegant design, but the Miata’s overall shape is pleasing. With the cabin pushed as far back as possible and a hood line that plunges from the base of the windshield to the pavement, it’s got just the right proportions.

Evaluating that styling is about all there is to do right now, because Mazda still won’t release any technical details.

The 2016 Miata will definitely use one of Mazda’s efficient Skyactiv engines, possibly the 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter four-cylinder units used in other models. There have also been rumors of a 1.5-liter four-cylinder option with just 99 horsepower, but it probably won’t be offered in the U.S.

Also unknown is whether Mazda will continue to offer both soft top and hard-top convertible options.

Whether or not the hard-top option remains, the Miata’s equipment list is likely to grow. A center-stack display screen is visible in the interior shot above, as is Mazda’s rotary infotainment controller.

That should keep techist buyers happy, even if it isn’t really in the spirit of a minimalist sports car.

Expect full details on the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata closer to its launch next year.

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