The ‘ND2’ Mazda Miata has always been considered a brilliant evolution of Mazda’s iconic roadster. It’s nimble, tossable, powerful enough, a little soft, and a ton of fun. So what’s a girl like Mazda to do when they want to evolve the 2022 Mazda Miata without a total overhaul? Software trickery! Every 2022 Mazda Miata includes Kinematic Posture Control, said to reduce body roll through faster corners. Naturally, I had to check this out for myself.
Though “a little soft” and subsequent body roll are Miata hallmarks back to the early NAs, there’s nothing wrong with adding a bit more precision to the chassis from the showroom floor. Where the typical approach to combating body roll might employ stiffer spring rates or thicker anti-sway bars, both options could also produce a firmer ride day to day.
Given Mazda doesn’t have any sort of adaptive suspension on the Miata, those hardware changes were likely nixed as they’d compromise ride quality too much for the majority of the time you spend not ragging on the car, using it for errands or commuting or whatever.
Kinematic Posture Control, then, drags the brake caliper of the inside rear wheel any time the 2022 Mazda Miata detects you’re in a “high-G” corner. It’s a similar concept to torque vectoring, though with far less force applied. In an interview with Road & Track, Mazda confirmed that the maximum pressure exerted on the caliper is just 45 psi, a tenth of what would be used in a typical brake-based torque vectoring system.
How do you trigger Kinematic Posture Control? You don’t. It’s not something that can be disabled or otherwise triggered on demand. If the system senses enough of a difference in speed between the two rear wheels when going through a corner, it’ll do its thing. And it works – by and large, the 2022 Mazda Miata felt just a touch more poised than NDs I’ve driven in recent memory. Of course, it was just as fun otherwise.
I did note a couple instances where the 2022 Mazda Miata was more tail-happy. Kinematic Posture Control seems to make the car more sensitive to lift-off oversteer. That’s to say if you’re mid-corner and purposely lift off the throttle most or all of the way, the rear of the car wants to come around a bit on you. I first noticed the phenomenon while driving up and down the same stretch of back road before, during, and after filming.
A day or so after filming with the car, I was headed home from an Ikea run with a kitchen cart strapped in the passenger seat. The final bit of highway before my exit in Washington, D.C. offered a sweeping right-hand curve. It was eight or so at night, there was no traffic, and I didn’t have to slow for the big sweeper given, you know, it’s a Miata. Mid curve, I had a “hmm, what if…” moment and pulled my right foot up, quickly and briefly. And that, friends, is how I put a Miata into a gentle drift for a couple of seconds at 60 miles per hour.
To the car’s credit, it behaved entirely predictably. I was stupid and it responded in kind, but then continued behaving predictably, settling down once I applied a touch of counter steer and rolled back on the throttle. Stability control, no doubt confused about how our Ikea-furniture-buying mission was supposed to go, was likely having the most polite electronic fresk-out as it helped point me entirely straight again.
So the ND2 2022 Mazda Miata is good. Of course it is, it’s a Miata. It’s a little more playful despite also being a little more composed. I like that. Otherwise, it’s The Same Miata that we’ve known and adored for a handful of years now. The older infotainment system looks a bit dated compared to other Mazdas, but it works fine. I still wish the seat would go an inch or so lower and further rearward because I’m tall. But what else would I change? I don’t know. It’s been a good car and continues to be a good car.
And now it’s just a bit smarter.