The Mazda MX-5 Miata, the world’s best-selling sports car, is even more of a joy to drive in 2019 thanks to its 26 extra horsepower. Available as a roadster or a coupe with a retractable roof panel, this affordable rear-wheel-drive 2-seater competes with the Fiat 124 (which shares its platform), Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ.
You'll Like The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata If...
Is the journey as important as the destination? Is good handling more meaningful than high horsepower? If both ring true for you, the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata is your kind of car. Elemental roadsters like this Mazda remind us of why driving is fun.
You May Not Like The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata If...
Mazda has bumped up the horsepower this year, but the Miata is still by no means a muscle car like the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang. Also, taller drivers (above, say, 6-foot-3) don’t fit so well in the car, even with the new tilt steering wheel.
Big news: Mazda has extracted an extra 26 horsepower from the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. What’s more, the redline has been raised from 6,800 rpm to 7,500 rpm, thanks in part to lighter pistons and connecting rods. Also new: a tilt steering wheel (standard) and a brown soft top (optional).
“Simple, straightforward and modern” is perhaps the best way to characterize the Mazda MX-5’s 2-seat cockpit, which now benefits from a tilt/telescope steering wheel. The look is similar to that of the Mazda3’s interior, featuring an upright infotainment screen, circular air vents, a push-button starter and a traditional hand-pull emergency brake, plus large A/C knobs and analog gauges featuring a centrally mounted tachometer. Mazda tells us that the Miata has been designed around the driver, and it feels that way, but the interior can be a bit tight for large drivers. That stated, the Miata does have excellent steering-wheel, pedal and shifter placement. The trunk, at 4.5 cubic feet, is small, so pack your soft bags wisely for that weekend trip.
After three generations of much of the same, Mazda’s designers had a little more fun with the styling of this latest 2019 MX-5 Miata. While the car retains the long-hood/short-deck proportions of a classic roadster, some surface detailing of the aluminum body panels adds a modern touch. All the while, its small LED headlights, flared wheelwells and wide-mouth grille give it some welcome attitude. At only 154 inches, the Miata is a short car, which makes it easy to park around town, but the overall smallness of the vehicle does make you feel a bit vulnerable when, say, you’re driving next to a semi on the freeway. As for the MX-5 RF coupe, we think it looks fantastic, top open or closed. We wish the windows in the B-pillars were real.
Convertibles such as the latest Miata are best experienced on warm summer evenings when traffic is light and there’s no need for sunscreen. With the car’s top down, the Miata driver becomes an integral part of the environment, not somebody just watching the world go by from the isolating confines of an air-conditioned room. What’s true of the Miata historically is true again: The MX-5, with 50:50 weight balance, is at its best when the road twists and turns, which reveals just how good the chassis is. Although in everyday driving there’s really no need to rev the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine to its new 7,500-rpm redline, it does so willingly, at which point it’s time to grab the next gear. The short-throw 6-speed, incidentally, remains one of the best manuals on the market, and it’s complemented in the 2019 Miata by quick, natural-effort steering and suspension tuning that artfully blends top-notch cornering prowess with good everyday comfort.
It’s hard to put a price on fun, but Mazda has managed to do so with its new 2019 Miata. A base 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata convertible, a Sport model fitted with a 6-speed manual transmission, has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just over $26,500, a price that includes a destination fee of $895. Mid-trim Club versions start at about $29,500, while the Grand Touring model begins just over $31,500. The base version of the 2019 Mazda MX-5 RF starts at just over $33,000, while a Grand Touring RF goes for around $35,500. An automatic transmission adds between $600 and $1,350, depending on model. Before buying, always check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying. The MX-5's resale value is expected to hold up well.Want an exclusive version of this car? Check out the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata 30th Anniversary Edition!
The 2019 Mazda Miata roadster is available as a Sport, Club or Grand Touring model, while the MX-5 RF retractable fastback can be ordered only as a Club or Grand Touring. Besides the upgraded engine, all 2019 Miatas have a rearview camera, a fabric top, LED headlights, a tilt/telescope steering wheel and two USB ports as standard equipment, along with black 16-inch metallic wheels (Sport and Club only). Cruise control also is standard, as are Bluetooth and a steering wheel featuring audio and cruise-control buttons. Last year, the Mazda Connect infotainment system became standard on the base Sport model.
New this year is an optional brown soft top, plus three packages. Club models can be ordered with an i-ACTIVSENSE Club Package featuring Smart City Brake Support and Lane-Departure Warning. Club models fitted with the 6-speed manual transmission are also available with the $3,770 Brembo/BBS and the $4,470 Brembo/BBS/Recaro package. The former includes Brembo front rotors, red-painted Brembo brake calipers at each wheel, 17-inch gun-metal-gray BBS forged alloy wheels and heated, leather-upholstered seats. The latter, now also available on the Miata RF, replaces the leather-trimmed seats with heated Recaro buckets (and a black-painted roof on the RF).
This new package, available only on Miatas equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission, includes a limited-slip rear differential, Bilstein shock absorbers and a shock tower brace. If you plan to enjoy your Miata on a track, the GT-S Package will greatly improve the experience.
SPORT i-ACTIVSENSE PACKAGE
The Miata may be an elemental sports car, but this new available package includes important safety features such as low-speed collision-avoidance braking, lane-departure warning, blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert, which warns if a vehicle or pedestrian is approaching from either side.
Under the Hood
Thanks to a number of internal improvements, the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine in the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata now puts out 26 more horsepower than before, along with an extra 3 lb-ft of torque. Moreover, the redline has been raised from 6,800 rpm to 7,500 rpm. Even though this twin-cam engine likes to rev, thanks in part to a lightened flywheel, mid-range torque is good and always readily accessible via the short throws of the superb 6-speed manual transmission, which has excellent action and an easy-to-modulate clutch. A 6-speed automatic with shift paddles is available, but the Miata is best appreciated when you get the satisfaction of rowing your own gears.
181 horsepower @ 7,500 rpm
151 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/34 mpg (manual), 26/35 mpg (automatic)
The 2019 Mazda MX-5 -- available as a 2-seat roadster or a coupe with a retractable roof panel -- is a delight to drive. As such, this compact and affordable rear-wheel-drive model competes with the Fiat 124, the Subaru BRZ and the Toyota 86. Most commonly called the Miata, the MX-5 is a nimble machine, always willing for a blast up the coast or a jaunt down your favorite twisty road. Prices start at just over $26,500 for the Miata Soft Top and just below $34,500 for the MX-5 RF, the sweet-looking Retractable Fastback model. Both versions of Mazda’s sports car are equipped with a slick-shifting 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters.