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2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata: What You Need to Know

US News & World Report - Cars logo US News & World Report - Cars 10/4/2018 U.S. News & World Report
a red car parked on the side of a road: 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata© Mazda North American Operations 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata

The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata comes in right near the top of our sports car rankings. It delivers outstanding performance while also providing a comfortable cabin, making it an all-around winner.

The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata is ranked:

Is the Mazda MX-5 Miata a Good Car?

Yes, the Mazda Miata is an excellent car. This two-seat roadster is quick and eager to play, handling winding roads with ease and generally making your drive a memorable experience. It also sees a minor power boost for 2019. It's not all about performance though; the MX-5 looks great inside too. The seats are comfortable and fairly spacious, and it provides several user-friendly tech features. The one big drawback is that this Mazda has one of the smallest trunks of any car on the market.

Should I Buy the Mazda MX-5 Miata?

As a practical family vehicle, the Miata comes up woefully short, but drivers who want an energetic, fun-to-drive car should have the Miata right at the top of their list. Not only does it live up to the sports car name; it carries a reasonable price tag. Still, comparison shopping never hurt anyone, so you might want to take a look at the Ford Mustang and the Fiat 124 Spider.

Should I Buy a New or Used Mazda MX-5 Miata?

The 2019 Miata belongs to a generation that began with the 2016 model year. For 2019, the Miata gets a more powerful engine (by 26 horsepower, for a total of 181), and a rearview camera now comes standard. Traffic sign recognition and Mazda's Smart City Brake Support are newly available this year. The Miata also got a few updates for 2018, including a standard 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system and advanced keyless entry in all models.

If you can live without the 2019's extra power, consider a used Miata to save thousands of dollars. Check out our reviews of the 2018 and 2017 Mazda Miata. Also browse our Used Car Deals page to learn about the savings and discounts you can find on used vehicles.

We Did the Research for You: 29 Reviews Analyzed

Our car reviews include everything you need to know before heading to the dealership. We combine the opinions of the automotive press with quantifiable data like crash test results and reliability ratings to form a complete picture of every vehicle we rank.

This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the current Miata generation, which runs from 2016 to 2019.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. Our car reviews are objective. To keep them that way, our editorial staff doesn’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Mazda MX-5 Miata Cost?

The Miata's base price of around $25,500 is typical for a sports car. Most vehicles in this class have starting prices in the $25,000 to $27,000 range. The mid-level Miata Club trim starts around $29,500, while the top Grand Touring trim starts a bit above $30,000. That price is on the lower end of the spectrum for a sports car.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mazda dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mazda deals page.

Mazda MX-5 Miata Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Mazda MX-5 Miata or Ford Mustang?

The Ford Mustang is an annual threat to the top contenders in our sports car rankings, and with good reason. It handles curves with agility and offers a slew of powerful engines, including some with more than 500 horsepower. The Mustang looks good inside, and it's more spacious than the Miata, with two rows of seats and around triple the Mazda’s trunk space. The Mustang offers a convertible body style, but it costs significantly more than the Miata. Both cars rank near the top of the class, so choosing between them comes down to personal preference. If you're looking for a slightly larger car with various engine options, go with the Mustang. For a small, zippy sports car with excellent gas mileage, you’ll want the Miata.

Which Is Better: Mazda MX-5 Miata or Fiat 124 Spider?

The Fiat 124 Spider shares a platform with the Miata, so these two roadsters are nearly identical. However, there are some differences. The Spider costs a little bit less, and its trunk is slightly larger. Depending on the trim, the 124’s engine produces 17 to 21 less horsepower than the 2019 Miata. While the Miata is offered with a hardtop, the Spider only comes with a soft top. The Fiat rides a bit smoother, but the Miata is a bit more dynamic out on the road. The 124 Spider's quieter ride and more supportive seats make it a superior touring car, but the Miata is the better option for more spirited performance.

MX-5 Miata Performance

MX-5 Miata Engine: New and Improved!

For 2019, the Miata features a 181-horsepwer four-cylinder engine, which amounts to a 26-horsepower increase over the 2018 model’s engine. That extra power helps the Miata feel livelier, and this little roadster delivers snappy acceleration and has ample power for any driving situation.

MX-5 Miata Gas Mileage: Tough to Beat

The Miata gets 26 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway – numbers that few other sports cars can match. For comparison, the Ford Mustang gets 21 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, though in fairness, it has a larger engine with more than 300 horsepower. The Toyota 86 gets 24/32 mpg city/highway.

MX-5 Miata Ride and Handling: A Joy to Drive

Quite simply, the Miata is one of the most fun-to-drive cars out there. The new, more powerful engine only enhances the Miata's already formidable handling prowess. This is a well-balanced car that also rides smoothly over most road surfaces.

MX-5 Miata Interior

How Many People Does the MX-5 Miata Seat?

The two-seat Miata provides plenty of legroom and a fair amount of headroom. The seats are comfortable and supportive, and the available Recaro sport seats are well-bolstered. It's easy to get in and out of the car, and finding a comfortable driving position is a cinch.

The Miata's standard roof is a manual-folding soft top, while RF models feature a power-retractable hardtop.

MX-5 Miata and Car Seats

This Mazda does not feature any LATCH car seat connectors.

MX-5 Miata Interior Quality

While the Miata's interior may not scream luxury, it still features some soft-touch materials and a modern, appealing design.

MX-5 Miata Cargo Space

Few vehicles make worse cargo haulers than the Miata, which gives you less than 4.6 cubic feet of trunk space. That's roughly enough space for three grocery bags.

MX-5 Miata Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Miata’s standard Mazda Connect infotainment system comes with a 7-inch touch screen, a six-speaker audio system, two USB ports, and Bluetooth. Available features include navigation, a nine-speaker Bose audio system, and satellite radio.

Unlike some class rivals, the 2019 Miata doesn't offer smartphone connectivity options like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. On the bright side, the Mazda Connect system features a responsive touch screen and a user-friendly interface. The dash controls are also smartly arranged.

MX-5 Miata Reliability

Is the Mazda MX-5 Miata Reliable?

The 2019 Miata does not yet have a predicted reliability rating from J.D. Power.

Mazda MX-5 Miata Warranty

Mazda covers the MX-5 Miata with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

MX-5 Miata Safety

MX-5 Miata Crash Test Results

The 2019 Miata has not been put through crash tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

MX-5 Miata Safety Features

A rearview camera comes standard in the Miata. Available driver assistance features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, low-speed automatic emergency braking, automatic headlights, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Which Mazda MX-5 Miata Model Is Right for Me?

The Miata comes in three trims: Sport, Club, and Grand Touring. Every model comes standard with a 181-horsepower four-cylinder engine, a six-speed manual transmission, rear-wheel drive, and a soft top. You can add a six-speed automatic transmission to any trim. 

The Club and Grand Touring trims are the best options for most buyers, but the trim that’s right for you comes down to your priorities. The Club trim costs a bit less than the Grand Touring, and it comes with performance features like a sport-tuned suspension, which you can't get in other trims. However, the Grand Touring comes with the most active safety features.

Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport

The Miata Sport carries a base price around $25,500. Standard features include a manual-folding soft top, a six-speaker audio system, HD Radio, two USB ports, Bluetooth, keyless entry, a rearview camera, and the Mazda Connect infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen. The Sport is not available in the RF power-retractable hardtop configuration.

Mazda MX-5 Miata Club

The Miata Club has a starting price around $29,500. In addition to the Sport trim's features, the Club trim comes with heated seats, a nine-speaker Bose audio system, satellite radio, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. Models with the manual transmission add a sport-tuned suspension, Bilstein shock absorbers, and a limited-slip differential.

The MX-5 RF Miata Club starts at $32,345 and adds a power-retractable hardtop.

Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring

The Miata Grand Touring starts around $30,500. It comes with the lower trims' standard features plus leather upholstery, navigation, automatic climate control, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, low-speed automatic emergency braking, automatic headlights, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

The MX-5 RF Miata Grand Touring model with the power-retractable hardtop starts at $33,335.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mazda dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mazda deals page.

The Final Call

The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata earns a spot near the top of our sports car rankings. It may not have the outright power of some class rivals, but it's a blast to drive and provides a nice interior to boot.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

Read the full 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata review on U.S. News & World Report for more details, photos, specs and prices.

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