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2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review

The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata places near the top of our sports car rankings. It's an all-around winner, delivering razor-sharp handling and a comfortable cabin. One of its few downsides is a micro-sized trunk.

Pros & Cons

  • Incredible handling
  • Sprightly acceleration
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Attractive interior
  • Very limited trunk space

Rankings & Research

The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata's #1 ranking is based on its score within the Sports Cars category. Currently the Mazda MX-5 Miata has a score of 8.7 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 29 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 10.0
Performance: 9.6
Interior: 6.4
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the Mazda MX-5 Miata a Good Car?

Yes, the Mazda Miata is an excellent sports car. It's also the quintessential affordable modern-day roadster. The Miata is eager to play, handling winding roads with enthusiasm and providing a memorable driving experience. Though it only has 181 horses under the hood, its light weight ensures that it feels quick when you hit the throttle. The MX-5 Miata looks great inside too. The seats are comfortable and fairly spacious for such a small car, and there are user-friendly tech features. The one big drawback is that the Miata has one of the smallest trunks of any car on the market.

Should I Buy the Mazda MX-5 Miata?

If you want an energetic, fun-to-drive car, the Miata should be at the top of your list. Not only does this little Mazda live up to its sporty reputation, but it's also reasonably priced. However, you'll have to be OK with only two seats.

Comparison shopping never hurt anyone, though, especially in a class with many fun options. You may want to take a look at the Ford Mustang for more of a muscle car experience, or consider the Fiat 124 Spider, which shares a lot of components and engineering with the Miata.

Compare the Miata, Mustang, and 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.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 MX-5 Miata »

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 $25,730 is typical for a sports car. Most vehicles in this class have starting prices in the $25,000 to $27,000 range. The midlevel Miata Club trim starts at $29,590, while the top Grand Touring trim retails for $30,780. That price is low compared to the cost of most rivals' upper trims.

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 challenger for the top spot in our sports car rankings. It offers a slew of powerful engines, including two Shelby power plants rated at 526 and 760 horsepower. Not content to just go fast, the Mustang also boasts agile and lively handling. It's more spacious than the Miata, with two rows of seats and around triple the trunk space. The Mustang comes standard as a coupe, and Ford offers a convertible body style that costs significantly more than the Mazda. Both of these 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, open-air roadster, you’ll want the Miata.

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

The Fiat 124 Spider was developed in cooperation with Mazda on the Miata's platform, so these two roadsters have many similarities. There are some key differences, though. The Spider costs a few hundred dollars less, and its trunk is slightly larger. Depending on the trim, the Fiat’s engine puts out between 17 and 21 fewer horsepower than the Miata. The Spider only comes with a soft top, in contrast to the Miata's retractable hardtop RF model. The Fiat rides a bit smoother, and its more supportive seats make it a superior cruising car. If you want a more spirited ride, go with the Miata.

Compare the Miata, Mustang, and 124 Spider »

MX-5 Miata Performance

MX-5 Miata Engine: New and Improved!

For 2019, the Miata features a 181-horsepower 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.

Read more about performance »

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.

Read more about interior »

MX-5 Miata Reliability

Is the Mazda MX-5 Miata Reliable?

The 2019 Miata has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five 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.

Read more about reliability »

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.

Read more about safety »

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 of $25,730. 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 starts at $29,590. 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 retails for $30,780. 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.

See 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a blast to drive, and it provides a nice interior to boot. This two-seater offers a nearly unmatched appeal of affordability and performance, which is why it finishes near the top of our sports car rankings.

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

  • "No matter if you're a casual driver looking for simple, inexpensive roadster driving enjoyment or a seasoned enthusiast who's tired of ever heavier and more complicated sports cars, the MX-5 should be on your very short list." -- Edmunds
  • "The 2019 Mazda MX-5's still offers one of the most pure driving experiences available today, but now boasts more power for enthusiasts and more comfort for casual motorists." -- CNET
  • "The important takeaway: Even with the extra power and tweaks for refinement, Mazda hasn't ruined the Miata formula in the least. It's the same light, playful little car that's stolen our hearts for years, made just a little sweeter." -- Autoblog


Expert Advice

Last Updated: January 10, 2020

Low Demand: The Miata has experienced waning sales, as numbers fell 13.6 percent in 2019 compared to 2018. However, it still outsold the Toyota 86 by more than 2 to 1.

Research more buying advice »
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2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata

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