2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Save money. Use the U.S. News Best Price Program to find the best local prices on the MX-5 Miata.

MSRP: $25,295 - 33,825

2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review

The 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata's low price tag, outstanding driving dynamics, and comfortable, stylish cabin help it place high in our rankings. However, there isn't much room for the driver and passenger in this two-seater, and trunk space is very small.

9.1

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.7
Performance: 9.1
Interior: 7.6
Safety: N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • Athletic handling
  • Exceptional fuel economy
  • Smooth-shifting manual transmission
  • Modern, high-quality cabin
  • Above-average predicted reliability rating
  • Cramped trunk

Is the Mazda Miata a Good Car?

The Miata is a very good car. This lightweight convertible zips through twisty roads, has a pleasing interior with comfy seats, gets great gas mileage, and has one the highest predicted reliability ratings in the sports car class. It's also one of the most affordable sports cars available. Among its few downsides are its small trunk and somewhat cramped interior.

Should I Buy the Mazda Miata?

If you're looking for one of the most entertaining driving experiences at a budget-friendly price, the Mazda MX-5 Miata should be at the top of your list. The Miata has one of the least powerful engines in the class, but the car's small size and weight give it exceptional agility. Its top-notch handling adds to the Miata's outstanding all-around performance. The interior is impressive as well, with supportive seats and a good amount of soft-touch materials. That said, there are other sports cars in the class that deliver excellent performance. The Ford Mustang has more-powerful engine options, and it's available as a convertible. The Fiat 124 Spider shares the same platform as the Miata and delivers the same level of agility.

Compare the Miata, Mustang, and 124 Spider »

Should I Buy a Used or New Mazda Miata?

The Miata gets a few updates for 2018, including a standard 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system and advanced keyless entry in all models. The Club trim also gets standard heated seats, and a new Brembo/BBS Recaro package is available. If you can do without these enhancements and are open to a used car, consider a 2016 or 2017 Miata to save some money. The 2016 model is the start of a brand-new generation, so any model year prior to 2016 will be vastly different. If you decide that an older model is the right fit for you, check out our Used Car Deals page for savings on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Mazda Miata »

We Did the Research for You: 23 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve analyzed 23 Mazda Miata reviews, as well as fuel economy estimates, reliability ratings, crash test results, and more, to give you all the information you need to make a smart car-buying decision.

This Miata MX-5 Miata review incorporates applicable research and data from the 2016 through 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To remain impartial, we do not accept extravagant gifts from automakers, and an outside source handles our advertising.

How Much Does the Mazda Miata Cost?

The Mazda Miata starts at around $25,295, which is one of the lowest starting prices in the class. Comparatively, the Ford Mustang starts at $25,680, and the Fiat 124 Spider has a slightly lower ticket price of $24,995.

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 Miata Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Mazda Miata or Ford Mustang?

The Ford Mustang is another high-ranked sports car that tackles twists and turns with agility and athleticism. The Mustang has a more powerful engine lineup, but the Miata makes the most of its sole available engine and has outstanding handling and excellent fuel economy thanks to its smaller and lighter frame. The Mustang's larger size adds more trunk space and two additional seats, though those rear seats are puny. Both cars hold their own in the sports car class, so choosing between them comes down to personal preference. If you're looking for a slightly larger car with varying degrees of power, go with the Mustang. For a small, zippy sports car with excellent gas mileage, go with the Miata.

Which Is Better: Mazda Miata or Fiat 124 Spider?

There aren't too many differences between the Fiat 124 Spider and the Mazda Miata, as they share the same platform. The Fiat has a tad more horsepower and a marginally larger trunk, at a slightly lower price point. The Miata has a better predicted reliability rating, a larger standard touch-screen, and an optional power-retractable hardtop (not available in the 124 Spider). Still, both two-seat convertibles deliver outstanding fuel economy and peppy performance. The 124 Spider's quieter ride and more supportive seats make it a better touring car, but the Miata is the better option for more spirited performance.

Compare the Miata, Mustang, and 124 Spider »

Miata Performance

Miata Engine: Ignore the Specs

The Mazda's four-cylinder engine produces 155 horsepower, which might not sound impressive, but it's more than enough power for the Miata's small stature. A quick-shifting six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters is available.

Miata Gas Mileage: Fuel-Sipper

The MX-5 Miata gets up to 26 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, which are some of the highest fuel economy ratings in the class. By comparison, the Ford Mustang with the base engine earns up to 21 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.

Miata Ride and Handling: Cutting Corners in a Good Way

The Miata may lack the sheer horsepower of many competitors in the sports car class, but it makes up for that with outstanding handling that will give you a thrilling experience. The car is designed to have an even distribution of weight, which allows it to stay planted to the road while hugging tight corners. This even distribution carries over to the Miata's ride. You'll often find that cars sacrifice comfort for handling, but not this Mazda. It provides a comfortable ride along with its superior handling.

Read more about performance »

Miata Interior

How Many People Does the Miata Seat?

The Mazda MX-5 Miata has seating for two people. Space is limited, but the standard cloth seats provide a good amount of support and comfort for both driver and passenger. Heated and leather-trimmed seats are available, as are Nappa leather upholstery and Recaro sport seats. The standard manual-folding soft top is easy to fold while sitting, and the MX-5 Miata RF (retractable fastback) adds a power-retractable hardtop.

Miata Interior Quality

The MX-5 Miata has a modern, well-constructed cabin with lots of soft-touch materials.

Miata Cargo Space

The Miata has one of the smallest cargo capacities in any car. With roughly 4.6 cubic feet of trunk space, you won't fit a lot in this Mazda. By comparison, the Ford Mustang convertible has 11.4 cubic feet of trunk space, while Mustang fastback models have 13.5 cubic feet. Both Mustang models also have a second row of seats that offer more room for groceries or luggage.

Miata Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

For 2018, the Miata adds a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system with HD Radio. This system's screen is much larger than the 2017 model's standard setup. Though the system is easy to use, its redundant control knob is located by the shifter and can easily be knocked while driving. Additionally, the sound quality from even the upgraded stereo is average at best. The Miata also includes a standard USB port and Bluetooth. Navigation and satellite radio are available.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

Miata Reliability

Is the Mazda Miata Reliable?

The 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata has a predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power. This is above average among all vehicles.

Mazda Miata Warranty

The Mazda MX-5 Miata comes with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. The Ford Mustang has the same warranty length. The Fiat 124 Spider has a longer four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty, but a shorter powertrain warranty of four years or 50,000 miles.

Read more about reliability »

Miata Safety

Miata Crash Test Results

Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has crash tested the 2018 Mazda Miata.

Miata Safety Features

The Mazda MX-5 Miata doesn't come standard with any advanced safety equipment. Blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, and rain-sensing windshield wipers are available.

Read more about safety »

Which Mazda Miata Model Is Right for Me?

The MX-5 comes in three trims: Sport, Club, and Grand Touring. The addition of a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system for 2018 makes the base Sport trim more desirable than in past years, but the Club trim is still a superior option. It adds features like heated seats, a nine-speaker audio system, additional USB ports, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. Club models with the six-speed manual transmission also include a sport-tuned suspension, Bilstein shock absorbers, and a limited-slip differential. A six-speed automatic transmission is available in every trim.

Mazda Miata Sport

The Miata Sport starts at $25,295 and comes with a manual-folding soft top, push-button start, cloth seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 7-inch touch screen, a six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, a USB port, keyless entry, and HD Radio.

Mazda Miata Club

The Miata Club starts at $29,155 and comes with additional USB ports, a nine-speaker Bose stereo system, heated seats, 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 Brembo brake package adds upgraded brakes and heated leather-trimmed seats for $3,770. The new-for-2018 Brembo/BBS Recaro package adds Recaro sport seats for about $4,470. The MX-5 RF Club costs $31,910 and adds a power-retractable hardtop.

Mazda Miata Grand Touring

Starting at $30,195, the Miata Grand Touring comes with heated seats, leather upholstery, navigation, automatic climate control, lane departure warning, automatic headlights, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. Nappa leather upholstery is available for $300.

The MX-5 RF Grand Touring model costs $32,750 and includes the MX-5 Grand Touring's features as well as a power-retractable hardtop.

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 2018 Mazda Miata specs and trims »

The Final Call

If you're looking for driving thrills but you have a tight budget, the 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata is one car you'll definitely want to consider. The Miata is one of the best performing cars in the class, and its excellent fuel economy and high-quality cabin make it a good value as well. However, rivals like the Ford Mustang offer more cargo space.

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

  • "… few cars are more rewarding and fun to wheel around than the Miata. If you can live with the size limitations, you have little reason to consider anything else in this segment for the pleasure of driving." -- Edmunds
  • "If you've ever dreamt of owning a lithe, responsive 2-seat roadster with the spirit of a classic British roadster -- but that's thoroughly modern, safe and reliable -- look no further than the 2017 Mazda MX-5." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "It's totally delightful in every way. And I think it'll inspire other automakers to care less about numbers, which are totally irrelevant in the real world anyway, and focus more on how a car can make you feel." -- Jalopnik (2016)
  • Great Savings
  • Minimum Savings Guarantee
  • Hassle-Free Experience

More than 150,000 car shoppers have purchased or leased a car through the U.S. News Best Price Program. Our pricing beats the national average 86% of the time with shoppers receiving average savings of $3,383 off MSRP across vehicles.
Learn More »

Find the Best Price

Enter your zip code to get local pricing.

Get Dealer Quotes

To get dealer quotes, enter your zip code.

Search Used Listings

To search used listings, enter your zip code.

Change Location

Enter your zip code to see listings near you.

Please enter a valid zipcode