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2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review

The 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata finishes near the top of our sports car rankings thanks to its engaging ride, attractive cabin, and above-average predicted reliability rating.

Pros & Cons

  • Lithe handling
  • Exceptional fuel economy
  • Modern cabin made with quality materials
  • Above-average predicted reliability rating
  • Cramped trunk




Critics' Rating: 9.7
Performance: 9.1
Interior: 7.6
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.5
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata Overview

Is the 2018 Mazda Miata a Good Used Car?

Yes, the Miata is a fantastic sports car. It delivers a thrilling driving experience at an affordable price, making it a great option for performance-oriented shoppers on a budget. But with only two seats and a tiny trunk, there isn't a lot of space in this car.

The 2018 MX-5 Miata has many strengths:

  • Lively engine
  • Feels planted around corners
  • Soft-touch interior materials
  • User-friendly infotainment controls
  • One of the highest predicted reliability ratings in the class

Its weaknesses are few:

  • No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
  • Cramped interior for taller occupants
  • Tiny cargo area
Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve analyzed 25 Mazda Miata reviews, as well as performance specs, interior dimensions, fuel economy ratings, and more, to give you all the information you need to make a smart car-buying decision.

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 Is the 2018 Mazda Miata?

Based on listings for the 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata on our site, the average price is $25,800, which is below average for the class. Prices range from $23,500 to $29,000 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Mazda Miata Cost to Own?

At the time of writing, ownership costs for the 2018 Miata are not available.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Mazda Miata?

For 2019, the Miata gained a standard rearview camera (previously unavailable) and 26 additional horsepower, now up to 181. Shoppers longing for these improvements should consider a new 2019 Miata, which starts at $25,730. Otherwise, the 2018 Miata has plenty of power and likely costs less.

Read about the new Mazda Miata »

The 2018 Miata is part of a generation that began with the 2016 model year. Changes have been few, but they’re significant. Mazda added a hardtop Miata RF model for the 2017 model year, and the 2018 model got a standard 7-inch touch screen and available Brembo/BBS Recaro package. If these changes aren’t deal breakers for you, the 2016 Miata is a great choice that will probably save you money.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Miata »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Mazda Miata?

The 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata has a good predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Miata reliability »

2018 Mazda Miata Recalls

At the time of writing, there is one recall for the 2018 Mazda Miata:

  • Transmission software may cause abrupt downshifting

Before buying any used vehicle, make sure all recalls have been addressed.

See more information on Mazda Miata safety recalls »

Which Used Mazda Miata Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Mazda Miata comes in three trims: Sport, Club, and Grand Touring. The base Sport trim comes with a decent number of features, but many shoppers will probably prefer the mid-level Club trim for its added safety tech and comfort amenities. These include blind spot monitoring and heated seats. Club models with a manual transmission also include sporty enhancements like Bilstein shock absorbers.

  • Mazda Miata Sport: The Sport trim comes with cloth upholstery, a manual-folding soft top, keyless entry, push-button start, and an infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, six speakers, Bluetooth, two USB ports, and HD Radio.
  • Mazda Miata Club: The Club trim has heated seats, a nine-speaker Bose premium audio system, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. Models with a manual transmission also include a sport-tuned suspension, Bilstein shock absorbers, and a limited-slip differential. The RF Club adds a power-retractable hardtop.
  • Mazda Miata Grand Touring: The Grand Touring trim includes leather-trimmed seats, automatic climate control, navigation, automatic headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and lane departure warning. The MX-5 RF Grand Touring adds a power-retractable hardtop.

See 2018 Mazda Miata trims and specs »

What Does Mazda's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Mazda offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 80,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For each certified pre-owned vehicle, Mazda extends the original limited powertrain warranty to seven years from the original sale date or 100,000 miles and provides a one-year/12,000-mile limited warranty after the expiration of the original three-year/36,000-mile warranty. Every CPO Mazda must pass a 160-point inspection. Additional benefits may include towing, a 90-day complimentary SiriusXM satellite radio trial subscription, extended coverage, and roadside assistance, so read the Mazda warranty page carefully.

Mazda’s CPO program is about average for an affordable auto manufacturer, according to our research. Chevy, Hyundai, and Kia all have better programs.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Miata?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration did not perform crash safety tests on the 2018 MX-5 Miata.  

Standard advanced safety features:

  • none

Available advanced safety features:

  • blind spot monitoring
  • rear cross traffic alert
  • lane departure warning
  • rain-sensing windshield wipers

See Miata safety scores »

2018 Mazda Miata Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Mazda Miata or 2018 Fiat 124 Spider?

The 2018 Fiat 124 Spider and Miata share the same platform, but they aren’t mirror copies of one another. The Fiat has a lower average list price and a slightly larger trunk. The Miata earns a better predicted reliability rating, and it offers a larger standard touch screen. Thanks to its more supportive seats and calmer suspension, the 124 Spider is a better touring sports car. If spirited performance is your top priority, you'll likely prefer the Miata. 

Which Is Better: 2018 Mazda Miata or 2018 Subaru BRZ?

Like the Miata, the 2018 Subaru BRZ puts an emphasis on rider engagement instead of heart-racing power. That said, there are some key differences between these two models. The non-convertible BRZ can seat up to four people, and it has more cargo room than the Miata. Some BRZ models may also feature Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration technology, which is not available in the Miata. The Miata is a more well-rounded vehicle, however. It has a superior predicted reliability rating, a comfier ride, and an easier-to-use infotainment system. Unless you need the extra space, the Miata is a better option.

Compare the Miata, 124 Spider, and BRZ »

2018 Miata Performance

How Does the 2018 Mazda Miata Drive?

The 2018 Miata's standard four-cylinder engine may not be the most powerful in the class, but it has more than enough gusto to move a car this light up to speed quickly. The Miata comes paired with either a standard manual transmission or an available automatic transmission. Both feel refined, but enthusiasts will prefer the manual with its short throws and smooth shifts.

The Miata tackles twists and turns with finesse, all while maintaining a composed ride. Its handling is agile, and its steering is quick. This makes the Miata one of the most fun-to-drive sports cars.

  • Base engine: 155-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • Drivetrain: rear-wheel drive
  • Transmission: standard six-speed manual; available six-speed automatic with paddle shifters
Does the 2018 Mazda Miata Get Good Gas Mileage?

The 2018 MX-5 Miata has great gas mileage whether you opt for the manual or automatic transmission.

  • With manual: 26/33 mpg city/highway
  • With automatic: 26/35 mpg

Read more about Miata performance »

2018 Miata Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 Miata Seat?

The 2018 MX-5 Miata is a convertible with seating for two people. The seats are supportive, but space is limited, so taller occupants may feel snug in this Mazda. A manual-folding soft top is standard, and a power-retractable hardtop is available.

Standard seating features:

  • cloth upholstery

Available seating features:

  • heated seats
  • leather-trimmed seats
  • Nappa leather-trimmed seats
  • Recaro sport seats
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Mazda Miata?

There are no LATCH child car-seat connectors in the Miata.  

2018 Mazda Miata Features

Although the standard infotainment system is user-friendly, the knob that controls the system is located right by the shifter, making it easy to bump the knob while changing gears.

  • Standard infotainment features: 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, two USB ports, and HD Radio
  • Available infotainment features: a nine-speaker Bose stereo and navigation
  • Additional standard features: keyless entry and push-button start
  • Other available features: automatic climate control

See 2018 Mazda Miata specs »

Read more about Miata interior »

2018 Mazda Miata Dimensions

Mazda Miata Cargo Space

The 2018 Miata has one of smallest trunks of any vehicle, let alone a sports car. There's approximately 4.6 cubic feet of trunk space in the base Miata, which is enough room for a few grocery bags. Additionally, its in-cabin storage compartments are tiny.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Mazda Miata Length and Weight
  • Length: 12 feet, 10 inches
  • Curb weight: 2,332 to 2,485 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Mazda Miata Built?

Mazda built the 2018 MX-5 Miata in Japan.

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