$19,934 - $28,046

2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata was new.


Performance: 9.1

The 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata isn't the most powerful vehicle in the class, but its engine has plenty of power to quickly move this small sports car. Few competitors can match the agility of this lightweight roadster. Additionally, the steering provides immediate feedback.

  • "The Miata might not boast big power numbers, but it's small and light, so it always feels exceedingly nimble. You won't find many cars that put the driver more in touch with the driving experience or that are more entertaining to drive on public roads - especially the twisty ones." -- Edmunds
  • "The Mazda MX-5 Miata has never been about gobs of power that enable it to drag race. This Mazda's magic lies not in straight lines, but when... ... the road twists and turns. That's when it's at its best, or when simply cruising along a coastal highway with the top down. The MX-5 lives for these experiences and will make you feel alive when doing so." -- 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)

Acceleration and Power

The Miata's standard four-cylinder engine puts out 155 horsepower and provides good acceleration. The standard manual transmission is a joy to use with quick throws and a smooth clutch. The automatic transmission with paddle shifters also does a fine job delivering spirited performance with quick shifts.

  • "In our testing, a Miata with the manual transmission reached 60 mph in 6.3 seconds. You won't be blowing doors off V8 Camaros, but it's nonetheless appropriate acceleration for the car's zippy character. There's plenty of midrange torque. Accelerating quickly is as pleasurable as it is easy." -- Edmunds 
  • "The sole engine in the new Mazda MX-5 is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 155 horsepower. It comes standard with a slick 6-speed manual transmission, and even if you don't know how to drive stick, it's worth learning just so you can enjoy this one. The action is light, the shifts are short, and the clutch operation is simply spot-on." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "Mazda equips the MX-5 with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine good for 155 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque. This might not seem like much power, but … it's more than sufficient." -- Autotrader (2016)

Handling and Braking

The Miata is one of the most fun-to-drive vehicles you can own. Designed for a nearly perfect 50/50 weight balance between the front and back ends, this sports car delivers lithe handling. It stays planted when cornering and maintains a compliant ride over most road imperfections.

  • "Despite its small dimensions and sporty intentions, the Miata isn't punishing. There's plenty of compliance to smooth over bumps, but bigger potholes will send a good thud through the chassis. Long road trips won't be a problem." -- Edmunds
  • "The real strength of the MX-5 isn't its engine or transmission -- it's the setup. Much of the weight of the MX-5's engine is behind the front axles, with the goal of centralizing weight, which results in better balance. With mass and weight distributed equally from front to rear and from side to side, handling becomes much more precise and predictable. The MX-5 is very easy and fun to drive at any pace." -- Autotrader (2017)
  • "The 2017 MX-5's suspension helps this roadster stick to corners, but isn't so stiff as to rattle your teeth." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)

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