2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata review: The Roadster, refined

    The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata is, in a phrase, higher. Extra energy, extra options and smarter possibility packages enhance on what was already the most effective automobiles you should buy right this moment. Individually, most of those modifications aren’t dramatic, however collectively they make the 2019 mannequin extra enjoyable to drive and simpler to stay with.

    Creature comforts

    The fourth-generation MX-5 Miata is already noteworthy for its glorious, ergonomic driving place, and the 2019 mannequin marks the primary look of a telescoping steering wheel. This new diploma of adjustment makes the motive force’s seat an much more snug match — significantly for taller drivers.

    In fact, the extra advanced telescoping column comes with a weight penalty. The brand new meeting is Zero.45 kilos heavier than earlier than. That does not sound like loads, but it surely will need to have killed Mazda’s engineers — that is an automaker that obsesses over shaving grams from wire harnesses. Nonetheless, the brand new potential to higher fine-tune the seating place for drivers of all sizes is price it.

    Consumers of the feature-laden (for a Miata) Grand Touring mannequin can now select a brand new brown material tender high, which replaces the crimson possibility from the 2018 mannequin. It seems that a whole lot of patrons gravitate towards the Soul Crimson paint which clashed with the deep crimson high. This new brown possibility needs to be a greater match with extra of the obtainable hues.

    One other purchaser frustration that is been addressed for 2019 is having to decide on between the sporty Membership mannequin with its limited-slip differential, strut tower bar and Bilstein suspension — and the Grand Touring mannequin with its longer listing of creature comforts. For 2019, a brand new $750 GT-S bundle for the Grand Touring provides the go-faster bits to the highest mannequin, although automated GT-S fashions nonetheless miss out on the higher dampers.

    Talking of the automated, the six-speed AT now options revised gearing with a shorter last drive and improved shift programming for extra relaxed driving with much less looking between gears. (Enjoyable truth: Solely about 40 % of MX-5s offered are automatics. Guide FTW.)

    The brand new $750 GT-S bundle brings the Membership dealing with upgrades to the feature-laden MX-5 Grand Touring.

    Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

    The MX-5’s guide transmission makes use of the identical gear ratios as earlier than, however has a brand new “low-inertia” dual-mass flywheel that cuts down on noise. Whereas smoother and quieter, dual-mass items are normally a lot heavier and fewer responsive than less complicated designs, however Mazda discovered a strategy to preserve the burden in verify and responsiveness on par with final 12 months’s single-mass wheel.

    Total, further options and tools imply the 2019 MX-5 Miata with the guide gearbox now weighs 2,339 kilos, about 7 kilos heavier than earlier than, whereas the two,453 pound RF mannequin has gained eight kilos, but it surely’s probably that you will be grinning too onerous to note. Add about 45 kilos for examples with the automated transmission.

    Revised digital throttle management calibration leads to smoother energy supply, and now options “lively cancellation of drivetrain oscillation” — principally micro-adjustments of the throttle place to cancel out a number of the jerkiness when the motive force makes a pedal enter. However actually, the impact is so delicate, you do not discover it in each day driving.

    Smarter security tech

    All 2019 MX-5 fashions come normal with a brand new rear-view digital camera. Video high quality for the digital camera’s feed is low-resolution and grainy, but it surely will get the job accomplished. You do not actually want a digital camera on the tender high roadster mannequin, but it surely does kind of turn out to be useful with the RF’s bulkier roof. And, properly, it is now required by regulation for all new automobiles.

    The digital camera’s lens is positioned sadly in the course of the rear bumper as if to shout “FINE, HERE’S YOUR STUPID CAMERA!” on the authorities regulators. Darkish colours — crimson, grey or black — disguise it higher, however I want Mazda had tucked the digital camera down by the license plate the place it might be higher hidden. I can see camera-less, pre-2019 bumper swaps turning into a preferred mod for MX-5 lovers.


    The brand new normal rear digital camera stands out prominently on lighter-hued Miata.

    Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

    Additionally new for 2019 are Sensible Metropolis Brake Help — Mazda-parlance for ahead precollision automated braking — and a site visitors signal recognition system that shows pace limits and warnings on the instrument cluster’s info display. These bits are normal for Grand Touring fashions, however are additionally elective for the Sport and Membership.

    In the meantime, Mazda’s passive lane-departure warning system trickles right down to the Membership — it was beforehand solely obtainable on the Grand Touring — and blind-spot monitoring can now be had all the way in which down on the base Sport trim, as an elective further.

    Mazda’s 7-inch Join infotainment is usually unchanged for 2019. It is nonetheless easy and efficient, and nonetheless lacks Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. (The know-how has been confirmed as coming to Mazda Join within the 2018 Mazda6 in December by way of a software program replace, however Mazda refuses to provide a timeline for an replace to the MX-5.) The only revision is the CD participant, which is now not obtainable on any mannequin. I doubt that many MX-5 drivers ever knew it was there within the first place.

    Efficiency modifications

    With 181 horsepower, the 2019 Mazda MX-5 makes 26 extra horsepower than final 12 months. Torque positive aspects are extra conservative, climbing simply three ticks to a peak of 151 pound-feet. The MX-5 reaches these positive aspects just by elevating the redline of the two.Zero-liter Skyactiv-G four-cylinder engine. The place the earlier revision’s energy peaked at round 6,000 rpm, the 2019’s energy retains climbing all the way in which as much as 7,000 rpm earlier than hitting the limiter at 7,500.

    In fact, “merely elevating the redline” is a surprisingly advanced endeavor. Behind the scenes, the revised 2.Zero-liter options all types of revisions designed to assist it breathe and combust gasoline higher at excessive rpm. There is a bigger throttle physique, a smoother consumption manifold with a dual-path design, a revised exhaust manifold and a better raise exhaust cam with an extended length.


    Inner modifications to the two.Zero-liter Skyactiv-G engine assist it breathe higher and rev larger.

    Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

    Internally, the engine’s reciprocating bits — the pistons, rods and crank — are all lighter and stronger, which helps it spin extra freely. Just a few new methods probably realized from Mazda’s Skyactiv-X undertaking assist the MX-5 burn gasoline extra effectively and fully. For instance, elevated strain for direct gasoline injection enable simpler use of two- and three-stage injection at low engine speeds, incomes a 10 pound-foot of torque bump down round 1,500 rpm.

    A optimistic facet impact of efficiency enchancment is a really slight gasoline financial system enhance. The 2019 MX-5 Miata and RF with the guide gearbox positive aspects a single freeway mpg and now sits at 26 metropolis, 34 freeway and 29 mixed mpg. Economic system for automated fashions is unchanged for 2019 at 26/36/29.

    And, earlier than you ask, Mazda states that the transmission points that plagued early examples of the fourth-generation Miata have been addressed because the launch of the RF mannequin final 12 months. All new 2019 MX-5 fashions will function the extra sturdy and dependable gearbox internals.

    On the street

    As a result of the entire new energy lives within the higher reaches of the tach’s swing, day-to-day driving feels loads just like the previous Miata, simply extra refined.

    Getting off the road round city is smoother and there is noticeably much less shudder when easing out and in of second gear in stop-and-go site visitors. The 2019 mannequin additionally contains a new exhaust that has a a lot nicer sound. There’s much less of that four-banger buzz and extra of a deep tone, significantly within the engine’s midrange.

    On a twisty street, the additional trace of torque throughout makes even relaxed drives really feel extra epic, whereas the improved exhaust observe beckons the motive force to larger revs. Solely now as an alternative of working out of steam simply when the enjoyable is starting, the little roadster will get higher and extra animated the tougher you flog it.


    The additional energy and revs are good, however glorious dealing with continues to be the Miata’s strongest high quality.

    Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

    It is nonetheless a Miata — 26 extra ponies would not dramatically enhance the acceleration — however protecting my foot planted when slinging across the sweeping bends between Paso Robles and the Pacific coast revealed that the tone of the automobile is now much more playful and kinetic in dynamic driving conditions. Whenever you actually wring it out, the 2019 MX-5 feels only a contact extra particular.

    In the meantime, the MX-5’s dealing with is as partaking and responsive as ever. I completely love the way in which this automobile balances predictable and nimble dealing with with a journey that is by no means punishing. The roadster soaks up bumps, slightly than skipping over them, which makes the automobile really feel planted beneath dynamic driving circumstances on typically poorly maintained however beautifully twisty mountain roads between Santa Cruz and the San Francisco peninsula that I name dwelling.

    All of the whereas the chassis, suspension and steering are busy relaying a number of the greatest street really feel to the motive force’s seat, giving me all types of speedy and clear details about what the automobile’s doing and the way my inputs have an effect on it. As I realized throughout my first dance with the fourth-generation MX-5, “chucking the Miata right into a nook turns into a rewarding adrenaline rush, slightly than a mildly terrifying one.”

    Packages and pricing

    For now, pricing is just actually obtainable for the 2019 MX-5 RF fashions. They’re about $435 to $585 costlier than final 12 months, starting from $32,345 for the least costly Membership 6MT to $34,410 for the priciest Grand Touring 6AT earlier than choices. (Personally, I have been gazing longingly on the $32,345 RF Membership 6MT and its $four,670 Brembo brakes, BBS wheels and Recaro seat bundle. So good!)


    Pricing has solely been introduced for the RF mannequin, however count on the tender high to see an analogous $435 to $585 worth hike.

    Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

    The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF goes on sale within the US this month with the tender high mannequin following later this 12 months, presumably with an analogous worth hike.

    The additional top-end energy is a good addition to an extended listing of traits that make the roadster fascinating to lovers certain for the monitor or autocross course. However much more informal drivers will discover the meatier low-to-midrange torque, improved creature comforts and different refinements make the 2019 Mazda MX-5 extra gratifying day-to-day.

    What I really like concerning the Miata is the way it makes even mundane drives really feel particular and a little bit enjoyable. Grindingly gradual site visitors on the Pacific Coast Freeway close to Massive Sur could not wipe the grin off of my face, and this new mannequin improves on all of that with out compromises.

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