Unlike other websites and magazines, our ratings are not based solely on a singular road test, but rather a more encompassing batch of criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value. When comparing vehicles using our Rating System, it's important to note that the rating earned by each vehicle correlates only to the models within its class. For example, a compact car cannot be compared to a SUV—They are different vehicles altogether.
You can interpret our ratings in the following way:
5-Star: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.
4-Star: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.
3-Star: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.
2-Star: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.
1-Star: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.
2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata OVERVIEW
If you were to distill driving pleasure down to a small package, you'd find the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata as the evaporated product ready for bottling. While it isn't packing the most horsepower in the segment, the Miata is incredibly nimble, capable of maintaining insane amounts of speed through the corners, and a joy to drive. These factors combine to make it quite possibly the best sports car you can buy with a price tag south of the Porsche Boxster.
What's New for 2019
The 2019 Mazda Miata may look very similar, but there's a big difference over the last year: the engine's power has been increased from 155 horsepower to 181. While 26 hp may not seem like a lot, it makes a huge difference in a car that weighs less than 2,400 pounds. The Miata also offers more packages, options, and features over the previous model year.
Choosing Your Mazda MX-5 Miata
The Mazda Miata is powered by a naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 181 hp and 151 pound-feet of torque. While this doesn't seem like a lot in a world where you can get a Toyota Camry with over 300 hp, it's perfect for the chassis. While you can get a Miata with a competent six-speed automatic transmission for an additional $1,350, the excellent six-speed manual is the transmission to get. Not only does it connect you to the driving experience better, manual models in some trims are also equipped with a Bilstein sport suspension, a limited-slip differential, and shock tower bracing for better handling. If you get the automatic, you get a softer and less fun Miata in all aspects.
The Miata comes with one of two roof types: a classic soft top or the folding metal roof found in the Miata RF. The soft top is available at all trim levels, but the RF can only be had with the Club and Grand Touring trim levels at a $2,755 premium over the soft top model. This price includes the addition of not only the roof, but also an additional multifunction display in the gauge cluster.
While the Miata eschews many features found in similarly priced vehicles for the sake of driving pleasure, the most basic models still get keyless entry, LED headlights, a six-speaker stereo, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, parking brake, and shift knob. Higher trims are offered with heated seats, leather upholstery, traffic sign recognition, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
If you're buying a 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata, get one with a manual transmission. If you don't know how to drive a manual but still want a Miata, find a friend who'll teach you the basics, then buy the manual Miata and hone your skills on it. The manual transmission is a cornerstone of the overall Miata experience, creating one more point of connection between the driver and the machine.
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