The Mazda MX-5 Miata is one of our favorites. It’s pure driving enjoyment that can’t be matched by much else on the market in its price range. Sure there are other roadsters out there that offer more power, but they also aren’t nearly as engaging to drive as the Miata is. You feel so connected to the Miata that it feels like its a member of the family. Its critics will say, it needs more power or the interior is too small, but that’s all part of the Miata’s appeal.
For the 2018 model year, Mazda didn’t make too many changes to the Miata, but you can now choose a dark cherry top or a new auburn-colored interior as an option. Nappa leather seats are now available on the Grand Touring model, while the MX-5 Club with the Brembo/ BBS Recaro package gets heated leather seats. You won’t find any extra horses under the hood, but the rear suspension and power steering system have been re-tuned. According to Mazda the suspension and steering updates improve its driving performance and also drop the interior noise level a few decibels.
While there are rumors of some bigger performance upgrades for the 2019 model year, the 2018 MX-5 Miata makes due with a 2.0L four-cylinder with 155 horsepower and 148 lb-ft. of torque. A six-speed manual is standard, but a six-speed auto is there if you prefer. Commuting with a manual transmission does add some extra work to your day, but it all pays off on the weekend, so we’d never check the automatic option in a Miata.
Just sitting in a parking lot, the latest generation Miata stands out. It might be its small footprint, but its classic roadster proportions combined with Mazda’s current Kodo design theme has netted a look that’s sure to stand the test of time. Once inside, the Miata’s interior features a simplistic design with every button and knob that you need placed exactly where it should be – well besides the volume button, which feels a few inches too far back. Yes the interior doesn’t offer much space, but we were able to fit a 6’6″ friend in the passenger seat and he didn’t complain too much. A few inches of more legroom or hip room would be great, but not at the expense of the added weight.
With the top up the MX-5 Club’s interior is a little louder than the Grand Touring model, which does make it a little hard to make a call, but then again, just enjoy the drive and call your friend later. Our tester also had the Brembo/ BBS Recaro package. The new heated leather Recaro seats are supportive and look cool, but they somehow make the interior feel even smaller. Again the biggest complaint about the MX-5 Miata’s interior is its infotainment system, which feels old. The system looks dated and the fact that it doesn’t offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, is a major miss. Fortunately it looks like Mazda is finally getting around to offering Apple CarPlay, since its starting to show up in the Mazda6.
Mazda offers the MX-5 Miata in three trim levels: Sport, Club and Grand Touring. The Club trim level offers the sportiest suspension setup and the optional front Brembo brakes. The Club’s sport-tuned suspension with its Bilstein shock absorbers, may be a bit too firm for some roads, but it does reduce the excessive body roll that the other trim levels experience.
There’s been lots of news lately about the fate of the car as crossovers continue to proliferate the segment, but you’d have a hard time trying to find a crossover that’s as engaging or fun to drive as the MX-5 Miata.
Pricing for the 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata starts at $25,295.