We who live in Snohomish County are fortunate for many reasons. Chief among them is quick and easy access to the kind of winding scenic roads the wonderful little Mazda MX-5 Miata was born for.
Mazda introduced Miata in 1989, when convertible sports cars were nearly extinct. It was an instant success and by April 2016 one million Miatas had been sold. In 2015 Miata’s name was changed to MX-5 in keeping with other vehicles in the Mazda lineup, but the Miata name was preserved along with it.
There are two MX-5 versions: Soft Top and RF (retractable hard top). Soft Top models come in Sport, Club, and Grand Touring trim levels. The RF has only Club and Grand Touring trims. Both versions of the MX-5 are available with a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic.
Pricing starts at $26,625 for a Soft Top in Sport trim with a manual transmission. The top of the line, a Grand Touring RF with automatic transmission, is $35,305. These prices include a destination charge of $895.
For 2019 the Mazda MX-5 Miata’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is boosted to generate 181 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 151 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. These numbers reflect a gain of 26 horsepower and 3 pound-feet of torque, and redline has been increased from 6,800 rpm to 7,500 rpm.
My tester was an RF model in the Grand Touring trim with a manual transmission.
The Miata has always been, and its many fans hope it always will be, a car strictly for people who love to drive. For those who love to drive, a roadster is the ultimate kick. The MX-5 delivers kick plentifully and at prices not limited to people with trust funds.
Excellent fuel economy contributes to the MX-5’s affordability over the years. My tester’s rating is 26 mpg city, 34 mpg highway, and 29 mpg combined.
MX-5 is lightweight and the weight is evenly distributed from front to back for a perfect balance. On roads with lots of tight turns it is one of the most accommodating cars on earth and can make drivers of all skill levels feel ready for the racing circuit.
Acceleration is more than enough to provide a satisfying sense of speed without encouraging the driver to do something stupid. Coordinating the manual transmission’s clutch pedal and gear shifter could not be easier, more fluid or more fun.
All these great features make MX-5’s appallingly limited amount of space a nonissue for sports car fans, provided the fan isn’t real large and doesn’t need to take more than a few small things along for the ride. Front seats are roomy enough, and comfortable. There are no back seats. No stowage pockets in the doors. The trunk is best measured in cubic inches.
The Mazda MX-5 Miata is clearly not a family-friendly car. That’s all of its charm.
2019 MAZDA MX-5 MIATA GRAND TOURING RF
Base price, including destination charge: $34,230
Price as driven: $35,905
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.