2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata review: The everyday supercar

This roadster is lean, low and amazingly purposeful.  

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The Mazda Miata is a supercar. No, it will not have an obscenely strong 12-cylinder engine, its major speed will not eclipse 200 mph and it is not wrapped in aerospace-grade carbon-fiber bodywork. But have confidence in me, approximately every little thing about this machine is super.

Table of Contents


  • Linear engine performance
  • Scalpel-sharp dynamics
  • Chic shifting
  • It’s a lot quick

Don’t Like

  • The infotainment system blows
  • A tight healthy for taller folks
  • Borderline brutal journey

This little Japanese roadster provides more driving satisfaction than some exotic automobiles that price tag 10 occasions more. Reality be explained to, I would rather have 1 of these than actually any new Maserati. Confident, Lamborghinis are awesome, but they usually are not as pure as the humble Miata. Even Acura’s NSX, which in its latest variety is rocket-quick and very able, falls brief of the easy joy this Mazda can provide. If dynamics are a major priority, dollar for dollar, this auto are unable to be conquer. 

I unquestionably adore how the Miata drives. It’s so organic, immediate and intuitive. It feels more like an extension of your system than your very own correct arm. The conversation between its clutch, accelerator and shifter provide this unparalleled connectedness. The leftmost pedal is properly weighted, being neither far too hefty nor feather-light, in addition it has a broad engagement range, which makes my midlevel Club examination auto easy to push. The stubby shifter, which allows you to stir the common six-speed handbook transmission, is crisp, with brief throws and zero vagueness. It’s just a disgrace some powertrain vibration can be felt by means of its leather-wrapped knob. Ultimately, the engine responds right away to even minute accelerator-pedal inputs, which makes acquiring beautifully rev-matched downshifts kid’s participate in.

Miatas bought in The usa are energized by a two.-liter engine that makes its power the outdated-fashioned way. Without the need of any pressured induction, this little 4-pot is blessed with an amazingly linear powerband, 1 that’s no cost of any hiccups or stutters as it climbs with fury from idle to the 7,five hundred-rpm redline. Output measures 181 horsepower, when torque clocks in at 151 pound-feet. Those people figures may perhaps seem a little weak, particularly in a globe wherever you can get a Toyota Camry with more than 300 ponies, but have confidence in me, that’s a lot of giddy up in the Miata, which only weighs all-around two,341 pounds in Club guise. A little further torque may well be awesome, but this truly isn’t even a complaint. Quick gearing allows continue to keep that powerplant on the boil and the driver smiling from ear to ear.

Just one incredible factor about this auto is how quickly the engine slows down. Clutch in and the tachometer needle drops immediately, a rarity in modern day automobiles with digital throttles. This supercar responsiveness contributes to the Miata’s smooth and straightforward drivability.

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata

This is wherever the action’s at! The Miata is a lot strong even with possessing “only” 181 hp.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Of system, this roadster can also be experienced with a six-speed automated transmission. But even if you might be not terribly experienced dancing the a few-pedal shuffle, I encourage you to go with the stick since the Miata is just so straightforward to shift and push, in addition the automated is rather out of character for this auto. 

When fitted with a handbook gearbox, hope 26 miles for each gallon metropolis and 34 freeway. Merged, my tester is rated at 29 mpg, although the laptop readout signifies far better than 34, an incredible figure looking at how often I have been viewing the engine’s upper boundaries.

Acceleration is easy, although this Mazda probably isn’t pretty as fast as it feels. On more than a several occasions, I obtain myself likely about five mph slower than the posted restrict since the Miata provides you these types of a sensation of speed. The engine is buzzy and sort of loud, in addition with the major up you can find tons of wind sound, particularly on the freeway. This car’s rigid suspension elicits a little bit of cowl shake on bad roads, far too, and all these points conspire to make it appear like you might be likely speedier than you in fact are.

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Search at those Brembo calipers, not only are they very, they’re purposeful, far too.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Of system, must you overcook a corner or place a cop hiding out beneath an overpass, the brakes are all set, inclined and more than capable to pull back again on the reins. Club models with the handbook transmission can be fitted with a $four,470 package deal that provides heated Recaro sport seats and Brembo entrance binders with crimson calipers all all-around. This package deal also provides fashionable sill extensions and forged, 17-inch BBS wheels.

Handbook-geared up Club models also achieve a several other upgrades of be aware. They feature a entrance strut-tower brace, an induction seem enhancer and a confined-slip differential. But more important than any of that things is the sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein dampers. Ordinarily, Miatas are reasonably smooth and forgiving, but my tester’s journey flirts with brutal. Truly, it is unnecessarily rigid, which lessens not only consolation but driver self confidence.

Journey high quality may perhaps be questionable, but the Miata’s steering is superb, crisp and immediate, with close to telepathic precision. Deal with corners at irresponsible speed and the auto responds with enthusiasm the fifty:fifty body weight distribution makes it sense like the vehicle is rotating about an axis that falls correct wherever butt is planted. At 1st, the wheel’s thin rim would seem a little bit far too compact for your arms, like you can find not plenty of meat there, but right after a several miles in the saddle it feels fully organic. The tiller is just wispy, which is in retaining with the relaxation of the car’s engineering ethos. 

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata

For what it is, this car’s inside is pretty nicely performed, just never hope loads of home to stretch your legs.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The common Miata will come with a cloth roof that tucks absent in 1 smooth motion. Just pull the header-mounted lever and push the major rearward right until it locks into a nicely behind the seats. That is it. At the time sunburn sets in or rain clouds threaten, it pops up just as simply. If you want much less inside sound and possessing an actual roof around your head, take into account the Miata RF, which features a power-retracting hardtop and a sticker rate that’s a several grand greater.

This car’s inside is attractively made and generally purposeful, although I do have a several problems. For starters, you can find pretty little storage place. Like some Aston Martins, you can find no classic glovebox — all your things has to go in the trunk, a couple little cubbies on the centre console or in a bin between the seatbacks. But as a taller particular person, my most significant gripe is about the Miata’s sizing. I just never healthy in it pretty nicely. If I were six inches shorter it’d probably be fantastic, but the seats’ confined adjustability and pavement-scraping lessen cushion make it much less than perfect on prolonged trips.

All Miatas arrive common with a Mazda Hook up multimedia system and a 7-inch display screen. As in other solutions built by this automaker, that infotainment system is very substandard, with a Byzantine structure, unattractive graphics and a touchscreen that shuts off when the vehicle is in motion. Building points even worse, the rotary command dial and the quantity knob are mounted far too much back again on the centre console, rendering them pretty awkward to use. At the very least you get a pair of USB ports as nicely as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, the former of which is not even available in some Ferraris. 

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata

The Mazda MX-five Miata is a legend, and for good purpose.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

As for driver aids, there usually are not far too quite a few, but for 2020 a pretty vocal lane-departure warning system, blind-place monitoring and rear cross-targeted traffic inform are common across the range. A lot more superior features which include adaptive cruise command and lane-retaining help are not available no issue the rate. 

Speaking of bucks and cents, my Arctic White MX-five Miata Club design checked out for correct all-around $35,705, which include that 1 possibility package deal and $945 in desired destination costs. That is sort of a ton of money for these types of a compact auto. You could get a Ford Mustang GT or Chevy Camaro SS, equally of which have potent V8 engines, or even a bare-bones BMW two Series coupe for a similar quantity. But none of those models, not even the rather similar Toyota 86, are likely to give everywhere close to the similar driving finesse as this little Mazda.

Maria J. Danford

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