2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata review: The everyday supercar

Table of Contents

This roadster is lean, small and exceptionally purposeful.  

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The Mazda Miata is a supercar. No, it will not have an obscenely powerful 12-cylinder engine, its best pace will not eclipse two hundred mph and it truly is not wrapped in aerospace-grade carbon-fiber bodywork. But rely on me, nearly almost everything about this equipment is tremendous.


  • Linear engine efficiency
  • Scalpel-sharp dynamics
  • Sublime shifting
  • It really is lots quickly

Don’t Like

  • The infotainment program blows
  • A restricted suit for taller individuals
  • Borderline brutal experience

This minor Japanese roadster provides a lot more driving pleasure than some unique cars and trucks that value ten moments a lot more. Truth of the matter be advised, I might fairly have one particular of these than literally any new Maserati. Absolutely sure, Lamborghinis are awesome, but they usually are not as pure as the humble Miata. Even Acura’s NSX, which in its recent kind is rocket-quickly and particularly able, falls quick of the basic joy this Mazda can deliver. If dynamics are a best precedence, greenback for greenback, this automobile won’t be able to be beat. 

I definitely adore how the Miata drives. It really is so purely natural, direct and intuitive. It feels a lot more like an extension of your body than your personal correct arm. The conversation amongst its clutch, accelerator and shifter deliver this unparalleled connectedness. The leftmost pedal is properly weighted, currently being neither far too major nor feather-gentle, in addition it has a broad engagement assortment, which would make my midlevel Club examination automobile easy to generate. The stubby shifter, which enables you to stir the standard six-pace manual transmission, is crisp, with quick throws and zero vagueness. It really is just a shame some powertrain vibration can be felt through its leather-wrapped knob. Eventually, the engine responds promptly to even minute accelerator-pedal inputs, which would make reaching completely rev-matched downshifts kid’s enjoy.

Miatas marketed in The usa are energized by a 2.-liter engine that would make its electrical power the old-fashioned way. Without the need of any compelled induction, this minor four-pot is blessed with an exceptionally linear powerband, one particular that’s free of charge of any hiccups or stutters as it climbs with fury from idle to the seven,500-rpm redline. Output measures 181 horsepower, though torque clocks in at 151 pound-ft. Those figures may perhaps seem a minor weak, particularly in a earth exactly where you can get a Toyota Camry with a lot more than three hundred ponies, but rely on me, that’s lots of giddy up in the Miata, which only weighs about 2,341 lbs in Club guise. A minor more torque may be awesome, but this truly just isn’t even a grievance. Limited gearing can help preserve that powerplant on the boil and the driver smiling from ear to ear.

A person incredible detail about this automobile is how quickly the engine slows down. Clutch in and the tachometer needle drops instantaneously, a rarity in present day autos with digital throttles. This supercar responsiveness contributes to the Miata’s easy and easy drivability.

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata

This is exactly where the action’s at! The Miata is lots powerful inspite of having “only” 181 hp.

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Of class, this roadster can also be experienced with a six-pace automatic transmission. But even if you might be not terribly knowledgeable dancing the a few-pedal shuffle, I persuade you to go with the adhere simply because the Miata is just so easy to change and generate, in addition the automatic is fairly out of character for this automobile. 

When fitted with a manual gearbox, hope 26 miles for each gallon metropolis and 34 freeway. Merged, my tester is rated at 29 mpg, though the computer readout signifies far better than 34, an incredible determine thinking about how commonly I have been browsing the engine’s upper boundaries.

Acceleration is easy, though this Mazda in all probability just isn’t pretty as rapid as it feels. On a lot more than a few instances, I obtain myself likely about five mph slower than the posted limit simply because the Miata provides you such a sensation of pace. The engine is buzzy and type of loud, in addition with the best up there is tons of wind noise, particularly on the freeway. This car’s rigid suspension elicits a little bit of cowl shake on bad streets, far too, and all these matters conspire to make it look like you might be likely speedier than you truly are.

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Appear at those Brembo calipers, not only are they pretty, they’re practical, far too.

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Of class, should really you overcook a corner or location a cop hiding out beneath an overpass, the brakes are all set, ready and a lot more than equipped to pull again on the reins. Club designs with the manual transmission can be fitted with a $4,470 offer that provides heated Recaro activity seats and Brembo entrance binders with crimson calipers all about. This offer also provides fashionable sill extensions and solid, 17-inch BBS wheels.

Manual-outfitted Club designs also obtain a few other upgrades of notice. They element a entrance strut-tower brace, an induction seem enhancer and a minimal-slip differential. But a lot more significant than any of that stuff is the activity-tuned suspension with Bilstein dampers. Ordinarily, Miatas are relatively soft and forgiving, but my tester’s experience flirts with brutal. Genuinely, it truly is unnecessarily rigid, which lessens not only comfort but driver self confidence.

Experience top quality may perhaps be questionable, but the Miata’s steering is superb, crisp and direct, with near telepathic precision. Deal with corners at irresponsible pace and the automobile responds with enthusiasm the 50:50 excess weight distribution would make it feel like the auto is rotating about an axis that falls correct exactly where butt is planted. At initial, the wheel’s thin rim appears to be a little bit far too compact for your palms, like there is not sufficient meat there, but after a few miles in the saddle it feels wholly purely natural. The tiller is just wispy, which is in preserving with the rest of the car’s engineering ethos. 

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata

For what it is, this car’s inside is pretty nicely performed, just really don’t hope hundreds of room to extend your legs.

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The standard Miata arrives with a cloth roof that tucks absent in one particular easy motion. Just pull the header-mounted lever and drive the best rearward until it locks into a nicely driving the seats. That is it. As soon as sunburn sets in or rain clouds threaten, it pops up just as simply. If you want fewer inside noise and having an real roof around your head, think about the Miata RF, which capabilities a electrical power-retracting hardtop and a sticker price that’s a few grand bigger.

This car’s inside is attractively developed and primarily practical, though I do have a few grievances. For starters, there is pretty minor storage house. Like some Aston Martins, there is no conventional glovebox — all your stuff has to go in the trunk, a few very small cubbies on the center console or in a bin amongst the seatbacks. But as a taller person, my most significant gripe is about the Miata’s size. I just really don’t suit in it pretty nicely. If I ended up six inches shorter it’d in all probability be excellent, but the seats’ minimal adjustability and pavement-scraping decrease cushion make it fewer than great on extended outings.

All Miatas appear standard with a Mazda Join multimedia program and a seven-inch display screen. As in other merchandise built by this automaker, that infotainment program is pretty substandard, with a Byzantine layout, unattractive graphics and a touchscreen that shuts off though the auto is in motion. Building matters worse, the rotary management dial and the volume knob are mounted far too much again on the center console, rendering them pretty awkward to use. At the very least you get a pair of USB ports as nicely as Android Vehicle and Apple CarPlay, the previous of which is not even out there in some Ferraris. 

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata

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

Craig Cole/Roadshow

As for driver aids, there usually are not far too numerous, but for 2020 a pretty vocal lane-departure warning program, blind-location checking and rear cross-targeted visitors alert are standard throughout the assortment. Far more highly developed capabilities such as adaptive cruise management and lane-preserving guide are not offered no issue the price. 

Speaking of bucks and cents, my Arctic White MX-five Miata Club design checked out for correct about $35,705, such as that one particular choice offer and $945 in desired destination service fees. That is type of a large amount of money for such a compact automobile. You could get a Ford Mustang GT or Chevy Camaro SS, both of those of which have powerful V8 engines, or even a bare-bones BMW 2 Collection coupe for a equivalent sum. But none of those designs, not even the rather equivalent Toyota 86, are likely to give anywhere near the identical driving finesse as this minor Mazda.