2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review
Edmunds expert review
The Mazda MX-5 Miata was completely redesigned just two years ago, so it's no surprise the 2018 model receives few changes. Mazda did its homework with this Miata generation, improving the interior quality and accommodations while making it lighter and quicker than its predecessor. There is perhaps no better Mazda model that currently embodies the "Zoom-Zoom" spirit more than the MX-5 Miata.
Miatas are best enjoyed when the road turns twisty. A peppy yet fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine provides enough power and a delightful soundtrack to keep you entertained for as many miles as you can handle. And on that note, if you want the best version of the Miata for such activities, we strongly recommend the Club trim and the six-speed manual transmission. Mazda also offers an automatic transmission, but it doesn't come with many of the Miata's dynamic-enhancing goodies.
As always, though, there are downsides to Miata ownership. Taller individuals might find the cabin confining and particularly difficult to enter and exit if the top isn't down. Trunk capacity is a laughable 4.6 cubic feet, so packing light is a requirement for any road trip. And lastly, in the interest of saving weight, the lack of sound deadening results in a fair amount of road and wind noise at speed with the top up.
Still, few cars are more rewarding and fun to wheel around than the Miata. If you can live with the size limitations, you have little reason to consider anything else in this segment for the pleasure of driving.
What's new for 2018
Trim levels & features
The 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a two-seat roadster offered in three trim levels: Sport, Club and Grand Touring. All three trim levels are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (155 horsepower, 148 pound-feet of torque) that drives the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual or an optional six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The Sport trim offers a more bare-bones motoring experience; the Club is for sport-oriented driving, with a number of mechanical upgrades and added interior features; and the top Grand Touring trim focuses on providing comfort, convenience and technology.
Standard features for the Sport trim include 16-inch alloy wheels, a manually retractable black soft top with a glass rear window, LED headlights and taillights, air conditioning, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment interface, keyless entry with push-button ignition, a height-adjustable driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, cruise control, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, a USB port and an auxiliary audio jack.
The Club trim includes everything from the Sport but comes with different equipment depending on the chosen transmission. With the manual shifter, it includes a sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers, a shock-tower brace, a limited-slip differential and an engine sound enhancer. Opting for the automatic negates these features.
Otherwise, all Miata Clubs get 17-inch wheels with summer performance tires, a sportier front fascia, a rear lip spoiler, black mirror covers and roll hoops, red interior stitching, upgraded interior trim panels, a nine-speaker Bose audio system (with headrest speakers, satellite radio and HD radio, and dual USB ports), voice controls, and a 7-inch touchscreen interface with an auxiliary control knob mounted on the center console. The Club also gets a safety-oriented bundle that includes blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
The Grand Touring loses the manual-transmission Club's performance upgrades except for the sound enhancer, which remains a manual-only feature. But it gets adaptive headlights with automatic high-beam control, auto-dimming mirrors with exterior heating, lane departure warning, body-colored mirror covers, automatic wipers, a cloth-lined top, leather upholstery, heated seats, automatic climate control and a navigation system.
A Brembo/BBS package is offered on manual-transmission Club models, and it includes 17-inch forged BBS wheels, more powerful Brembo front brakes, an aero body kit and heated leather seats. For 2018, this package can also be enhanced with Recaro sport seats.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our Full Test of the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club Convertible (2.0L inline-4 | 6-speed manual | RWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current MX-5 Miata is fundamentally unchanged. Our findings remain fully applicable to this year.
Noise & vibration7.0
Ease of use8.5
Getting in/getting out7.0
Audio & navigation
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.