2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata: What's It Like To Live With?
Sunshine, Stick Shifts and 20,000 Miles in a Mazda Miata
|Miles Driven||Average MPG|
Latest Highlights (updated 05/20/20)
- Make the most of it
- What we got and why
- Fuel economy
- Maintenance and upkeep
|Total routine maintenance costs||$|
|Additional maintenance costs||none|
|Scheduled dealer visits||none|
|Unscheduled dealer visits||none|
|Days out of service||none|
|Breakdowns stranding driver||none|
|Total body repair costs||none|
Items we're keeping an eye on
• Uneven trunk lid
Recalls performed on this vehicle
"The manual rearview mirror is a mixed bag in our Miata. On the plus side, at night manual mirrors are generally better at dulling bright lights than auto-dimming (or electrochromic) mirrors, and auto-dimming mirrors tend to have bezels of un-dimmed glass around the edges. Since the Miata is about as far off the ground as a toddler, the manual mirror is much better at keeping you from being blinded. But only if the top is up.
If the top is down, the manual mirror reflects every overhead lightsource. So if you're driving through an area with tall, lit up buildings and lots of streetlights you have to sort through a ton of visual noise to distinguish cars from scenery. In most cars, having one type of mirror or the other is just an issue of convenience, but in the Miata it's practically calculus." — Will Kaufman, content strategist and news editor
"The rearview mirror on this Miata seems to be magnified more than normal. Cars behind you appear to be tailgating you when in reality, they're at a normal distance. I'm not sure if this is standard for a convertible, but it'll take some getting used to." — Ron Montoya, senior consumer advice editor
"Our Miata has Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, which I like because I am connecting my iPhone almost all the time when I'm driving. CarPlay is meant to work like a phone, so its interface is touch-oriented. But using CarPlay is unusual here because of the Miata's touchscreen.
It has touch functionality only when you're stopped. Once you're on the move you have to use the Miata's rotary knob controller to interface with the infotainment system. Mazda does this to reduce driver distraction, presumably. But operating CarPlay with the knob — you have to spin it to move a cursor around the app icons, and then press the knob down to select — is actually more distracting than just touching the screen. This would work better if Mazda just let you use touch functionality all the time." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content
"At 4.6 cu. ft. the Miata's trunk is not big. But it is practical for its size. I have no problem fitting a week's worth of groceries in the back. And when a short road trip opportunity presented itself, two overnight bags, jackets and personal bags had plenty of space. If the Miata fits into your life, your life will fit into a Miata." — Kurt Niebuhr, vehicle test editor
"At 6-foot-4, I'm essentially all wrong for the Mazda Miata. My hair brushes against the roof, even if I slouch in my seat, and when I do finally get in, I look like the guy in the Beetle from "22 Short Films About Springfield." And yet, the Miata is so satisfying to drive that the fact I don't fit is of no importance. The quick steering response, satisfying gearshifts, relatively powerful engine and intuitive rev-matching coalesce to form this utterly engaging two-seater. I couldn't daily drive the Miata given my specs, but I want to." — Cameron Rogers, reviews editor
"I'm inclined to say the Miata's (or MX-5 or MX-5 Miata, whatever) exhaust pipes are the best in the business. They stick out just far enough beyond the rear bumper, they're stainless, thin walled and straight cut. Perfect." — Kurt Niebuhr, vehicle test editor
"Of all the cars in our long-term fleet, this is easily the one I'd prefer to be stuck with during the pandemic. Yes, over our shiny new Tesla Model Y or the bonkers Shelby GT500. Why? Because it's the only car in our fleet that is all fun all the time, even if I'm just doing a lap of the city to get out of my apartment. We all need an escape right now, be it bingeing a TV show or playing video games for hours on end. The Miata is mine. Sure it doesn't have a back seat for friends or a quiet and isolating highway ride, but neither one of those things matters right now. All that I care about when I choose to get behind the wheel is if I can forget about what's going on and do the one thing that I know I love: driving." — Reese Counts, vehicle test editor
"I absolutely love our long-term Miata. My wife and I have seriously considered getting one, though it would be a terrible replacement for her Honda CR-V. She loves the idea of owning a convertible in California and is fine with the Miata's slick, easy-to-operate manual transmission. That's good news for me as I would loath owning this car with the automatic.
It's small and easy to park, a big boon in Los Angeles where parking spaces are small and street parking is a frequent necessity. Fuel economy is excellent, too. We're just a hair behind the EPA combined rating of 29 mpg, but I guarantee it could match or beat it if I quit revving the engine out or upshifted more frequently. The biggest flaw is the lack of power, so I usually leave it in a lower gear around town to make the car a little more responsive. In other ND Miatas I've driven, I've seen 38 mpg over a full tank of highway driving, much better than the EPA-estimated 34 mpg.
But good fuel economy is a boring reason to buy a sports car. I want a Miata because I don't think you can have more fun in a new car for less money." — Reese Counts, vehicle test editor