Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

Though the MX-5 is pretty quick, its primary purpose is not necessarily about speed. The Miata is all about agility, fun and engagement and as a result most of its performance is derived from its lightweight chassis rather than from a big, overpowered engine.

The current MX-5 convertible tips the scales at about 2,300 pounds, incredibly light by today's standards. That lightness combines with rear-wheel drive to make the Miata one of the best handling cars on the road.

The MX-5 Miata is offered as a soft-top convertible and, in the RF, as a retractable fastback, with a power activated hardtop supported by handsome rear buttresses. There is only one engine available on the MX-5, a 2.0L 4-cylinder that makes 155 horsepower. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission, though a 6-speed automatic optional. Thanks to the car's light weight, 155 horsepower is still be enough to get the Miata to 60 mph in under seven seconds. The most impressive result of the car's light curb weight might be the fuel economy though. The MX-5 convertible is rated at 27 mpg in the city, meaning that owners can really have their cake and eat it too.

The MX-5 convertible comes in three different trims -- Sport, Club and Grand Touring -- while the MX-5 RF is offered in Club, Grand Touring and Launch Edition.

The Sport trim aims for purity, stripping back most of the options and giving drivers a chance to really focus on the fun of driving. Standard features on the Sport trim include 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, sporty cloth-upholstered seats, air-conditioning, a 6-speaker stereo with USB input, Bluetooth connectivity, a leather shift knob and a manual folding soft top.

The Club trim is more about performance and should be the choice for anyone who wants to take their MX-5 to the track. The Club trim comes standard with 17-inch wheels, which are shod in wider rubber than those on the Sport trim. The Club trim also includes Bilstein shock absorbers, a limited-slip differential (manual transmission only) some additional aero parts and piano black exterior mirrors. Also included with the Club trim is a Bose 9-speaker stereo complete with 7inch touchscreen monitor. A set of lightweight, forged BBS wheels covering uprated Brembo brakes with red calipers are optional on the Club trim.

The Grand Touring trim adds just a dash of comfort to the otherwise very focused Miata. Leather seating is included as standard, as is automatic climate control, a built-in garage door opener and satellite radio. A host of safety options include a blind spot/lane departure warning system, rain sensing wipers and automatic high beams.

The RF Launch Edition, limited to 1,000 copies, offers a unique color combination of Machine Gray Metallic with a hand-painted roof in Piano Black. The interior features Auburn Nappa leather. The Launch Edition also comes with a special Tourneau chronograph watch.

Editors' Review

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Some things in life bring pure joy. Laughing to tears with your best pal. Playing with a dog on a beach. Or, to the point of this story, driving a 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata on a winding road with a full tank of gas and a cloudless sky. The Miata has no gimmicks like drive modes or gesture controls or personal artificial-intelligence assistants. When I'm in a Miata, it's just me, the car and the open road. Pure joy.

The MX-5 is now in its 30th year, and over the course of four generations, the two-seat roadster hasn't changed all that much. These days, it comes with a 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated I4 engine pushing out a modest 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. And now, in addition to a traditional soft-top, you can get the Miata RF, with a coupe-like back and a removable roof.

The Miata has never been about power above all else, but that doesn't mean the Mazda is a slouch. The engine was retuned for 2019, adding 26 more horsepower and 3 more pound-feet of torque, with a 7,500-rpm redline. The gearing was changed slightly, too, for a quicker off-the-line experience. This might sound like hyperbole, but I promise, this is the best car I've driven this year.

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The Good The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata is an absolute blast to drive, whether you're commuting in the city or winding along your favorite backroad. This is one of the best sports cars available at any price.

The Bad The in-car infotainment tech is pretty bad, and there aren't many driver-assistance systems available. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are only available on the sold-out 30th Anniversary trim.

The Bottom Line Not many cars are as fun to drive as the Miata. It hasn't changed much over the last 30 years, and that's perfectly fine by us.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 10
  • Features 8.5
  • Design 10
  • Media 6.5

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