Do you care about practicality when it comes to buying a small fun-to-drive sports car? Because while the Mazda MX-5 Miata has always been one of my favorite sports cars, I always debate picking the Miata over more practical cars like the Subaru BRZ or the Nissan 370Z.
Nonetheless, the Mazda MX-5 Miata is back for the 2019 model year to make an even stronger case for itself. It comes to the fight packing a more powerful engine, which now produces 181 horsepower — something that dramatically improves an already fun-to-drive sports car.
So let’s take a few minutes and go over all the interesting facts and details about the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF.
2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Exterior
This is definitely the best looking Miata yet. Gone are the days where you would call the Miata an adorable little sports car. While the last-generation had a big smiley face grille, the new Miata has a perfectly proportionate design and looks very aggressive and expensive. Now, I test drove the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF which has a retractable hard-top in place of the fabric soft-top. The first question I was repeatedly asked is that if the RF’s top adds weight and the answer is yes. The Mazda MX-5 Miata RF weighs a total of 2,453 lbs. (manual) — 114 lbs. more than the soft top. The added weight only knocks 0.1 seconds off the 0-60 mph time, so it’s really not that big of a deal. In fact, I would prefer the Mazda MX-5 Miata RF over the Roadster because it actually looks better and feels sturdier. To operate the top, you simply have to toggle a button located in front of the gearbox. The full operation from close to open and back takes 13 seconds.
Now, there aren’t many options available, but you can add an Appearance Package that adds a front air dam, side sill extensions, a black rear bumper skirt, and a black rear lip spoiler.
Size wise, the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF sits on a wheelbase that measures 91 inches, with an overall length of 154 inches. The width stretches 68.3 inches and the height stands at 49 inches.
2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Interior
Mazda has done an exceptional job combining high-quality materials with outstanding interior design. When it comes to the Mazda MX-5 Miata and its rivals, the Miata clearly has the best interior. My biggest issue with the Nissan 370Z and the Toyobarus is that their interiors feel very outdated. But Mazda has managed to bring the interior design and quality of its more expensive models to the Miata.
Other than the Sport trim, the Club and the Grand Touring trims come standard with a Bose 9-speaker sound system (some of which are in the headrests), Mazda Connect infotainment system, seven-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, AUX/USB inputs, heated seats, a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and more. The Grand Touring trim adds leather-trimmed seats, navigation, automatic climate control, rain sensing wipers, traffic sign recognition, and more.
What does it lack? The Miata lacks storage, easily accessible cup holders, and room. I’m 6 feet tall, and sitting in the Miata is definitely a challenge. My knees are always hitting the steering and it is difficult to really stretch out during a long drive. Storage wise, there is no glove box or storage compartments in the doors – you literally have a small area between the two seats that acts as a glove box. While there aren’t any permanent cup holders, the Miata offers detachable cup holders for when you need them.
2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Performance
Every time I get a chance to drive the Miata – I’m completely blown away by its precise and sharp handling and its quick acceleration. Power for the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF comes from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 181 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, zero to 60 mph takes just 5.8 seconds, and top speed of 140 mph.
The Miata is insanely fun to drive, and yes the extra 26 horsepower are much appreciated. This is the best Miata I’ve ever driven. It is so fun to throw into corners, downshift, and pounce on the accelerator while coming out, it’s impossible to climb out of it without a smile on your face.
Fuel economy wise, the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF averages an EPA-rated 26/34 mpg* (city/highway).
2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Overall
As a daily driver, the Miata can be a little rough. It definitely rides better than the outgoing models, but you always automatically hit the brakes when you see a big bump on the road in an attempt to save yourself some pain. To me, the Miata is the perfect weekend car or a car you use when you’re not with your friends or family or plan on going on a long drive.
The Mazda MX-5 Miata Roadster starts at just $27,080**. A Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring will run you a total of $31,855**. If you’re going to go for the hard-top MX-5 Miata RF (seen here), you’re looking at $32,945** for the Club model and $34,410** for the Grand Touring. Overall, no matter which model or trim you go for, the Mazda MX-5 Miata will leave you smiling every single day. Visit your local AutoNation Mazda dealership for a test drive today.
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.