Completely redesigned two years ago, the 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata received only minor changes. Mazda really does work with this Miata generation, improving interior quality while making it faster and lighter than its predecessor. There may no better Mazda model that currently manifests more passion than the MX-5 Miata.
The 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata is fun on a winding road. The excited but fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine provides enough power to keep you as far as the mile you can handle. And if you want the best Miata version for this activity, it is highly recommended to choose the Club trim and six-speed manual transmission. Mazda also offers an automatic transmission, but does not come with many features to improve the Miata performance.
Even so, there are some downsides of the 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata. A taller person may find the cabin limiting and very difficult to get in and out if the top does not go down. The luggage capacity is only 4.6 cubic feet, so small packing is a requirement for every trip. And in order to save weight, the lack of sound deadening create in a fair amount of road and wind noise at speed with the top up.
Even so, few cars are more valuable and fun to drive than the Miata. If you do not mind the size limitations, you have little reason to consider anything else in this segment for the pleasure of driving.
Trim and Features
The 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a two-seat roadster available in three trim levels: Sport, Club and Grand Touring. The Sport trim offers a more bare-bones driving experience; the Club is sport-oriented driving. The Grand Touring trim focuses on providing technology, convenience and comfort.
Standard equipment for the Sport includes 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, LED taillights, a manually retractable black soft top with a glass rear window, keyless entry with push-button ignition, cruise control, air conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment interface, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB port.
The 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club includes all the Sport features plus different equipment depending on the transmission you choose. With the manual, it includes an engine sound enhancer, a limited-slip differential, a sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers and a shock-tower brace. The automatic negates these features.
Otherwise, all Miata Clubs get summer performance tires, 17-inch wheels, a sportier front fascia, black mirror covers and roll hoops, a rear lip spoiler, upgraded interior trim panels, red interior stitching, voice controls, a 7-inch touchscreen interface with a center console-mounted auxiliary control knob, a nine-speaker Bose audio system with dual USB ports, satellite radio, headrest speakers and HD radio. The Miata Club also gets a blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
The 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring loses the manual-transmission Club features except for the sound enhancer. It also gets adaptive headlights with automatic high-beam control, automatic wipers, auto-dimming mirrors with exterior heating, body-colored mirror covers, lane departure warning, automatic climate control, heated seats, leather upholstery, a cloth-lined top and a navigation system.
A Brembo/BBS package is available on the manual-transmission Club models and includes an aero body kit, more powerful Brembo front brakes, 17-inch forged BBS wheels, Recaro sport seats and heated leather seats.
The rear-wheel-drive 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 155 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic with steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles is optional on all trims.
In performance testing, the 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club with the manual transmission accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds, which is quicker than the previous-generation car. EPA estimated fuel economy is 29 mpg combined (26 city/33 highway) with the manual transmission and 30 mpg combined (27 city/36 highway) with the automatic.
Judging from its size, the 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata interior feels cramped, with limited headroom and leg room for 6-footer passengers. But in and out is not difficult, and the seat is very comfortable, assisted by a nifty mesh-suspension design that forgoes traditional seat springs to save weight. Cabin materials have improved significantly for this generation, especially in the Club and Grand Touring trim, which have enhanced trim panels on the doors, consoles and dashboards. The Sport trim gets a more basic surface, but the cabin is still pretty good for the price.
The 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata controls are well positioned around the driver, and the gauges are easy to read. The touchscreen interface is excellent with intuitive menus and sharp graphics. The only disappointing is a handy redundant control button on the console that can get in the way if you shift gears.
The 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata manual convertible top is exceptionally easy to use. Practiced operators will be able to flip it open in one easy over-the-shoulder motion without leaving the driver seat, and raising it doesn’t require much additional effort. Unfortunately, the trunk space is very small, measuring only 4.6 cubic feet. It small even for a standard roadster. For comparison, a typical family sedan cargo is about three times that size.
Release Dates and Price
The 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata is scheduled to make its debut at dealerships nationwide in January 2018. Key competitors include the Chevrolet Camaro, Toyota 86 and MINI Convertible.
The MX-5 Miata Sport trim starts at $26,185 (includes an $890 destination charge). The Club is a sports car and carries a price tag of $30,045. The range-topping Grand Touring trim costs $31,085. A six-speed automatic transmission raises the price by $1,075