The staff here at RightFootDown tested the first year of the 4th generation “ND” Miata back in 2016. Sean wrote a fantastic, detailed review I highly recommend reading. The 2019 is basically the same thing and I found myself agreeing with nearly all of his points even down to the annoying Lane Departure Warning, a feature I found myself leaving off the entirety of my review. While the exterior looks basically identical, there are some major changes under the skin that make the Miata better than it has ever been.
The biggest change for 2019 is the jump in horsepower of 26 up to 181. For reference the very first Miata had only 116. Increased redline from 6800 to 7500 rpm, worked over engine parts, and a new exhaust help the MX-5 reach 60 MPH from 0 nearly a half second faster than before(5.7 seconds). While the MX-5 could always hold it own in the corners, this boost in power makes the straits much less of a chore. The Miata is a unsurprisingly a ton of fun. The added power makes scooting through traffic and down back roads effortless as the smoothed over six speed manual shows its worth. On top of it all, 35 MPG is very easy to see when cruising down the interstate and overall efficiency is surprisingly good for such a fun car.
While the increase in horsepower is huge, there are some other changes that make the Miata more comfortable and safe that are greatly appreciated. In the looks department, a brown soft top is now an option for the Grand Touring trim level( as tested). It’s a small change, but makes a difference. For the first time ever, a telescoping steering wheel is an option on the manual transmission cars, something Mazda engineers had previously fought due to a fear of losing structural rigidity. This allows for a much better seating position for drivers of any size. On the safety and tech side there are a few minor changes including the addition of Smart City Brake to roadsters as well as the now federally mandated backup camera added to all trim levels.
The 2019 MX-5 Miata is still the great car it has always been, it’s just better. The Miata is unsurprisingly one of my favorite cars I have tested, lightyears above the Toyota 86 it competes against. Everything about the Miata screams fun and it definitely lives up to those expectations.