Flash Drive Second Look

2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

Model Tested: 2019 Mazda Miata MX-5 Club RF

The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata is tremendous fun on scenic mountain roads on a sunny day. Doug Berger photo.

Engine:2.0-liter I-4, 181-horsepower 151 lb-ft torque

Transmission: 6-speed manual transmission, rear-wheel-drive

EPA Rating: 26-mpg city, 34-mpg highway, 29-mpg combined

Base Price: $32,345

As Tested: $38,955


Great lively performance

Very athletic, nimble

Excellent for darting through traffic

The RF model’s retractable top is well worth the extra price over the base convertible. Doug Berger photo.

Most fun on winding country roads

Excellent fuel economy—our best was 38.2-mpg highway

Blind spot monitor a very useful necessity

Smooth 6-speed manual transmission and clutch

Hill Hold a necessity on steep city hills

Great brakes

Firm, but pleasant enough highway ride


Comfortable once you’re in

The heated Recaro sport seats are a very worthwhile option.

Not much extra room

Passenger has less legroom than driver

Very low stance requires flexibility for entry/exit

Retractable hardtop provides great foul weather comfort


Very limited interior storage

No glovebox or door bins

Wind blocker for when the top is retracted

Reasonable size trunk

Handsome BBS wheels and powerful Brembo brakes are another great option.

WOW Factors:

Retractable roof greatly increases usefulness

Very fun to drive

Sharp styling

Excellent fuel economy


Snug interior

Very limited interior small items storage

Small sun visors

Bottom Line:

The adjustable steering column helps make the most of the available interior room. The 6-speed manual transmission is excellent.

This was our second turn in a 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF and the things we liked the first time we liked even more. Our first time whines remained constant. The fun factor is tough to beat. This fourth generation Miata has 30 years of refinement and it shows in the quality, fit, finish, comfort, and performance levels. Its deluxe go kart personality remains, but it’s refined and pleasant to drive for long periods. The RF retractable top is great—it makes the Miata an all weather car. The main negatives are due to the compact interior. The seats are comfortable and supportive, but there isn’t room for extraneous stuff. If you’re fine with traveling light the 2019 Mazda

There is a 30th Anniversary Special Edition of the MX-5 Miata.

MX-5 RF is tremendous fun at an affordable price.