Mazda’s 2019 MX-5 delivers a greater driving experience

The Mazda MX-5 Miata is a great car. Mazda remains focused on delivering a truly wonderful driving experience that’s packaged in a stylish compact machine. The ND generation of the Miata delivers this in spades, but Mazda’s found a way to make it truly aces; more power.

Engineers at Mazda have focused on fine tuning the Skyactiv-G 2.0-liter four banger. Through a handful of engine improvements, the 2019 MX-5 now cranks out 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. That doesn’t sound like much, but for a lightweight like the Miata it is and it’s noticeable. In fact, that’s a 17% improvement on the horsepower figure, and it was achieved through a wide range of upgrades.

2019 Mazda MX-5 RF

Photo: Mazda

Each of the four pistons has seen a reduction in mass by 27 grams. The connecting rods dropped 41 grams of weight. Inside the exhaust manifold, the inner diameter is now larger, and this leads to a reduction in pumping losses. Add in a dual-mass flywheel to replace the single-mass unit, a new exhaust system, and a retuned final drive ratio, and you wind up with a more powerful and also more efficient Mazda Miata.

I spent a week with the updated sports car, and it’s a great feeling know that you don’t need to ride every gear into the upper limits of the rev range. Although that rev range has jumped a bit thanks to a move from the 6,800 rpm limit up to a 7,500 rpm redline. So if you want to scream away from every stop light, you can do so and wind the engine way out. But you no longer need to, and that’s a great upgrade for daily drivability.

Driving an RF model, I enjoyed a quiet, comfortable cabin. Of course, it’s a cozy one for me considering I’m 6’3″ 215 lbs. I do fit though and I’m not cranking on my spine to do so.

With its added power, the 2019 MX-5 takes a wonderful formula and dishes out just a bit more. You still have the great handling, fantastic exterior styling, and now you have that with more go-fast fun lined up under the hood.

Now that we’ve got a 181-horsepower MX-5 though, it’s time to start complaining about wanting more power.

WHERE’S THE 200 HP VERSION?! (Sorry Mazda, you know how it goes…)

[Disclaimer: Mazda tossed me the keys to the 2019 MX-5 and included a tank of gas. I am proud of myself for not saying “zoom-zoom” once throughout this piece… wait, shit.]

By |2019-02-04T12:39:16+00:00February 4th, 2019|Mazda Reviews, Quick Spin|2 Comments

About the Author:

Jeff Glucker is the co-founder and Executive Editor of He’s often seen getting passed as he hustles either a dark blue 1974 Mercedes-Benz 280 or 1991 Mitsubishi Montero up the 405 Freeway. IG: @HooniverseJeff