2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club

Mazda's little roadster gets stylish upgrades


Wade Thiel, Senior Staff Writer



Positives: High smile-to-price ratio, excellent driving dynamics, gorgeous exterior, comfortable seats, one of the best manual transmissions around.
Negatives: Hardly any storage space, dull infotainment screen in bright sunlight, frustrating cup holder placement, no horsepower increase just yet.
Bottom Line: The Miata Club takes what the standard MX-5 offers up a notch with improvements to the exterior, interior, brakes, and wheels. It's still the same car we love, just with some better equipment. It's as playful and fun as ever, but the eye-catching top and exterior give it more curb appeal, and the heated leather seats mean you can drive longer without needing a break.
Mazda’s fourth-generation MX-5 Miata is everything you want in an affordable sports car. It’s playful, fun, and fast enough. We’ve driven this car before and loved it. That said, there’s always room for improvements, which is why we were so thrilled to have an MX-5 Miata Club with some optional equipment on it. We drove the car around for a week to see how these additions change this fun little roadster.
 

Driving Experience

9.6

 

For 2018 the MX-5 is basically a carryover model, and there’s nothing wrong with that from a driving standpoint. The car has a playful, easy-to-control driving characteristics that encourage you to find fun roads to drive. The BBS wheels and Brembo brakes on our tester added to the package without negatively altering it at all.

Ride Quality: The MX-5 is on the sportier side with firm suspension that’s well dampered. It handles bumps well, though, and isn’t too jarring.

Acceleration: The MX-5 only has 155 hp, but its light weight and quality transmission means you can sprint from 0-60 mph in about six seconds.

Braking: Stopping is easy thanks to the optional Brembo brakes. These brakes grab harder and don’t fade, offering fantastic performance.

Steering: The MX-5’s steering is sharp and accurate. The car goes right where you want it to every time.

Handling: The MX-5 corners very well, but there is some playful body roll. This was engineered into the car, and you can toss the little car around with plenty of confidence.

Technology

8

 

Mazda’s infotainment system is well-laid out and easy to use. It’s one of our favorite systems out there. Unfortunately, it lacks some of the features that other automakers provide. That’s not too big of a deal in a driver’s car like the MX-5, but it’s still important.

Infotainment System: The 7-inch color touchscreen display works well as long as it’s not in direct sunlight. The user interface is smooth and fast and offers easy access to the apps that are available.

Controls: The touchscreen controls can only be used when the car isn’t in motion. While in motion you have to use the joystick/dial controller on the center console. It works very well, and we found ourselves using it exclusively.

Styling

9.8

 

The Mx-5 Miata Club shines in the style department. The Red Roof Package and the appearance package for the Club trim level make this one of the best-looking sports cars at any price. From every angle, the MX-5 Miata looks fantastic.

Front: The aggressive front end of the MX-5 is low and features a large, smiling grille. The Club package adds front air dam, which further enhances its sporty look.

Rear: The rear of the car is tight and attractively shaped with full-LED taillights. The Club package adds a rear lip spoiler and a rear bumper skit that makes the car appear lower.

Profile: From the side you see Mazda’s Kodo design language at work. The fluid curves let your eye travel right down the beltline of the car. With the top up or down, the little roadster looks fantastic. The Club package adds side sill extensions that bring the sides of the car down and level with the front air dam and rear bumper skirt.

Cabin: Inside, the Miata has a driver-focused cabin. The round air vents and minimalistic interior styling doesn't overcomplicate things. The horizontal lines and leather material make the cabin look better than anything at this price point.

Comfort

8.8

 

The base MX-5 is reasonably comfortable for such a small roadster. The upgraded seats in our tester were fantastic, but some larger drivers may find the Miata’s tight quarters cramped.

Front Seats: The heated Recaro sport seats are very comfortable. They offer high levels of support and bolstering. There’s also plenty of adjustment.

Rear Seats: Not applicable. This is a two-seater only.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): For a soft-top convertible, the MX-5 does surprisingly well at blocking out unwanted noises. Otherwise, the car feels well-built.

Visibility: Seeing out of the car with the top down is extremely easy. If you put the top up, there are some fairly large blind spots.

Climate: The climate controls worked well. The dials and buttons on the dash are easy to use and the system is very powerful. The heating function on the seats is powerful, and the top level of heating was too hot for us to stand.

Safety

6

 

The MX-5 Miata hasn't been crash tested yet due to its niche status in the industry. We've scored it based on the decent standard safety equipment features, depsite the fact that it has no accident avoidance technology.

IIHS Rating: Not tested.

NHTSA Rating: Not tested.

Standard Tech: Our tester had ABS with brake assist, tire pressure monitoring, blind spot monitoring, dynamic stability control, traction control, airbags, and rear cross traffic alert.

Optional Tech: None.

Storage/Cargo

5.5

 

This is not the kind of car a person should buy if they have a lot to carry around. There’s little storage inside the cabin, and the trunk is one of the smallest around. You buy this car because the smiles it puts on your face make up for its lack of practicality.

Storage Space: There’s a small cubby in front of the shifter that’s good for many phones, and a tiny compartment with a lid behind the shifter. Other than that, the only other storage space in the cabin is the glove box, which is positioned between the seats.

Cargo Room: The Miata offers 4.59 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk. This isn’t a lot of space and if you need to carry a golf bag or a full-size suitcase, you’re going to have to get a different car.

Fuel Economy

8.9

 

The MX-5’s light weight and small displacement engine makes for good fuel economy. This car is designed to be driven pretty hard, and it still deliver's excellent results.

Observed: 27.4 mpg.

Distance Driven: 184 miles.

Driving Factors: We drove a mixture of highway and city miles. We drove the car hard at times and at a leisurely pace at others. We could see hitting the EPA 29 mpg combined rating if you tried hard.

Audio

8

 

The 9-speaker Bose audio system is very good, but there are better systems out there. We especially like the driver and passenger headrest speakers, which mean you can still hear your music with the top down without having to crank up the volume too much.



Final Thoughts

There are few other sports cars at this price point and the ones that are there don’t offer a soft top. The MX-5 Miata is a simple and fun little roadster that is hard to dislike. The options on our tester took the basic model up a notch and we think they’re well worth the money. If you’re in the market for a soft-top, two-seater, you can hardly do better.

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