Ah, there is nothing quite like like taking a Sunday afternoon drive in a Mazda Miata, especially when it’s a can’t-take-your-eyes-off 2019 MX 5 Grand Touring RF. What a week I had with this incredibly fun to drive two-door roadster that will leave your troubles behind you when drop the top and hit the accelerator. Oh yes, my friends, there’s a reason the Miata is the best-selling roadster in the world: pure driving fun!
What’s New for 2019
The fourth-generation MX 5 went on sale in 2015 and Mazda introduced the RF (retractable fastback) version in 2017. The big news for 2010 is a more powerful engine. Mazda’s engineers have enriched the 2019 MX-5 Miata’s SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter engine to give it 17 percent more power and greater fuel-efficiency than last year’s model. We’re talking a substantial boost from 155 to 181-horses. Mazda also lightened up some of the engine components under the hood for improved driving dynamics. A rearview camera is also now standard for the 2019 Miata lineup.
I can’t count the number of times people’s jaw practically dropped as I drove by. My test model’s Red Soul Crystal paint hue (a $595 option) is in a word, stunning, and my favorite red on the market. My Grand Touring trim rides on 17-inch wheels with performance tires. Love that Mazda’s equipped it with LED headlights, daytime running lights and taillights. The Grand Touring also comes with adaptive front lighting. There is dual exhaust in back and you get heated power side mirrors along with an auto-dimming side mirror on the driver’s side. My test model’s Appearance Package ($1,550) includes a front air dam, side sill extensions, rear bumper skirt and rear lip spoiler.
The Mazda’s SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine returns under the hood, but with a big difference. Engineers tweaked to give it 26 more horsepower and 3 more lb-ft of torque bringing specs to 181-horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 151 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. And it just feels terrific mated to my tester’s 6-speed automatic transmission, though a 6-speed manual is available and a likely choice for true driver enthusiasts. The rear-wheel drive roadster equipped with sport-tuned dual exhaust hugs the road and curves superbly with its front double wishbone and rear multi-link suspension. It’s also quiet inside with the retractable hardtop down. My dad, a former MG owner, was super impressed with the whole package. (For an ever sportier drive you’ll want to go for RF Club.)
Mazda knocks it out of the park with its quality, well-designed interiors and the Miata’s two tone black and tan interior doesn’t disappoint. It’s full of soft touch materials and I love the sporty circular A/C vents.The bolstered leather-trimmed Sport seats provided the perfect combo of comfort and support. A really cool feature is that speakers are located in both headrests. The driver and passenger seats are both heated.
The Grand Touring is also equipped with a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters. A tilt and telescopic steering wheel is now standard across the lineup. Look above it and you’ll see a digital driver display located to the left of the large tachometer.
The Miata comes with Mazda’s 7-inch color infotainment touchscreen, but no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto except the 30th Anniversary Edition. Mazda Connect itself requires a bit of going back and forth through menus to get to things but it is quick and responsive. A knob controller is located on the center console as well. The Grand Touring comes with Navigation and a 9-speaker Bose audio system.
On the center stack you find 2 USB ports and automatic AC controls as well as buttons to turn on the heated front seats. It’s also where you find a leather gear shifter and the switch to open and close the retractable fastback hardtop. It can open or close in 13 seconds! I’ve never seen anything easier to operate.
In terms of space, there isn’t a ton of it but you do get a center console bin and instead of a glove box, a storage compartment that drops down between the two front seats. It also where you find two cup holders. But you can move one and place it by the passenger’s seat for easier access. The trunk was surprisingly roomy.
My test model’s Interior package ($425) adds alloy pedals, stainless steel door sill trim plates, and a red engine oil cap.
Safety features on the Grand Touring include standard Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear-Cross Traffic Alert, High Beams, and Lane Departure Warning. It is also equipped with new Smart City Brake along Road Sign Recognition.
What You’ll Pay
You’ll pay roughly $34,000 for a Miata RF Grand Touring which is worth it in my book. (The optional red hue is certainly worth the $595.) My test model with its options takes you just north of $37,000 which to me is perfectly priced for this roadster that more than delivers on its fun to drive promises.
2019 Mazda Miata MX 5 Grand Touring RF
- What I liked most: It’s engaging and fun to drive driving dynamics, soul red crystal color.
- What I would change: I’d love to see some Brembos at least optional on the GT trim, they look cool! Add Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.
- MSRP: Base price, $34,410; as equipped, $37,900.
- Official color: Soul Red Crystal.
- Fuel economy: 26 city/35 highway/30 combined.
- Odometer reading when tested: 365 miles.
- Spare tire: Tire puncture repair kit.
- Weight: 2,339
- Length-width-height: 154.1” long/ 68.3” wide/ 49” inches tall
- Fuel-tank capacity: 11.89 gallons
- Towing capacity: N/A
- 2019 Mazda MX 5 Miata RF in a few words: Pure driving fun made even better with its boost of horsepower.
- Warranty: 60-month, 60,000-mile powertrain, 36-month, 36,000-mile Bumper to Bumper
- Final assembly location: Hiroshima, Japan
- Manufacturer’s website: Mazda