By on April 9, 2018

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata, Image: Mazda USA

For 2019, Mazda seems ready to offer two things MX-5 Miata buyers have long demanded: more power, plus a steering wheel that reaches towards the driver, instead of just tilting. These are big changes for a model where every minor detail is fussed over by engineers and enthusiasts alike.

The changes are detailed in a document — apparently originating from Mazda Canada — that details the changes coming for 2019. That doc found its way onto Reddit, which was then shared by joyful members of the forum. How does an extra 26 horsepower sound?

The document, if accurate, confirms details contained within regulatory docs dug up by Bozi Tatarevic early last month, though Mazda product spokesman Jacob Brown would not comment on the vehicle’s specs, nor on a release date for the 2019 model.

Besides the telescoping steering wheel — the first time Mazda has offered such a feature in the MX-5 — the model’s Skyactiv-G 2.0-liter engine sees a host of changes for 2019, resulting in a mill with greater top end power and a smidgen of added torque. The document lists the 2019 model’s output at 181 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. That’s up from last year’s 155 hp and 148 lb-ft, and it seems certain the new car’s redline will top the current model’s 6,800 rpm.

Mazda alludes to this in its description of the engine’s upgraded internals. Massaged Skyactiv-Gs, bound for all Miata models, boast “ultra light weight pistons, lighter connecting rods, and a crankshaft balanced to enable higher rpm operation,” the document states. This “increased rev capacity” necessitates the use of a dual-mass flywheel to quell NVH issues.

The Mazda MX-5 RF, Image: PRNewsFoto/Mazda Motor Corporation

That’s just the surface of the changes made to the Skyactiv-G. A larger air intake, throttle valve, intake valves, and intake manifold join a higher lift camshaft, lighter exhaust valves, redesigned exhaust ports, and a larger exhaust manifold to aid the engine’s breathing. Mazda has also apparently reduced the piston top height and improved the atomization efficiency of the fuel injectors.

The MX-5’s Canadian trims do not align with its American offerings, so the Canuck document won’t be of much sue to U.S. readers. Still, equipment upgrades for all 2019 models include a rearview camera and the addition of Smart City Brake Support — an automatic emergency braking system designed to prevent rear-end collisions. The system operates at speeds below 19 mph.

Sales of the MX-5 soared when the fourth-generation ND model hit the market in late 2015. Last year’s U.S. sales tally of 11,294 units was the first time Miata sales crested the five-figure mark since 2008, and the trend carried over north of the border, too. This year hasn’t been as kind, however. Sales over the first three months of 2018 show the MX-5 down 41.9 percent compared to the same period last year.

[Images: Mazda]

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26 Comments on “2019 Mazda MX-5: More Power and a Steering Wheel That Zooms?...”

  • avatar

    I turn 50 in December, right on time.

  • avatar

    Well Mazda Canada, if you offered the base model in red I may have already bought one. I just can’t get behind the shades of grey you offer now, and I’m too cheap to pay a premium for stuff I don’t want just to get the colour I want.

    • 0 avatar

      The colors on the current Miata are very depressing. Nothing but red and greyscale, with a nice blue available on the highest trim level. If you do spring for the Grand Touring, be prepared to enjoy your black leather. For some reason, tan leather is only available in red. They’ve trimmed the availability down since last year.

      Oh, and that red is now $600 extra. Of only 6 available colors, 3 cost extra.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m sure there’s a market study that has resulted in the dour colour palette. I had a 92 in Mariner Blue had have a 97 in Classic Red. Gimme some choice, Mazda!! I don’t want to wrap the damned thing.

    • 0 avatar

      I really wish they brought back that iconic blue from the 90s cars. British Racing Green and Yellow would be great too.

      I know Mazda is trying to look all fancy pant these days, but it’s a Miata, it’s supposed to be fun!

    • 0 avatar

      Heaven forbid they offer a sports car in sporty colors.


    • 0 avatar

      They offer red, but too bad it’s “Old Man Red” – AKA Maroon.

      The “Ceramic” color is my favorite, but when I was shopping you could only get it with black seats and pink stitching.

  • avatar

    You had me at, “telescoping steering wheel”.

    • 0 avatar
      Kei Loper

      I didn’t care about the update (I don’t need nor want more power in the MX-5, it’s pretty perfect to me in that regard)…….however, my wallet got REALLY excited when it saw “telescoping wheel”

      Suddenly, more power doesn’t sound so bad lol.

  • avatar

    Hey it has almost as much power:weight as the Fiata.

    Okay okay, just different, not better or worse.

    Telescoping is the real story here.

  • avatar

    My Mazda3’s adjustable steering wheel went from too short, to freakishly too short… I wonder what body ratio they plan these things out for.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s more about preferred driving position than body type. Mazdas tend to be some of the few vehicles where I don’t have to sacrifice leg comfort to get close enough to the steering wheel.

      The proper steering wheel position for performance driving allows you to have your upper arms resting on the side of your body, with all control coming from your wrists and elbows. Steering with your shoulders is slow and awkward, and may begin to feel uncomfortable once you’ve wasted too much of your life playing racing simulators.

      • 0 avatar

        Yaaaassss. I was taught to put the seat fore/aft where your leg has a slight bend pushing the brake pedal in as far as it will go and position wheel so that the wrists break over the top it. It’s all about leverage on critics controls.

  • avatar

    I am impressed. That extra 30HP could push the Miata into the 14s, with gusto.

  • avatar

    Not until green…with tan interior.

    • 0 avatar
      Tele Vision

      Got it in one. I’ve been threatening to daily a Miata for about 20 years. Winter tires and three bags of sand can’t cost too much.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve had mine for about a year and a half, and it has almost 50,000 miles on it already. My commute round-trip is about 100 miles, and you know, getting into that car never gets any less fun, rain, snow, or shine. Do it, and I promise you won’t regret it.

  • avatar

    I bought a new Mazda Speed back in 2004, mica red, or red mica something. I’m a relatively big guy, 6’1″ and over 250 lbs. I fit in that car ok, but even the ‘speed model had little room for any adjust-ability and long drives would wear me out. The telescopic steering wheel should help a bit.

    I have a tough time getting in and out of several friends ND models but if they could just get another inch or so of seat travel rearward I might consider another one…The most fun I ever had on tail of the dragon was chasing a friend in his S 2000 in the MazdaSpeed. He was shocked he couldn’t shake me…

  • avatar

    MX5 sales are down? Really?

    Could it have something to do with their totally insane business practices?

    I am incentivized by the government to lease through my company – when I looked at MX5 leases, the cost to lease was $100 more per month than the cost to simply purchase the car outright. The money factor was bonkers and the residual was terrible.

  • avatar

    Wow – TTAC perennial favorite the MX5 will feature more power (translation: Mazda will now get power and torque levels out of a 2-liter NA inline four that most other manufacturers have been getting for 20 years), and 10 of the 19 comments are speculating about what colors it will come in.

    Kinda sad.

    • 0 avatar

      Honda is the obvious one, and Toyota had that 1.8L screamer in the last Celica; but I’m drawing a blank on the other manufacturers that have had 2.0L NA engines with 180 hp.

  • avatar

    I am excited about these changes, but I will keep my 01 BRG with tan interior until Mazda offers a compelling interior/exterior choices.

    At least offer them as a build-on-demand…I can wait.

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