2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review - Driving Distilled


They’re coming for our cars. It may not be tomorrow, but indicators point toward a future where personal transportation options may be severely restricted. Gleaming alloy air-cars two lanes wide may be our transportation solution going forward.


From my stringback-gloved hands, I proclaim. While I’ll take the train should my commute dictate, I still find both solace and pleasure in engaging with a genuine driver’s car. A car that doesn’t need a “SPORT MODE” button conspicuously glaring next to the CVT drive selector knob. In the 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata, the start button IS the sport mode.

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Junkyard Find: 1993 Mazda MX-5 Miata

The Mazda Miata has been with us for well over three decades, becoming the best-selling two-seat sports car in history along the way. Miatas were popular as quasi-sensible commuter cars in North America well into our current century, which means that I should have been seeing at least a couple in every junkyard I’ve visited for at least the last 15 years. In fact, I still see many more discarded MGBs and Fiat 124 Sport Spiders than I do Miatas, so this reasonably intact ’93 in Crystal White paint caught my attention immediately (naturally, there was an ’81 Fiat Spider 2000 a few rows away).

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Stick With It: Mazda MX-5 Drops Automatic in Most Trims

Yes, you read that headline correctly. For the upcoming 2022 model year, Mazda has binned the automatic transmission in all trims of the sporty MX-5 roadster save for its most spendy spec, the Grand Touring. Don’t say Hiroshima isn’t doing its part to #SaveTheManuals.

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Rare Rides: The 2020 Mitsuoka Rock Star, Believe in Your Dreams

Today’s obscure Rare Ride is from perhaps the most courageous car company in existence today: Mitsuoka. This two-seater combines the zesty performance of a modern Japanese roadster with Sixties American Corvette styling.

Hazard a guess what it is underneath?

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2021 Mazda MX-5 Upgrades, Pricing Announced

The Mazda MX-5 is the automotive embodiment of ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.’ Despite having gone through several generations since its debut in 1989, the Miata has remained remarkably consistent. But the industry believes there’s a subset of motorists who absolutely cannot live without vehicular connectivity and active safety technologies, even on a petite roadster that’s supposed to be focused on entirely on driver engagement.

This is why Mazda sells the luxury-oriented Grand Touring trim and has decided to continue sprucing it up for the 2021 model year. Though we cannot say this makes it the best option for everyone.

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The Mazda Bump: What a Difference a '0' Makes

June auto sales in the hard-hit U.S. new vehicle market were nowhere near normal for this time of the year, down an estimated 25 percent below levels seen last June. An improvement from May, yes, but far from a return to normal.

Unless, of course, you’re Mazda.

The pandemic-era trend we detailed not long ago continued in June for the scrappy little automaker, with an unlikely product proving unusually popular and a much newer product doing exactly what its creators intended.

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Mazda's U.S. Sales Situation Finally Starts Coming Together, in the Middle of a Pandemic? And Because of the Miata?

Month after month, as the Mazda product lineup improves and as plaudits pour in, we chronicle the company’s tragic dearth of U.S. sales success. The automaker’s goals for performance in the American marketplace are modest: a good 2 percent market share, for example. Yet generating meaningful demand for deserving products – the second-generation CX-9 and the new-for-2019 Mazda 3, as examples – has proven remarkably challenging.

At least it was remarkably challenging, until a pandemic battered and bruised the U.S. auto market beyond all recognition. U.S. auto sales in the first quarter of 2020 tumbled by more than 12 percent, yet Mazda sales during the same period were off by just 4 percent. Mazda market share ticked up to 1.9 percent in Q1.

But it was Mazda’s May 2020 performance, in which the brand’s sales in the United States dropped by fewer than 300 units, that Mazda appeared downright hopeful. You won’t be surprised to learn the market fared much, much worse.

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Amid Emissions Clampdown, Brits Face Reduced Access to 34 MPG Mazda

The roadster news just keeps getting worse for British drivers. As hyper-stringent Euro 6 emission standards come into effect in the new year, drivers in the UK will have a harder time getting their hands on a vehicle we all know and love on this side of the Atlantic.

That vehicle is the Mazda MX-5. Available with a standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder on this side of the pond, Brits can have theirs in two flavors: 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter. Come 2020, the automaker will do its best to dissuade buyers from choosing the larger mill.

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Purity Threat? Mazda Ponders What to Do With the MX-5

Like Jeep’s Wrangler, Mazda’s MX-5 Miata is a vehicle both beloved by purists and under threat from changing norms. Little has changed about the model since its inception, and redesigns — especially the last one — are the product of untold levels of scrutiny, calculation, and deliberation.

It’s a vehicle with an inherent purity. Weight, power, and balance are all arrived at after months and years of careful planning, and any upset to the recipe carries with it the danger of alienating owners and intenders alike. And this is why high-level talk of electrification for the ND’s successor is bound to raise eyebrows.

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Mazda Wants to Keep Vintage MX-5s Baby Fresh With Restoration Parts

In 2017, Mazda announced a restoration program for the first-generation MX-5 Miata in Japan. Those NA years were good ones — sales were strong and customers were happy. But the cars had developed a reputation for being phenomenal project vehicles and an affordable way to get into racing. Many entered into a hard and exciting life as the years rolled on.

Realizing the MX-5 is equally beloved and hardworking in the United States, Mazda has decided to expand the program for North America. On Monday, the company announced that its restoration parts catalog is now 1,100 items deep and ready to help restore the luster of NA Miatas around the world.

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2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club RF - The Last Hope

They’re coming for our cars, people. “Alternative mobility solutions” are all the rage at many big automakers attempting to virtue signal (and electric-scooter) their way into social acceptability. I’m pretty certain that I heard a sweaty politician say something like, “Hell yes, we are going to take your crossover!” Even some automotive journalists have called for outright bans of private cars.

I suppose this is where I photoshop a Momo Prototipo into the infamous “from my cold, dead hands” Charlton Heston photo.

Do me a favor, friends. Let’s stem the tide. Take these car-haters for a ride in a proper sports car, like this 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF. Better yet, let them drive. All other worries of the world wipe away like raindrops on the windscreen as the right hand slots the shift lever into third, all while the corners of the mouth gently turn upward. The Miata is our last hope for motoring freedom.

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Mazda Ad Suggests One of Its Models Doesn't Work Year-round

The Mazda MX-5 remains of the purest and most affordable sports cars on the market, and we’re glad it exists. While the plucky roadster might not be the optimal solution for family hauling, a certain ND example did get yours truly and a former managing editor from Toronto to Detroit in January, lugging not just our lanky asses, but two suitcases and camera bags each, plus a 24 of pale ale.

January’s not the happiest time of year in that neck of the woods, but the only climate anomaly that MX-5 had to deal with was a torrential downpour on the way home. Temperatures hovered just above freezing. We were fine.

It’s understandable why many cars go under wraps for the winter, taking on the role of garage queens until flowers start poking up through the soil, but it’s odd to see an automaker imply that a model must be put away. Can’t it take the heat — er, cold?

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Rare Rides: The 1994 Mercury Capri - Miata's Serious Competitor

The Rare Rides series has featured two Capri-adjacent vehicles in past: This car’s immediate predecessor, the ASC McLaren Capri, and its contemporary competitor, the Lotus Elan. Let’s find out how much better the final Capri was than either of those two (or not).

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Rare Rides: A 2003 Mazda Roadster Coupe That's Not for Americans

Mazda has always been fond of making special edition trims of the MX-5 Miata. In 2003, the engineers in Hiroshima decided to put together something a bit more unique than the usual colored trim/new wheel design combo. Presenting the 2003 Roadster Coupe.

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Gotta Be Quicker Than That - 30th Anniversary Miata Sells Out in Four Hours

If you’re a diehard Miata enthusiast living in the United States and you had your heart set on buying one of the five hundred 30th Anniversary Edition models allocated to America, well, you’ll just have to wait for the secondary market. Within four hours of the introduction of the special edition, all of those U.S. bound pearl* anniversary units were scooped up with deposits placed by eager buyers.

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  • FreedMike It's not cheap, but 45 grand for a car with this kind of performance, equipment level and practicality isn't a bad deal at all. @Tim - I think you have the wrong transmission listed in the box above. The DSG is a seven-speed, not a six-speed.
  • FreedMike During my second year of college, I took my first French class, where I discovered that if you remove the "e" from "Citroen," you get the French word for "lemon." My family had a Citroen - an SM, no less. Completely appropriate. Nice logo or not, Stellantis is going to have an uphill battle reintroducing this brand - or any French brand, for that matter.
  • IBx1 It works better as an oval than a circle as it appears in the headline photo, but I generally dislike the 2D logos everyone in the industry is adopting and think badge looked great since '09.
  • Pbxtech I like it, but it's not an improvement. Lateral move at best.
  • Cprescott It is not a disaster like the 2024 Ford Mustake.