2020 vs 2021: What's the Difference?
Affordability meets sophistication in the Mazda MX-5 Miata, a true staple of the Mazda line-up. The 2021 models do not reflect too many changes from the 2020 line-up, but you do get smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard now. You can also opt for some seriously chic white nappa leather upholstery if you want.
Last year, the Miata gained a lot of standard driver aids. Forward collision warning and a handful of other previously optional driver aids were made standard across the line-up. This year, you still get that same array of driver aids.
Overall, there are a lot of things to like about the MX-5 Miata. Even at slower speeds, this convertible makes for one engaging ride. Its super lightweight construction means that you get some great aerodynamics and a lot of speed. A Club equipped with the manual transmission can make it from 0 to 60 mph in 6 seconds flat - a great showing for this segment. What sweetens the deal is that this ride does not compromise on fuel. With a combined 29 mpg on the manual models, the Miata is much more fuel efficient than its top rivals.
What Do the Various Trim Levels Offer?
The 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata comes in three trim levels: the base Sport, the Club, and the line-topping Grand Touring. Each one is powered by the same 2.0-L 4-cylinder engine, which generates a power output of 181 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque and has rear-wheel drive. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard issue on every trim level, but you can swap it out for a 6-speed automatic if you do not want to drive a stick.
The base Sport trim level lays the foundations by giving you 16-inch alloy wheels to ride around on and LED headlights. You can access the vehicle and start it up via keyless entry and ignition. On the inside, you will find standard smartphone app integration in conjunction with the 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system. A 6-speaker sound system provides audio to the cabin, and there are two USB ports up front for plugging in your devices. And, as we already mentioned, you get driver aids like forward collision warning and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
Upgrading to the mid-tier Club trim level gets you larger wheels (17 inches, to be more precise) done in black. The front lip and rear spoilers are also done in a matching black tone for a sportier exterior vibe. Inside, you are upgraded to faux leather trim for the seats and heating for the front seats. A 9-speaker sound system gets swapped in. If you have the manual transmission equipped, you also get an engine sound enhancer, a sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers, a shock tower brace, and a limited slip differential. Adding the Brembo/BBS Recaro package equips gray BBS wheels, Brembo front brakes with red calipers, Recaro sport seats, and an aerodynamic body kit.
If you go all the way up to the Grand Touring trim level, you get a built-in navigation system, full leather upholstery, dark gray wheels, and automatic headlights and wipers. There are also heated mirrors, a soft top that is lined with cloth, a rear-view mirror and driver's side mirror that are auto-dimming, and automatic climate control.
Which Trim is Right for Me?
The mid-tier Club is a good middle of the road trim level that offers a sportier dynamic than the base Sport. It also equips more standard features. Adding the Brembo/BSS Recaro package gives this trim level even more spunk, which is something that buyers in this segment tend to want. The Grand Touring has a nice soft top, but the price jump is a little too hard to justify.
What Kind of Technology Does it Have?
The Miata keeps you connected via Mazda's most current technology. The infotainment system is easy enough to use, and since smartphone app integration is standard, you will not need to fiddle with built-in navigation if you do not want to. Opting for the Club with the 9-speaker Bose sound system gives clear audio quality. There is voice recognition that does recognize many natural speech patterns.
How Does It Perform?
Driving is truly where the Miata excels. This convertible has a swift acceleration as well as strong, secure brakes that make quick work of a panic stop. In fact, the Miata posts one of the shortest stopping distances for any vehicle this year. The Miata can be easily taken through all kinds of turns at quick speeds. It remains planted and gives plenty of road grip through the tires. You do get some body roll, but that will only be noticeable when you get really aggressive with your driving style.
Is It Safe and Reliable?
Loaded with standard driver aids, the Miata has a big advantage. You won't need blind-spot monitoring since this small convertible's blind spots are barely there, but the system is still there if you want it. Safety scores have historically been high for the Miata, so 2021 should be no different. And, as far as reliability goes, consumers don't seem to have too many complaints about issues with their newer Miatas. The fourth generation of Miatas seems to be a reliable, well-loved, and - most importantly - safe one.
What's the Interior Like?
The Miata's interior is chic but tidy. There aren't a ton of unnecessary controls, and everything that is there is easy for the driver to reach. As a convertible, space is limited, which means that those over 6 feet tall will feel cramped for head and leg space. Of course, when you put the top down, head space won't be a problem. The materials used throughout the cabin are high-quality, and the color schemes work well together.
What are the Alternatives to this Model?
There are a few strong competitors for the Miata, but they all fall short of achieving its excellence. The Fiat 124 Spider is actually based on the Miata, so you get a lot of the same design elements. However, the Fiat 124 Spider is bulkier than the Miata and not as much fun despite its turbocharged engine.
The Toyota 86 is another top contender that falls just short. It actually weighs about 500 pounds more than the Miata but has a sporty driving performance nonetheless. However, it has a different appeal with its child-friendly rear seats and bigger trunk. More practical, if you will. It also is not quite as refined as the Miata on the inside.
Formula for Calculating Dealer Cost:
Note: All Mazda MX-5 Miata lease prices and dollar figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.