2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review

2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review
  • Road-hugging handling
  • Best manual transmission
  • RF looks
  • Peerless affordable roadster
  • Standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
  • Grossly impractical
  • Aggravating infotainment
  • Big people size out
  • Getting expensive
  • Flimsy cupholder
  • The RF model with the power hard top adds sophistication and calm to the Miata.

Stripped to its lightweight essentials, the 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata makes driving fun.

What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata? What does it compare to?
The Miata is a two-seat convertible available with a soft top or power hard top. The world’s bestselling roadster competes with the mechanically identical Fiat 124 Spider and the aspirational BMW Z4. 

Is the 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata a good car?
We give it a 5.8 out of 10 because it’s a blast to drive, even though it’s not overly fast and lacks the practicality, comfort, and convenience features of many new cars.

What's new for the 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata?
Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto finally trickle into the base Sport model. Wireless CarPlay is offered; wireless Android Auto is not. Otherwise, it’s the same except for a $250 price increase. 
2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review

The low-slung two seater comes with a manually controlled black soft top roof, but Club and Grand Touring models offer an RF (Retractable Fastback) body style with a power hard top. The car has sports car proportions with a long hood and short  trunk, and it rides so low to the ground, the driver sits at eye-level with the door handles of other vehicles.

Its ride height and perfect weight balance connect the driver to the road like no other modern car. The zippy 181-horsepower 2.0-liter inline-4 feels so much quicker and connected when paired with a seamless 6-speed manual transmission that should be required testing on all driver’s ed courses.  

The MX-5 was not designed with larger humans in mind. Six footers and above will be conscious of their knees, elbows, and head until they reach up to put down the top. For smaller folks, the Miata cocoons occupants as well as it hugs the road. A shallow trunk carries just 4.6 cubic feet, about the same as frunks in many electric vehicles.    

The feature set mirrors the pared down nature of the Miata. It comes with an awkward 7.0-inch touchscreen, speakers in the driver's headrest, Bluetooth, keyless entry, power features, and LED headlights and taillights. Standard safety features include automatic emergency braking at low speeds, blind-spot monitors, and lane-departure warnings.

How much does the 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata cost?
The base Sport model costs $27,775, including a $945 destination fee, while the mid-grade Club model costs $31,245 for the soft top or $34,000 for the RF. The top Grand Touring trim costs $32,725, and the RF tops out at $35,480. 

Where is the 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata made?
It’s made in Hiroshima, Japan. 


The 2021 Mazda MX-5 wears its inimitable design with timeless minimalism.

Is the 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata a good-looking car?
The diminutive roadster cashes in on the adage that good things come in small packages. The MX-5 is a master class in design, with a long nose, snug boot, and curves like a ’50s pinup. It’s an 8, with two points awarded to its timeless design and a point for its minimalist interior. 

The long hood dips dramatically into a wide mouth lower grille. Tthe air flows over undulating curves to the rear, where circular taillights complete an almost Anime-level of cuteness. Standard 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels look best in black, but the 17 inchers finished in dark silver look even better.
2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review
The black soft cloth top can be put down or up with a one-arm backstroke motion, but the RF Targa-like hard top elevates the Miata’s looks even further thanks to a more cohesive design. The interlocking pieces fold down with the push of a button in 13 seconds.

Inside, black wins the day on cloth seats and soft-touch upholstery. Some chrome-like plastic on the switchgear and steering wheel accentuates the minimalist design.


The Miata is joy on four wheels.

The rear-wheel-drive roadster powered by a 181-horsepower 2.0-liter inline-4 won’t light up the spec sheet. However, the Miata’s light weight and balance light up the driver’s soul as a pure driver’s car unlike anything else at this price. It’s an 8.

Is the Mazda MX-5 4WD?
No, it’s rear-wheel drive and has a 50/50 weight balance that increases the enjoyment the harder it is driven.
2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review

How fast is the Miata?
The Miata runs to 60 mph in under 6.0 seconds. Pushing it deeper toward the 7,200 rev limit, and effortlessly flicking a 6-speed manual blessed by the driving gods, makes it feel like it’s going a lot faster. The responsive pedal and accompanying revs—the kind of noise kids make when running toy cars down staircase ramps—fill the cabin with the thrill of the drive. 

Direct steering complements the ability to rotate the rear end to maintain speed around curves. That is the brilliance of the Miata: it won’t win any drag races, but on a technical track or a route with a lot of turns, it can maintain speed better than most anything else that’s not a 911. 

The Miata’s ride can become bouncy on uneven pavement, especially with the heavier RF models, and  the effort of driving it hard can lead to fatigue. But such a lovely workout it is. 
2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review

The6-speed automatic option costs up to $1,500 more on the base model, but the manual fits the Miata better. The firm clutch pedal isn’t springy, and the short shifts marry the motion between hand and foot.

Exclusive to the Club models with the manual is a Brembo/BBS/Recaro package for up to $4,670 that adds Brembo front brakes, BBS 17-inch forged wheels, heated Recaro bucket seats, red rear brake calipers, and black aero elements.

Comfort & Quality

The cramped cockpit fits two with little else.

The two-seat roadster loses points on our scale for the lack of rear seats, its inability to seat four, and a trunk that barely fits two carry-on bags for a weekend getaway. But it gets a point for good fit and finish. It’s a 3. 

The manually adjustable cloth seats (available in leather on top trims) have long, low seat bottoms that keep it relatively comfy. Larger bodies will feel the pinch from the sides, while taller people will struggle with knee and head room. 

With a screen between the rear headrests to limit wind buffeting, passengers can talk without raising their voices, and calls can be made and understood through the infotainment system even at highway speeds with the top down. The RF provides more quiet and calm from the elements than the soft top, where even the rain sounds loud. 
2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review

Removable cupholders are a nuisance to knees more than a convenience for cups, and storage space behind and under the elbow is limited to the slimmest devices and pocketbooks. 

It’s not much better in the 4.6-cubic foot trunk, though it’s deep enough for grocery bags and two carry-ons with a backpack kicker.


The IIHS and the NHTSA have not crash tested the MX-5.

How safe is the Mazda MX-5?
With no official crash ratings and none forthcoming, we can account better for how the MX-5 avoids crashes rather than how it sustains them. It’s small, exposed, and dwarfed by every other vehicle on the road.

Standard safety features include automatic emergency braking at low speeds, blind-spot monitors, and lane-departure warnings. LED headlights and taillights come standard but they don’t turn on automatically unless they’re teamed with the adaptive headlights and automatic high beams on the top Grand Touring trim. 
2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review
Vision out the front and sides is exceptional, even with the top up, but the drop top pinches rear vision. 


Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto improve the Miata’s poor infotainment system.

The 2021 MX-5 Miata earns a point above average for its relative value but loses a point for a tedious infotainment system. It’s a 5.

The 7.0-inch touchscreen is the right size for the Miata, but the menu icons hide in the corners and have limited functionality when the car is moving. Setting all the present audio stations from the small dial in the console is equally tedious. The dial is best for zooming in on navigation. 

Fortunately, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard across the lineup. Speakers in the driver’s headrest keep the Miata rockin’. A telescoping steering wheel helps, and keyless entry and start come standard along with power features. 
2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review

The Miata lacks the premium options of other Mazda vehicles. Top trims come with heated nappa leather seats, navigation, automatic headlights, and wireless CarPlay. Android users need a cord. 

Which Mazda MX-5 should I buy?
We like the sophisticated style and push-button ease of the RF that adds $2,755 to the mid-level Club or top Grand Touring. At $34,000, the Club RF adds a Bose 9-speaker stereo, 17-inch black alloy wheels, a black rear spoiler, and LED daytime running lights.

How much is a fully loaded 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata?
2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review

The top Grand Touring trim with the RF hardtop costs $35,480. The $525 charge for the 6-speed automatic would be better spent learning how to drive a manual. 

The mid-level Club trim is the only model that comes available with the $4,670 Brembo/BBS/Recaro package. That would take the Club RF too close to $40,000 to not look elsewhere for a more loaded and powerful sports coupe.

Fuel Economy

The MX-5 Miata runs lean.

Is the 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata good on gas?
For such a small car, it’s average with an EPA-rated 26 mpg city, 34 highway, 29 combined with either the soft or hard top. That’s for the manual which sells more and serves as the basis for our high 5 rating. 

The Miata with a 6-speed automatic does better at 26/35/30 mpg.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on April 06, 2021 Rating: 5


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