2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata First Drive: The Whole Package

When the first Mazda MX-5 Miata was built in 1989, it focused on being light and fun to drive. Fast forward 30 years, and though the Miata has grown a bit – its wheelbase is 1.7 inches longer than the original NA – it still hasn’t ditched the same two ideals that made it a success in the first place. It’s still a lightweight, and by all accounts, a total riot to drive. But now it’s even more powerful.

"Miata" Is Always The Answer:

On a stretch of roads encompassing nearly 300 miles between San Luis Obispo and San Francisco, California, the updated ND Miata proved that more power means more fun. For 2019, the Miata produces 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. If that sounds like a significant amount of grunt in such a small car – it is.

The new model returns a hefty 17-percent increase in power over the outgoing model. But with all that added oomph, the Miata is better than it’s ever been. It’s still perfectly balanced and extremely tossable, and with the roof down, the perfect vehicle to cruise along California’s coast, as I found out.

Day One: Comfortable Cruising

Embracing Slo Cal's laid-back culture, my ride for day one was a Grand Touring-S soft top. Visually, it seemed like the most-appropriate trim for puttering along 150 miles of California's central coast. The beautiful Eternal Blue Mica finish was a perfect accent to the hues of the surrounding o...