2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring Review by David Colman +VIDEO
10 out of 10 Star Rating
By David Colman
Special Correspondent to The Auto Channel
The Grand Touring model that is the subject of this test, on the other hand, ticks all the boxes for the quintessential sports car: significantly uprated engine, gold standard 6-speed manual transmission, track compatible Bridgestone Potenza rubber, augmented by the optional Grand Touring package. This absolute bargain at $550 adds a limited slip differential, front shock tower brace, and sport tuned suspension featuring Bilstein shock absorbers. Those carefully chosen components make the MX-5 Grand Touring a very serious sports car. So much so that Mazda has even built 200 full race versions of it for competition in the company's Global MX-5 Cup series.
It seems somewhat presumptuous to call it a "Grand Touring" model in view of the fact that it offers just 5 cubic feet of trunk storage. So if your idea of grand touring includes a steamer trunk and a couple of matched suitcases, you'll be sorely disappointed with the not-so-grand touring MX-5. However, if you can make do with a pair of duffel bags, the Miata's tidy little footlocker will accommodate your needs for a weekend getaway. You'll want to stow just about everything in the trunk too, because the tight confines of the cockpit offer virtually no storage for ancillaries. There's no glovebox in the dash, tiny pockets in the tiny doors, and a vertical compartment between the front seats just big enough to stow gloves and a hat. The console between the seats serves as the repository for the "Multi-Function Command Control" as well as the entertainment system volume and station selector. Since the shift lever lies directly in front of these knobs, it's all too easy to reprogram your audio inadvertently as you shift gears. Living in this cockpit is akin to being a banana inside the peel.
The MX-5 is now equipped with a bevy of safety mandates including blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and lane departure warning (LDW). Although Mazda supplies switches on the dash to delete these nanny chimes, the warning symphony always reappears every time you restart the car. In a vehicle with steering that is exceptionally sensitive like the MX-5, it is all too easy to trigger the LDW or cause the blind spot to chirp constantly. These annoying noisemakers are simply uncalled for on the Miata and defeat the very point of the vehicle: its exceptional maneuverability and commanding field of vision.
Back in 1992, the first generation Miata was selling for $20,000 and offered virtually no creature comforts whatsoever. The fact that you can still buy this car for just $10,000 more than it sold for in 1992 indicates how stable the Mazda buying dollar has remained over all those years. The base price of the MX-5 is just $30,780, though I would strongly recommend equipping it with the worth-every-penny $550 Grand Touring Package. Thusly equipped, your Mazda will be rewardingly enjoyable to drive on the twisty back roads where it belongs.
2019 MAZDA MX-5 MIATA GRAND TOURING
ENGINE: 2.0 liter inline 4, DOHC
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 26MPG City/34MPG Highway
PRICE AS TESTED: $32,650
HYPES: Hyperkinetic Handling, Swell New Motor
GRIPES: Overdue for Cockpit Ergonomic Redo
STAR RATING: 10 Stars out of 10