Following a 2019 model update that saw a significant boost in engine power, Mazda has adopted a “steady as she goes” mentality for the 2020 MX-5 Miata. The 2020 model holds true to the playful roadster ethos that has attracted drivers to the Miata since it was first introduced in 1989. Only now it has a lot more bells and whistles. Drivers will still find a few small quality of life updates in the new model. However, the 2020 Miata is more of a minor tweak than a full refresh. Mind you, when we’re talking about one of the most fun to drive roadsters on the market, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
From the outside looking in, you won’t find much new about the 2020 Miata. It’s still a sleek and small two-seat-convertible. It comes with either a traditional soft top or a targa-top on the RF (Retractable Fastback) model. The regular Miata’s soft top can be opened and closed manually. However, the RF features fixed rear roof pillars and a power-retractable hardtop center roof panel.
Otherwise, the only notable aesthetic upgrade comes in the form of new exterior and interior colors. There’s a Polymetal Gray paint job and Red Nappa Leather. The top of the line Grand Touring model also offers a gray soft top in addition to the standard black and brown variants.
Engine and Performance
All three of the Miata’s trim levels sport the same powertrain. That means there’s performance parity across the board. This is a good thing, as the Miata was upgraded just last year with a zippy 2.0 liter, four-cylinder engine with 181 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. Mazda offers a choice between a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. With smooth, easy shifting, the manual is the clear winner — especially when stickshifts are disappearing fast. But the automatic is programmed well enough that drivers won’t be disappointed with either option.
The only real downside to the Miata’s performance is that things can get a little bouncy and noisy, depending on the road. These issues are nullified somewhat at the Club and Grand Touring trim levels thanks to their firmer shocks. However, expect a less than smooth ride if you’re driving the Sport model on rough roads.
The 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata comes in three trim options. They are the Sport, Club, and Grand Touring editions.
The base Sport model comes with a number of new standard features. The highlights include blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, Smart City Braking Support (a fancy name for automated emergency braking), and lane departure warning. Previously, these features were only available as part of an $850 upgrade package. Their inclusion in the base model provides better value for the $27,500 price tag. However, you’ll have to ignore the fact Mazda upped the price by nearly $1,000 to accommodate the new features. The overall price jumps to $28,850 for a Sport with automatic transmission.
Fittingly, the mid-tier Club is arguably the best value option thanks to some additional features you won’t find in the Sport package. These amenities include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, as well as 17-inch dark-finish wheels and a nine-speaker Bose audio system. Performance-wise, the Club is also a small step above the base model Miata. It boasts a sport-tuned suspension, limited-slip differential, Bilstein dampers, and front shock tower brace. Pricing for the Club starts at $31,210 for manual transmission and $31,810 for automatic.
The top-line Grand Touring trim carries all the same amenities and performance features as the Club, plus an Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS). The Gray-colored cloth soft top and red Nappa leather interior are also exclusive to the Grand Touring model. Pricing starts at $32,590 for manual and $33,115 for automatic. The price for Club and Grand Touring trims with the folding-hardtop RF are set even higher, at $33,965 and $35,345, respectively.
At a glance, here’s how the prices break down for the 2020 Miata by trim (USD).
- Sport MT – $27,500
- Club MT – $31,210
- Grand Touring MT – $32,590
- Club RF MT – $33,965
- Grand Touring RF MT – $33,345
Despite its diminutive exterior, the Miata’s two-seater cabin is surprisingly cozy. It can comfortably accommodate taller drivers. As for creature comforts, the accommodations are a little more basic. This is a car that prioritizes fun over practicality. That point is hammered home by the overall lack of cargo space. While no one is going to buy a Miata to lug around all their personal effects, the trunk is tiny. Even by sports car standards. The storage capacity of rival speedsters like the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ — which both feature folding rear seats — look positively generous by comparison.
On the infotainment front, every Miata has a touchscreen system with an easy-to-reach control knob and hard buttons on the center console. Bluetooth connectivity is standard for both phone and audio streaming. As mentioned, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard on both the Club and Grand Touring models. There’s even a CD player if you still care about that sort of thing!
Safety Features and Warranty Coverage
Driver-assistance features are all standard on the 2020 Miata. They include automated emergency braking with forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, and lane-departure warning.
Warranty-wise, coverage on the Miata is average. You can argue it’s actually a step behind its twin, the Fiat 124 Spider, which has a longer limited warranty and an additional year of roadside assistance. As for the Miata, you’ll get a limited warranty covering three years or 36,000 miles (whichever comes first). The powertrain warranty that covers 5 years or 60,000 miles. Mazda doesn’t offer complimentary scheduled maintenance.
Weighing in at just over 2,400 lbs (the manual model is even less), the 2020 Miata is quite a lightweight ride. Unsurprisingly, this helps a lot when it comes to fuel economy. The Miata’s 2.0-liter engine delivers 26 miles per gallon (MPG) in the city across all trim and transmission levels, and close to 34 MPG on the highway. The automatic transmission fairs a little better on the highway at 36 MPG.
- Rev-happy engine still as fun as ever.
- New standard safety features.
- Great performance at affordable price.
- Limited cargo space.
- Not much new from 2019 model.
- Cabin can be a bit noisy.
The Last Word
The 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata does little to move the needle from last year. However, it remains an attractive option for those who value fun over practicality in their driving. Simply put, you’re not going to find many cars that can deliver the Miata’s go kart-like thrills for under $40K. Or even $30K, if you opt for the base model Sport trim.
The Miata is great on gas, has a retractable soft top that can be raised or lowered in seconds, and is still as sleek as ever. Couple that with a perky engine that makes up for its lack of raw horsepower in sheer agility, and you have a car that more than punches above its weight class. Just don’t expect to haul much more than your groceries in that little trunk.