Engaging and accessible
Arguably great styling
Superb manual transmission
Retractable hard top is offered
Infotainment display too reflective in bright daylight
Automatic transmission offered only with the top trim
Cornering skills are improved
Club trim gains wireless Apple
Grand Touring offers Nappa leather upholstery in Terracotta
Platinum Quartz Metallic joins the paint choices
Price: The 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata starts at $27,300.
The 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata continues to follow its own thrilling path through the automotive world. Its compact, 2-seater convertible configuration frees it from the kind of practical considerations that families or the less flexible demand of their vehicles, and allows it to highlight the joy of driving. With a dash of Mazda
style thrown in.
The Mazda Miata comes standard with a stick shift, and automatic transmission as an option.
And what a joy the MX-5 Miata is. An attractive blend of poise and pep. Most buyers need to be able to use a manual gear lever and a clutch pedal, though, or be willing to learn. A major change for this year is that only the range-topping Grand Touring trim is eligible for the optional automatic transmission. The manual gearshift does have the virtue of being excellent. It’s smooth and precise. It also feels perfect as part of the overall MX-5 Miata package.
2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata pricing
Sport trim is the most affordable new MX-5 Miata, with a soft top and a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $27,300, plus a destination charge. Some options are available, but an automatic transmission isn’t one of them.
The Grand Touring soft top starts at $32,300. It’s only $500 for the optional automatic transmission. The RF (retractable fastback) versions start at $35K. The most expensive 2022 MX-5 Miata is an RF model in Club trim with the Brembo BBS Recaro package. Add premium paint, which could be as much as $595, and the final amount could be closer to $40K.
That’s still about $10K cheaper than the least expensive BMW Z4. The Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR86 (virtually identical cars) are coupe-only, but have a similar rear-drive/modest-powered fun thing going on, both starting in the high $20K range. If the open-air experience is more desirable than rear-wheel drive, the Mini Cooper Convertible is in the same financial ballpark.
Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to find out what others in your area paid for their new MX-5 Miata. Resale values hold up quite well.
The 2022 MX-5 Miata
Driving the 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata
We’re not going to gripe about the engine making no more than 181 horsepower, even though the rest of the car could easily cope with greater muscle. The 2022 MX-5 Miata is a small, light, rear-drive fun machine and this amount of power is just part of a well-balanced, well-considered package.
The lack of a turbocharger is also a plus in this case. The engine provides a pure, unadulterated power delivery with plenty of scope for fine-tuning throttle inputs at higher revs.
Even though the MX-5 Miata — with its communicative steering and predictable handling — is ideal for newer drivers looking to hone their skills, it also appeals to those with much more experience. Just like virtually everyone can agree that Betty White was a national treasure, the general consensus is that the MX-5 Miata is engaging and entertaining.
A new feature for 2022 is Kinematic Posture Control (KPC). This is the thing that improves the car’s already remarkable cornering talents. When attacking fast bends, a subtle amount of braking is applied to the inside rear wheel, optimizing stability by restraining body roll and making the steering feel more linear.
Anyone who buys their clothes from the Big & Tall store isn’t going to fit comfortably into a 2022 MX-5 Miata. The cabin isn’t especially accommodating for people or phones. Even space in the passenger footwell is cramped, because of the transmission tunnel.
Mazda does keep the place tidy, though, with a simple-yet-classy dash layout. The materials are generally of good quality and they’ve been put together well. Our main complaint here is that the infotainment screen is impossible to read when the roof is down and the sun is shining on it.
Sport trim is available only with a black soft top, but has a rear window made of real glass. Sports cars of old used to have plastic panels.
On the subject of traditional sports cars, the 2022 MX-5 Miata is one of only a few carrying on that great tradition. It has the classic proportions of a relatively long hood with a low roof, small cabin and tiny trunk (only 4.5 cubic feet, just about enough for one set of golf clubs). The regular soft top has a wonderfully simple operation.
RF models have a retractable hard top, or fastback, hence the initials. This adds a little weight, but doesn’t detract from the aesthetics and makes the car a more appealing proposition in bad weather.
Platinum Quartz Metallic paint is now offered with any new MX-5 Miata.
If we were going to buy a sporty car, then why not get the sportiest version? Club trim has shock absorbers from Bilstein, a company with a client list that includes Porsche
Plus a limited-slip differential, and a front strut tower brace for optimum front-end rigidity.
Firstly, six gears are perfectly adequate, as long as the ratios are chosen well. Which Mazda has done. Secondly, the shift action is one of the best found in any manual gearbox anywhere. It contributes to the fun of driving a 2022 MX-5 Miata.
Although Sport trim is the entry point for buying a 2022 MX-5 Miata, it still comes with many great features. Driver aids include blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert (especially welcome when the roof is up), and low-speed forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.
Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration is also standard, along with two USB ports and a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen. The rest of the inventory includes 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights/taillights, keyless entry/ignition, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Club trim isn’t just a matter of adding more niceties. This is a special model in the 2022 MX-5 Miata lineup, accentuating the car’s sportiness. It has Bilstein shock absorbers, a strut tower brace up front, and a limited-slip differential.
There are more amenities as well, however. Like a 9-speaker Bose audio system, LED daytime running lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, and (new this year) wireless Apple CarPlay.
Along with Grand Touring, Club trim is also offered as an RF variant. The Brembo BBS Recaro package is exclusive to Club. It’s optional with the soft top and standard in the RF. Breaking it down, Brembo
makes superb brakes, BBS makes gorgeous alloy wheels, and Recaro makes figure-hugging sport seats (they’re heated here).
Grand Touring retains the Club model’s standard additions while adding luxurious touches such as heated seats, black leather seating surfaces, navigation, satellite radio, self-dimming rearview mirror, automatic high beams, and rain-sensing wipers. Adding the automatic transmission means losing the Bilstein suspension, tower brace, and limited-slip diff.
Nappa leather seating surfaces in Terracotta are a new option for Grand Touring trim.
Engine and transmission
Every version of the 2022 MX-5 Miata has a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 181 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive is the sole configuration — part of the car’s reason for existing.
A 6-speed manual transmission is standard. An optional 6-speed automatic transmission is available only in the top Grand Touring trim.
Mazda recommends using 91-octane premium gasoline.
181 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm
151 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/34 mpg (manual), 26/35 mpg (automatic)
This story originally ran on KBB.com.