MX-5 exterior

Power retractable fastback drops the roof section and rear window only for a unique look.

There exists a brotherhood of sorts that follows ownership of select cars. One of the more popular rear wheel drive vehicles that debuted in the late 70s with the Mazda RX7. It was the first ‘’affordable sports car’’ with a new rotary engine and it brought a cadre of owners together for the sole purpose of having an adventure on four wheels.

Before the expensive twin turbo left the scene in the mid 90s, the Mazda Miata was well on its way, creating its own brotherhood of loyal owners now in its fourth generation. The MX-5 Miata has sold more than a million copies making it the best selling roadster of all time.

For 2019, there is a more powerful engine, updated steering and additional safety equipment.

Pros: Hugs the road, great fuel economy, comfortable two-seater

Cons: Limited cargo, no glove box for stuff, no connectivity with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay

A four cylinder engine is mated with either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission available in two RF (Retractable Fastback) trim levels — Club ($32,945) and Grand Touring ($34,410) and a soft top base MX-5 ($25,730).

We spent a week with the Grand Touring and enjoyed its spirited ride, tight cornering and compliant suspension. Think of the Club as a down and dirty version with retuned suspension and less frills.

The Grand Touring is loaded with amenities inside and out. For the small difference in RF price, we’d recommend the Grand Touring with its long list of standard equipment including a Bose sound system and a plethora of safety equipment.

Aluminum body panels and frame parts keep the Miata’s weight distribution near even which gives the Miata increased stability during spirited driving. While handling, braking and steering are precise, know that speed is not its strong suit.

In our independent testing, we recorded a 7.9 second time from a dead stop to 60 miles per hour. That’s a little quicker than last year’s model due in part to 26 additional horsepower and increased torque, sending more power to its rear-wheels.

We found form-fitting seats provide ample support for both occupants. Added manual driver seat adjustments are also a welcome addition for taller drivers and a new telescoping and tilt steering wheel provides increased comfort and better instrument panel vision.

Unlike a traditional soft top, the power rooftop retracts the overhead roof and rear window, leaving the fastback portion in its upright position. The trip up or down takes about 13 seconds and can be accomplished at speeds up to six miles per hour.

Inside appearance is clean with large dials and easy to operate display interface. A seven-inch color touchscreen provides basic operations and could use an upgrade.

If you are waiting for your ship to come in for that Porsche 911 Targa, know that the Miata RF has a striking resemblance for less than a third the coin. A few rivals in this segment deserve a test drive including the Fiat 124 Spider and Subaru BRZ.

Contact independent automotive columnist Len Ingrassia at