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The goal was to marry the look and feel of classic 1960s British sports cars with the quality and reliability of modern Japanese models--and this nimble, fun-to-drive roadster meets it admirably. Though it leans in corners a bit more than did earlier Miatas, the latest version rides marginally better. Its twin-camshaft Four is willing and responsive, if not overly powerful, and the stubby manual shifter is a joy to use.
Alerts
There are 2 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph (sec.) 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
NA
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
NA
2005
NA
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
NA
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
NA
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
NA
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
NA
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS available, standard from 2006. Side air bags standard from 2006. ESC available from 2006, standard from 2012.
Model Summary
The goal was to marry the look and feel of classic 1960s British sports cars with the quality and reliability of modern Japanese models--and this nimble, fun-to-drive roadster meets it admirably. Though it leans in corners a bit more than did earlier Miatas, the latest version rides marginally better. Its twin-camshaft Four is willing and responsive, if not overly powerful, and the stubby manual shifter is a joy to use. The manually operated convertible top has a glass rear window. The interior is cramped for tall people, however, and the Miata can prove tiring on a long trip. A six-speed manual transmission is optional in the LS model, which also gets a standard limited-slip differential.
Seating
2 front
Drive Wheels
Rear
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
convertible
Transmissions Available
  • 5-speed Manual
  • 4-speed Automatic
  • 6-speed Manual
Engines Available
  • 1.8-liter 4 (142 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Convertible top

“The top is worn and splitting at the rear window. In fairness though, it is a 13 year old Florida car”

Anonymous, FL (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata Base 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

“Convertible top ripped (while up) because of wind pressure as I was driving at 55 mph & had to be replaced. Not bad, considering I live in Florida, the top was 12 years old, and the car sits outside 6 months of the year”

William S., FL (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata Unsure 1.8-L 4 Cyl)
Seat belts

“The whole design has been a source of annoyance. The male portion of the buckle is constantly getting wedged between the seat and the door, and the entire assembly is too sensitive to movement”

Anonymous, FL (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata Base 1.8-L 4 Cyl)
Windows

“electric windows had to be disassembled, lubed and adjusted to regain normal open and close speed”

Anonymous, OH (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata LS 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

“Had to replace both window motors and it was very expensive”

Michael W., GA (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

“Window on drivers side would go down only 1/4 of the way & the complete assembly had to be replaced. Apparently the rubber bushings give out as the car ages”

William S., FL (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata Unsure 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

“Replaced the ECM, Immobilizer, spark plugs, plug wires, coils, still having misfire issues”

Daniel T., TX (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata LS 1.8-L 4 Cyl)
Fuel injection system

“We had to replace both electronic modules that control fuel injection. The car would hesitate and cough when accelerated”

Anonymous, ID (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata LS 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

“Replaced both o2 sensors”

Anonymous, FL (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata LS 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

“Front 02 sensor went bad around 45000 miles”

Anonymous, GA (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

“after using car cover for two months it suddenly developed milky white areas indicating the clear coat had failed in those places. An essentially unrepairable situation short of complete repainting”

Anonymous, OH (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata LS 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

“Special Edition Trim on car fading very badly”

Michael W., GA (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl)
Rust

“After 13 years of reliable fun excellent joyful driving, the left side panel requires replacement due to rust or it will not pass inspection. P.S. The convertible vinyl top is starting to craft, but is not leaking”

Anonymous, PA (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

Radio

“Radio completely stopped working. I replaced it with an aftermarket stereo”

Paul J., TX (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata LS 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

“Runs the battery down and the clock runs very fast”

Daniel T., TX (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata LS 1.8-L 4 Cyl)
Display screen difficult to see

“cant see display of stations”

Anonymous, TN (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata LS 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Cruise control

“With the cruise control on, when the car downshifts for a hill or grade, it will not upshift for a long time afterwards, even when on the downhill side”

Anonymous, KY (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata Base 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

“Cruise control and radio volume goes does sporadically. I think due to faulty speed sensor”

Val B., GA (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Engine knock or ping

“WATER WAS LEAKING THROUGH THE SPARK PLUG OF CYLINDER 1 CAUSING SERIOUS MIS-FIRING”

Anonymous, PA (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl)
Oil leaks

“Noticed oil on parking pavement”

Pierre R., NS (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Hydraulics (clutch master or slave cylinder)

“clutch master and slave were replaced”

Jo S., NC (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata Base 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

“replaced both master and slave cylinder. But this is the only real problems with car over the 15 years”

Anonymous, TN (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata LS 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Cylinder head

“SEE PREVIOUS COMMENTS. THE CYLINDERS HAD TO BE DRAINED AND AIR DRIED AND REPLACING OF IGNITION CABLES”

Anonymous, PA (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata SE 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

“Weather stripping around top of windows, and repeated problem with vinyl convertible top latches”

Estelle K., OR (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata Unsure 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Electronic ignition

“Failure of the Cam Position Sensor caused the car to die in the middle of freeway traffic. This is the 3rd ignition failure on this car, leaving my wife stranded each time”

Anonymous, CA (2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata Base 1.8-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

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