The Miata is a fun-to-drive, low-slung little roadster, with pinpoint handling, instant power delivery, and a crisp manual gearbox. Excellent fuel economy is an extra bonus. While it remains very tight, the cabin has grown a little more livable over the years. The ride is surprisingly tolerable, but cabin noise can grow wearying on long cruises.

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 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.
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.
Fuel Economy & Emissions
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.
Greenhouse Gas Greenhouse Gas The Greenhouse Gas Rating represents the amount of carbon dioxide the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).
Smog Rating Smog Rating The Smog Rating represents the amount of health-damaging and smog-forming airborne pollutants the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).

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
NA
2002
NA
2003
NA
2004
NA
2005
NA
2006
2007
2008
2009
NA
2010
2011
2012
2013
NA
2014
NA
2015
2016
2017
2018
NA
2019
2020
NA
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Transmission Minor Transmission Minor Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.
NA
Drive System Drive System Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.
NA
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
2019
2020
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
NA
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
NA
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
NA
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
NA
Safety Equipment
ABS available, standard from 2006. Side air bags standard from 2006. ESC available from 2006, standard from 2012.
Road Test

The Miata is a fun-to-drive, low-slung little roadster, with pinpoint handling, instant power delivery, and a crisp manual gearbox. Excellent fuel economy is an extra bonus. While it remains very tight, the cabin has grown a little more livable over the years. The ride is surprisingly tolerable, but cabin noise can grow wearying on long cruises. The retractable powered hardtop operates easily but adds additioanl expense and does little to reduce noise.

Seating
2 front
Drive Wheels
Rear
Warranty
Coverage varies among versions of this vehicle

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
  • 6-speed Automatic
  • 5-speed Manual
  • 6-speed Manual
Engines Available
  • 2-liter 4 (158 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 (167 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

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.

What Owners Say

Alignment

"oticed during tire rotation, resolved."

Anonymous, MD (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Shocks or struts

"I am not a mechanic and don't have car smarts. I was talked into a suspension package when buying the car. The fact that the suspension system is wearing out (what specifically, I don't know even though a mechanic tried to explain) in less than $40k miles driving the same streets I have been driving for 18 years with other vehicles that have had more miles, but no suspension problems truly annoys me. I paid a premium for a cr@p product."

Anonymous, TX (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"Both rear shocks were leaking fluid. Replaced."

Anonymous, OH (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"normal wear. replaced struts front and back to regain tight sports car ride and handling."

Fred R., AZ (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"front strut began leaking and affected ride"

Richard J., MD (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"The rear shock dampening got mushy ad did not feel as tight as when first purchased at 16,000 miles in 2014. I replaced the struts/shocks at 68000 miles."

Fred R., AZ (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"Rear shocks replaced"

Anonymous, LA (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"left rear had small leak"

Anonymous, CA (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"Rear wheels would hop around corner on a bump. Shock/struts were weak and needed replacement"

Steven L., NJ (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"The rear shocks were making a grouning noise and casused an out of balance of the tires. Replacing the shocks fixed the issue."

Anonymous, OH (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Tire wear is uneven

"noticed during tire rotation, resolved."

Anonymous, MD (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-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

CD player

"Will not unload cd’s. Five cd’s are stuck in there."

Anonymous, MD (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"Six disc changer only releases some of the discs and then stops working. Requires removal of changer for a manual reset before reinstall."

Anonymous, ON (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"On fall pre-storage prep the 6 CD changer would not eject 4 of the discs. In the spring Mazda removed the player, but could not repair locally. Am awaiting return of the repaired unit while the dash has a gaping hole where the player used to be"

Anonymous, ON (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"CD Player stopped working completely."

Anonymous, NC (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Display screen goes blank

"Problem was intermittent"

Anonymous, CA (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"On a random basis the display screen for the stereo would go blank"

David T., KS (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"Intermittently the screen goes blank, unable to see current time, station or volumn level, though the radio still works and all features seem to work."

Gary M., HI (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"Time/radio etc display intermittently goes blank. Dealer said there was no history of that problem published by the manufacturer. Replacing radio was only option ... $1,200. Radio works even when display is blank."

Todd L., FL (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"I think it happens when it's cold.. Everything works, but screen is blank."

Jeff S., NV (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Radio

"Screen display on radio (station, volume, time, etc.) goes blank at times. Dealer said car is out of warranty and it would cost me $1,200.00 to replace the unit. I then contacted Mazda and told them this should not happen after only 18,000 miles even though the car is 5 years old. They claimed this is not an issue they have a history of and denied my request for a free or reduced cost replacement"

Todd L., FL (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Speakers

"Center rear speaker between seats stopped working."

Jeff S., NV (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Body Integrity

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

What Owners Say

Squeaks or rattles

"Squecks around retractable hard top"

Patti B., TX (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"I like this vehicle well enough to not sell it, but probably wouldn't buy it again. I have owned it for 6.5 years and I bet this thing has squeaked and rattled for more than 5 of them. Mechanics were constantly tightening things with the roof and the roof latch has been replaced multiple times, which I was told was a common problem for this vehicle."

Anonymous, TX (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"CONVERTIBLE HARDTOP INTERFACE WITH WINDSHEILD SQUEEKS WHEN DRIVING"

Ross H., WA (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"This has the retractable hard top. When closed, it makes some clunks that are not present when top is down. Also odd clicks that seem to be around the dash. Mildly annoying"

Michael G., CA (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Wind noise

"AT 40MPH I HEAR WHISTLING FROM LEFT FRONT WINDOW"

Marshall C., ME (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata 2.0-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

Exterior lights (other than headlights)

"The lens glass on a rear tail light was broken. The lens by itself cannot be replaced. It is necessary to replace the entire tail light assembly at a cost of over $700.00 for the part alone, exclucing installation cost."

Gary M., HI (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Headlights

"Power supply for the advanced headlight system failed and needed to be replaced (under warrantee)"

Elliott-Pam G., VT (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Interior lights

"Interior light went out which blew a fuse and the car lost various electrical functions Could not open the trunk BUT the car was drivable"

Joseph O., FL (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Warning lights

"Hand brake light comes on intermittently. Hand brake is not engaged!"

Anonymous, CA (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"Emergency brake warning light illuminates intermittently and the AM radio reception shorts out. Short in cable bundle behind the dash is suspected"

Anonymous, CA (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

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

"Original vinyl top cracked. Replaced it with an aftermarket cloth top. Mazda dealer installed incorrectly. Tool it to a specialist. It is fine now."

Kevin B., MI (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"Cracks holes needs replacement"

Anonymous, MI (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"Roof drain plugged with pine needles, leaves, etc and I had standing water on the floor. It was an expensive repair"

Anonymous, ME (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-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)

"Check engine light came on. Had dealer check it out. They determined there was a problem in the emission system. Part was replaced. $450."

Todd L., FL (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

"WE experienced this EGR problem once. Check engine light illuminated. Our local mechanic removed and replaced the EGR Valve resolving the issue."

Anonymous, (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Exhaust

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

What Owners Say

Catalytic converter

"The catalytic converter is rattling and the dealer says it is close to failing and needs to be replaced. I will soon do that."

Anonymous, OH (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata 2.0-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

Rough shifting

"shfting improper and clutch assembly change upon inspection"

Michel B., QC (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Brakes

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

What Owners Say

Squeaking

"After four times having the car serviced to repair the brake squeaking, we have just learned to live with it"

Barbara L., CA (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2.0-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

Ignition switch

"Car would not start the day after I bought it Had it towed to my local repair shop and a major fuse had blown Cost about $100 Dealer said he would remburse me but it would take a while so I get an oil change and pin stripping on the Miata Looks cool"

J O., FL (2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Drive System

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

Engine Major

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

Engine Minor

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

Climate System

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

Engine Cooling

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

Paint/Trim

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

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