Optimizing Our Miata—by Moving to the Newer Version | Project Triple Threat MX-5

Andy
Update by Andy Hollis to the Mazda ND MX-5 project car
Apr 15, 2021

We enjoyed our 2016 Mazda MX-5, but there was one thing that always stood out: its engine. The 2.0-liter unit was fine down low and offered enough torque, but the whole thing seemed to fizzle out as engine speeds climbed.

As it turns out, that powerplant was actually a stopgap for the U.S. market (other markets make do with a 1.5-liter unit) that was sourced from the Mazda3. Thankfully, engineers at Mazda upgraded the engine in the MX-5 for the 2019 model year—and were even able to bump the horsepower from 155 horsepower to 181.

So, naturally, we got the updated car. The 2019 model is virtually identical to the 2016 model, Club package with the bigger Brembo brakes and all.

How much of an improvement is the updated engine, and how will we adapt previous modifications to our new test car? We previously covered that in an installment in the magazine, which you can read here.

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