It’s hard to imagine the Mazda MX-5 Miata being around for 30 years and still maintain the hype it has built around it in that time. But it goes to show just how popular the MX-5 has become. Mazda knows how important this milestone is for its little-roadster-that-could, and so, here we are with the MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition. The first thing you need to know is that the MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition does not come with any engine upgrades. If you’re expecting one, you’re going to be disappointed. But if you know what to expect, then, well, consider yourselves lucky that you were able to scoop up a pre-order before all 500 allocated units in the U.S. sold out.
So, what are you getting with the MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition?
The most prominent highlight is also the one that catches your attention first: the paint color.
Mind you; it’s not just an orange paint job. Nope. Mazda dressed up the anniversary MX-5 with an exclusive Racing Orange paint finish that’ll knock your sensibilities out the moment you see it. Orange is my favorite color and this particular shade screams of it with the kind of flamboyance that’s impossible to ignore. I love it! At the very least, the 30th Anniversary MX-5 has a more vibrant color than its earlier counterparts, the 10th and 20th Anniversary models.
The MX-5 10th Anniversary, which Mazda released in 1999, only came with a subdued paint finish. The MX-5 20th Anniversary, which went on sale in 2009, featured three color options: Crystal White Pearl Mica, True Red, or Aurora Blue. The most recent addition to this lineup of anniversary models was the MX-5 25th Anniversary, which arrived with a Soul Red Metallic finish. None of these colors excite the senses quite like the Racing Orange finish on the 30th Anniversary Edition. Mazda describes the exclusive color as evoking “the breaking dawn of an exciting new day.” I describe it as money. Lots and lots of money coming Mazda’s way.
The fancy color captures your attention, but it’s not the only noteworthy element of the MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition. Check out those wheels, too!
That’s a set of 17-inch, ten-spoke aluminum forged bad boys that come courtesy of Japanese wheel manufacturer Rays. L
ook past the wheels, and you’ll also see brake calipers finished in the same color as the body. The front calipers are supplied by Brembo while their counterparts at the back come by way of Nissin. As expected, the MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition isn’t complete without the cursory 30th Anniversary badge that also includes the model’s specific vehicle number. That’s located on the drivers-side quarter-panel ahead of the rear wheel. Someday, I’m going to find a numbered special edition model without a badge in it. Someday.
This is the extent of Mazda’s exterior program for the MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition. Throw in the sports car’s convenience features — those rain-sensing windshield wipers and automatic high-beam headlights will come in handy from time to time — and you’re looking at what is, in my mind, the best-looking MX-5 Anniversary Edition Mazda has released.
2019 Mazda MX-5 exterior dimensions
|Curb weight (KG/LB)||1,057 / 2,332|
- Orange accents
- Black leather surface
- Recaro Sports seats
- Special badges
The Mazda MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition’s interior doesn’t disappoint, either. The same orange shade you see the MX-5 is wearing makes an appearance in the cabin, too, in the form of accents that liven up the interior space of the sports car. That bodes well for a cab that’s mostly covered up in black leather.
Recaro sports seats come standard on the model, which is fitting considering the identity of the MX-5 as a sports car.
Unfortunately, Mazda didn’t do a lot — it didn’t do anything, actually — to clean up some of the plastic bits that you normally find inside an MX-5. Most of the plastic that lines much of the door trim is still there. Same thing with the dashboard, seats, and gear lever. This has always been one of the MX-5’s weakest links, and while it is understandable to see so much plastic on a car that sells for just over $30,000, I would’ve expected Mazda to do something to jazz up the cabin of what is basically an important special edition anniversary model. But alas, this good world of ours doesn’t give us everything we want so if you’re going to buy the MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition, you need to come to grips with all the cheap plastic in the interior.
I should point out, too, that Mazda was a little more subdued in dressing up the MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition, at least when you compare it to the 10th Anniversary model it rolled out 20 years ago. That special edition featured faux suede inserts — they’re fake, but still, props for the effort, Mazda — a leather-wrapped string wheel, chrome bezels, sports-oriented red gauge needles, and a few bits of Alcantara trim applied to the door panels, the dashboard, and the Recaro seats. That model even had special floor mats, which, to my humorous dismay, the 30th Anniversary Edition does not have. Come on, Mazda. If you’re doing the obligatory badges, where’s the equally obligatory set of special floor mats?
The good news is that the MX-5 30th Anniversary arrives just as Mazda added a host of new features for the 2019MY of the sports car, including a new a new, standard tilt and telescoping steering column with 30 mm (1.18 inches) of telescoping and 42 mm (1.65 inches) of tilt range.
Mazda also saved a bit of weight by replacing the old steering column with one made from aluminum.
Those who opt for the RF trim also stands to receive leather-trimmed seats, a nine-speaker Bose premium audio system, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, an updated Traffic Sign Recognition system, Adaptive Front-lighting System, Lane-Departure Warning, and Smart City Brake Support. The Mazda MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Don’t sleep on this little nugget because standard MX-5 models don’t have it.
- 2.0-liter inline-four cylinder engine
- 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque.
- Six-speed manual transmission (standard) / six-speed automatic transmission (optional)
- 5.7 seconds 0-to-60 mph
- 14.4 seconds at 95.5 mph quarter-mile time
- 26 mpg in the city / 34 mpg on the highway
I suppose a lot of you expect that the Mazda MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition doesn’t come with any engine upgrades.
While I’m sure a lot of us aren’t opposed to the sports car packing more heat under its hood, we could do worse than a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque.
That’s more power than the 155-horsepower MX-5 that was available until the 2019MY MX-5 showed up last year. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard, though Mazda is offering a six-speed automatic transmission as an option. Be advised, though, only the six-speed manual transmission-equipped MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition comes with Bilstein dampers.
The extra horsepower doesn’t necessarily turn the MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition into a full-on dragster, but the extra horsepower means that it’s noticeably quicker than its predecessor. We all know, too, that Mazda’s SKYACTIV mills deliver energetic acceleration so you should have fun getting to speed with the anniversary model. Even better, you can have as much fun with it without having to pay frequent trips to the gas station. According to EPA estimates, the 2019MY MX-5 Miata return 26 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway with the six-speed manual transmission. Opt for the optional automatic transmission and that returns similar figures. Either way, the MX-5 is considered one of the most fuel-efficient sports cars in the market today.
Mazda MX-5 Miata 30th Anniversary Edition drivetrain specifications
|Type||2.0-liter SKYACTIV-G inline four-cylinder engine|
|Transmission||SKYACTIV-MT and SKYACTIV-DRIVE six-speed automatic|
This is the section where good news intersects with bad news and then intersects with hopeful news.
First, the good news. The Mazda MX-5 Miata 30th Anniversary starts at $35,915, with the hardtop RF starting at $38,515. I
n the event that you want the optional six-speed automatic transmission, you’ll need to fork over an extra $499 to the softtop’s price and $400 to the price of the RF version. It’s not a cheap price, for sure — the Toyota 86 TRD Special Edition starts at $32,420 — but considering that this is a 30th Anniversary model that comes around once - ok, twice this decade — in 10 years, it’s money well spent.
Now comes the bad news. Of the 3,000 units that Mazda is building, only 500 units of the 30th Anniversary MX-5 are headed to the U.S. You might scoff at the allocation, but consider this: my home country — the Philippines — only gets 20 units. Consider yourselves lucky, America! Unfortunately, and this is where the stomach punch comes in, all 500 units that are earmarked for the U.S. market are all accounted for. It took less than four hours from the time Mazda opened the pre-order books for all 500 units to find potential owners. Hurts, doesn’t it?
Well, this is where the hopeful news comes in. If you were one of the unlucky ones to miss out on pre-ordering the MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition, Mazda is offering a waitlist in the event someone who did score a pre-order ends up canceling. There’s still hope, friends!
There’s a reason why the Mazda MX-5 is still going strong after 30 years in the market. The beloved sports car is arguably the best pound-for-pound performance car in the market. It packs punchy performance credentials with a package that has remained timeless in the three decades that it’s been around. Plus, it’s much more affordable compared to a lot of other sports cars in the market today. Throw in the fact that these anniversary editions have become collector’s pieces in their own right, and you have the makings of a special edition model that we’re going to be talking about for a long time. It’s unfortunate that Mazda’s limiting the allocation in the U.S. to just 500 units. Then again, Mazda only sent 100 units of the 25th Anniversary Edition here five years ago. Let’s count our blessings when we see them.
- Orange paint is fantastic
- Has the chance to be a collectible car
- Can’t go wrong with a Mazda MX-5, let alone a special edition version
- Plenty of plastic in the cabin
- No power upgrades
- Already sold out
Read our full review on the 2016 Mazda MX-5.
Read our full driven review on the 2017 Mazda Miata RF.
Read our full driven review on the 1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata.
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