Published at Tuesday, 14 April 2020. manual car. By Suzette Dubois.
The Miata’s organically responsive handling mixed with a large dollop of 1960s British roadster drew buyers by the tens of thousands to Mazda stores. But it’s no stretch to say it was Mazda’s brilliant five-speed manual transmission that seriously added to the thrill ride. The stubby little shifter was so effortless, it moved with just a modest flick of the wrist. The second-generation Miata of 1999 got one more gear in tenth anniversary models—a six-speed—that remained optional (the five-speed was standard) well into the third generation was equally great to use.
Not only do modern manual transmissions have smoother shifters that pair with more forgiving clutches, but many examples pack technologies designed to improve performance, boost efficiency and enhance the driving experience.
The Miata was all new for 2016, and a few years later the Mazda not only retains the easy-shifting and precise six-speed manual transmission in the Roadster model but also the even better driving retractable fastback (RF) model. Either way, 2019 MX-5s get an uprated engine that now makes 181 hp and revs to 7,500 rpm. And regardless of whether your Miata has a hard roof or a soft one, it’s one of the best manual transmissions available on any car at any price.
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