MX-5 Miata: Manual vs. Automatic

For more than three decades, the MX-5 Miata has won the hearts of car fans everywhere. It’s no surprise that the Miata has become a symbol of the automobile industry given its slender appearance, agile handling, and enthusiastic performance.

But there are differing views on whether this cherished sports car should have an automatic or manual transmission. While some contend that automatic transmissions are more convenient and straightforward, others believe manual gearshifts still offer the same excitement and control.

MX-5 Miata: Manual vs. Automatic
MX-5 Miata: Manual vs. Automatic

In this post, we’ll examine the dispute over the MX-5 Miata’s manual vs. automatic transmission to see which one actually improves the driving experience of this amazing vehicle.

MX-5 Miata: Manual vs. Automatic Transmissions

The decision between a manual and automatic transmission can be contentious when it comes to the adored MX-5 Miata. Purists contend that there is nothing that compares to directly feeling the road while shifting through the gears. On the other hand, advocates of automatic gearboxes emphasize how convenient and simple they are to use when stuck in traffic or on lengthy trips. When making this choice, there are a few surprising considerations to take into account.

A manual transmission can improve the driving experience by enabling drivers to completely interact with the car’s performance possibilities, which is an intriguing factor to consider. As you develop the ability to predict changes in speed and select the best gear for any circumstance, shifting gears becomes an art form. Every drive can seem thrillingly different at this degree of control.

On the other hand, current automatic transmissions have made significant technological and performance advancements. The most recent versions provide blazingly quick shift times and a variety of driving modes that adjust to different situations. An automatic transmission guarantees a hassle-free trip with seamless gear changes and no need for clutch effort for individuals who value convenience.

A manual or automatic transmission for your MX-5 Miata depends on your driving requirements and personal preferences. While an automatic could be preferred if you’re seeking a hassle-free daily vehicle, a manual might offer a more interesting experience on winding back roads.

Is Manual or Automatic Better for the MX-5 Miata?

The argument between manual and automatic gearboxes has divided enthusiasts over the MX-5 Miata for many years. To really appreciate the pleasure of operating this legendary roadster, some say that a manual gearbox’s simplicity and engagement are necessary, while others assert that contemporary automated gearboxes can provide flawless changes and better performance. Although both sides have reasons that are worth considering, in the end, it all boils down to preference.

MX-5 Miata: Manual vs. Automatic
MX-5 Miata: Manual vs. Automatic

The MX-5 Miata with a manual transmission is unquestionably the best option for individuals who enjoy the tactile experience of shifting gears on their own. The Mazda six-speed gearbox’s crispness and precision, along with its short throws, provide for an exceptionally gratifying driving experience.

When thinking about an MX-5 Miata, automatic transmissions shouldn’t be completely discounted. Recent technological developments have made automatic gearboxes faster, more effective, and sometimes even capable of exceeding their manual equivalents. An automatic transmission can offer a more comfortable and practical driving experience for people who often drive their Miata or get caught in stop-and-go traffic.

The choice of transmission for your MX-5 Miata ultimately comes down to your driving preferences and requirements. Selecting the manual option without a second thought is the best choice if you appreciate complete control over gear changes and want a more engaging driving experience. An automatic transmission, on the other hand, would be worthwhile to consider if ease of use and convenience are higher on your list of preferences or if you use your Miata more as a daily driver than a track weapon. In the end, though, it is undeniable that any version of this classic roadster will deliver infinite excitement on twisting roads with its exceptional handling characteristics, regardless of the decision you make.

Should you get an automatic MX-5 Miata?

MX-5 Miata: Manual vs. Automatic
MX-5 Miata: Manual vs. Automatic

Purists may claim that real driving aficionados should always choose a manual transmission when selecting between an automatic and manual MX-5 Miata. Because of this physical relationship between man and machine, sports cars are appealing. An automatic MX-5 Miata is ideal in some circumstances, though.

The skill of clutch control can be difficult and exhausting for people who live in busy cities with lots of traffic. When you approach more open roads, an automatic transmission still lets you enjoy the thrill of open-top driving while commuting without stress. Additionally, an automatic MX-5 Miata becomes an appealing choice if you have any physical restrictions or just want a more comfortable driving experience.

In terms of resale value, an automated gearbox can be helpful. Although some fans may consider this sacrilegious, the fact is that due to their increased market appeal, used sports cars with automatic transmissions are frequently in higher demand. Therefore, choosing an automatic could perhaps result in a greater resale value and a speedier turnaround time if you intend to sell or trade-in your MX-5 Miata in the future. Whatever your inclination, both versions of the legendary roadster have their own special charms. Whether you’re fascinated by precise gear changes or want comfort and convenience on every journey.

Automatic MX-5 Miatas: Pros and Cons


  • Automatic MX-5 Miatas offer effortless and convenient driving, especially in heavy traffic or during long commutes.
  • The automatic transmission makes the MX-5 Miata more accessible to a wider range of drivers who may prefer or require an automatic transmission.
  • The automatic transmission provides smoother gear shifts, resulting in a more comfortable driving experience.
  • Automatic MX-5 Miatas tend to have higher resale values due to their broader appeal and demand among potential buyers.
  • In some cases, the automatic transmission can improve fuel efficiency compared to manual transmissions, helping save on fuel costs.


  • Automatic MX-5 Miatas can lack the engagement and tactile feedback that come with shifting gears manually, which is often considered one of the highlights of driving this sports car.
  • The automatic transmission may not provide the same level of performance as a manual transmission, potentially affecting acceleration and overall responsiveness.
  • Some enthusiasts may miss having full control over gear selection and being able to downshift for greater engine braking when approaching corners or during spirited driving.

Manual MX-5 Miatas: Pros and Cons


  • The excitement of changing gears can be fully appreciated when driving a manual MX-5 Miata, which provides a more exciting and enjoyable driving experience.
  • They give drivers a stronger sense of connection with the car by offering superior control and precision, particularly when it comes to cornering and handling.
  • Since manual gearboxes typically use less fuel than automatic ones, total fuel economy is improved.
  • In certain instances, such as downhill descents or while approaching tight curves, the ability to manually downshift might offer more braking power and control.
  • For those on a tight budget, manual MX-5 Miatas are typically less expensive than their automatic equivalents.


  • Drivers who are unfamiliar with manual transmissions or who have physical restrictions that make it difficult for them to successfully use the clutch pedal may find it difficult to operate a manual transmission.
  • Constantly changing gears in congested areas or stop-and-go traffic can become unpleasant and contribute to driving fatigue.
  • Due to reduced market demand for manual MX-5 Miatas compared to those with automated gearboxes, resale values may be lower.


Personal preference will determine whether the MX-5 Miata has a manual or automatic transmission. While automated vehicles are more convenient and user-friendly, manual vehicles offer a more engaged and connected driving experience. Both alternatives have their own distinct benefits and disadvantages.

Whether one opts for the excitement of gear-shifting or the ease of letting the car handle everything, it’s crucial to take into account how these options fit with certain driving demands and preferences. In the end, testing both choices is essential to making a wise choice. Take each for a drive before choosing which transmission for your MX-5 Miata, and allow your driving preferences to lead you to the best option for a lifetime of driving pleasure.

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Shagufta Shahzadi
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