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Mazda MX-5 Miata: Which Should I Buy, 2019 or 2020?

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Most significant changes: Expanded availability of safety tech, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and performance suspension components

Price change: From $365 to $1,115, depending on specifics (destination fees also increase from $895 to $920)

On sale: February

Which should you buy, 2019 or 2020? Unless you can still hunt down a rare 2019 30th Anniversary Edition, extra features favor the 2020.

A year after Mazda bumped engine output for the MX-5 Miata, the Japanese automaker’s venerated sports car enters the 2020 model year with expanded availability on key convenience, safety and performance features. Pricing for the 2020 MX-5 Miata, which goes on sale this month, is up $725 to $1,115 on most trim levels except the automatic-transmission-equipped Grand Touring, which adds just $365 (destination fees increase by $25).

Related: 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata First Drive: More Power Paves the Road to More Fun

The fourth-generation Miata, which has been around these parts since mid-2015, is a rear-drive, two-seat roadster with soft or retracting hard tops, the latter dubbed RF (retractable fastback). The 2019 range-topping 30th Anniversary Edition variant with scant production will not return for 2020. What remains are the Sport, Club and Grand Touring trim levels, all of which you can get with a manual or automatic transmission. All three have more features for 2020, especially Sport and Club models.

A few safety features — lane departure and blind spot warning systems, plus forward collision warning with low-speed automatic emergency braking — that were mostly optional for 2019 are now standard. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, previously available only on the 30th Anniversary Edition, now come on Club and Grand Touring trims, though both systems employ a 7-inch Mazda Connect multimedia system. As with the 2019 model, the system functions as a touchscreen only when the car is stopped.

Stick-shift Club and Grand Touring models get a few performance features: bracing over the front shock tower, a limited-slip differential in back and a sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers all around. Formerly, such features came on the Club but cost extra on the Grand Touring.

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If you can’t wait for the 2020 MX-5 Miata to go on sale before the end of February, a few hundred model-year 2019 examples remain on Cars.com. Given Mazda will add Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as a dealer-installed accessory to any Mazda Connect system dating back to 2014, many of its upgrades are attainable — at a cost — today.

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