2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata vs. 2019 Buick Cascada

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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The MX-5 Miata offers optional crash mitigation brakes, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Cascada has a collision warning system without the crash-mitigating brake feature that could reduce stopping distances.

The MX-5 Miata’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Cascada doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the MX-5 Miata’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Cascada doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the MX-5 Miata and the Cascada have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available lane departure warning systems.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the MX-5 Miata Auto gets better fuel mileage than the Cascada (26 city/35 hwy vs. 21 city/29 hwy).


The MX-5 Miata offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The Cascada doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

The MX-5 Miata stops much shorter than the Cascada:


MX-5 Miata



70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

174 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

124 feet

134 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

133 feet

148 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Mazda MX-5 Miata has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Buick Cascada has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The MX-5 Miata has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the MX-5 Miata flat and controlled during cornering. The Cascada’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The MX-5 Miata’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.4% to 49.6%) than the Cascada’s (58.2% to 41.8%). This gives the MX-5 Miata more stable handling and braking.

The MX-5 Miata Club handles at .90 G’s, while the Cascada Premium pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the MX-5 Miata’s turning circle is 7.9 feet tighter than the Cascada’s (30.8 feet vs. 38.7 feet).


The Mazda MX-5 Miata may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1500 to 1650 pounds less than the Buick Cascada.

The MX-5 Miata is 2 feet, 6.8 inches shorter than the Cascada, making the MX-5 Miata easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The MX-5 Miata is 8.2 inches shorter in height than the Cascada, making the MX-5 Miata much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).

The MX-5 Miata's optional power retractable hardtop allows a seamless transition from an open car, to a completely sealed coupe. The Cascada doesn’t offer a retractable hardtop.

Cargo Capacity

A standard locking center console (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the MX-5 Miata. The Cascada doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the MX-5 Miata is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Cascada. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.


The MX-5 Miata’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children from operating them. Buick does not offer a locking feature on the Cascada’s power windows.

Advanced Keyless Entry and Start standard on the MX-5 Miata allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Buick Cascada doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

Consumer Reports rated the MX-5 Miata’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the Cascada’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the MX-5 Miata Grand Touring detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Cascada doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The MX-5 Miata Grand Touring has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Cascada has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the MX-5 Miata owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the MX-5 Miata will cost $2615 to $4140 less than the Cascada over a five-year period.

The MX-5 Miata will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the MX-5 Miata will retain 41.88% to 43.65% of its original price after five years, while the Cascada only retains 37.5% to 38.32%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the MX-5 Miata is less expensive to operate than the Cascada because it costs $387 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the MX-5 Miata than the Cascada, including $323 less for a water pump, $450 less for a muffler, $82 less for front brake pads, $89 less for fuel injection and $29 less for a timing belt/chain.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Mazda MX-5 Miata will be $9076 to $13388 less than for the Buick Cascada.


J.D. Power and Associates rated the MX-5 Miata second among compact sporty cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Cascada isn’t in the top three.

The MX-5 Miata was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 15 of the last 27 years. The Cascada has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The MX-5 Miata was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 8 of the last 24 years. The Cascada has never been an “All Star.”

The Mazda MX-5 Miata outsold the Buick Cascada by over two to one during 2017.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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