2020 Chevrolet Camaro vs. 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Camaro and the MX-5 Miata 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, available collision warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The Chevrolet Camaro weighs 839 to 1812 pounds more than the Mazda MX-5 Miata. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

Warranty

The Camaro’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the MX-5 Miata’s (6 vs. 5 years).

There are over 5 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Mazda dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Camaro’s warranty.

Reliability

The battery on the Camaro is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the Camaro’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The MX-5 Miata’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 12th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 44 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 21st.

Engine

The Camaro’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 94 more horsepower (275 vs. 181) and 144 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 151) than the MX-5 Miata’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. The Camaro’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 154 more horsepower (335 vs. 181) and 133 lbs.-ft. more torque (284 vs. 151) than the MX-5 Miata’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. The Camaro LT1/SS’ standard 6.2 V8 produces 274 more horsepower (455 vs. 181) and 304 lbs.-ft. more torque (455 vs. 151) than the MX-5 Miata’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. The Camaro ZL1’s standard 6.2 supercharged V8 produces 469 more horsepower (650 vs. 181) and 499 lbs.-ft. more torque (650 vs. 151) than the MX-5 Miata’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Chevrolet Camaro is faster than the Mazda MX-5 Miata (manual transmissions tested):

Camaro turbo 4 cyl.

Camaro V6

MX-5 Miata

Zero to 60 MPH

5.2 sec

5 sec

5.7 sec

Quarter Mile

13.9 sec

13.7 sec

14.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

101 MPH

101.7 MPH

95.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Camaro V6/V8 Auto’s fuel efficiency. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The Camaro has 7.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the MX-5 Miata (19 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The Camaro has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A 10-speed automatic is available on the Chevrolet Camaro, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the MX-5 Miata.

The Camaro (except 4-cylinder/V6)’s optional launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer launch control.

The Chevrolet Camaro SS/ZL1 manual has a downshift rev synchronizer that automatically raises engine speed to make downshifts perfectly smooth. This keeps the car from lurching during downshifts, preventing loss of control during cornering. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer a downshift rev synchronizer.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Camaro’s brake rotors are larger than those on the MX-5 Miata:

Camaro LS/LT

Camaro ZL1

MX-5 Miata

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

15.35 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

12.4 inches

14.4 inches

11 inches

The Camaro SS’ standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the MX-5 Miata are solid, not vented.

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

Camaro

MX-5 Miata

70 to 0 MPH

140 feet

175 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

91 feet

116 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

119 feet

133 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Camaro has larger standard tires than the MX-5 Miata (245/50R18 vs. 195/50R16). The Camaro ZL1 1LE Coupe’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the MX-5 Miata (F:305/30R19 & R:325/30R19 vs. 205/45R17).

The Camaro SS 1LE/ZL1’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 30 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the MX-5 Miata Club/Grand Touring’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Camaro has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the MX-5 Miata Sport. The Camaro’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the MX-5 Miata Club/Grand Touring.

The Chevrolet Camaro’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Mazda MX-5 Miata only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

The Camaro has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the Camaro can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Camaro offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The MX-5 Miata’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Camaro has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Camaro’s wheelbase is 19.8 inches longer than on the MX-5 Miata (110.7 inches vs. 90.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Camaro is 4.4 inches wider in the front and 3.6 inches wider in the rear than the track on the MX-5 Miata.

The Camaro SS Convertible handles at .98 G’s, while the MX-5 Miata Grand Touring pulls only .89 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Camaro SS Convertible executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.1 seconds quicker than the MX-5 Miata Grand Touring (24.3 seconds @ .82 average G’s vs. 26.4 seconds @ .67 average G’s).

Passenger Space

The Camaro has standard seating for 4 passengers; the MX-5 Miata can only carry 2.

The Camaro Convertible has 1 inch more front headroom, .8 inches more front legroom, 2.5 inches more front hip room and 2.8 inches more front shoulder room than the MX-5 Miata.

Cargo Capacity

The Camaro Convertible has a much larger trunk than the MX-5 Miata (7.3 vs. 4.6 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

The Camaro uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The MX-5 Miata uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The Camaro has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

The Camaro Auto has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When two different drivers share the Camaro (except LS/LT1), the optional memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Camaro (except LS/LT1)’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Camaro’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The MX-5 Miata does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The Camaro offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Camaro’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The MX-5 Miata has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

The Camaro’s front power windows open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The MX-5 Miata’s power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

The Camaro has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The MX-5 Miata has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Grand Touring.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Camaro has standard extendable sun visors. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Camaro’s sun-visors swivel front-to-side to block glare from the side windows. The MX-5 Miata’s visors are fixed into the windshield header.

When the Camaro with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The MX-5 Miata’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Camaro (except LS/LT1) keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Camaro’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Camaro’s optional dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

A built-in pollen filter removes pollen, exhaust fumes and other pollutants from the Camaro’s passenger compartment. This helps prevent lung and/or sinus irritation, which can trigger allergies or asthma. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer a filtration system.

Model Availability

The Chevrolet Camaro comes in coupe and convertible bodystyles; the Mazda MX-5 Miata isn’t available as a coupe.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Camaro owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Camaro with a number “1” insurance rate while the MX-5 Miata is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Camaro is less expensive to operate than the MX-5 Miata because typical repairs cost much less on the Camaro than the MX-5 Miata, including $20 less for a starter, $67 less for front struts and $785 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its January 2016 issue and the Chevrolet Camaro LT Coupe won out over the Mazda MX-5 Miata Club.

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

Motor Trend selected the Camaro as their 2016 Car of the Year. The MX-5 Miata has never been chosen.

The Chevrolet Camaro outsold the Mazda MX-5 Miata by almost six to one during 2018.

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

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