Miata is always the answer. Except when it’s not


When it comes to affordable track day cars, everyone knows Miata Is Always the Answer.

But what if it isn’t?

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/02/12/avoidable-contact-is-miata-the-answer


Not too long ago, the Miata had a stigma of being (begin politically incorrect speak here) a “chic car.”

That being said, a real manly guy I know who lives in our subdivision, has the following 3 vehicles in his livery:

90s era rusted out super lifted small Toyota pickup.
newer 00s era lifted ford pickup of an indeterminate style.
a Mazda Miata.

They do look fun, but I’d probably never end up with one…



A 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata was the best handling car I’ve ever owned, tons of fun, with enough power to surprise you…and others.


Had a 2006 Miata for a couple months, but had to trade it in on a BMW. At 6’3" tall there was no way to fit in this little car and be comfortable. Just too compact for a big guy, but yeah, fun to drive, except on the interstate where my wife felt like we would be squashed like a bug any second by a semi. We hated it, but my 5’8" neighbor loved his.


The only issue is the pricing of these cars new.
I mean lets face it, its a small, simple 4cyl car, with nothing in it. No gadgets, no forced induction, no luxury. Nothing.

These should be $20-$25k cars.
I just checked both websites, and a Miata GS-P starts at $38 822, while a mustang GT starts at $37 789 (Canadian pricing).
It would be hard for me personally to choose a 140hp 4 cylinder car that I may not fit in, over 400+ hp v8.


I like Miatas , I thought I’d probably buy one when I retired in 2013 . Just for top down summertime fun . I started looking around and found a Toyota MR2 Spyder .I love it ! You see Miatas everywhere but hardly see any Spyders .Not many made I know . I still do not understand why the MR2 Spyder does not get much press !


I found myself a 21k miles 98 BMW Z3, a lot’s of fun car, I would say the German version to a Miata, I cannot stop driving it, the suspension is rock solid…


I put my Audi TT mk1 into a ditch back in Nov. I had it for 16 years. Loved that car. Insurance only gave me 4K for it since the age and 188K miles on it. I have always liked Miatas so I thought this was a good time to purchase one. I found a 2002 NB about 100 miles away. It only had 82K on it and a good record of maintaince. It just needed pads an rotors. I bought it for $3,100 and did the pads and rotors myself for a little over $100. I hate to admit it, but it drives and especially handles so much better that the TT. It’s been a blast to drive and I know I don’t have to take out a loan if something breaks. It’s got some dings and scratches but I’ll fix those myself too. Even with 85 hp less than the TT it still moves out great. I’m a real convert! The answer is really is Miata!


The problem with a Miata is that some of us (like me!) have a constant itchy curiosity about owning and driving different cars, and it’s hard to accept that there might be “the one”. I look at BMW Z3’s, I look at Audi TT’s, the idea of a Toyota MR-2 (especially the newer version) is interesting, hell even buying a decent Spitfire has crossed my mind. But this Miata I have still checks off every item on the list, and does it with no drama at all. I go out to the garage, flip down the top, hop in and it starts and runs and lets me beat it down some pretty bad roads and do things that stress the suspension, and it just does it, does it well, and if I want to do that again tomorrow, well fine, it does that too. And if it sits for 3 weeks because I’m doing other things, that’s OK too and it still starts and off we go.


I recently bought another Miata, a 1997 NA. Like many of you I have owned British sportscars, BMW Z3’s, Audi TT’s but I was drawn back to the simplicity of the original series of Miata’s. There are so many suppliers and parts are cheap. Setup with a upgraded suspension and brakes these little sportscars attack the corners and backroads better than most of it competitors. Add a turbo and they become crazy fast. All this for under $15k is just amazing value


Funny, I read stuff like this all the time “I don’t/didn’t fit in it”. And While I believe the ones who have actually tried one on for size, all I can tell you is this 6’4", 280 pounder fits in my 2001 NB. Is it “roomy”? Eh, no. Can I drive it the way I like? Yes, provided I’m not wearing wide base cross trainers on my size 13 feet. I think part of it is where you drive. I’ve driven mine for over 5 hours in a day before (2.5 there and back, with a couple hour layover), and was fine, but that was on two lane twisties. The 3 hour drive home on all intersate when I bought it, though, was painful. Mine doesn’t have cruise control, and I had no way to move or stretch my legs. I guess the twisties help alleviate that,.


I totally agree John. I could wedge myself into the thing and it was a blast to drive on two lane roads, but I was never comfortable. It was a contortion to get in and out and the console dug into my right leg while the arm rest dug into my left. As a fun weekender, I could have been ok with it, but I just wanted more room to stretch out. I felt the same way in the 986 Boxster and Honda S2000. Glad you love yours, but I am way more comfortable in my 2005 M3 convert. Hey its America…you pay your money, you get your choice.


I’ve raced Miatas for years. One thing to keep in mind that’s important imho, is that the Miata performance stays relatively consistent over many laps. So the brakes and grip feel the same at the end of a stint. I’ve raced cars where the brake-pedal travel gets longer after every lap and there’s nothing worse than barreling into a turn and wondering when/if the brakes will bite…


Since economy is part of the discussion consider those who have to track their dayly driver.
A two seater with a roll bar is not an ideal driver.


Anyone who thinks a Miata is a “Chick Car”, hasn’t driven one, and doesn’t understand. They are a ton of fun to play around with. Would I want one as a daily? Probably not, but as a toy, you can’t go wrong.
I do have to agree with an earlier post about the price of a new one though, as I too think they cost more than they should, for what you get. BUY USED!


I couldn’t agree more on the expense and inconvenience of maintenance on the BMW. They’re wonderful cars to toss around in the street on your way to get groceries. Oh, and that big straight six! Lovely!

But a BMW with 100k on the clock is already 40k past it’s sell by date. Maintenance will be a constant nuisance. And that cooling system! Is it even possible to track a BMW with a stock radiator and water pump?


But a broken BMW isn’t s great daily driver either.


Absolutely. Stick with something you can afford to fix.


Regarding the price of a new Miata: the car was originally conceived as a bit of a loss leader, meant to sell for a low price to young people, to get them hooked on the Mazda brand. But as has happened with so many other similar efforts (Scion, PT Cruiser) the car didn’t appeal to its target audience but instead became very popular with middle-aged baby boomers (like me). We like to think that we’re still young and hip I suppose. As soon as Mazda saw who was buying the car the price went up dramatically.


Of the 40+ cars I’ve owned, the only new car I ever bought was a 2013 Miata Club, manual. Loved every one of the 22k miles I put on it in the year I owned it. Coincidentally, my daily at the time was a manual 335i with sport package. I erred and traded the Miata for an XKR, which is a car I greatly respected, along with the 335, but I LOVED the Miata. I’ll be back to the Miata fold again sometime soon.