Full disclosure; I’ve never owned a Miata. I’ve read they’re good, although I can’t attest to it. I’ve also recommended them to countless individuals who ask “what’s the best sports car for the money”. Why the heck would I own one? I daily drove a Honda S2000 for six years. Which, if you didn’t know, is the Miata’s big brother that gives you noogies until you cry like a bitch. They look better, have more power - yo, and aren’t reminiscent of your wife’s favorite hairdresser. Here’s a short breakdown of why I loathe the Mazda Miata:
1 Way Too Feminine - Like Bruce Jenner they exude zero masculinity. Especially in red.
2 Way Underpowered - 116hp sounds great if you’re talking lawnmower specs. Fast forward 25 years and the lowly Mazda is still in fart-can range at a paltry 167hp.
3 Way Too Good at The Track - How many times have you heard “My Miata, with Hoosiers will destroy your new Z06 around the racetrack”. Please.
4 Way Too Small Wheels Named After a Sunflower - Some wheels are the stuff of legends. If you have any automotive merit, names like Monoblock, Fuchs, and Basketweave come to mind. Miata on the other hand has a cute set of 14'’ rollers apply named; the daisy.
5 Way Too Red - For the better of my existence I was under the impression Miata’s only came in red. I’m still not totally sure they painted them any other color.
Now... I’m done hating. Last weekend I bought a very stock 1993 1.6L Miata in red. And I f**cking love it. I’m sorry for everything I just said, it’s rubbish. I’m also thankful that the entire automotive journalism world hasn’t been lying to me. For the money this is clearly the best car on earth.
My car is so stock it hurts, down to the original headunit. I refuse to change anything for the sake of originality and will drive it as Mazda’s engineer’s intended. Daisy wheels and all. The 1.6 is so willing, the chassis feels damn near perfect, and even with shit tires the handling is benign. And the shifter, even after owning an S2000, feels legit.
If you’re like me and never appreciated the virtues of the Miata enough to buy one, do yourself a favor and at least go drive one. My first generation 1.6l car is just as entertaining as my s2000. In fact, in many ways it’s more entertaining. It’s not as angry, it’s 800 pounds lighter (give or take), feels more tossable, and good ones can cost less than a 60" flat-screen. I won’t ramble waxing poetic about the virtues of these amazing little roadster, it’s been done. If you value any sorta cool driving experience, save your pennies, and go buy a Miata.
Flyinglap aka Joe knows more useless car information than anybody. He owns every Car & Driver since 1986. His 11 year old son knows the difference between an E24 and E28. His 7 year old son says “gai-ar-doh” not “gah-lar-doh”.