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Published At: 2021-01-16T03:00:03Z  
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The Resilient Roadster: Why the Miata continues to reign for over 30 years.


The Mazda MX-5, known in the States as the Miata, was first introduced in 1989. Since then, Mazda has blessed us with four generations of the MX-5. I remember the first time I ever began to appreciate this roadster. It was in the late 90’s as a kid playing the video game Gran Turismo. The Miata was one of the first cars you got to choose. It wasn’t flashy, but it was cool that it was in one of the most prestigious video games at the time. Fast forward over 20 years later and the Miata continues to be the best affordable sports car on the market.

I must admit, during my entire life I never thought about owning a Miata. It’s tiny, it’s not that fast and most of their owners are going through a mid life crisis. I found myself always desiring something practical yet fun to drive. The Miata is defined by the latter, however it is far from practical. I never had money to blow on a weekend driver; two seater sports car. So I always resorted to purchasing Sport Utility Vehicles, or four door sport sedans. After I sold my Acura TL type S, I was in desperate need of a vehicle. I visited an Alfa Romeo dealer with my heart set on purchasing a Giulia. I’ve always wanted an Alfa Romeo ever since I was a kid. My dad owned a late 80’s Alfa Romeo Milano and that was the family car throughout my childhood. When my dad drove by, I would brag to my friends that the Alfa would one day be mine. They would all laugh and clown on me because it was old and weird looking. But I loved it because it was Italian and different. I guess I felt like it represented me welI. I love having things that nobody knows about. Since I was a kid I always had to buy Nike’s that no one in school had. I mean it would seriously ruin my day if I saw someone else wearing my sneakers. I didn’t care if someone else liked what I had. I just preferred to stand out and I’ve carried that mentality into my adulthood. As far as the Alfa Romeo goes, I never got a chance to call it my own. My dad sold it to his mechanic a few years before I got my license. Bummer.


Back at the dealership, I couldn’t score a decent deal on a Giulia. Instead, I noticed an automatic Fiat 124 Spider Abarth. I remember when the 124 Abarth came out, it was only offered with a manual transmission. Rightfully so, a car like that should only be offered with a standard 6 speed. However, I didn’t want my daily driver to have a manual gearbox. At the time I lived in Los Angeles, and I’m sure you all heard about LA’s traffic. So a stick shift wasn’t going to cut it in bumper to bumper. So here I am in front of the next best thing, an Italian sports car with a scorpion for a badge. It checked all the right boxes. It was different, sporty, fun, and most importantly Italian. It could fill that void of always wanting to own a unique, Italian automobile. But there was a problem, it wasn’t practical. I’ve never owned a two seater sports car with enough cargo capacity to squeeze in my toiletry bag. So I passed on the Spider and ended up leasing a crossover; how original. Recently, I had the luxury of temporarily owning both the 124 Abarth and Mazda Miata. After driving both cars for a few weeks, I could definitively say the Miata is the better sports car. Although I’ve grown to be biased towards Italian manufacturing, I must admit the Japanese roadster is without question the better option.


The Miata featured in this article is a 2019 base model with 181 horsepower, an increase from 155 in the previous year. The 2.0 naturally aspirated inline 4 engine boasts 151 pound feet of torque with a curb weight less than 2400 pounds. It comes standard with a 6 speed manual gearbox and redlines at 7500 RPM’s. Combine this with the Miata’s fantastic handling and it’s enough to make you feel like you’re in a Formula 1 race car. The naturally aspirated engine makes the throttle feel extremely responsive. The gearbox shifts like butter and urges you to rev it all the way up to its redline. This Miata was by far the most fun I’ve ever had in a modern day roadster. It’s so light that you can just throw it into turns and still trust that it will remain in control. There is nothing in this world that is more fun than going through the gears in this car. The dual overhead cam engine is refined and appeals to many car enthusiasts for its simplistic design. The engine doesn’t have any plastic covers over it, rather it appears to look simple and easily accessible under the hood. This is something that is becoming more and more rare to find in the auto industry. Nowadays, engines come completely covered and require special tools to access. Automakers are discouraging people to work on their own cars. Not Mazda, just look at that engine, it looks like something straight from the past. As clichè as it may sound, Mazda knows if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Unlike Toyota with their Supra, Mazda will never offer their Miata without a standard transmission. They understand that the car is designed to operate with a manual. Going through the gears and hitting the perfect shift is what brings out the fun in a sports car. When BMW introduced the new Z4 last year, it did not offer a manual transmission. Same goes for Porsche with their latest 911. Dedicated fans were appalled when they found out a manual was not an option. BMW and Porsche listened to their supporters and released a manual transmission for both those models. These automakers paid attention to the feedback and understood that there is still a large enough market for manual transmission owners. Now automakers don’t want to make the same mistake. Look at Ford with their new Bronco, they offer a stick shift for the 4 cylinder model with a crawling gear! These stories are a true testament to the value us car enthusiasts bring to the table. Car companies are beginning to listen. Mazda however has been listening for decades and this latest Miata is the perfect example. A new and improved engine, handling that you can trust and of course the buttery smooth 6 speed transmission. Everything you want in a high revving sports car.


Yes it isn’t practical and maybe it shouldn’t be your daily driver. But the Mazda Miata is still around because Mazda continues to put love into manufacturing their beloved roadster. What do I mean by putting love into it? Well think about your mom or grandma’s cooking. You know when they make your favorite comfort food with love. You can tell when you get the same dish at a restaurant and it’s not made with love. Mazda does the same with their Miata. They are consistent and refrain from cutting corners to save money. And if they do find themselves not pleasing their hardcore followers, they make adjustments with the following model. The improvements Mazda continues to make on the Miata is a testament to the roadster’s longevity. It still continues to thrive in an automobile market that finds companies reinventing new crossover SUV’s. Mazda in particular wasn’t satisfied with their lineup of crossovers. The CX-7 was one of the early pioneers of the vehicle class. Now Mazda offers four options, including the new CX-30. Like the CX-3 wasn’t enough, they had to confuse us with a slightly larger CX-30? Mazda could easily shift all their attention towards their SUV lineup and stop focusing on their tiny sports car. The Miata has never been Mazda’s bread and butter or volume vehicle; but it will always define their brand. In a world full of crossovers, props to Mazda for not neglecting their pride and joy, their roadster, the Mazda MX-5.

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Mazda Miata

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