The Mazda Miata may not be the sexiest sports car in the world. It might not turn heads like a Ferrari or a Lambo. But the Mazda Miata needs far more respect on its name. The Miata might just be…the greatest sports car ever made.
Back From The Dead
Before the Miata came along, the roadster was almost an extinct species. Since their heyday in the 60s and 70s, the fun, lightweight vehicles had all but disappeared, and it looked like they might never come back. Then, in the 1980s, American automotive journalist Bob Hall joined Mazda. Years earlier, he’d told Mazda executive Kenichi Yamamoto that the company should revive the classic, British-style roadster. When he started working for the company, Yamamoto gave him the green light to get the project off the ground.
The result was the Mazda MX-5, or the Miata in North America: a lightweight, front-engine, rear-wheel-drive roadster that exceeded everyone’s expectations. Revealed at the Chicago Auto Show in 1989, the core concept of the Miata hasn’t changed through four generations. Sleek, affordable, and an absolute joy to drive, it quickly became the best-selling two-seater convertible of all time.
From 1989 to today, Mazda has built the Miata with a simple design philosophy: Jinba ittai, or “oneness of horse and rider.” This is reflected in nearly every aspect of the design, from the cockpit designed to fit two people comfortably with no wasted space, to the 50/50 weight distribution, to keeping the car as light as possible while still adhering to safety standards. The results speak for themselves.
I could list countless awards and accolades that the Mazada Miata has racked up over the years, but I don’t think anyone has put it quite as well as Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson: “The fact is that if you want a sports car, the MX-5 is perfect. Nothing on the road will give you better value. Nothing will give you so much fun. The only reason I’m giving it five stars is because I can’t give it fourteen.”
If you like to drive, you like the Mazda Miata, as simple as that. It’s fun, it’s reliable, it’s long-lasting, it’s one of the least expensive cars in its category. It just checks every box. It should be too good to be true, but it’s not. It’s just the Miata.