Over the past 25 years and 3 model generations, the Mazda MX-5 Miata has shown that you don't have to be the best to be a massive success. The little, Japanese roadster has never been the absolute peak of automotive performance, but it's precise handling, good reliability and frugal running costs have helped make it a star. Autoblog recently tried to give you the experience of driving one on video, and now Xcar Films has made its own in an attempt to show what makes this droptop an icon.

As Xcar puts it, the Miata isn't the world's best sports car, but it is the world's favorite. When they were originally designing the roadster, Mazda's engineers took everything that made British droptops from the '60s great, and junked all of the stuff that made them a terror to own. The result was a car that would start up everyday with no fuss and get drivers wherever they needed to go with a huge grin on their face.

The fourth-generation Miata is imminently on the way for its September 3 unveiling, and the very early rumors indicate that Mazda doesn't plan to rock the boat too much with the latest one. It supposedly rides on a longer wheelbase and wider track but with the weight trimmed by over 200 pounds. Check out Xcar's video for a primer on MX-5 history and why the automotive world loves this little roadster.


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  • 35 Comments
      Timothy Tibbetts
      • 4 Months Ago

      The first time I could "afford" a car as an extra it was a used Miata for $5,000. While it might sound silly I have had some great cars but miss that one. It was fun, could wash it in 3 minutes and a door ding isn't the end of the world. Simpler times.

      Michael
      • 4 Months Ago

      Lower weight is a key aspect.   Extra power is of little use, if it comes at the price of significantly more weight.

        Matt
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Michael

        Agree. I modern NA would be ideal. I feel the NC is too much of a GT (not that it is a GT in the way a Z is but it's not as focused)

        Ducman69
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Michael

        There are plenty of tiny, lightweight, but powerful turbocharged engines on the market, which also offer the owner far more growing room than a small naturally aspirated engine.   They also tend to get better highway fuel economy on cruise.  

        In any case, anything will be an unbelievable improvement on the sucktastic engine the Miata is currently using, that is both underpowered, noisy, creates too much vibration, and has ridiculously poor fuel economy (sad when a Corvette driving to Austin gets better fuel economy with a 430hp engine than you do in a 170hp one on a smaller profile chassis).

      Pinhead
      • 4 Months Ago

      Every time someone says "chick car", I want to kick them in the groin.

        Matt
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Pinhead

        I drive a 1990 NA and here similar reactions daily. My response: Go to a local autocross meet and watch who is laying down the fastest time and then tell me that it's a chick car. 

        Christopher C.
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Pinhead

        My ex wife calls my 2001 Miata a chick car.  I finally told her that when she can actually drive a car with a manual transmission, she might be able to say something.  For now though, she should go back to that hippy-ass Prius she drives.  We actually get along fairly well, but the car is a sore point.

        Jeremy
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Pinhead

        And if that someone's masculinity so delicately hinges on their vehicle maybe they need to evaluate their insecurity.

      Bill Kim
      • 4 Months Ago

      Price/performance/driveablility. Those three make the MX-5 Miata so popular. I own a 1991 and it's been a great joy to drive from stock. I've modified the hell out of it, you'd never know if you didn't know them though. One of the greatest aspects (besides being rear drive) is the fact that bone stock it will allow even the most hamfisted of driver feel sharp and rewards a good driver greatly. 

      bullitt2605
      • 4 Months Ago

      Simple it's simple.

      Lachmund
      • 4 Months Ago

      Buying my Mk. 2 abt 2 years ago was the best thing I ever did :)

        Teleny411
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Lachmund

        I love the MK 2's cute little boat tail.  (Besides its fun to drive!)

      Worx2749
      • 4 Months Ago

      I'm 6'1 and my head rubs the top when it's up.  It would be great if this new model Miata has just an eensy bit more headroom...otherwise, no sale. Legroom is fine.

        Lol
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Worx2749
        All you need to do is a foamectomy....

        Christopher C.
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Worx2749

        Oh poor baby.  I guess you'll have to use the sedan to pick up dates.  At 5'5" I can't even get a date, and chicks love my Miata!  At least the passenger seat still looks pristine...  :-\

      Teleny411
      • 4 Months Ago

      Along with feel, handling & fun, they are nice looking cars.  

      Sergey R
      • 4 Months Ago

      I wonder why Honda discontinued their great looking S2000 while Mazda still offers MX-5 and will unveil future Miata soon? Some say S2000 was not profitable, but is Miata profitable?

        Bill Kim
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Sergey R

        The S2000 cost almost twice as much as the Miata after most dealers got done gouging them. Toyota had a winner with the MR2 Spyder and Supra. Seems about half of the Japanese manufacturers don't give a shit about niche market cars. Nissan did great resurrecting the Z badge, even with the six speed slush box it's a fun drive in the 370Z. I just wish Mazda would make the RX's again. They had a REAL winner with the RX-9 show car, the RX-8 was an odd bird but it had it's market and the last RX-7 still stands up in terms of design. Rotaries are hideously inefficient but they make the most wonderful yowling sound when they're being caned. Above 5k RPM they make a yowl that's similar to the sound underlying the growl of a V-10. I have no idea where I was going with this besides Honda being overpriced....


        superlightv12
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Sergey R

        MX-5 was much more affordable. They sell the volume that they need to make the car viable. The price of the S2000 made it approach the price of some heavy competition. The MX-5 really has no competitors in it's price range.

          Azrael
          • 4 Months Ago
          @superlightv12

          As much as we hate to admit it, there's also the fact that the S2000 also lacked a slushbox of any kind which limited it's market to a fraction of the MX-5's. It also had to compete against the cheaper and well established (and highly reputable) MX-5 in a very niche market, while trying to build up a brand of it's own. Tack on the higher price tag and you have a recipe for failure.


          To be fair, it would difficult, if not impossible, for any 2 seat sports cars like the MX-5 to compete against it.

          One of these days I'm going to buy a used one for a second driver.


          Teleny411
          • 4 Months Ago
          @superlightv12

          The MR2 Spider is a great car.  But it's way more impractical than a Miata, Z3 or any of the other period roadsters.  It has no storage space at all.  

        Jamie Houk
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Sergey R

        I can't speak for the reliability of the S2000 but the Miata I currently have put 190000 miles on has been dead reliable. I cant imagine the S2000's motor with it's 12,000 rpm redline and it's need to  use all those revs to make decent power being nearly as long lasting

          xnitrorider62x
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Jamie Houk
          It's a 9000 red line on the AP1 (00-03)  and 8000 on AP2 (04-09) s2k. And mine has 149k miles. Hondas last forever,
        Kelly Hatcher
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Sergey R

        Please don't compare the S2000 to a miata...   NOT EVEN CLOSE the S was significantly more machine.

      MONTEGOD7SS
      • 4 Months Ago

      They are great with stock power, and they are great with more power.  The Mazdaspeeds had close to 180hp, and was a nice bump up from stock.  If they can get the weight back down to NB range, and get power around 180hp I would be perfectly fine with that.  I still wish they could have just knocked a dent in the firewall for the 2.3L DISI Turbo.  My daily is a '10 MS3, and all I can think about is how awesome it would be in a Miata.

      jonnybimmer
      • 4 Months Ago

      Great video, though it's a shame they didn't get any decent audio of that 13B powered Miata, instead drowning it out with a bump of the BG music.

      superlightv12
      • 4 Months Ago

      I want one. First generation. I will probably buy one within the next year. Been planning it for some time now.

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