Small cars have gone out of fashion with the pandemic and as the upward pressure on the prices of new vehicles made it seem more practical to purchase larger crossovers, pickup trucks, and SUVs. Even sports cars grow larger and more expensive.
But the auto industry’s history stretches back to the 19th century, and it has some long-standing ideas and traditions. One of those being ideally sports cars are small, nimble, two-seat roadsters capable of moving around slower moving traffic in a flash.
However, the number of affordable, small cars that fit into the classic roadster category has shrunk over the years as the audience for vehicles seems to have grown smaller and smaller even as the number of licensed drivers has soared.
The 2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata with its classic shape and its traditional features, including a new convertible top and the additional driver assistance equipment such as blind-spot recognition, still dominates the category.
It’s a segment that features a small number of tough competitors, such as the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ, thanks to dedicated band of engineers, who continue to cater to desires of a dwindling band of purists from across the motoring world.
As we noted above, the MX-5 Miata carries on a tradition sports cars that stretches back roughly a century, though it also leans heavily on the post-World War II British auto industry, which produced sentimental favorites with names like MG, Triumph and Austin-Healy.
The MX-5 is a small car and sits close — very close — to the ground. But the car has a long, sculpted hood that blends into the cars nose, a smart looking, soft convertible top and a short rear deck. It also has a shapely, distinctive grille and nicely tailored, 17-inch wheels, which add to its distinctive visual appeal.
The interior of the MX-5 Miata is compact and stripped down to the essentials, though you can bring a friend along. The gauges are easy to read, and controls for features such as the entertainment system and the HVAC system are close at hand.
The interior layout, however, accommodates a comfortable driver’s seat. The seating position and the layout of the interior also made it easy to operate the manual transmission easily and smoothly. The driver could put pressure on the clutch and tug on the knobbed shift lever as needed during a trip on city streets out on to the highway. Visibility was surprising, good even though the Miata sits so low to the ground. A tiny car typically comes with one problem — no storage space, and the Miata is no exception.
The 2023 Miata is powered by a lightweight 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine, which generates 181 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 151 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given the 2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata a combined fuel economy rating of 30 mpg, including 26 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.
Safety and Technology
Mazda has equipped the MX-5 with dual-stage front airbags, side-impact airbags, side-impact door beams, smart-city brake support, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning and rear-view monitor.
The car also comes with two USB input ports, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite radio and traffic alert, Bluetooth and the Mazda Navigation System. It also has a retractable soft top and LED headlights, taillights and daytime running lights.
If you enjoy driving a car with a manual transmission, you will enjoy driving the 2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata. The manual transmission in the Miata is very approachable and easy to use. Once you get the hang of it, the car’s performance is really in the hands of the driver. Changing gears around curves and cornering as well as cruising on the highway is enormous fun.
The steering is very responsive, and the MX-5 is equipped with a four-wheel disc brake and a sport-tuned suspension that takes some of the sting out of riding so close to the pavement in a car with less than 6 inches of ground clearance. One of the big drawbacks of a manual transmission is that it can quickly become irritating if you are caught in stop-and-go traffic anywhere.
2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata Specifications
|L: 154.1 inches/W: 68.3 inches/H: 48.8 inches/Wheelbase: 90.9 inches
|2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder; 6-speed manual transmission
|26 mpg city/35 mpg highway/30 mpg combined
|181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque
|Base price: $28,880; As tested: $33,050, including $1,065 in destination charges
The 2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata is enormous fun to drive. If you have room in your budget and your garage and love to drive it is certainly well worth considering. But its practicality is a bit limited, though it could be used for a solitary commuter who has a very slim briefcase or purse and does not run any errands on the way home from work involving picking up packages.
But as an affordable second car for use on country jaunts on weekends, it could be a lot of fun so long as you can avoid slow moving, stop-and-go traffic.
2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata — Frequently Asked Questions
Will Mazda discontinue the Miata?
It may or may not have been an early look at the next-generation Miata, but enthusiasts must not worry as the MX-5 will be a permanent fixture in the line-up. We mean that since the company’s CEO in Europe, Martijn ten Brink, told Autocar at the 2023 Brussels Motor Show the sports car “will never die.”
Do Miatas have high insurance?
Auto insurance for a Mazda MX-5 Miata will cost about $1,441 per year. This beats the national average for popular convertible models by $784, but it’s priced for a 40-year-old good driver with full coverage and good credit that drives around 13,000 miles per year.
What does Miata stand for?
However, the world’s most popular roadster was dubbed the Miata, which is an Old High German term meaning “prize” or “reward,” which certainly represents the vehicle’s performance as well as the feeling drivers get when they own the vehicle.