Mazda MX-5 Miata (2005 and earlier)



  • ragtop99ragtop99 Member Posts: 33
    I've got a 99 Miata with 25,000 miles. I'm thinking about trading it for a 00 Mustang GT Convertible. Anyone out there have experience
    with both? I love the styling and power of the Mustang but realize I won't be able to toss it around like the Miata, and gas will cost more
    (premium). Insurance shouldn't be an issue since I'm no young kid. I love the looks of the new Mustang. The power would be a plus, and it sounds great. What do ya think? This car is for nice weather only. I'm also posting this in the Mustang topic.
  • locke2clocke2c Member Posts: 5,038
    If you bought the miata to really drive, then the Mustang is no comparison. If you like to tour or just go fast in a straight line with your hair in the wind, then go for it. Only one of these cars makes you one with the horse.

    (Just got rid of the wife's Mustang for a Miata.)

  • evorangedaveevorangedave Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for the answers about cruise controls for my Miata. Does anyone know for sure if the factory equipment is available?

    Are the aftermarket systems as good?

  • WarpDriveWarpDrive Member Posts: 506
    Ramblings on the Mustang GT from a Miata owner.
  • jmcurtisjmcurtis Member Posts: 1
    I really want a Miata. One of the few consistent criticisms I hear is the bumpy ride. Does the optional suspension package help with this problem? Also, what happened to the tan interior option?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    It's a short wheelbase, so a certain amount of bumpiness is part of the deal...also it's a real sportscar, it's not supposed to "ride nice". I think anyone who is complaining too much about the ride really may have bought the wrong type of car. A stiffer suspension would only make things "worse" (odd way of putting it, but...). Perhaps a Toyota Solara convert would be better for those who need a cushier ride. It's a nice car, too.
  • locke2clocke2c Member Posts: 5,038
    The suspension package uses bilstein struts, which are pretty famous for providing performance and a liveable ride. That said it's still more rigid than without, and the Miata itself is no Cadillac. Take a long test drive and see what you think. IMO the Miata's seats are its big weakness.

  • rudymanrudyman Member Posts: 1
    I've been a Miata fan for years but practicality always won out whenever I was buying a new car. But now that I'm recently divorced, practicality is out the window! I'm looking at trading in my 98 VW Passat right now for a new '99 leftover base Miata with all the power and extras that the base 2000 has, but for a few thousand less. I'm at $19,500 right now for the car, but based on what I've read, I can probably get them down a bit more. Any suggestions for a target price?

    Also, sice this is going to be my only car, my main concern is the trunk space. Do any of you single-car Miata owners regularly have trouble getting "stuff" home from the store or other places? Also, are your neighbors and family tired of you asking to borrow their truck or station wagon to go and get 5 bags of cedar mulch and other homeowner stuff from the Home Depot?

    I almost bought the car on the spot yesterday after taking it for a test drive. I was amazed by the car's solid feel for such a small car and how much fun it was just to drive. Practicality still got the best of me and I left the dealership in my VW, much to their dismay. But I'm thinking of going back Monday morning! Any suggestions would be helpful!
  • locke2clocke2c Member Posts: 5,038
    Shoot for at least $17,000 on the base 99 Miata. We just paid $19,500 for a 2000 base Miata with suspension package!

    The 10AE was the most desirable '99 and folks have been getting the leftovers for $18k-22k.

  • jwilson1jwilson1 Member Posts: 956
    Living with a Miata takes some planning, I'll admit, but there's no reason it has to be an insurmountable problem. I wonder if your "practicality" is really an issue or if you just aren't sure about life-with-the-top-down. A guy I know just sold his Miata because he didn't enjoy drving it! Seems it was always too cold (in NE) to drive to work with the top down, or too this or too that, and he was late so he took the interstate rather than the back roads, and so on and so on. Needless to say, he wasn't having any fun ... not good. He now has a BMW 328 & I'm sure he'll be happier -- climate control, sound insulation, and a great driver.

    That said: I used to be able to bring home a full week's groceries for a family of four -- well, more like 6 because 2 were teenage boys. Of course I had to fill the trunk, the shelf behind the seats, and sometimes the passenger seat. People grinned as they saw me loading the car in the parking lot, but not as much as I grin when I'm driving it. There was once a picture in Miata magazine of a Miata with a (new) wheelbarrow in it -- the owner had to get home from Home Depot with it and found a way to get it all "in" (mostly hanging out of course. Wood chips should be no problem: you can tie put one bag in the trunk, tie two bags on top of the trunk, and put two more in the passenger seat. And, if you get in a wreck, at least you'll landscape the crash site!

    What I'm saying is: it's not a practical car, but if you REALLY want it, you'll be able to "make do" without superheroic efforts.

    Take care.
    Joe W.
  • zacktheboyzacktheboy Member Posts: 4
    Picked up our new "Special Edition" several days ago and am in Miata Heaven! My wife and I logged 300 miles this weekend under brilliant blue skies and 70ish temps, a real rare combo for Upstate New York!! Our first impression........the fit and finish is impeccable;the car performed flawlessly and is a delight to drive. The only question I found myself asking repeatedly as we cruised around the rolling hillside was......why did you wait so long to do this? The one thing I did learn was that a hat will prove to be a necessity as the top of my head and my nose just about match the finish on our "Special Edition"! Ah the joys of beginning my fifth decade on this Earth!
  • guidepostguidepost Member Posts: 2
    I'm thinking of leasing a 2000. I was surprised when the dealer told me that the residual value after 24 months is only 50%. I'm under the impression that a well maintained miata holds it's value pretty well. I have two questions here:
    How much does a normal miata depreciate over time and is there a decent site where I can find that info?

    If dealers really quotes a residual value less than the normal market value for the vehicle, wouldn't they run into risk of having to sell the vehicle to the leasee at a discounted price if the leasee decides to purchase the vehicle at the end of lease period?
  • locke2clocke2c Member Posts: 5,038
    There's a whole forum dedicated to purchase talk and detailed discussions of leasing go on there (Smartshopper). But keeping things simple here...

    1. That's low. They do depreciate, but not nearly that fast. Used car values can be found here on Edmunds and on

    2. Yes, they risk the leasee purchasing at a good price. BUT, if the leasee doesn't purchase then they have plenty money in the bank and will ask retail from another purchaser. If you are an experience leaser or find yourself trading in nearly-new cars a lot, then you should strive to have the lease payments low and the residual as high as possible. 50% is insane, IMO.

  • pinecrestjimpinecrestjim Member Posts: 64
    Can anyone comment on the "real" differences between a Z3 and Miata? Both cars have real curb-appeal. I test-drove the Z3 and enjoyed the experience, yet $32K is RADICAL for a first-time ragtop buyer, especially for a car which is very impractical. A $20K Miata is much more palatable.
    Also, I've always driven full-size sedans, with plenty of trunk space. What do you do with the golf bag?
  • jwilson1jwilson1 Member Posts: 956
    That thread has pretty much been worked over here. You might want to search back up for the past hundred posts or so.

    Take care.
    Joe W.
  • WarpDriveWarpDrive Member Posts: 506
    At the risk of oversimplifying things...

    Z3 is faster/smoother/quieter (engine, suspension)
    Z3 is much more expensive
    Z3 feels heavier and not as tossable.
    Z3 does not handle as well (Can be twitchy at limits)
    Z3 looks more aggressive.
    Z3 much more expensive to maintain and less reliable.

    These are the obvious differences. I'd say:
    Z3 - more geared toward touring/luxury/acceleration
    Miata - sportier feeling go-kart for the road
  • pfischerpfischer Member Posts: 4
    Autoweek announces a 2001 Miata with 155 hp and a facelift.
    Does anybody have any details on the facelift?
  • locke2clocke2c Member Posts: 5,038
    No, but I'd be pretty surprised if they did anything to the styling. The original style was good from 1990 (89, really) to 1997. Now the M2 is only good for 2 years? Yeah right.

  • freddy_kfreddy_k Member Posts: 376
    Rumour has it that it will be undergoing some minor alterations, not a facelift. Maybe they will be adding some sharper lines, which would be nice.
  • usayitusayit Member Posts: 17
    This discussion just ended just about a week ago. I was the original poster. I also posted and got good responses on the "BMW Y2K Z3". WarpDrive, who also was involved in the discussion, pretty summed up everything....
  • pinecrestjimpinecrestjim Member Posts: 64
    Thanks for the pointer to the previous comparisons.

    How do the Miata's fair in the repair department. My Buick has cost a small fortune over the last 9 years, all my previous Fords held up great. I've never owned a foreign car, and wanted some info.

    Also, do they really hold their value? I've heard Mazda's 24 month lease w/ 15K/yr miles rate the residual at 52%. That's steep depreciation.
  • drewkimdrewkim Member Posts: 1
    52% residual after 2 years? Ouch! I've been looking at the BMW 3 series and their residuals are about 60% after 3 years, just for comparison.
  • jwilson1jwilson1 Member Posts: 956
    In many cases, residuals don't reflect history. Acura is an example. Audi A4, A6 are others. Miata is another one. These cars have held their value very well.

    A '90 in decent shape still brings better than $6k in most parts of the country. My '92, I'm told, is worth $8800, about 45% of its MSRP (spec. ed.)after 8 years. But it's NOT for sale.

    That said, the situation on a new one may change. In 90, all the way till recently, there was no competition for Miata so they held value very well. But a 2000 Miata will be on market with the Toyota MR2, and some of the more image-conscious and up-scale money is siphoned off by used Z3s and Boxsters. As new cars, of course these are no competition but as used vehicles "them what has" the bux may be inclined to go for an older BMW/Porsche vs a newer Miata.

    The end result is that, when it comes to toys, buy what will be more fun. And that's up to you pinecrest jim.

    Why not check actual prices and equipment here at Edmund's or at kelly bluebook (

    TAke care.
    Joe W.
  • svt1svt1 Member Posts: 1
    My girlfriend is thinking about purchasing a miata but she doesn't know how to drive a stick. In many instances, I've heard that you're much better rewarded with a manual transmission vs. the auto. I've been meaning to go test drive the miata with both transmissions and see if there really is a difference. Unfortunately without being able to do so just yet, I need to ask whether she'll be better off learning stick or will the auto be just fine?
  • dgraves1dgraves1 Member Posts: 414
    It depends on why she likes the Miata. If it's just a cute, inexpensive, reliable convertible to her, she might be fine with the auto. If however, she likes it because it's a great, fun to drive sports car and she likes driving enthusiastically, the manual is the only way to go. I strongly believe everyone should learn how to drive a manual.
  • locke2clocke2c Member Posts: 5,038
    I agree. I'm glad dgraves posted first because I was going to say something pretty negative about automatic Miatae. Something like no sportscar should be desecrated in such a way... ;)

    But in reality it would be more fun that something like an automatic Cabrio, or god forbid a Cavalier, if she's looking for an open air experience.

    Teaching her to drive manual and learning to love the Miata as surely God intended should make just about anyone love driving, but there are some who will still just think of it as transportation.

  • tone2tonetone2tone Member Posts: 15
    I've always been a Miata fan but buying one for one reason or another (family size and insurance being main ones) kept me at bay. Now, I'm looking to purchase a used 90 - 91 Miata as a personal commuter car. In the LA area I'm finding ads for some in the $4.5k to $6 range. Any pointers on what to look for in models made during this period? i.e. trouble spots etc. Any advice from veteran Miata owners would be appreciated.
  • pinecrestjimpinecrestjim Member Posts: 64
    Joe W. (or anyone else) - How does the Miata hold up as to repair history? Normal maintenance aside, obviously. Do these cars seem to run forever with nothing but routine maintenance? Or do they have problems which, if you're not a backyard mechanic, will replace the fun of driving with the pain of ownership?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    They seem to be remarkably bullet-proof, even at high miles....they have some wearing prematurely and spark plug wires at around 30,000 miles. Also the very early cars 1990s, seemed to have crankshaft problems (pre VIN# 209447). Oil should be very clean or you might get valve clatter. The catalytics will be shot around 60K-100K. Timing belts MUST be replaced every 60K. Check for leaking r noisy clutch slave cylinders.
    Also, have the ignition timing checked. Many Miata enthusiasts bump up the timing to improve low end response, and this works but could foul up the emissions system.

    A well-maintained Miata engine should easily clock 200,000 miles, and in most ways the car's mechanical systems are even more durable than the finest German cars.

    A very rugged little car...don't let the size fool you!
  • justinjustin Member Posts: 1,918
    any reason to believe that the new Miata's won't be as reliable??

    thanks - jj
  • maxdrivermaxdriver Member Posts: 6
    I bought a 1992 Miata in April of this year for about 50% of its value 8 years ago. Did I get ripped off? I don't think so. For less than $7000.00 I got a true sports car (drive it before you think it's just a cute little "chick car") that had 34,000 miles on it. From the sounds of it, the older cars are holding their value better than the late model Miatas.

    I also think that any serious Miata owner is buying for the driving experience and is not thinking of selling it!! If your buy it, you have a car that is a blast to drive, reliable and will put a chronic smile on your face!! Don't listen to the naysayers!!
  • jwilson1jwilson1 Member Posts: 956
    What naysayers?

    There is no reason to say nay:)

    Take care.
    Joe W.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZMember Posts: 5,166
    I drove a '91 55K+ miles & a '94 "R" package over 22K miles before I decided I was too intimidated by the dump trucks & cement mixers on my daily commute to continue. Besides which I was playing manager at the time and needed a car I could haul more than one other (small and/or limber) person in.

    That said, the Miata is a very reliable car. It's relatively simple, which is half the battle, and it's well executed, which is the other half.

    I'm 6'2" and weigh from 220 to 240, depending on a number of things, and fit in the Miata about as well as I did in my '65 MGB, which I drove over 100,000 miles and loved (in spite of the oil leaks and the constant generator repairs).

    There is no better driving experience for the price asked than the Miata.

    I'm in the process of buying a Lincoln LS with a 5-speed manual, which is possibly what happens to ex-Miata people who have to haul more than one other person and still want to enjoy driving.


    Steve W.
    '08 Acura TSX, '17 Subaru Forester
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Small car = small target = high avoidance capabilities. I'll swear by that strategy...
  • C13C13 Member Posts: 390
    Which should make a motorcycle the ultimate safety vehicle. And it may in fact be, in the hands of the right operator.

    The agility vs. armor argument is a difficult one to call. Too many unknown factors.
  • usayitusayit Member Posts: 17
    I know this is a subjective question but what would you choose; 2000 Special Edition or a 1999 10th AE? Both brand new... both just about the same price... The 10AE is a tad more expensive but it comes with a Hard top and the SE does not.

    The dealer was kinda hinting towards just over 24k for the 2000SE and just under 26k for the 10AE. My initial feeling is that the prices were kinda high.

    I was shocked at the original MSRP of the 10AE... 29k+! I know it is a limited production run but 30k for a miata?
  • karl1973karl1973 Member Posts: 89
    Well, from what I heard on , you can get a much better price than what the dealer told you. There are places selling the 2kSE at about 22990 before tax and license. And if you can find a 10AE sitting on the lot (new, not titled) at least aim at below 22k or 21k. I don't think they are selling as fast as Mazda wants.
    Now come to the picking part. Which one you want really depends on your taste. Both of them are nice cars (is there even a Miata that's not nice?) Go shop around and compare price. Also, check out . There is a pricing forum there and before you go out and commit large sums of money, go ask question or read posts there. I am sure it will help you tremendously.
  • usayitusayit Member Posts: 17
    Karl.... thanks for pointer...

    I just realized that there is no mention of the sport suspension on the SE's (via mazda's web site). The 10AE does have it listed. Is this correct... SE does not have the sports suspension? I'm leaning towards the 2kSE but I was really looking forward to the sports suspension. Other than the obvious visual differences, what else does the 10AE have anything else the SE does not?
  • karl1973karl1973 Member Posts: 89
    The 10AE has the sports package. Think of the 10AE as a fully loaded leather package plus sport package.
    The 2kSE doesn't have the suspension package (what Mazda calls the sports now) So think of it as a leather package with 6 speed.
  • chris_fchris_f Member Posts: 3
    I will soon be purchasing a used car to replace my Honda Civic as an every day driver (the Civic is going to the fiance). I have decided to get a sports car/sporty car which is reliable and gets good gas mileage. So far I've narrowed my search to the Acura Integra, Honda Prelude, Older Toyota MR2, or Supra, and now the Mazda Miata.

    My greatest concerns are road noise with the top up, traction in the snow (with snow tires), and draftyness with the top up. I live in southern New Hampshire, so snow and cold weather is common, and my fiance's parents are in Pennsylvania, so I'll be taking a number of long trips, which is why road noise with the top up is a concern. I'd assume snow traction is miserable (though with a 50/50 weight distribution it can't be too too bad), and am concerned that the heater won't keep the car comfortable on cold days.

    On the other hand I can't wait to get a reliable, good handling, fun car which I can actually enjoy driving!
  • WarpDriveWarpDrive Member Posts: 506
    That is right, no sport suspension on the Y2kSE, just what you normally get with the leather package.

    Other than that, the SE and 10AE are the same, except for all the extra wood, chrome and white faces. The other difference is just (!) color.


    Road/engine noise IS very prevalent with the top up. The top is thin and doesn't do much to keep the sound out. Tire noise is audible and the car has very little sound insulation. Of course, this doesn't matter because driving with the top down, all you hear is windy and the barky exhaust. In fact, the "apparent" noise of the top down car is lower because you are distracted by the environment and don't notice the noise as much. With the top up, all you hear is the Miata's considerable engine and road noise. I doesn't bother me at all, it's a compromise that I accept for the ultimate affordable sports car...nothing's more fun than a lightweight 50/50 roadster that handles like a slot car.

    The Miata with snow tires is quite fun and the only thing that you have to keep in mind is that it's RWD. Tail out behavior may seem scary at first but the Miata is very controllable. In deep snow (as with any sporty car), clearance may become an issue. But slap on some Michelin Alpins and you'll be better off that the majority of drivers with all-season tires.

    I am not sure what your concern about draftiness is but you do hear some wind noise with the top up and the rear window may flap a bit but you don't feel any wind. Also, the heater is very strong and has no problem keeping the cockpit very toasty.
  • WarpDriveWarpDrive Member Posts: 506
    Oh, with the 10AE you will get a couple of nice watches and a little model car....the SE you get a picnic knapsack with some utensils.
  • chris_fchris_f Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for the input. I don't mind engine noise (kinda like it), but excessive tire noise drives me crazy on long hauls. My 95 Civic with snow tires is about as loud as I'd want, though with some engine noise thrown in to hide it it may not be all that bad.

    I had a friend who had a Sebrig convertable. During the winter it was always damn cold in that car whether the heater was on or not. It was like the windows were always, ALWAYS open. When it was cold out you got cold. When it was rainy you got wet. This is my concern about the car being "drafty".

    Does anyone know whether a hard top would make the car quieter.
  • WarpDriveWarpDrive Member Posts: 506 the insulation (temp and sound). It even makes the car feel stiffer also. It IS the way to go if you want to drive the car in the winter. The hardtops from the 1st gen Miata will fit on the newer (99+) ones. And it looks great too, like an RX-7 shruken about 15%. Saves lots of wear and tear on the vinyl roof. The heater works well and since the car is so small, the heater easily heats up the small passenger compartment. The Sebring is a four seater and I can understand why it felt cold.

    The tire noise is not that apparent compared to the engine noise and not nearly as bad as a winter tire. Lots of people install some Dynamat sound insulation in the trunk and that helps the diminish the boom from the road and exhaust.
  • WarpDriveWarpDrive Member Posts: 506
    The Base Miata comes with all season tires and they are definitely quieter than the big $ Pilot SX tires. But also less grippy.
  • chris_fchris_f Member Posts: 3
    Thanks again for the info WarpDrive. I will probably be looking for a couple year old car in the ~$15K price range, though I think I'll go test drive a new Miata sometime this week. I know there's a whole model iteration between the new one and anything I can get for $15K, but salesmen always seem so much more willing to let you test drive a new car then a used one. Go figure.

    As for tires I'll probably go with some nice grippy 3 season tires during the Spring-Fall and snows for the winter. On my Civic I've been having the mechanic change the tires because I don't have two sets of wheels. I won't make that mistake with the new car and will probably only change to snows when the weather's bad. I'll have to cross that bridge when I come to it. Ofcourse whatever pair of tires comes with the car will quickly be scrubbed flat as I will probably drive the car quite agressively. I'm already checking out autocross clubs. ;-)
  • WarpDriveWarpDrive Member Posts: 506
    The Miata is *the* car if you want to AutoX.

    You know, you can buy a reasonably equipped 2000 Miata for about $18K nowadays.
  • dgraves1dgraves1 Member Posts: 414
    A salesman at the dealer down the street from me called this wekend and told me they got a shipment of used '99 Miatas (ten of them). Of course, I already knew that because I had seen the ads in the classifieds. They are asking $19-21K for them. I was heading out the door so I didn't have time to talk but I am dying to ask him how in the world they can expect to sell two year old cars (I consider '99s to be two years old at this point) for $19-21K when the same dealer is selling brand new ones for $18K. It should be an interesting discussion. Anyhow, I might head down there and offer them $14K for one. I'll keep you all posted.
  • jwilson1jwilson1 Member Posts: 956
    What a difference! Each year I add some stuff to my '92. This was my year for new tires and an up-graded exhaust.

    I haven't been here because I've been out on my new Toyo T1S tires -- a new issue from Toyo but shipped early by Bill CArdell at Dealer Alternative. These tires are simply fantastic! It's like I took a few more driving lessons -- the turn-in is exceptional, and they sort of let you know when they're getting ready to let go ... when they do it's smooth and always controlled.

    I was planning to upgrade the suspension, but the tires alone are enough that I'll be able to save some money I think! I'm anxious to see what they'll do for my auto X times next month.

    The exhaust -- a Thermal also via Dealer Alternative -- sounds nice and throaty and I think it's opened up the performance a little.

    Hope you're all enjoying yours. A fine little car, but what a difference some tires can make!

    Take care.
    Joe W>
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