My Year With a Miata

Last spring I sold my GT3 and bought a Miata.

I haven’t said much about it. I didn’t get time to do much with it. Earlier this week I sold it though and it feels wrong to let it go without a review.

Mazda invited me to a launch event nearly a decade ago when this version first came out. I had a lot of fun there but was already headed down the road of buying my first Porsche. The experience stuck with me though and when I found myself unexpectedly without a fun car for last summer, it shot to the top of my list.

It was a terrible time to buy a car. The pandemic had taken its toll on supply chains so new cars were nearly impossible to find unless you wanted a Mustang. I didn’t want a Mustang.

If you were in the market for a sports car and wanted one right away, the pickings were slim. Of all the big players like BMW M cars, Corvettes and Porsches there were none at all available. It was the same story for the FRS or BRZ or Golf R or anything else that might come to mind as an option.

You couldn’t even buy a Miata. I went looking and the only ones I found were bare bones base models or had automatic transmissions. For one you’d want, they had waiting lists with delivery times around the end of summer.

I was gutted.

Then, out of the blue on a Friday night, a friend sent me a link to this one that had just popped up on AutoTrader.

It was nearly perfect. It wasn’t red, but other than that it ticked all the right boxes. I called the dealer as soon as they opened on Saturday morning and, finding it was someone’s canceled order and was available, I gave a deposit to buy it immediately.

The car was still in Japan so it was a few weeks later when I got to go see it and then a few days after that when I got to drive her home.

I was ecstatic and man… I had PLANS for this car!! I did my research to see what I’d want for the track and bought new wheels and tires and springs and sway bars and floor mats and a camera. I couldn’t wait to put it all together!

And then I changed jobs. And in my new job, I had no vacation days left for 2022.

All the track goodies stayed in the garage, untouched. All the track days I wanted to do would have needed a day off and I didn’t have any to spare.

It was my first year without a track day since I started doing them back in 2015.

But that didn’t mean the Miata didn’t get driven.

At first I’d take it out now and then just for fun. I very quickly found myself looking for excuses to take it out and then simply using it EVERY time I could. Taking my wife to and from the train for work? Miata! Grocery shopping? Miata! Random errands? Miata!! Taking Granny home after a visit? Miata!!

Every time I got in and threw the roof back I was smiling. Every single time.

In the short time I had it I fell in love with the little thing. It was like having a toy to play with every time you needed to go somewhere. The roof went up and down in about 2 seconds so it was ALWAYS down unless it was raining.

It wasn’t perfect though. I’m not going to miss the constant beeping when it thought I wasn’t keeping in a lane or the warnings about imaginary cars in my blind spot. That system needs some work but on the flip side, I DID like that it would beep when it saw someone coming in a parking lot as I was backing out. Being so small and low to the ground it was impossible to see past the cars next to you so this system was a blessing.

There was annoyance at not having wireless CarPlay while also not having a reasonable place to put a phone when it was plugged in. There’s a cubby below the head unit I used but if it wasn’t sitting right or shifted around while driving it would be up against the shifter. Mazda has wireless CarPlay in the GT model so this made no sense at all.

That also brings the model differences to light. In order to get the go-fast goodies I wanted, which were the Brembo brakes, Recaro seats, and BBS wheels with summer tires, you had to choose the middle of the line GS-P model. Doing that meant you couldn’t have the upgrades the GT model got like wireless CarPlay, fancier headlights, a garage door opener and automatic climate controls. I’m sure there are others but those are all things I’d have happily paid extra for if I could. In fact, I had a plan to upgrade the rear view mirror myself to get auto-dimming and a garage door opener.

Mazda made a single special edition a number of years back that combined all these options. I have no idea why they never did it again or why you can’t simply order the Sport Package on the GT model.

I was eagerly looking forward to Mazda releasing the details for the 2023 models on the slim hopes they might make a car with everything I wanted. I was ready to order one. In retrospect, I guess it’s very good luck that they didn’t.

And now it’s gone. I look at the empty space in the garage and it makes me sad. I’m very excited for what comes next but I’ll never forget this one and would absolutely own another one in the future.

It’s not just hyperbole. The answer to everything really might be Miata.

4 thoughts on “My Year With a Miata”

    1. It doesn’t seem fair to rank the cars I’ve had. Each one was carefully chosen and was exactly the right car for what I bought it for. Of all of them, only one was really a disappointment and only because it seemed to have more problems than it should have.

      This one was a perfect toy for everyday fun. If I had room for another car, I’d buy another Miata in a heartbeat..🙂

  1. Well, it sounds — at the very least — like you’re conscientious about how each “toy” fits into your life at the moment. What more could anyone ask for?

    1. Yeah… they’ve all had their place and fit nicely into the timeline.
      And if anyone’s wondering.. the one car that was a bit of a disappointment is also the only car I was ever happy to see gone.
      The Mazdaspeed3 should have been the perfect daily driver for me and in the early days it was exactly that. Over the years though, the issues added up from the incurable rust spots to the component failures covered under warranty to the component failures no longer covered under warranty. The issues just sucked the joy out of it and I felt relieved the day we traded it in.

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