The Mazda MX-5 (or Miata as it is known to those in the North American market) is one of the most successful sports cars of all time.
Spanning multiple generations, and selling in massive volumes, there are very few “fun” cars that are more praised than the MX-5/Miata.
If you are a younger driver (or perhaps even an older driver) looking for an enjoyable, affordable car with some sporting pedigree, then you may have been told by various people that ‘Miata is always the answer’.
Basically, if you want a good sports car for not too much money (both in terms of up front purchase cost and ongoing maintenance) then you should buy a Miata/MX-5.
But what is the origin of the “Miata is always the answer” meme? How did it come to be? And is it really valid advice?
In this short article, we seek to find out why Miatas come so highly recommended.
It’s hard to find exactly when the Miata is always the answer meme started online.
However, there is no denying that on just about any motoring website, forum, or blog, if someone pops up with a question along the lines of “what cheap, fun, manual car should I buy”, someone will invariably suggest a Miata.
It’s a reflex response. Even if someone claims they need a minivan or station wagon, there will inevitably be the ‘Miata is always the answer’ poster (or more than one of them) lurking in every forum thread or Facebook group post.
Here’s why the Miata/MX-5 is so popular, and why the Miata is seen by many to always be the answer.
Miata -- especially earlier generations -- are known to be affordable cars. Although they are getting long in the tooth now and prices have been climbing (especially for well-cared for examples) it still represents one of the best value-for-money sports car buys.
The affordability of the Miata/MX-5 transcends borders -- it is seen as an affordable, entry-level car in the United States, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and beyond (many other cars are often affordable in one location but much more expensive in others).
Because Miatas aren’t particularly powerful, lack a turbo in stock form etc, they are also reasonably affordable to insure.
This affordability in terms of initial purchase price, along with fair insurance makes them a popular choice for younger buyers.
Miatas are known to be durable, reliable cars. This is why so many examples still exist (despite some of the earliest examples being more than 30 years old now, dating back to the late 1980s).
Most known issues are easy enough to fix, and there is a wealth of knowledge online that you can call on if you wish to wrench your Miata yourself. Parts are generally affordable, with good availability on the aftermarket as well.
Make sure you read our Miata/MX-5 buyer’s guide for what to look out for if you are going to buy your own. Reading this will save you thousands on buying a bad example.
What more do we need to say here? The Miata has been universally praised since its inception as one of the most fun cars to drive for the money. Although not particularly powerful in stock form, the handling, eagerness of the engine, and “connectedness” with the road make the Miata/MX-5 one of the best driver’s cars in any price bracket. A cheap Miata will probably be vastly more fun to drive than many cars 10x the price.
Don’t believe us? Here’s what Doug “Quirks & Features” Demuro has to say:
Sense of community
Another reason the Miata is always the answer is the sense of community that comes with ownership. Worldwide, the Miata has gained a truly incredible cult following. In just about every major city in countries where this car was sold, you’ll find an owner’s club or meetup group. There are also a plethora of online forums, blogs, Facebook groups and chat rooms dedicated to the Miata, not to mention a huge, thriving community on YouTube.
Miata owners love helping their fellow enthusiasts out, and you’ll never be short of advice or support if you need it.
It’s not hard to see where the ‘Miata is always the answer’ meme stems from.
The unique combination of fun, affordability, reliability and community make it a popular choice for buyers old and young.
Make sure you read our Miata buyer’s guide before considering your own purchase.