You Won't Regret Buying a Mazda MX-5 Miata, but Rent It First

I’ve been feeling quite confused lately. The Mazda MX-5 Miata wasn’t a car that I considered buying for myself. I’m very much still a BMW 440i xDrive Coupe (F32), Ford Ranger Raptor, or Rivian R1T guy. But driving this little, bright orange Japanese roadster for a week has changed my perspective dramatically. You should give it a thought as well. It might enrich your life.
2020 Mazda MX-5 RF 10 photos
Photo: Gabriel Preda
2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Interior2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Interior2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF
You can ask me at any point of the day what car I would buy (if it was available for the correct price), and the answer would almost always be the same. On the spot, I'd name only three brands - always. I am confident I would never get it wrong. BMW, Ford, and Rivian are the vehicles that would constitute the garage of my dreams. I would need nothing else. Three cars are already too much.

Of course, I dream of a Ferrari from time to time. More specifically, the 488 Pista Spider in a Stormtrooper color combo is what often pops up in my mind. As with any other gearhead out there, there are some shapes and a couple of engines that simply make you daydream. It happened to almost anyone I know. For me, it’s not about the power. The shape of the car is what made me love it in great secrecy. And I keep this feeling buried deep inside my car enthusiast heart because it’s just incredibly expensive. There’s no scenario in which I end up owning one. The BMW, the Ford, and the Rivian are just fine, and they’d be more than enough.

But let’s get back to our little Mazda.

Being rigid about preferences never helped anyone. It’s good to accept changes. From time to time, we all should allow ourselves some space for thoughts that could eventually lead to a shift in mentality. If I’m being completely honest with you here, the MX-5 Miata would have never crossed my mind as a car that I could eventually own. I always thought that it was too small and low on power. Add the manual and the recipe just never sounded good to me.

2020 Mazda MX\-5 Miata RF
Photo: Gabriel Preda
All these assumptions were completely deleted after having the car just for myself for a week. It was completely unexpected. I was surprised. Allow me to explain.

We're going on a trip in what seems like a little... Rocketship?!

I visited Europe just before everyone embarked on plane journeys and had planned out a relaxing trip through multiple countries. Because the universe has a sense of humor, I ended up taking a 2020 Mazda MX-5 RF (ND2) dressed in the Racing Orange color that’s specific for the 30th-anniversary model. My first road from picking up the car and to the hotel meant I had to drive for over 370 mi (600 km). I was almost fuming. Not only was I bashing myself for agreeing to experience Europe in such a tiny, comically looking vehicle, but my significant other was also vocal about being displeased with the size of the Miata and its tiny trunk. It didn’t look good.

But we get on with our plans to drive for at least eight hours with the hope that cops won’t single us out. I get in the driver’s seat. Would you look at that! I fit – comfortably even! The driving position is pretty good. The materials are nice enough. There’s enough technology here for driving safely in unknown territories… The MX-5 already made a first good impression.

I then started the car up and slowly but surely drove in the right direction. The road wasn’t congested, the sky was clear, and the wind was barely noticeable. That’s when I decided it was time to take the top off and enjoy the open-air experience. The sky blessed us with a clear view of the Moon and some stars. We weren’t close to cities, so light pollution wasn’t there to mess with the view.

2020 Mazda MX\-5 Miata RF Interior
Photo: Gabriel Preda
With each gear shift and every bit of acceleration, I was more and more starting to fall in love with the car that - up until those magical moments - I considered to be a joke. The MX-5 Miata was easy to drive, nothing felt forced or cramped, and the sheer joy that comes from being able to see everything around you at night is just inexplicably amazing. We were both enjoying the whole experience.

It changed everything

Moreover, the fact that the exhaust note wasn’t loud helped with keeping our presence unnoticed and allowed us to hear what was surrounding us. I stopped more than once to just soak in the places we were seeing for the first time.

As we were approaching our destination, a storm was forming in the West. The sky remained clear for us, and right as we drove through some little villages, the Moon was shining almost above us, and the lightning was offering us a proper show. The Bose sound system completed the whole picture and almost transported us into a realm of unbeknown happiness. It turned out to be an uncanny experience.

We arrived at the hotel with big smiles on our faces after a nine-hour drive and slept like babies until the Sun reclaimed its dominion back. I returned the car with almost 1,700 mi (2,730 km) more on the odometer. We loved every single minute spent with the tiny convertible.

Now I’m looking forward to getting an MX-5 with a hard top for myself. And that’s how I ended up being a fan of the Japanese roadster that knows how to blend simplicity with practicality and reliability. It’s just a fun little car that deserves love, and you should try one out too. It’s properly amazing for what it is. Don’t hesitate and don’t fall into the trap of preconceived ideas. The Miata is most likely going to serve you well.

Thanks for tuning into the last day of Open Top Month here on autoevolution.
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About the author: Florin Amariei
Florin Amariei profile photo

Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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