Can tall people drive MX-5 Miatas? Explained

The Mazda MX-5 Miata is a small, rear-wheel drive roadster that’s been in production since 1989.

The Miata is known for its affordability, reliability, and exhilarating driving experience. It’s also the best-selling two-seater roadster in the world, according to Fontana Mazda.

If you’re a taller than average person, you might have been led to believe that you can’t fit inside of a Mazda MX-5 Miata. 

Although the cabin size is smaller than that of sedans and SUVs, this simply isn’t true. In this article, we’ll tell you why.

Can tall people drive MX-5 Miatas?

The optimal height for driving an MX-5 Miata is in the 5’8″ – 6’2″ range. The maximum height limit is considered to be 6’5″. It’s a good idea to test drive your desired model of MX-5 Miata to see if it is comfortable for you.

As a general rule of thumb, anything over 6’5” is considered a no-no for fitting in an MX-5 Miata. But it really does depend on the person and their body shape.

Mazda MX-5 Miata Generation (Mk)Headroom in inches
Second-generation, NB (1998-2005)37.1″
Third-generation, NC (2006-2015)37.4″
Fourth-generation, ND (2015-)37.4″

It can also depend on where most of your height is ‘distributed’ – as in, whether most of your height is in your torso or your legs. This will determine whether you need more legroom or headroom in a vehicle.

In any case, make sure you test drive the car beforehand to see if it suits you. Even better, if you have a friend who owns an MX-5 Miata, see if they will let you sit in the driver’s seat and get a feel for all of the controls.

Which year of MX-5 Miata is best for tall drivers?

The NA (1989-1997), NC (2006-2015) and ND (2015-) models of the MX-5 Miata are the best options for taller drivers. The NB (1998-2005) has 3 inches less headroom than all other models of the MX-5 Miata.

The NA, NC and ND variations of the MX-5 Miata are considered to be the most ‘roomy’ models. They all have the same amount of headroom at 37.4″, and taller owners feel most comfortable in these models.

It’s unclear why Mazda chose to restrict headroom with the second-generation NB model. This design was reversed on the following models to broaden the appeal of the roadster.

Whichever model you choose, there are a number of ways that you can modify an MX-5 Miata to accommodate your height and provide a noticeable comfort boost.

How can I modify an MX-5 Miata to fit my height?

There are a number of quick mods you can perform to make the MX-5 Miata more comfortable for your height. This can include removing foam from the seats, trimming the armrests and using an aftermarket steering wheel.

It is entirely possible to make small adjustments to your MX-5 Miata to inspire comfortable driving for years to come. Here are a few you can try out at home:

Foamectomy

‘Foamectomy’ is a term coined by Miata owners that simply means removing foam from the driver or passenger seats. This ultimately lowers your seating position and allows for more headroom in the cabin.

There are a number of YouTube videos documenting how to conduct a successful foamectomy – like this one:

You might be surprised at how much extra room you can free up by removing some foam from the lower backrest and bottom areas of the seats. 

Happy cutting!

Armrest trimming

Now, this might sound a bit dramatic. But making small adjustments to the armrests in an MX-5 Miata can reduce that feeling of cabin-claustrophobia that taller people might experience.

It involves trimming the plastic and foam from the armrest situated on the door panel of your MX-5 Miata. Once trimmed, you’ll have more room to fit your body into the car.

Here’s a super handy guide from Tinker Projects that details the process for an NA MX-5 Miata: Tinker Projects Armrest Trimming.

As always, be very careful when trimming the armrest or any other plastic items in your interior. Take your time and use high-quality tools to ensure a professional finish.

Installing an aftermarket steering wheel

Replacing the factory steering wheel with an aftermarket alternative and a spacer is another handy alteration that you can do to free up some extra space in the cabin.

Installing a slimmer aftermarket wheel and a 15mm spacer can make all the difference in freeing up some legroom for taller MX-5 Miata owners.

This means that your knees won’t constantly be hitting the steering wheel when driving. It also brings the steering wheel closer to your torso, which can dramatically boost your comfort when driving.

Final thoughts

I am 6’0” (on a good day) and have experienced no trouble ever fitting into my NB Mazda MX-5 Miata. It has never felt claustrophobic or too small for me.

But for the drivers who are taller, fitting into an MX-5 Miata can be a big concern.

It’s always a good idea to go and test drive your desired model to see how comfortable it is for you. Don’t compromise – you are likely to spend thousands of hours in this car. You don’t want it to be uncomfortable!

Aside from that, the Mazda MX-5 Miata is likely to be the most fun and reliable car that you will ever experience.

Did I miss anything? Do you have any personal tips for improving the space within a Mazda MX-5 Miata? Let me know below!

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