The Mazda MX-5 Miata, also known as just the MX-5 or Miata, is a roadster with a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout.
The MX-5 Miata is currently in its fourth generation, but the first generation was introduced in 1989. The vehicle took the motoring world by storm with its superb handling and balance.
While the car has been highly praised throughout its lifetime, it’s also the victim of several ill-informed stereotypes.
In this article, we’ll cover the most common stereotypes of the Mazda MX-5 Miata – and why you should ignore them.
1. It’s a hairdresser’s car
The most common stereotype attached to the Mazda MX-5 Miata is that only hairdressers drive them. People seem to think that it’s popular among barbers and hairstylists due to it being sporty, reasonably priced and a convertible.
It’s a strangely specific, employment-focused stereotype. Other examples of ‘hairdresser cars’ include the Audi TT and the classic Peugeot 205CC.
The general consensus is that hairdressers enjoy entry-level sports cars. Bonus points if it’s a convertible. They don’t want to spend too much on a vehicle, but they like to get around in style.
So is the MX-5 Miata a hairdresser’s car? Yes. But it’s also an enthusiast’s car. It’s a builder’s car. It’s a librarian’s car. It’s a retired physiotherapist’s car. It’s easy to forget just how broad the appeal of this wonderful car is.
You get the picture: it’s a car for everyone. And it would be a real shame if we let a nonsensical stereotype put us off driving one.
2. It’s a girl’s car
Another common MX-5 Miata stereotype is that it’s a girl’s car. The stereotype perpetuates that those of the female persuasion (women) are the only people who are allowed to own and drive a Miata.
Yet, it doesn’t quite add up. According to Mazda themselves, 66% of MX-5 Miata owners are male.
When you browse the forums or the official r/Miata subreddit, it’s mostly male drivers. They love sharing their adventures, pitfalls and advice with other MX-5 owners.
So with a mostly male driver base, is the Miata a girl’s car? And why would that be a bad thing anyway?
There are a few reasons why people might feel this way. Compared to burly muscle cars like the Ford Mustang or Dodge Challenger, earlier models of the MX-5 Miata lacked aggression and sharpness in its bodywork.
The first-generation Miata (NA) featured a soft, rounded design that stuck to the basics and did its job well. But without the unnecessary spoilers and macho styling, it was quickly labelled as being ‘feminine’.
The current fourth generation of the MX-5 Miata (ND) makes light work of this stereotype. The car has never looked better – save for the much-missed pop-up headlights.
It’s no longer a question of whether it’s a girl’s car or a boy’s car. The only thing we should care about is if it drives well and sticks to those original principles of the MX-5 Miata – oneness between car and driver.
3. It’s a slow car
People in the car community love to label MX-5 Miatas as ‘slow’ cars. This is largely down to its relatively small production engines and modest horsepower output. Truth is, the lightweight nature of the car more than makes up for this.
The original Mazda MX-5 Miata NA debuted with a 1.6L engine and a whopping 115 brake horsepower (bhp).
OK, they are not mind-blowing figures. But that same vehicle weighs a total of 980kg (2,160lb). For a car, that’s nothing.
When you compare this figure to modern SUVs, like the BMW X5, you’ll start to see what I’m getting at. The BMW X5 is almost triple the weight of the NA MX-5 Miata.
The standard MX-5 Miata engine does feel quick in that lightweight shell. Coupled with the on-point balance and one-of-a-kind handling, you’ll forget that speed is even a thing. You’ll be enjoying the ride too much.
Plus, the Miata is renowned for its simple mechanical nature. It’s a car that is so easy to work on – even for beginners. That means that you can add extra power easily when you feel like you need it.
So while it might not be the quickest car on this side of the planet, it’s certainly not the slowest. And it’s the furthest thing from boring.
4. It’s only good for track days
It’s a common stereotype that the MX-5 Miata is only good for track days and nothing else. The Miata is a popular track day car due to it being easy to work on and relatively cheap to acquire.
There’s no denying that the MX-5 Miata is a great track car. It’s easy to modify, it’s easy to throw around corners, and it’s great for beginners who want to earn their stripes on the track.
It’s also mechanically reliable, which is a huge selling point for track junkies.
But the misconception is that the track is where it should stay. Lots of people in the car community think the car is too simplistic and unexciting for road use.
We would have to disagree. The Miata is great at so many different things, and it suits many different driving styles.
The MX-5 Miata’s reliability doesn’t mean that it should be constantly thrown around a track at high RPMs with squealing tires underneath. That same reliability makes the Miata a great daily driver for casual car owners, beginner drivers and enthusiasts alike.
So if you want a raw driving experience with limitless fun on track or road, choose a Miata.
5. It’s an old man’s car
Another common stereotype is that the MX-5 Miata is a car that is only driven by old men, or those having a midlife crisis. It is tied with the belief that men often drive more impractical sports cars later in life.
Older men tend to have fewer responsibilities in life. Their kids might have flown the nest. They could be retired. They might be settled into a long-term marriage and have no need for dating or impressing women.
As such, older men can start doing things for themselves. They might take up a new hobby – or buy an MX-5 Miata. A two-seat roadster might have been impractical when they had to drive their kids around, but it suddenly becomes an attractive prospect later in life.
However, it is wrong to assume that the MX-5 Miata is only driven by older men. This is clear when browsing forums or the official r/Miata subreddit, where thousands of young drivers purchase Miatas as their first car.
Likewise, 33% of Mazda MX-5 drivers are female. If you’re out on the road and you take note of exactly who is driving the MX-5 Miatas, you’ll probably find that it’s a mixed bag.
Young or old, male or female – we’re all chasing the raw driving experience that a lightweight roadster provides in abundance.
6. It’s a cute car
Some people seem to think that the MX-5 Miata is a ‘cute’ car. This is a result of the soft, rounded styling of the first, second and third-generation models and the lifelike appearance of the NA’s iconic pop-up headlights.
Sure, in comparison to other sports cars, the Miata can often appear ‘cute’. It’s certainly not helped by owners adding eyelashes, googly eyes and other accessories that accentuate the lovable features of the MX-5 Miata.
The first-generation MX-5 Miata’s front-end could simply be described as a smiley face. And it’s not hard to see this distinction:
However, as time has gone on, Mazda has opted for a more sporty, aggressive look for its flagship roadster. The ND MX-5 Miata makes use of sharp headlight styling and intimidating contours that better reflect its exhilarating nature.
Cute doesn’t necessarily mean bad. The Miata’s loveable appearance makes it a hit with kids and adults alike.
Plus, if you don’t want your Miata to look more aggressive, there are a number of easy modifications that you can do to toughen up your car’s look. Think decals, side skirts, respraying trim items and the like.
Who can drive MX-5 Miatas?
Anybody can drive a Mazda MX-5 Miata. It doesn’t matter if you’re young, old, male or female. As long as you have a driving license, you can enjoy the driving experience of Mazda’s flagship roadster.
People will always hold opinions about modern cars. They might think that a car should only be driven by a certain type of person. They might think a car is too ugly or underpowered to be on the road.
The fact of the matter is that every car has a community that rallies around it. Lots of people think the Fiat Multipla is the ugliest road car to have ever existed. But you can guarantee that there’s a dedicated owner’s club and a loyal following that sings its praises.
The same is true for the Mazda MX-5 Miata. It doesn’t really matter what anybody else thinks about it. If you love driving it, don’t let anybody put you off doing so. Even if you own a rusty Miata.
And if you’re part of the renowned Miata owner’s community, you’ll be surrounded by like-minded drivers who will be happy to give you advice and praise for your car.
So there you have it. We searched far and wide asking car enthusiasts for their most negative stereotypes about the Mazda MX-5 Miata. In this article, we listed the top six responses in order of popularity.
We hope that this article helped to disprove some of these stereotypes. We also hope that it helped you to see why they’re unimportant. People will always hold both good and bad opinions about cars, but they’re rarely ever based on facts.
Don’t forget – take stereotypes with a pinch of salt. And don’t ever judge a vehicle until you’ve driven it!