This statement will not sound like a shock to some, yet will certainly be heresy to others, the Mazda MX-5 Miata is an absolutely awful winter car. I have far too many friends and colleagues who repeatedly suggest that everyone they know should purchase an MX-5 for a daily driver. A year round daily driver at that. That’s just a bad idea, practicality and size notwithstanding, it’s just awful when it gets cold.
I recently daily drove a Miata for a week courtesy of Mazda. First and foremost, it’s a blast to drive. Fun car is fun, not newsworthy. Mazda has cornered the market on small, 2-seat affordable convertible fun. Yet, apparently this has led some to believe that it’s the perfect car. The “answer” as it’s known in some blogging circles. It’s not. I’ve owned two, a second generation NB and a third generation NC, but I never owned either during the cold weather months here in DC. After a week in the latest ND during a sub 20-degree spell in Washington DC, I can’t say I would ever want to own it as my only car.
First, there’s the noise. Even when the soft top is up, it sounds like you are outside. I actually kept looking over my shoulder to see if the driver’s side window was down, or if for some reason there was a small window behind that regular window that I didn’t know existed, and perhaps that was down. It wasn’t, it’s just a noisy car. Glorious in the summer sun, as poor as my photography in the winter.
And its cold inside, so, so cold. Some former Miata owners that I know say that, since the cabin is so small, it heats up fast. That’s only somewhat true, I was typically freezing for the first 10-15 minutes of driving. I have a 9 minute commute, so that means I was always cold while driving the MX-5. Each generation gets a bit better, and my time in previous ND Miatas (during warm weather) has shown that it’s the best ever.
But, let’s face it, even when it’s not winter, it kind of sucks as a daily driver. The visibility is poor, even with the top down. You are positioned so low you can’t really see enough of your surroundings. With the top up, forget about it, it’s got blind spots the size of Explorers. The old ones. The storage is non-existent, I found myself keeping my work bag, jacket, and other stuff on the passenger seat. It’s either that, or the trunk.
Brought a passenger, or worse, a date? I hope she has a small purse that can fit under her legs, or she’ll have to put it in the trunk as well. In which case, you’re not putting anything anywhere if you catch my drift. And that’s even assuming she can get in and out of the MX-5 while being demure and lady-like. I know I was happy to not be wearing a skirt several times, as were those around me as I departed the small convertible.
So, I’ve managed to provide some real world test data here. Some of it may come as a shock to you, or you may read this and just say “impractical car is impractical”. For the former, perhaps you are more hardcore than I am. For the latter, I’m sorry if I wasted your time. It happens.
Logged 9500 miles on our Miata RF as a DD. Less than practical, yes. Impractical? Well it does the commute, 2 person events and grocery runs (including costco!) just fine.
In no world would I call this hardcore, step inside a Lotus Elise for that experience…