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Most fun things are impractical. This is one of them. by Miata Driver in Eugene, OR on 08/23/2005. Trim: 1996 Mazda MX-5 Miata Base, Owned 4 years.
Pros: It is the coolest-looking car for the money. 15 years after its introduction, non-car people still think it is a Ferarri or something, especially if it is painted look-at-me red like mine is. Driving home in it can improve your mood after a bad day at work. Running errands becomes fun. It is surprisingly reliable. I enjoy the support of Miata clubs and websites. It is mechanically simple (e.g. manual top) so repairs and maintenance are much less than other cars, especially other sports cars. It's fun to drive because it is so responsive and so low to the ground.
Cons: Driving with the top up feels like driving a pup tent. I don't like knowing that any serious collision will probably result in death or major injury. Unless you have a lot of friends or not much stuff, it isn't an option as an only car. I bought back my trade-in after 3 days so I could take my guitar and amp places. Although there are plenty of romantic stories about driving cross country in these things, I find that trips longer than 90 minutes become excruciating due to the tight fit (I'm 6'2 / 225.) I bought mine without A/C thinking what was the point in a convertible? There is a big point on days when it is over 85F - the sun will broil you. I end up taking my Volvo with A/C.
Overall review: If you have the room and you always wanted one, I don't think you'll be disappointed. I was 15 when they were introduced and I finally bought mine used when I was 25. Sometimes I question having it when it is gathering dust in my garage in November-March, but on that first sunny day in Spring when I reinstate the insurance, shoehorn myself into the seat, turn the key and hear that distinct exhaust note, I remember why I have a Miata. It isn't perfect - more expensive sports cars do a better job blocking the wind or holding drinks, but these problems are solved with aftermarket solutions (though not as attractively as in Z3/Z4 or CLK/SLK cars.) Finally, in a society where attractiveness and status artifacts count for a lot, I have found that I get treated better when people see me drive up and get out of it. Whether or not that's right, I use it to my advantage when I have to (househunting, job interviews, etc.)
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