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First launched in the 1960s, the long-running Ford Mustang has become an iconic sports car, with each new generation impressing critics and consumers alike. However, despite its stature, it certainly faces plenty of competition. The 2024 Ford Mustang competes for dollars with brands by Dodge, Toyota, Nissan, Chevrolet, and Mazda. In some cases, the Mustang’s features are neck-and-neck with the competition. Still, in others, it enjoys huge advantages over its rivals. Such is the case with the Mazda MX-5 Miata, over which it has a considerable advantage.

A look at the new Mustang and Mazda MX-5 Miata

The 2024 Ford Mustang leans into its muscle car roots with new gas-powered engine options for the latest model year. There’s a 315-hp 2.3-liter EcoBoost inline-four, a 486-hp 5.0-Liter Coyote V8, and a 550-hp Dark Horse 5.0-liter Coyote V8. The EcoBoost comes with a six-speed manual transmission, while the other engine options can be had with the manual or a 10-speed automatic option. The Dark Horse has additional performance-oriented features and race-ready S and R trims.

Car and Driver notes that the Mustang also has a 12.4-inch instrument cluster that can be customized, along with infotainment touchscreen options that max out at 13.2 inches. There’s also quite a bit of advanced safety tech that comes standard with the new Mustang, along with plenty of snazzy optional stylings and amenities. Indeed, you’ll find lots of options in this category. For an upgrade, you can get the 2023 Mazda Miata outfitted with heated seats, rain-sensing wipers, and a nine-speaker audio system on top of its standard amenities.

Now, compared to the Mustang, the Miata is a bit underpowered. Each trim has a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated inline-four engine that generates just 181 hp paired with a six-speed manual. However, the Miata draws raves for performance features, making it a joy to drive. The Mazda Miata is also more affordable than the Mustang, with a starting price of $29,215, compared to the Mustang’s MSRP of $32,515.

The 2024 Ford Mustang’s big advantage over the Miata

One of the biggest challenges in this segment is seating comfort and capacity. Lightweight is a key component of a sports car’s superior maneuverability and speed. Accordingly, most vehicles in the segment are small and relatively cramped, making them a headache for taller drivers and passengers.

However, the 2024 Ford Mustang offers considerable room in the front and back for passengers and cargo alike. While size-wise, it retains the dimensions of the 2023 model, the new version has been stylized based on a fighter jet cockpit. The screens are larger than before, and the layout is far more modern, which should be highlights for owners of previous-gen models.

Edmunds also notes the Mustang has 13.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity – far more than the Miata’s 4.6 cubic feet trunk provides. Moreover, the Mustang has a back seat. While it’s better suited to children or small packages, it’s still more than the Miata offers.

Should you buy the Mustang over the Miata?

Related Is the Ford Mustang a Muscle Car or a Sports Car?

Is the Ford Mustang a Muscle Car or a Sports Car?

Despite the additional cargo capacity, the Mazda MX-5 Miata has some real advantages. It’s less expensive than the Ford Mustang and gets kudos from multiple publications, such as Car and Driver and MotorTrend, for its agile performance and handling. It’s not a direct competitor to the Mustang as it’s a two-seat convertible, but it’s well worth considering if you’re looking for a small, lightweight, and feature-rich car that is fun to drive.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a powerful vehicle to tear up the roadway, the Mustang is the better bet. The race-ready trims are perfect for the highway or drag strip. Additionally, the Mustang’s comfort and amenities make it more than a match for the Miata and more direct competitors, like the Toyota Supra or Dodge Challenger.

Ultimately, given what each vehicle offers, there’s no real way to determine which is best for you on paper. If it comes down to it, take the Mustang and the Miata for a spin. The test drive will tell you which of these high-quality sports cars is best for you.