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From the likes of your run-of-the-mill automotive enthusiast to Jay Leno himself, there’s no shortage of praise for the first-generation Mazda Miata. The NA Miata is a purpose-built sports car made with fun in mind. Throw the top back, crank the tunes, and find your favorite windy road for a rip-snorting good time. However, as one would expect, a sports car comes with a set of shortcomings for daily use. So, what are the pros and cons of daily driving a Miata?

Pro: Everywhere is a race track with an NA Mazda Miata

Maroon Mazda MX-5 Miata M Edition NA 1995 Front Facing Camera Smiling
A Happy 1995 Mazda Miata M Edition | Cars and Bids

The first pro is the most obvious one. The NA Mazda Miata is just about as close to daily driving a go-kart as one could get. Flat, nimble handling with grip that won’t quit makes every drive exciting. So, whether your commute is a windy mountain road or just that circular freeway on-ramp you love to take at speed, it’s a good time every time.

Moreover, the NA Miata’s lower power output makes for a bit of peace of mind with spirited driving. It’s all about momentum, not necessarily speed. The Miata is a champion of making the speed limit fun. So, go ahead. Keep your foot down through that corner!

Pro/Con: It’s Tiny

Montego Blue Mica 1994 Mazda Miata M Edition Front 3/4 parked in the sun
1994 Mazda Miata M Edition | Braden Carlson, Motorbiscuit

The compact size of the NA Miata is a bit of a double-edged sword. It makes maneuvering through tight roads and spaces super easy. Not to mention, it’s absurdly easy to park. Someone parked over the line a bit in a big truck or SUV? No worries! Slide on in there.

However, the compact size is a bit inconvenient for us larger folks. Standing at 6’ 3”, daily driving an NA Miata wasn’t the easiest thing for me to do. Especially considering, at the time, I weighed well over 300 pounds. Despite having lost about 80 pounds, though, my overall height still makes a Miata a tight squeeze.

Furthermore, the size is definitely something that lingers when a driver merges your way without looking or pulling out in front of you. No matter how you slice it, a big crash in a Miata is not going to end well. Driving one every day certainly puts you in the danger zone for crash probability.

Pro: Fuel Economy

It’s an old car. So, by today’s standards, it’s not at the top of the MPG food chain. In addition, its gearing is more oriented toward fun than it is fuel efficiency.

All that being said, its EPA ratings of 22 MPG city and 28 MPG highway are just fine for a sports car. It’s pretty easy on the wallet at the pumps.

Con: the NA Mazda Miata is an old car, so it has old car issues

Even the newest NA Mazda Miata is over 25 years old now. So, you can expect to run into some issues.

Failing gaskets, oil leaks, loss of power, and even a semi-rare transmission issue plague the first-generation Miata. Fortunately, we’ve covered the issues that they have. So, you can educate yourself on the problems and shop for a well-maintained example!

Is a NA Miata a good daily driver?

Ultimately, yes. The NA Mazda Miata is a fantastic daily driver. If you have family or large objects that regularly need transport, though, it may be a bit of a struggle. The trunk space is decent, but this tiny car can only handle so much.

Take it from me, though. I daily drove an NA Miata at 6’ 3” tall and 325 pounds for well over a year. The icing on the cake? I was a delivery driver. So I was in it all day, every day. If I can do it, you certainly can, too!


Transform an NA Mazda Miata into a Wild, Le Mans-Style MX Speedster