Is the Mazda MX-5 Miata a ‘Girl’s Car?’

Do you want a small, two-seat roadster that’s fun at any speed? Buy a Miata. Do you want a car that’s rear-wheel-drive and costs less than a sectional sofa at Ethan Allen? Buy a Miata. Do you want a car that’s easy to wrench on and you can tune to your heart’s desire? Buy a Miata. Although, it’s too bad that the Mazda MX-5 Miata is a girl’s car. But is it, really?

Why is the Mazda MX-5 Miata considered a “girl’s car?”

A woman sits inside a Mazda MX-5 Miata convertible.
Mazda MX-5 Miata convertible | Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Let’s get one thing straight: Cars are genderless (no matter what you like to name yours) and they do not dictate the owner’s gender. That being said, we can all likely agree that the Mazda MX-5 Miata is not a “girl’s car.” But why would the public at large think this way?

While it’s hard to find the actual number of women that have purchased a Mazda Miata in the past 30 years that it’s been in existence, we can only speculate why it was labeled as a “girl’s car:”

  • The Miata’s styling, up until the current (fourth) generation, was very rounded, soft, and “cute” compared to more “manly” cars like the Corvette and the Mustang.
  • The Miata has always had a four-cylinder engine as opposed to a V6 or a V8
  • It was cheaper than most muscle cars, although, it’s actually more expensive than them now.
  • It’s always been slow (and still kind of is).
  • It’s a two-seat convertible and, as we all know, women love to let their hair down and feel the wind through rush through it. (sarcasm intended)
  • It’s offered with an automatic transmission. Because, as we all know, real men drive sticks.

Now that we’ve gotten the stereotypical misogynistic misnomers out of the way, we can actually focus on the reality of the car itself.

A red 2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5 Miata going around a corner
2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5 Miata | Mazda

Why we think the Mazda MX-5 is not a “girl’s car”

In reality, we don’t think the Mazda MX-5 Miata is or was a girl’s car. The truth of the matter is that Mazda debuted the Miata in 1990 in its attempt to make a rear-drive, lightweight car that was as fun as the British roadsters from years before. And it worked. In fact, the brand even sold over 23,000 Miatas during its first year in production, which was greater than the number of Toyota MR2s sold that same year. On top of that, the Miata has formed quite the community of enthusiasts that like to modify them six ways from Sunday and tune to them to be faster than almost any muscle car you’ll find cruising down your street.

As the years went on, the Miata’s engine got a little bigger, as did the rest of the car, and there was even a turbocharged Mazdaspeed Miata at one point. It was as if Mazda caught wind of the “girl’s car” stigma and acted accordingly by sharpening up the car’s design, beefing up the engine and suspension, and even dropping the name “Miata” for the more gender-neutral “MX-5.”  Whether or not that’s the really the case, we now have a super sharp, sleek, and dare we say, “elegant” looking Mazda MX-5 that has more angles for the men and “cute” features for the women.

2019 Mazda MX-5
2019 Mazda MX-5 | Mazda

25 Snapshots of the Mazda Miata Through History

The Mazda MX-5 can now be taken more seriously

Whether you love it or hate it, the Mazda MX-5 is still a fun car through and through, no matter what gender you are. Mazda hit the nail on the head with the latest iteration by giving the MX-5 all of the creature comforts you need (auto climate control, Apple Carplay, etc.), along with a six-speed manual transmission, and a zippy 2.0-liter engine that makes 181 horsepower, which is more than that rare Mazdaspeed Miata made (178 hp). So there, is that “manly” enough for you?