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After years of dominating the affordable sports car market, the Mazda Miata lost its crown to other contenders. But, in a surprising turn of events, the Miata has made a comeback and regained its spot as the king of affordable sports cars.

With its sleek design, nimble handling, and affordable price tag, the Miata has once again proven itself to be the go-to choice for car enthusiasts looking for a thrilling ride without breaking the bank. Let’s take a closer look at how the Miata was able to reclaim its throne in the highly competitive sports car segment.

Dashboard in 2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata sports car, most reliable Mazda car, says Consumer Reports, not Mazda3 or CX-5
2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata | Mazda

Q1 2023 sales figures show an increase in the US two-door sports car market

According to the GM Authority, the first quarter of 2023 saw a 5% increase in the total sales of two-door sports cars in the United States. In Q1 2023, Ford Mustang sales were 14,711, an increase of 725 units from the same period last year. The Dodge Challenger sold 11,371 units, an increase of 247 units from Q1 2022. Chevrolet Camaro sales rose to 7,780 units, an increase of 1,070 units from Q1 2022.

The Toyota 86 sold 2,038 units, a decrease of 1,219 units from Q1 2022. The Subaru BRZ sold 985 units, an increase of 14 units from Q1 2022. The Mazda MX-5 Miata, however, saw the most significant sales increase, with 2,590 units sold in Q1 2023, an increase of 985 units from Q1 2022.

The Mazda MX-5 Miata outshines the Toyota 86 

The Mazda MX-5 Miata has reclaimed its title as the best-selling small two-door sports car in the first quarter of 2023 in the United States, outselling the Toyota 86 by about 500 units.

While the Toyota 86 is a great sports car in its own right, it seems that the Miata’s appeal is stronger. One possible reason for the Miata’s success is its reputation for being a pure, uncompromising sports car. It’s known for its excellent handling, lightweight construction, and simple, timeless design.

The Miata’s appeal lies in the fact that it’s a driver’s car, designed to deliver maximum fun on the road. The Miata has also been praised for its reliability, affordability, and low cost of ownership, making it a practical choice for enthusiasts who want to enjoy a sports car without breaking the bank.

On the other hand, the Toyota 86, formerly known as the Scion FR-S, is a sports car co-developed with Subaru. While it has received positive reviews for its driving dynamics and affordability, some critics have argued that it’s lacking in character compared to other sports cars. The 86’s design has also been criticized for being too conservative, lacking the excitement and visual appeal that enthusiasts look for in a sports car.

How the Mazda MX-5 Miata is recapturing the hearts of driving enthusiasts

In the first quarter of 2023, the Mazda MX-5 Miata saw a significant increase in sales, selling the aforementioned 2,590 units, an impressive 61% increase from the same period last year. This increase can be attributed to several factors, including the Miata’s reputation for being a fun-to-drive, affordable sports car and its recent updates to the engine and interior.

In contrast, the Toyota 86 experienced a decrease in sales, selling only 2,038 units in Q1 2023, a 39% decrease from Q1 2022. This can be attributed to the fact that the Toyota 86 is now an older model, having been introduced in 2012 and last updated in 2017.

The Miata, on the other hand, has had more frequent updates and improvements, which has helped to keep it fresh and appealing to buyers. Additionally, the Miata has developed a loyal following over the years, which has helped to keep sales steady even as the market for small sports cars has become more competitive.


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