Is a Mazda MX-5 the Same as a Miata?

You may have seen a Mazda MX-5 on the road in recent years and thought, “That looks familiar. Isn’t it a Miata?” And you would be correct, at least partially. The Miata has gone through quite an evolution in terms of its name over the years, but it’s still a car loved by many. 

Are the Mazda MX-5 and the Miata the same thing?

A red Mazda MX-5 on a white background.
Mazda MX-5 | Mazda North American Operations

The short answer to this question is yes. The Mazda MX-5 is just a different name for the classic Mazda Miata. Nowadays, the car’s official name is a combination of the two: the Mazda MX-5 Miata. 

How did this evolution in terminology come about? It’s somewhat of a mystery. CNET explains that the name MX-5 first appeared with the Miata’s third generation of vehicles and lasted from 2006 through 2015. 

No one knows why Mazda introduced this change, which doesn’t appear to have been all that well-thought-out. One theory holds that in introducing the new name, Mazda was attempting to get away from the Miata’s reputation as a “girl’s car.” But is that the whole story?

Why did Mazda choose the name MX-5?

It’s possible that by choosing the name MX-5 for its third generation of Miatas, Mazda was attempting to rebrand its car as something more appealing to guys. Although Jalopnik reports that the car’s name officially means “reward” in Old High German, it’s also known as a girl’s name, per Miata

The specific name MX-5 came from is unknown to almost everyone, but we can say with certainty that it’s a lot more similar to other terms of Mazda cars out there than “Miata.” With its incorporation of numbers, the name MX-5 fits in easily with other Mazda models such as Mazda 6 and the CX-5. 

In the end, the name MX-5 didn’t stick as a standalone model name. The car was still the classic “Miata.” So finally, Mazda came up with a compromise for the latest generation of these cars: it now calls them the Mazda MX-5 Miata.  

What are the specs on the latest Mazda MX-5 Miata?

Even in its latest iteration, the 2021 Mazda MX-5 remains an attractive sports car at a relatively affordable price. The car comes in three trims: the Sport starting at $26,830, Club starting at $30,290, and the Grand Touring starting at $31,770. The higher-priced trims stand out in their torque-sensing limited-slip differential and audio system.

All trims of the Mazda MX-5 Miata offer 181 hp along with 151 lb-ft of torque. You can choose from a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission and take advantage of advanced safety features such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a lane departure warning system.

The mileage that the MX-5 Miata gets is pretty impressive. You can count on getting around 26 mph in the city or an impressive 34 mph on the highway in this car. So the next time you feel the need to get out on the open road, the MX-5 Miata will make sure that fuel prices aren’t an obstacle in your path. 

No matter the name over the years, the MX-5 Miata has shown time and again why consumers find it an attractive car. We don’t expect that to change anytime soon with the way things are going.  

RELATED: Is the Mazda MX-5 Miata Actually Getting Discontinued?