The 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata Is the Most Impractical Car That Everyone Needs

The week I spent in the 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring RF hardtop convertible really opened my eyes. See, I’m a mom. I drive a minivan. In fact, I love my minivan. Practicality is the lens through which I try to see most of the world––especially when I’m reviewing cars. But no matter how impractical the Mazda MX-5 Miata is for just about every family out there, I still think everyone needs one.

Family car
Family car | Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Is the Mazda MX-5 Miata reliable?

To begin on a note of practicality, let’s talk reliability. Consumer Reports actually chose the 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata as the most reliable car of the year. Mazda’s brought in more reliability from the Japanese engineering side of things to this legendary little roadster.

100th anniversary Mazda Miata MX-5 ASE
100th ASE Mazda Miata MX-5 | Mazda

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So if you aren’t buying the 2020 Mazda Miata because you’re concerned about reliability, think again. It’s sporty, it’s fun, and hey––it’s reliable to boot. In fact, J.D. Power praises the Mazda MX-5 Miata for its practicality. It’s likened to a “street-legal go-kart” in the full review on the J.D. Power website. Still, it’s noted for the practical side of excitement it brings.

“If you want to feel alive with every drive without spending more money than a typical Honda Accord costs, there are no truly comparable alternatives.”

J.D. Power Review

Maybe it’s not as impractical as we thought

The sport-tuned suspension feels handy. This car could handle most challenges––excluding obvious things like off-roading, hauling, or drag racing. It’s small and light, so it capitalizes on every bit of the 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque that the mechanics of this convertible provide.

Mazda MX-5 RF compact sports car on display at Brussels Expo
The 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

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That said, it’s a smart car that allows drivers to push it to the max without really getting into trouble. Such a practical departure from a 700-some-odd horsepower HEMI that you could never really open up without risking jail. On that note, the 2020 Mazda MX-5 is actually a bit more practical than we thought.

But the Mazda MX-5 Miata is still impractical, there’s just no getting around it

So it’s reliable and it’s fun to drive without having to hold back too much on what it has to offer. Still, it’s immensely impractical. For its size, the trunk is massive––I’ll give it that.

Mazda celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the Miata with the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata at the 111th Annual Chicago Auto Show
The Mazda MX-5 Miata | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

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But it’s not a car made to accommodate car seats or really families at all. It’s just not wise to put a child in that front seat, no matter how much you want them to see how fun parking lot donuts are. There’s no getting around it.

It’s a roadster without a backseat. Plus, it’s either a soft-top or hardtop convertible. The cost of insurance on a 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata isn’t going to be in the same ballpark as the insurance on a Honda Odyssey. That’s just the way it is.

Every practical family with a fun side needs a Miata

If you’ve given any thought to buying a hobby car, go test a 2020 or 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF or soft-top convertible. You might fall in love. The best part is that if you do, this is actually a really affordable car.

A car speeding down a highway
A Porsche speeds down an open road | Steve Hall/Total 911 Magazine/Future via Getty Images

All things considered, there isn’t really a comparable model out there for the same price point. I mean, yeah a Porsche 911 or a BMW Z4 would be cool but that is on a whole new level of impracticality. For practical families with a fun side, the Mazda MX-5 Miata is the way to go.

According to J.D. Power, the BMW option starts around the same price as the Miata’s range topper. The Porsche 911 is a 6-figure toy. For most people and for all families, a roadster isn’t going to work as a daily driver. So the fact that the 2020 Mazda Miata offers a lot of roadster fun for a reasonable price range of $23,988 – $45,023––according to J.D. Power––is a huge part of a draw.