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Buying a Used Mazda MX-5 Miata: What You Should Know

There’s a lot to like about the Mazda MX-5 Miata. It is a convertible, after all. But when it comes to buying a used Mazda MX-5 Miata, what is there to know? Let’s find out.

2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata parked at sunset
2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata | Mazda

Which generation of the Mazda MX-5 Miata should you choose?

The Mazda MX-5 Miata has been around for quite some time. The first-generation Miata was introduced in 1990 and, according to Autotrader, was inspired by British roadsters like the MG MGB and Triumph Spitfire. Autotrader reports that you can expect to pay between $800 and $1,000 for a used first-generation model with a hardtop. Of course, that price tag will depend on the condition of the vehicle itself.

The second-generation Miata was introduced in 1999. It came standard with a 1.8-liter engine and a five-speed automatic transmission. According to Autotrader, it also benefited from some nicer interior materials. If you opt for a second-generation Miata, Autotrader recommends tracking down a MAZDASPEED Miata from the 2004-05 model years because of its turbocharged engine. “Even compared to the newer third-generation model, the MAZDASPEED is a highly desirable car,” explains Autotrader.

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For a newer Mazda MX-5 Miata, consider opting for a third-generation model, particularly one from 2009. According to Autotrader, the 2009 model benefited from some appealing engine upgrades. “Output barely changed, moving up a tick to 167 hp, but acceleration feels much more lively, with a 0-to-60 time of 6.7 seconds. You still don’t get the midrange rush of the MAZDASPEED, but it’s never been this fun to drive a Miata,” says Autotrader.

And if you’d prefer a used model from the most recent generation? Shop for models beginning in the 2016 model year. Shopping this generation provides plenty of choices too. Pick from multiple engines and transmission options, also consider what type of driver-assistance features you’re looking for in your used Mazda Miata.

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Is the Mazda MX-5 Miata a reliable used car?

As it turns out, the Miata is a reliable used car. According to Consumer Reports, several model years have earned a five out of five reliability rating. Consumer Reports’ data shows that models such as the 2019 Miata didn’t face many problems either. In fact, the 2019 model’s most common trouble spot was its in-car electronics. All in all, that’s not that bad.

Repair Pal reports that a used Mazda MX-5 Miata isn’t all that expensive to own too. According to Repair Pal, the average annual repair cost for a Miata is $429, compared to an average of $652 for all vehicle models. Repair Pal reports that repairs are typically less severe and less frequent than the average car too. Overall, Repair Pal says that makes the Miata one of the more reliable vehicles on the road today.

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Is a used Miata worth buying?

It depends. If you’re shopping for a fun used car, Autoblog reports that you really can’t go wrong with a Mazda MX-5 Miata. Autoblog added, “It doesn’t matter what version you get, they all deliver on the same light, playful sports car experience.” But if you’re not shopping for a fun car? Then a used Miata may not be the best pick for you.