Mazda Miata Years to Avoid and The Best Years

Mazda Miata Years to Avoid – Welcome to our comprehensive guide on Mazda Miata years to avoid. If you’re in the market for a used Miata, it’s essential to be well-informed about the specific model years that may present potential challenges or disappointments.

While the Mazda Miata, also known as the MX-5, has earned a reputation for its thrilling driving experience and sporty design, not all years have been created equal.

In this article, we’ll explore the Miata years to avoid and provide you with valuable insights to help you make an informed decision.

Mazda Miata Years to Avoid

For those looking to buy a used Miata, knowing which model years to avoid is crucial in ensuring a satisfactory ownership experience.

Mazda Miata Years to Avoid

Let’s jump right in and explore the details you need to know.

First Generation (1990-1998): Identifying Early Miata Years to Avoid

The first-generation Miata, introduced in 1990, was an instant hit in the U.S., capturing the hearts of driving enthusiasts across the nation.

These early models are easily recognizable by their iconic pop-up headlights.

Powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine producing 116 horsepower, the first-gen Miata offered a spirited driving experience due to its lightweight design and sharp handling.

While online complaints about the first-generation Miata are relatively scarce, it’s important to note that the lack of feedback might be attributed to the age of these vehicles.

There have been isolated reports of issues ranging from climate control and electric system problems in the 1990 model to windshield troubles in the 1997 model.

Although these complaints don’t indicate a widespread pattern, it is wise to exercise caution, especially when considering the debut year (1990) of a new car.

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If you opt for a first-generation Miata, we recommend having a thorough inspection by a qualified mechanic due to age-related component wear and potential mechanical concerns.

Second Generation (1999-2005): Assessing Reliability Across the Years

The second-generation Miata, launched in 1999, retained the classic design of its predecessor but featured updates for pedestrian safety concerns, dropping the iconic pop-up headlights in favor of flush units.

These models also boasted a refined cabin, positioning the Miata as a more affordable alternative to luxury sports cars.

Similar to the first generation, the second-gen Miata has limited owner complaints, primarily involving occasional engine issues and a few electrical-related cases.

However, no particular model year stands out as one to avoid based on these reports. As a rule of thumb, always arrange a thorough pre-purchase inspection for any second-generation Miata you’re considering, as maintenance history and overall condition play significant roles in the car’s reliability.

Third Generation (2006-2015): Heightened Caution with Select Model Years

The third-generation Miata, introduced in 2006, underwent evolutionary changes while maintaining the beloved formula of its predecessors.

Under the hood, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 170 horsepower replaced the previous 1.8-liter engine.

Although the car received updates, the third-generation Miata saw an increase in owner complaints compared to the earlier models.

Reports of issues with the 2006, 2007, and 2008 models included paint quality problems, electrical gremlins, and unintentional battery discharge.

While these complaints aren’t overwhelming, they do raise concerns, particularly for the 2008 model year, which showed a pattern of battery-related problems.

As a precaution, we advise avoiding the 2008 Mazda Miata and recommend considering models beyond this year with a clear maintenance history and records.

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Fourth Generation (2016-Present): Uncovering a Standout Model Year to Avoid

The fourth-generation Miata unveiled in 2016, brought a modern and sculpted design, making it one of the most visually striking Miata generations to date. Despite the sleek appearance and improved performance, the 2016 model year stands out as a Miata to avoid. reported a notable amount of negative feedback for the 2016 Miata, covering various issues such as interior accessories, windshield problems, suspension troubles, and exterior accessory defects.

If you’re considering a fourth-generation Miata, steer clear of the 2016 model year and explore newer examples, preferably from 2017 or later, which may still be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.

Most Reliable Miata Year

When it comes to iconic styling and an engaging driving experience, the Mazda MX-5 Miata has long been a favorite among enthusiasts and casual drivers alike.

Among the various Miata model years, the 2019 MX-5 stands out as a top contender, boasting a refreshed engine and impressive performance.

In this section, we will explore the 2019 Mazda Miata and explore why it has earned its reputation as one of the most reliable and enjoyable roadsters.

Most Reliable Miata Year

Additionally, we’ll touch upon other notable Miata years that enthusiasts may consider, along with reliability and safety insights.

The 2019 Mazda Miata: A Driving Enthusiast’s Dream

For those seeking the ultimate Mazda Miata experience, the 2019 MX-5 is a clear standout. With a refreshed engine, the 2019 model became the most powerful Miata up to that point, offering an even more thrilling driving experience.

If you opt for the Grand Touring trim, you’ll be rewarded with exclusive features like Bilstein shocks and a sport-tuned suspension, elevating the driving dynamics to new heights.

One of the most appealing aspects of the 2019 Miata is its exceptional value.

With a price tag of less than $40,000, you get a satisfying sports car that delivers on both performance and comfort.

Read Also: Mazda CX-5 Years to Avoid

Despite the added speed and enhanced comfort, the 2019 Miata still retains the essence of the fun-loving roadster that has captured the hearts of drivers worldwide.

## Looking Back: The 2010 Mazda MX-5 Miata 20th Anniversary Edition

For those interested in exploring earlier Miata models, the 2010 Mazda MX-5 Miata 20th Anniversary Edition is a noteworthy option.

As a limited edition Anniversary model, this Miata comes equipped with unique features like 10-spoke, 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, chrome accents, and commemorative anniversary badging.

While not as powerful as the 2019 model, the 2010 Miata offers a charming blend of classic styling and an enjoyable driving experience.

## Practicality and Space: The 2006-2015 Mazda MX-5s

The third-generation NC Miata, spanning from 2006 to 2015, boasts some of the heaviest models in the Miata lineup.

However, these models are also the most spacious Miatas ever produced, making them a practical choice for drivers seeking a bit more room.

Additionally, the 2006-2015 models feature power retractable hardtops, adding an extra layer of convenience to the driving experience.

## Reliability and Recalls: The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata

According to RepairPal, the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata earns an impressive reliability score of 4.0 out of 5.0, making it a highly dependable choice.

Its annual average repair cost of $429 further solidifies its reputation for excellent ownership costs, appealing to budget-conscious drivers.

Despite its overall reliability, the 2019 MX-5 Miata has encountered a few common issues. For instance, some owners reported problems with the convertible top, which has been a recurring concern in earlier model years as well.

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However, these issues are relatively minor and do not overshadow the car’s overall dependability.

In terms of recalls, the 2019 MX-5 Miata has two notable recalls involving a faulty fuel pump and a transmission software glitch that may cause an abrupt downshift.

While recalls are never ideal, Mazda has been proactive in addressing these issues, further ensuring the safety and reliability of the 2019 Miata.

## Safety Features and Ratings for the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata

While the 2019 MX-5 Miata excels in providing an exhilarating driving experience, it does have a lighter focus on advanced safety and driver-assistance features.

Many safety features, such as blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and rear-cross traffic alert, are optional rather than standard.

Alternatives to Mazda Miatas

If you’re looking for a fun and reliable roadster but want to avoid the Mazda Miata years to avoid, there are plenty of alternatives to consider.

Here are a few options to check out:

Honda S2000

The Honda S2000 is a popular roadster that is known for its responsive handling and powerful engine. These cars are generally reliable and have a strong enthusiast following.

Read Also: Honda S2000 Years To Avoid

Toyota MR2

The Toyota MR2 is a mid-engine sports car that is known for its sharp handling and affordable price tag. These cars are generally reliable and offer a unique driving experience.

Porsche Boxster

The Porsche Boxster is a luxury sports car that is known for its excellent handling and high-quality construction.

These cars can be expensive to maintain, but they offer a level of performance and prestige that few other roadsters can match.


The BMW Z4 is a popular roadster that offers a balance of performance and luxury. These cars are generally reliable and offer a comfortable and refined driving experience.

Related: BMW Z4 Years to Avoid

Fiat 124 Spider

The Fiat 124 Spider is a stylish and affordable roadster that is based on the Mazda Miata. These cars are generally reliable and offer a fun and engaging driving experience.

Is Miata high maintenance?

Is Miata high maintenance

No, the Mazda MX-5 Miata is not considered high maintenance. According to the data provided, the yearly car maintenance costs total $429, which is relatively affordable for a sports car. However, like any vehicle, regular maintenance is essential to ensure the Miata’s longevity and optimal performance.

What is the best year for a used Miata?

The ideal year for a used Miata would be one of the 1994-1997 models. These versions come equipped with the more powerful and easily modified 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, offering enhanced performance and greater flexibility for modifications.

However, even the earlier 1.6-liter models are still enjoyable and can be upgraded to the 1.8-liter engine later on.

The Miata’s versatility makes it an excellent choice for those interested in modifying a car to suit their preferences.

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What is the common problem with Mazda MX5?

One of the most common problems reported by Mazda MX-5 Miata owners is a lifter tick. This ticking noise is often attributed to issues with the hydraulic lifters and can be exacerbated by infrequent oil changes.

Regular oil changes and proper maintenance can help mitigate this problem and maintain the Miata’s smooth operation.

Are older Miatas reliable?

Yes, older Miatas, particularly the NA MX-5 (first-generation), are generally regarded as reliable cars, especially when compared to older European sports cars. However, like any aging vehicle, older Miatas may have specific issues to be aware of, such as rust.

Common areas for rust in older Miatas include the rear rockers and sometimes the front.

Regular inspections and rust prevention measures can help preserve the car’s reliability.

Are Miatas good in the snow?

Contrary to popular belief, Miatas can perform surprisingly well in the snow with the right preparation. While the lightweight and rear-wheel-drive setup may raise concerns about traction in icy conditions, fitting the Miata with a set of good winter tires can significantly improve its snow-handling capabilities.

With proper winter tires, the Miata can navigate through snowy and icy roads effectively, making it a reliable option for winter driving.


Choosing the right Mazda Miata model year is crucial in ensuring a satisfying ownership experience. Among the various options, the 2019 MX-5 Miata stands out as a top choice for driving enthusiasts.

With its refreshed engine, improved performance, and excellent value for money, the 2019 model delivers a thrilling driving experience while maintaining its reputation for reliability.

For those interested in exploring earlier models, the 1994-1997 versions with the 1.8-liter engine offer a more powerful and easily customizable option.

Additionally, the Miata serves as an excellent starting point for car enthusiasts looking to embark on modification projects.

However, as with any car, regular maintenance is essential to keep the Miata running smoothly. Ensuring timely oil changes and addressing common issues, such as lifter ticks, will help preserve the car’s performance and longevity.

In the end, whether you opt for the 2019 MX-5 Miata or an earlier model, selecting a well-maintained and carefully inspected Mazda Miata will provide you with a thrilling and enjoyable driving experience.

By avoiding potential pitfalls and being well-informed about the various model years, you’ll be better equipped to find the perfect Mazda Miata that suits your preferences and driving needs.

Remember, when considering Mazda Miata years to avoid, it’s essential to conduct thorough research, seek professional advice, and choose a model year that aligns with your driving preferences and maintenance expectations. Happy driving!

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