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It’s Amazing How Small the Original Mazda Miata Is Now

So I’m driving along the other day on the highway, and the above image happened right in front of my eyes. I was driving along the interstate in the far right lane — or, as I call it, the "defender lane" — and I came upon this Miata getting passed by a newer Honda Accord. And I realized just how small the original Miata is.

Of course, I’ve always known the first-generation Mazda Miata (the "NA" Miata in enthusiast parlance) is small. Everyone has. It’s a little two-seater, and it was designed to be small, and it’s a tossable sports car, and it’s now 25 years old — and cars have gotten bigger since it debuted. But I don’t think I ever really realized it was that small until this photograph. The Mazda Miata is now an old car, and old cars are small — much in the same way we used to say that "MGs are old cars, and old cars are small" back when I was a kid.

How small is it? Well, I looked it up: The Miata is only 155.5 inches long, which makes it roughly the same length as the Mini Cooper — a vehicle that counts its small size as a major marketing strategy. But length isn’t the crazy bit — listen to this: The original Miata is only 65.9 inches wide. That Honda Accord going past in the picture is more than 8 inches wider than this thing — and 40 inches longer. It’s also nearly a foot taller: The Miata is only 48.4 inches high. Just for reference, a new Honda Pilot is just under 70 inches tall — meaning it towers over the Miata by nearly two feet.

There’s nothing more to this post than my own little Miata revelation, but I think, in this moment, it’s finally hit me: The Miata is old. When it came out, you wouldn’t have used the word "tiny" to describe it; instead, maybe "cute" or "fun" or "sporty." But now, "tiny" is the first word that comes to mind. In my mind, another word might be "unsafe" — which is probably why this one was cruising along in the defender lane, going even slower than I was. Find a used Mazda MX-5 Miata for sale

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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20 COMMENTS

  1. I certainly understand why many people love the Miata. But at 6’5″ tall, its just too small for me. Driving while looking out ABOVE the windshield, is fun till the first bug to the face….

  2. I got my first Miata this year, a 2000 NB. Yes it’s tiny. But surprisingly, I don’t feel vulnerable in traffic. I’ve always preferred driving small cars.

    If it were me you spotted on the highway, I’d be doing 80+ in the left lane (at four grand on the tach.)

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