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

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author photo by Doug DeMuro August 2017

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.

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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