Miata as primary vehicle?

I realize the Miata is intended to be a secondary vehicle. But with it’s price and reliability, I was looking at it as a primary vehicle.


Would it be acceptable in the snow with snow tired? (Maine)

Is it any more dangerous than any other small car?

Maine is a big state with very different snow conditions…light weight, rear drive, low clearance not a good mix for snow…can you even get snow tires? Along the mid-coast of Maine I know it’s spring when the Miatas emerge from garages.

A Brand Spank’n New One Or Used ? What Model Year Are You Considering ?


If you don’t have to drive when there is a lot of snow on the roads, then it should be OK. You might want to buy an aftermarket hard top if it doesn’t have one already.

I had one and drove it though a number of heavy snows in Ohio. It was my only car at the time, and served all my needs and was a lot of fun. As for safety in the snow, I can only say that it was extremely well balanced and it saved my butt on an icy overpass, allowing me to get around a car that lost it and was rotating as it slid down the road.

Funny thing, I had almost the same thing happen with my RX-7 a car equally well balanced.

I don’t agree that the Miata is intended to be a secondary vehicle. I am sure there are plenty of Miata owners for whom the Miata is an appropriate primary vehicle. These would probably be young single men and women.

The car in question is:
Used, 1997 Miata Mx5, 75k miles, beautiful condition.

I would get snow tires for it. (yes you can)
It doesn’t (yet) have a hard top.
Perfect condition (been kept in a garage every winter), minimal under rust.
I’m on the coast of Maine, Portland area. It snows.
asking $4,500

Just make sure you get FOUR winter tires, not just two. You’ll be fine until the snow gets deep enough to drag the bottom of the car. Then you’ll have to park it. But that’s true of just about any car.

When I was younger I lived, for several years, with an English sports car as an only vehicle. It went wherever I needed to go whenever I needed to go there. The Miata will do the same, with much better weather protection, I’m sure.

I’d Be Scared To Death To Drive That Little Car All Year Round. We’ve Got Mostly Trucks And SUVs On The Roads Here, Not Little Cars, And They Are Sometimes All Over The Road And Sometimes Leave The Road.

That car would not be a good mix with larger vehicles. A person needs to have a fighting chance in case of an “accident”. Sometimes you can be involved regardless of how careful you are.

I say buy it, but drive it occasionally on sunny summer days.


Much of the possible danger from larger cars is offset by the increased maneuverability and handling.

From a practical point of view, you will be shopping for groceries very often, since the Miata has a small trunk. If you buy anything big, you’ll need to have it delivered.

A friend of mine, who has a back problem, bought one and sold it 2 months later. You need to be agile to get in and out of these cars. He traded it for a Mazda 3 Sport.

If you ski, I don’t know of a way to mount a ski rack on the trunk.

The Miata is a great little fun car, what the MG should have been, but never was. But it has many limitations you should be aware of if it’s your only car.

Sometimes. The Only Collisions I’ve Been In, So Far, Were Cases Where I Was Stopped In Traffic And Some Clown Drove Into Me. This Happened To My Wife, Also.

A Suburban totaled my car and a loaded dump truck totaled my wife’s, both from behind. I’m sticking with large cars. Our cars maneuver very well, especially on slick roads. I carry my daughter and other kids in the car and would not endanger them. I owe it to their parents. They all drive large cars and trucks.

Just a couple of weeks ago, a guy fell asleep on slippery roads (7:00 a.m.) and crossed the center line when the highway curved and he augered in, destroying a tree, waking up to a broken jaw. I was first on the scene as I heard the crash when I was outside. This was 1/4 mile from our house. My wife goes the opposite direction of this guy at 7;00 a.m.

I stood at the accident scene, helping to keep the “victim” from going into shock and contemplated what one would do there as an oncoming car was drifting from one lane to the other. There are virtually no shoulders and the terrain drops off 8 - 10 feet into trees on both sides.

It was dark out, the roads slippery, no shoulders or gaurdrails, and not knowing that the driver was sleeping (an awake driver could suddenly “correct”) it would have been extremely diffficult to avoid a collision regardless how agile the car and driver are.

This stuff goes on all the time in our rural neck of the woods. I have seen a recent Sherriff Department map that locates all the accident locations and types of accidents in our county. It’s quite unbelievable. Half of the cars have bumper stickers that say the drivers " . . . live in a small drinking village with a fishing problem". I’m sticking to larger vehicles. They are safer (ask my insurance agent). I owe it to my family.


Doc, I Agree. I Don’t Think These Miatas Were Ever Intended To Be Anything Other Than A Secondary Vehicle. All The Sports And Sporty Cars Run And Hide Here In The Winter.

I’ve got a couple of Fieros, but just take occasional rides in the summer. We’ve got other large cars, a mimivan, and a trailer for practical transportation.


CSA, it sounds like you share the roads with the Dukes of Hazard. [sarcasm] With that kind of history, I am surprised you don’t have a fleet of Hummer H1s. How can you risk your family in large sedans when there are surplus Sherman tanks available on the market? What are you thinking? [/sarcasm]

Four excellent winter tires(Blizzack’s or Michelin X-Ice’s) and it will turn, stop and go in majority of winter conditions. Deep stuff obviously is an issue.

Look at crash test ratings for safety as it varies likely over the years.

I know three owners of these cars who even skied often.

Whitey, There Are Quite A few Hummers On The Road, Here. Two Of My Daughter’s Coaches Drive Them. I Don’t Care For Them.

Are you serious about the surplus tanks ? It would be fun, not for the roads (you’d need those rubber parade tracks, but for the trails. I’ll bet they’d command a high price, based just on scrap value of steel. Where’d you see them ?


If you like the car, buy it. Reliability should be just fine, and cold weather handling should be fine with at least all season tires. Snow tires would be better.

I presume you are not a parent or a homeowner. Miata’s don’t do well hauling kid’s sports equipment, or fence posts and concrete from Home Depot.

Your biggest concern is height. If you hit or get hit by a truck or an SUV with bumpers that are significantly higher than yours, things will not go well for you. Many vehicles will literally run over you in a collision. That is going to be the concern with any sporty car, but a Miata more than most. Since you ask about safety, this could be a deal breaker for you.

You know your driving conditions in Maine better than we do. If you are rural, what’s your plan for mud season? You can always carry chains for really difficult snow (You shouldn’t need them that often. Maybe you can stash them under the seat?), but I can’t imagine that a Miata can be anything other than a disaster on an unpaved road that has turned to 10 inch deep goo when struck by the Spring sun.

If you can stay home when it snows you’ll be fine, but Miatas are really not good winter cars. Besides the obvious problem of poor clearance (you haven’t lived until you’ve been ilfted up and spun around by that plowbank at the highway offramnp that’s left as the plows go by and before they clear the ramps), the miata aalso has light weight and a short wheelbase making it more prone to sliding sideways as you try to get traction. Visability is also an issue…both from the driver’s seat and for the other vehicles. You can’t see over the plowbanks and they cannot see you behind them. And visability is bad enough in a storm without trying to look through little portholes.

But if you can stay home when blizzards are due until the storm stops and the roads are cleared it’ll be fine.

I was being sarcastic. I should have used the appropriate tags. I will add them now.