1996 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review

Used MX-5 Miata for sale
List Price Estimate:$768 - $1,787
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Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

When Mazda announced in 1989 that it had revived the traditional roadster, enthusiasts around the world clutched their chests in horror. A Japanese company trying to capture the essence of MG, Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Lotus two-seaters of the '60s? Blasphemy!

Welcome to the '90s, when you can buy the most driving fun you've ever had for less than a Ford Taurus LX. As an added bonus, the MX-5 Miata doesn't leak oil from the engine bay or water from the roof. It doesn't overheat, fry its electrical system, or scare you in the twisties. You can drive it all day without carrying tools, Go Jo, or Doan's pills. The MX-5 Miata is truly a modern automotive miracle.

For 1995, this sprightly convertible gets some revised option groups. Last year, Mazda added a passenger-side airbag, side-impact protection hardware, new alloy wheels and a bigger engine good for an extra 12 horsepower. Carried over from last year is the R-Package, which turns the Miata into a race-ready street machine with drivetrain and suspension modifications. Leather seats are still available, and a new color, Montego Blue, fleshes out the color chart, joining black, red, medium blue and white.

There is nothing like the Miata on the market today. Unless you enjoy project cars that never allow you to complete the project, the MX-5 Miata is the only way to go to obtain the true roadster experience.

1996 Highlights

Side-impact standards for 1997 are met a year early, and to offset the added weight, Mazda boosts power and torque.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1996 Mazda MX-5 Miata.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars
From Costco to Autocross
2dr Convertible
I was only looking for a small manual transmission car to get out of the boredom of minivan, and bought a 1996 Miata. This little car surprised me in many ways. I didn't know that I had petrol in my blood before! The Miata is slow by the number, but fast once the road starts to curve. The handling capability surpasses my comfort zone, which is why I start to autocross to appreciate this fine roadster more. Needless to mention, one can turbocharge a Miata to get 200+ HP without harming the engine (which was designed to be turbocharged). It is also a practical car. I go to Costco in the Miata, and seldom need to put anything in the front seat. Try that with a Boxster or MR2!
4.63 out of 5 stars
Best toy car in the world
2dr Convertible
Bought my white Miata w/140k miles on eBay. Excellent chassis. You wouldn't have a clue as in what a "good handling car" is like, unless you drive a Miata. Very forgiving near limits - gives you plenty of warning before it gives up. The car tries real hard to do whatever you are commanding it to do, and performs very well. Miata is nothing short of purebred sports car, designed from ground up to be impractical in all other aspect other than getting from A to B in the most exhilarating way. Underpowered, but don't afraid to rev it up to 5000+ rpm. The car soars when you push it hard. 27 MPG in abusive driving.
4.88 out of 5 stars
More fun than a Boxster!
2dr Convertible
Yep, you read that right! My previous car was a '98 Boxster. The Porsche was superior in almost every way, except I enjoy driving the Miata EVEN MORE! Handling is second only to the Lotus Elise, on par with an S2000, and better than the Boxster, for a fraction of the cost to buy and maintain. You just can't go wrong with this car.
5 out of 5 stars
The most fun car I have ever driven!
Tyler Gaudioso,02/17/2004
2dr Convertible
I worked as a valet parker for a year and a half, and I've driven anything you can think of. Ferrari. Porsche. Aston Martin. Mercedes. BMW. Name it. The bottom line? The Miata is more fun to drive. I wanted one for 2 years before finally finding the perfect car. I've had it for 6 months now, and everything is working as it has since I bought it. Crisp handling, that x-factor 'oneness' you feel, powerful braking. The Miata has them all and then some.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1996 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Used 1996 Mazda MX-5 Miata Overview

The Used 1996 Mazda MX-5 Miata is offered in the following submodels: MX-5 Miata Convertible. Available styles include M-Edition 2dr Convertible, and 2dr Convertible. The Used 1996 Mazda MX-5 Miata comes with rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual.

What's a good price on a Used 1996 Mazda MX-5 Miata?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 1996 Mazda MX-5 Miatas are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1996 Mazda MX-5 Miata for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1996 Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Can't find a used 1996 Mazda MX-5 Miatas you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mazda MX-5 Miata for sale - 8 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $22,309.

Find a used Mazda for sale - 3 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $13,328.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mazda MX-5 Miata for sale - 12 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $22,860.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mazda for sale - 8 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $18,383.

Should I lease or buy a 1996 Mazda MX-5 Miata?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Mazda lease specials
Check out Mazda MX-5 Miata lease specials