Used 1996 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1996

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

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.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.