Sheer joy to drive. Perfect weight distribution. Zingy engine. Excellent HVAC system. Perfect communication from suspension and steering. Forgiving at-the-limit handling. Glass rear window with defroster. Available Windblocker. Available Bose audio system. Passenger airbag cut-off switch.
Space inside is tight. Teensy trunk. Not as original as the original.
Call me a skeptic or maybe a misfit, in the automotive world anyway, because I've never been a big fan of the Mazda Miata. Sure, it's a cute little convertible, but it just didn't appeal to my practical SUV-biased sensibilities. Our Editor-in-Chief even owns one and babies it like it's his first born, but I failed to see the appeal of buying a car that stays parked four months out of year for fear of snowflakes touching the paint.
But that doesn't explain my instant affection for a certain droptop from Munich. When I first saw the BMW Z3 I thought, "that's what I want to drive someday." One fine day I did. And I fell in love with Germany's interpretation of Mazda's roadster. I thought my loyalty to the Z3 could never be changed or broken. That is, until Mazda invited me to check out the reinvented 1999 Miata.
On this trip I would be getting intimate with a Miata for the first time. Brief introductions and chats with the Mazda crew about the days ahead made me want to investigate the original flavor first. One quick drive under sunny skies in a 1997 model was all it took; I caught Miata fever big time.
I spent a day in the first-generation Miata tooling around the Big Island of Hawaii. I drove the car along the coast, top down, music flowing all around, with a big grin on my face. The Miata's capabilities far exceeded my expectations. It felt more aggressive than I had imagined, though not quite as much as the German roadsters I had driven. Acceleration was downright speedy in the upper portion of the 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine's rev range, but the way this convertible carved corners filled me with glee. "How could Mazda improve upon this?" I thought. "Was a change even necessary? Don't they know that sometimes change is not good?"
The next day provided the answer. Change is good. Mazda and a mess `o journalists toured Hawaii in brand spankin' new 1999 Miatas. But before the driving began, we had to sit (impatiently) through a formal introduction to the car and its subtle yet significant changes.
Mazda designers and engineers vowed to stay true to the original concept of the Miata - "to give consumers a lightweight, affordable, two-seat roadster that delivers the pure enjoyment of wind-in-the-hair driving." They also vowed to rejuvenate the Miata, to make it better than its predecessor in every possible way.
First and foremost, there isn't one teeny, tiny piece of sheetmetal from the original Miata design carried over into the new car, but from near and far the new Miata is still as recognizable as its name. The old, outdated pop-up headlights have been replaced with sexy, almond shaped beams. At the front of the car, the air-inlet opening is slightly wider under the front bumper and the front air dam is deeper. The fenders of the new Miata are a little thicker to create a wider appearance while reminders of the RX-7 are apparent in the more sculptured body sides and door openings that curve gently upward along the trailing edge. The back of the car wasn't left untouched either, now displaying a pouty raised lip along the rear edge of the decklid. The new Miata looks as though it joined a gym, pumped some iron and went on to win a beauty contest. The new look is without a doubt a very good thing.
There were several practical elements of the old Miata that begged (and received) attention from the designers during the makeover. The trunk, which previously could barely hold a duffel bag and a briefcase - literally - can now accommodate up to two sets of golf clubs. Mazda engineers moved the spare tire and battery below the trunk floor to create the extra space. In the main cabin of the older version I couldn't find room for even a few CD's. The new Miata takes care of that problem too. Nooks and crannies are abundant in comparison to the car's predecessor. The gauges on the new car got a minor makeover as did the side mirror controls and the power window buttons. Gone for 1999 - the "useless after one summer" plastic rear window and the window zippers that made lowering the top more hassle than it should have been. Miata buyers now benefit from the convenience of a glass backlight complete with defroster.
Additional changes include a key-operated de-activation switch for the passenger-side airbag. The switch, installed on the center console, makes the Miata the first in its class to offer this feature. The much-needed Windblocker significantly reduces wind turbulence in the cabin when driving with the top down. I experienced its usefulness first hand while driving back to the hotel at dusk. Dark clouds crept over 13,000-foot peaks as temperatures plummeted. I was cruising around in the car during my last day on the island, and managed to make the drive back to the hotel without ever stopping to put the top up. The inside of the cabin never got anywhere near as cold as the temperature outside.
Inside that cozy cabin a new three-spoke steering wheel hides a compact air bag in the center hub. Most models receive a leather-wrapped NARDI wheel designed to improve grip and enhance the feeling of stability while driving. The new wheel looks great, significantly improving on the old car's generic looking four-spoker. A sculptured instrument panel and door trim enhance the basic design of the original car by providing a more contemporary appearance, though the snazzy chrome gauge rings got lost in the translation from old to new. Those icky little nail-breaking chrome door handles of the original Miata got a much-needed makeover. The new car has large conventional body-color handles that flip upward to open the door.
There was a single step backward in terms of interior design and ergonomics. The old Miata had a well-placed drink holder in the center console. The new car does not. True, the storage compartment has increased in size, but the drink holder is now located beneath the driver's right elbow. Bad move.
Other good moves include temperature controls that were upgraded to a more functional rotary design and moved to the bottom of the center of the instrument panel. This gives the newly optional, incredible sounding Bose AM/FM/CD stereo system room to strut its stuff. What do I mean? Put it this way: you're going to want to crank up some form of music every time your butt hits the seat of a Bose-equipped Miata. Mazda and Bose put their experts together and created a sound system unlike anything I have ever heard in any other roadster, or any other car in this price range for that matter. The sweet stereo, which is standard with the Leather Package and optional with the Popular Equipment Package, makes you want to take one more spin around the block before pulling into the driveway for the night.
I took more than a spin around the block in the new Miata, but the first few minutes behind the wheel didn't provide much insight as to what lay ahead. Assembled scribes left in single-file, one car after another, forming a little Miata caravan. As the miles unfolded, so did the distance between cars. The first hour of the drive offered little more than wide open space, which was perfect for testing passing capabilities. While acceptable, the Miata is not quite as powerful as its German counterparts in the higher price range (excepting the BMW Z3 1.9, of course), but what was I to expect? I did appreciate the Miata's responsive mid-range acceleration as we gingerly passed some folks in an Olds.
As the day progressed, we were treated to a generous helping of narrow, winding roads. I was pleased with how quickly the car responded to my requests. With no tire scrub, holding tight in turns was amazingly easy. Better still, scattered gravel in the road did little to hinder the car's agility. However, the Miata was a tad slow in answering my pleas for quick up-hill acceleration. On the downhill run, however, the car climbed back to the top of this driver's list while excelling in the braking and overall handling categories.
In the middle of the afternoon we ventured to a local airport to test the Miata's abilities on an improvised autocross course. Not that it was real track time - but it did provide an opportunity to really stretch this car's legs. After a short briefing, we were off. Instruction was provided by the Skip Barber Driving School - lessons I won't soon forget. Once I learned the fine art of driving the Miata, my fondness for this car grew even more. Changes in the geometry of the front suspension make for quick and decisive steering response. The slightly wider track of the new Miata greatly reduces the car's tendency to oversteer during sharp, aggressive cornering.
Miata product engineers left few stones unturned when it came to updating the engine. They began by increasing horsepower from 133 @ 6500 rpm to 140 @ 6500 rpm. The new Miata's higher compression ratio increases power and improves fuel economy without requiring the use of premium-grade gasoline. New solid valve-lash adjusters replace hydraulics for enhanced reliability. They even enhanced the Miata's engine note so that it sounds more aggressive.
Mazda reduced the manual transmission's shift-stroke effort by 30 percent and tightened the linkage even more than before. This results in less side-to-side shift knob play. In an effort to prevent the accidental selection of reverse gear when shifting out of fifth, an interlock system was devised. It prevents the driver from shifting into reverse without first moving the lever to the far left side of the neutral plane. The shift knob has been redesigned to provide a more comfortable grip.
The Miata's new electronically controlled automatic transmission replaces the old hydraulically controlled system. This enables the tranny to shift more smoothly during normal driving conditions and provides the car with better off-the-line performance. Tighter torque converter specification gives an automatic-equipped roadster better shift quality and causes less slippage.
Mazda engineers even went to work perfecting stability at high speeds, something most roadsters aren't famous for. By changing the shape of the front and rear cross bars, designers were able to reduce the amount of body shake at normal highway speeds. Additional efforts at refining the Miata were made by raising the outer attachment points of the tie rods by a quarter inch.
There will be four option packages available. They are the Touring Package; the Popular Equipment Package; the Leather Package; and the Sport Package. Mazda expects most buyers to opt for the Popular Equipment Package or the Leather Package. The Sport Package is for weekend autocrossers only, because ride harshness in everyday driving is bit more than most customers will want to bear.
Needless to say, the new Mazda Miata was a big hit with writers. Several days behind the wheel of Mazda's image car convinced me that change is good. The first-generation Miata was a great car, full of fun personality with a scrappy edge. Mazda has improved upon that formula in almost every way, but the Miata now feels a little more grown up than before. It handles more confidently, it accelerates more strongly, it looks more refined inside and out. Designers and engineers changed it enough to entice new shoppers to Mazda showrooms, but not so much that hardcore fans of the original will snub their noses. I'm no longer skeptical. A perfect blend of performance and style at a price anyone can afford, the 1999 Miata is a solid homerun.
1999 Mazda MX-5 Miata Overview
The 1999 Mazda MX-5 Miata is offered in the following submodels: Convertible. Available styles include 2dr Convertible, and 10th Anniversary 2dr Convertible. MX-5 Miata models are available with a 1.8 l-liter gas engine, with output up to 140 hp, depending on engine type. The 1999 MX-5 Miata comes with rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual, 6-speed manual. The 1999 MX-5 Miata comes with a basic warranty, a roadside warranty, and a powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a used 1999 Mazda MX-5 Miata?
Save up to $137.2 on one of 7 used 1999 Mazda MX-5 Miatas for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $3750 as of Nov 22, 2017, based on data from 7 dealers and 27 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 3 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 1999 Mazda MX-5 Miata trim styles:
The 1999 Mazda MX-5 Miata Base is priced around $5973 with average odometer reading of 85599 miles.
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, Virginia. 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.
Is the 1999 Mazda MX-5 Miata a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 1999 Mazda MX-5 Miata and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 1999 MX-5 Miata featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process All of our reviews are 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.
How do people like the 1999 Mazda MX-5 Miata? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 1999 Mazda MX-5 Miata and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 1999 MX-5 Miata 4.7 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 1999 MX-5 Miata.
Review We bought our first Miata new in 2002. Can't add anymore than everyone else has about how fun and reliable it was. Had to get another car soon after because it was impractical for our needs at the time. Ten years later, I found this 1999 with 140kmiles for a very good price and practicality be d****d. It still runs like a new one and is just as much fun. I'd like to disagree with everyone that says it's not a good choice for a 6 foot person. I'm 6'1" and have plenty of room with the top down, which is the main reason for owning one. It is a little tight for headroom with the top up, but that shouldn't keep a taller person from checking one out.
1999 Mazda MX-5 Miata inventory listings Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1999 Mazda MX-5 Miata for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 70 new and 154 used and CPO 1999 MX-5 Miatas listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 3750 and mileage as low as 29336. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 1999 Mazda MX-5 Miata. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to 137 on a new, used, or CPO 1999 MX-5 Miata available from one of 2797 dealerships in your area.
How can Edmunds help? Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color