Used 2000 Mazda MX-5 Miata Review

Edmunds expert review

As much fun as you can have while driving with your pants on.

What's new for 2000

The Miata's option packages have been simplified. There are now two models -- Miata and Miata LS -- and three option packages. A six-speed Miata Special Edition will also be available by spring 2000.

Vehicle overview

Financially, it certainly pays to buy in bulk. To own a big and bad 2000 Ford Excursion, you'll have to pay only about $5 per pound (based on MSRP for a base model). To own a lithe 2000 Mazda Miata, you'll have to pay close to $9 per pound. But hey, sometimes you just have to pay more to get the good stuff.

While it seems strange to pay over $20,000 for a Miata, the price is still considerably less than those asked for newcomers like the BMW Z3, Mercedes Benz SLK, Porsche Boxster, and Honda S2000. And while the Miata might not be able to match these cars' absolute performance numbers, it certainly equals or exceeds them in the intangibles.

The Miata is about simplicity in design and operation. It's about having fun behind the wheel. It's about feeling free and young on warm summer nights. Not a serious car, the Miata, but that's part of its charm. Redesigned from the ground up in 1999, the 2000 Miata is faster, more rigid, and more functional than the previous generation. But it doesn't stray too far from the original Miata's heritage of offering reliable and fun transportation.

Though the Miata's trunk is miniscule when compared to what can be crammed into the latest SUVs, the Miata can handle daily commuting or weekend getaways. The shifter moves with quick and short precision and all of the switchgear is easy to reach and use.

The option packages have been altered for 2000, but the same basic equipment is still available. Mazda is also offering a limited production run (3,000 units) of Miata Special-Editions. The Special-Edition includes a six-speed manual transmission, a Torsen limited-slip differential, Mahogany Mica paint, 15-inch alloy wheels, a 200-watt Bose stereo, uniquely colored leather seats and top, and various interior trim upgrades.

Droning trips on American interstates are not the Miata's forte. But with a lowered top and an open road, the Miata has few equals. The 140-horsepower, 1.8-liter engine is perfectly matched to the suspension and steering. The Miata is simply a joy to pilot on curving roads. When equipped with the 15-inch wheels and the suspension package (which includes items like a Torsen limited-slip differential and upgraded shock absorbers), the Miata's performance envelope is higher, but some fun is lost in not being able to adjust the tail easily via the throttle.

In our opinion, you can utilize 90 percent of the Miata's abilities under normal driving conditions, while a BMW Z3 2.8 driver is lucky to experience 60 percent of that car's potential most of the time. From this perspective, the Miata is a better value and the reason why it continues to be on's Most Wanted list.

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.