Here's How Much A Miata Should Cost

Screenshot: Facebook Marketplace
Screenshot: Facebook Marketplace

Back in 2015, I bought a beautiful 1993 Mazda Miata. It had been a Georgia car up until 2012, completely rust-free and clean save a minor 1996 accident on the record, and it had under 75,000 miles on its odometer. It was perfect, and it cost just $5,000. In 2022, I bought another Miata. This one had no pop-up headlights, no interior, and a seat and harness setup for the driver that looked downright haggard. It was track-prepped, sure, but not built for Spec Miata — yet, it commanded $3,000 more than my near-mint NA.

Miata prices have long been creeping upwards, but now we’re seeing a plateau: The clean $5,000 NAs are largely gone, but so are the clean $17,000 cars. Things have settled into categories, $6,000 for a rough NA and $10,000 for a clean one, but that’s still too high. A good Miata should still be $5,000.

My old $5,000 Miata. If you see her come up on Marketplace, let me know. - Photo: Amber DaSilva / Jalopnik
My old $5,000 Miata. If you see her come up on Marketplace, let me know. - Photo: Amber DaSilva / Jalopnik

Most people, when car shopping, won’t look at a Miata and see a practical daily driver. They’re wrong, you can drive an NA year-round and use it to haul stuff home from Tractor Supply. Older Miatas especially are often seen as a fun car — not the one you’ll use every day. Fun cars, like motorcycles, should cost less.


The first-generation Miata is also not, objectively speaking, an incredible performance machine. These cars made 116 or 130 horsepower when they were new — 30 years ago — and have more body roll than any BRZ or S2000. They’re fun cars, but they aren’t necessarily the fastest. In a world where people shop based on spec sheets, you can get bigger numbers for the same dollar amount from other chassis.

The advantage to the Miata, beyond its incredibly cute looks, is the fact that it’s accessible. It doesn’t have to be fast or practical when it can be cheap, and serve as an entry point for budding enthusiasts, but $10,000 is not an entry point. Corporations have jacked up prices on essentials, leaving teens and twentysomethings with less cash than ever to spend on cars; we need those clean $5,000 cars now more than ever.

Young enthusiasts deserve Miatas. Broke enthusiasts deserve Miatas. These cars have gotten too expensive, and it’s time for prices to come back down. A good, driving, rust-free Miata should cost $5,000, and no more.

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