Not that I was holding out for this or anything, but Mazda recently announced pricing for the 2020 Mazda Miata. It’s slightly more expensive than the 2019 version, with the cheapest model starting at $26,580. That is too much money.
Permit me to grumble for a bit here. The whole point of the Mazda Miata is cheap fun. You get a little, 181-horsepower engine, rear-drive, two seats, a convertible top and a manual six-speed (an automatic is also available). That’s it. It’s a very basic package. And yet, that basic package costs more than $20,000, when in fact it should be $20,000.
You know what else costs about $20,000 and is simple, reliable transportation? A Toyota Corolla. There is obviously the argument for the indefinable price of fun at work here, but that should not justify a markup on the beloved Miata. Hardware—and hardware alone—should define its price.
The 2020 Miata does have some new tech. The basic Sport trim now gets more safety features such as blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, smart city brake support and a lane-departure warning system. I don’t really care. Make it 20 grand.
None of this is really new, and you could argue that Miatas have been overpriced since the beginning since the first Miata in 1989 started at $13,800, or around $29,283 in today’s money according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But we also have much less buying power than we did back then, making it harder for consumers to bridge the gap.
And back then even Mazda knew it was overpriced, the journalist, product planner, and “father of the Miata” Bob Hall has said, as engineers worked hard to make the car affordable, only for Mazda to ultimately mark it up for its debut.
These days, the most expensive Miata you can still get with a manual is the Grand Touring RF version, which costs $34,425, even more with options. That’s totally fine. Mazda can even offer a $40,000 Miata if it wants to, because someone will surely buy it. All I want on the other end of that spectrum is a $20,000 option.
The Mazda Miata is nearly perfect in every way. Just make it cheaper. Otherwise, most people will probably just head to the used market.
You can see a screenshot of the 2020 Miata’s price menu below.