1997 MX-5 Miata

Consumer Reviews

1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata

$1,802 - $8,742  MSRP Range
1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Review Score

4.8 out of 5 stars

4.8

20 Reviews
Score Breakdown
3.7 out of 5 stars Comfort
5 out of 5 stars Value for the Money
4.4 out of 5 stars Interior Design
4.4 out of 5 stars Reliability
4.8 out of 5 stars Performance
4.8 out of 5 stars Exterior Styling

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1 - 10 of 20 reviews

5 out of 5 stars

Love this car

by nateconq from IN on Thu Sep 11 2008

THE GOOD -Feels like it can take all the punishment you give it and more. Engine just won't stop. Very reliable. -Great mileage. I average around 27-28mpg. -Handles almost too good. You can whip it around, stop on a dime, your wish is its command. I've pulled some stuff on the road I couldn't do in almost any other car. -Looks sporty. Black is the best color on this car IMO. -RWD in this tiny thing is too much fun! THE BAD -The Ford 1.8L engine doesn't have much torque in the lower end; car is geared very low to compensate. Having a manual makes this irrelevant because you can rev it up to a where the power kicks in and let it fly. -Shifter is a bit noisy going into 4th gear. Using fully synthetic transmission fluid takes care of this for the most part. -You feel EVERY bump in the road -Going on long trips can make you claustrophobic. Letting down the top solves this though. -Engine noise on the highway is a little loud for some. At 60 mph the tach is at 3000 rpm. I can't help but think the highway mileage would be better if 6th gear was higher. -Very small. This makes it both exhilarating and intimidating such as when you are surrounded by truckzilla. In conclusion, if you are looking for a reliable sports car and want the biggest bang for your buck here you go. But for long road trips I would stick to a roomier car.

3 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
4 out of 5 starsInterior Design
4 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Does recommend this car!!

12 out of 12 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

An absolute Gem!

by Miata Enthusiast from Michigan on Fri Sep 17 2010

This car is not perfect, but it is amazing. The top qualities seem an impossible combination: Incredibly fun and entertaining to drive, incredibly reliable and durable, and rock-bottom overall ownership costs. This is not a "chick car". This is a serious driver's car for any driver who appreciates that driving is not about drag racing between traffic lights. Handling is amazing but requires care at the limit. The car is also incredibly maneuverable and handy around town, although it really shines on winding roads (or on the race track). All the controls are finely tuned and balanced for proper feel and great feedback. Engine and exhaust sound are wonderful, and the short throw gearshift feels almost like in a formula Ford race car. It is very rare that a car turns out so good that it makes you grin every time you drive it. Only gripes are cowl and steering column shake on bad roads, high senstivitiy to wheel imbalance around 60-70 mph, wind and wind noise at freeway speeds with the top down, and cloth seat upholstry wears through prematurely around the edges. Being rear wheel drive and soft-top it is definitely not a winter car in the snow belt. 1997 is the last year of the 1st generation (with the pop-up headlights). Unlike some other cars of similar vintage, the Miata pop-ups are dead-reliable -you will not find a lazy-eye Miata. Interior is highly functional and ergonomics are great. Timing belt should be replaced around 100K, but if it pops you will get stranded but no engine damage will occur, and replacement is less than 1/2 the cost vs. on any German car. Even corrosion resistance seems good - we have two 1997 midwest-driven examples with absolutely no rust. The bottom line: This car is in a class of one - there is nothing like it. There may be a few sports cars which could be considered better at 2 or 3 times the price, but they are nowhere near 2 or 3 times better.

2 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Having fun

Does recommend this car!!

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

m-series is special

by 3rd Miata from on Wed May 27 2009

I have had three Miatas. I realy like the features on the M-Series. Color, chrome wheels, headrest speakers, interior emblems etc.

3 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Commuting

Does recommend this car!!

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

Fun, Affordable and Fast

by Shella from Des Moines, IA on Tue Aug 29 2006

Great weekend car or for everyday use. Handles well for fast corners. Takes seconds to put top down, can accomplish it at a stop light. I use it mostly for weekend trips and long weekends.

3 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
4 out of 5 starsInterior Design
4 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Does recommend this car!!

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

Great little car

by Happy Miata Owner from San Francisco on Sat Dec 08 2012

My 97 Miata has 265,000 miles on it. I bought it used at 70,000 miles. It just keeps on going. I totally recommend this car. Low maintenance.

4 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
4 out of 5 starsInterior Design
4 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
4 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Commuting

Does recommend this car!!

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5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Small Sports Car

by KKSEA from Seattle on Mon Apr 02 2007

I bought a used '97 Miata STO Edition four years ago and still feel it was an excellent purchase. The car is very reliable, runs like a top (93K miles), turns on a dime - a great overall value. The only issue is its flimsy top and no shoulder room. The car's top was knifed by a thief and if you are broad-shouldered as I am, it is hard to fit two people abreast. All in all, I highly recommend this car for fun factor and excellent value.

3 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
4 out of 5 starsInterior Design
4 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Does recommend this car!!

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

Best Car I ever had for the money

by Lizzie from Back in my favorite state - ARIZONA on Wed Sep 12 2007

I had the 1997 STO which is basically the same car as the M except that it had a spoiler on it. I put 215,000 miles on it and never had to do anything other than change the battery, tires, oil, and the timing belt and water pump once. It was fun, it moved quickly, responded well, and since I had never driven in snow before, when I moved to WI I ended up on the ditch 3x without ever getting a scratch on her and without her rolling over. I loved that car and I much prefer the look of the 1st generation over the 2nd and do not like the 3rd generation at all. It feels like mazda has decided to concentrate its maket appeal to all those muscle men rather than us cute, pert, intelligent, professional woman who love to drive. If you can get a 1st gen, I recommend you do so now as they have reached the 10 year old mark and if you're deciding between 1st and 2nd gen, if the mileage is low, go with the 1st generation.

3 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
4 out of 5 starsInterior Design
4 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Does recommend this car!!

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

Mazda Mx5

by McQueen from Suffolk, VA on Thu Nov 03 2011

1997 Mazda Miata Mx5 is one fantastic sports car. My wife and I purchased this car as a weekend driver. It only has 53,000 original miles on it. Performance and handling are great. Excellent excelleration in all 5 gears. We would buy another one in a heart beat.

4 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Having fun

Does recommend this car!!

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5 out of 5 stars

Fun to drive, great looking car, but small inside!

by Convertible Nut from Seattle, WA on Tue Jun 26 2007

Love my Mazda Miata STO but it is now for sale. We bought a brand new '07 Saab convertible because it is much roomier. Arguably, the Miata is more fun to drive but comfort ultimately won out.

2 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
4 out of 5 starsInterior Design
4 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Does recommend this car!!

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5 out of 5 stars

miata 97!!

by freightkat from Los Angeles on Wed May 20 2015

I tell all my pals, my Miata, is my Triumph Spitfire...that works!!!! She is my weekend girlfriend, and its ok with the misses!! I keep it stock except for plug wires and a racing clutch. Run on synthetic 5-30 and put a MG/ Triumph luggage rack on it, looks great!! Hard to find AC or heating parts but living in LA, so what!!! Gear range is perfect, 3000 to 3500 RPM shift and next gear picks right up. Or tach out, and its pure fun!!! Suggest, good aggressive tires and oil change every 3000 miles. Get one!!! See you on the " twisty s Have Fun!!!!"

5 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Having fun

Does recommend this car!!

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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