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Busting the myth of the Mazda MX-5 Miata as a chick-car

Let your narrow opinions guide you if you like, but the Mazda Miata is a car overwhelmingly owned by men.

The Mazda Miata has a reputation on-line and off as a “girl’s car.” Even some auto writers make this statement assuming that because they think it is true, it is. But is it? Not according to Mazda. We reached out to Mazda directly and simply asked “What percentage of Miata owners are men?” The answer is 66%, dramatically higher than the average for automobiles overall, which a variety of sources say is within single digits of 50-50.

Two-thirds of Miata’s Bought By Men
If fully two thirds of Miata owners are men, then why does this popular track car have the reputation as a “woman’s car?” One reason I come up with is that men dominate auto writing, and they overwhelmingly are muscle car, and super car enthusiasts, which are actually bought in a higher percentage by men. A recent comment under one of our stories piqued our interest in this topic. Auto Motive writes “As I have stated in many articles concerning the Miata, it is a car gravitating to the women consumer. Most men wouldn't be caught dead in one.”

I must be different than most men because I take every opportunity I can get to drive the Miata and owned a Gen3 for many years. At press events where automakers bring a variety of cars, the Miata is often one of the most popular cars and difficult to get seat time in.

Just as a point of reference, more men buy the Mazda Miata than the Mazda6, which has 60% male buyers according to Mazda. Who knew Mazda was such a macho brand?

Who Buys Other Types Of Cars
We cover the Lexus IS and RC line very closely here at Torque News. Lexus says that the new Lexus IS, which is a smashing success for the company, is trending more male. Now the company says, 56% of Lexus IS sedan buyers are men, which is up from prior years. The muscular RC 350 and RC F are expected to follow the same demographic trend. This means that Miata owners are 10% more male than this very popular line of modern Lexus sports sedans and coupes.

What Are the Top Cars For Female Buyers?
According to a study by TrueCar in 2010 (well into the Miata’s third generation,) the Miata does not even make the top 10 cars purchased by females as a percentage of overall ownership. Those female favorites include the Volkswagen New Beetle, Kia Spectra, Nissan Rogue, Volkswagen Eos, Hyundai Entourage, Volvo S40, Jeep Compass, Honda CR-V, Nissan Sentra, and Hyundai Tucson.

Call the Miata what you like, but the fact remains that it is one of the most raced automobiles in the world and has been for decades. If you think that "real men" only buy big trucks and showy muscle cars there is a stereotype about the men that drive those types of vehicles we can whisper to you that is not really appropriate for a family publication. We think you have probably heard it, and no, TrueCar does not have any study on that.

Related Stories:
Mazda confirms 2016 Miata engine, most get it wrong
Facts vs. fiction on the all-new 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Main story image courtesy of


Stanley Soto (not verified)    April 5, 2016 - 11:42PM

So why is it, that over the past decade, ever\y time I see a Mazda Miata, there is a WOMAN driving it???

Scott stratton (not verified)    June 20, 2020 - 2:56PM

In reply to by Stanley Soto (not verified)

Probably because you notice it more. Plus, the brain tends to assume to first 2 or 3 remembered examples are good enough to estimate the likelihood of something over time. Heading out of your cave to the watering hole (for our ancestors) - well, whether or not there was a Sabre-tooth tiger waiting, recalling the last 2 or 3 most easily remembered examples is a VERY good strategy. Remembering the relative demographics of the gender of a driver of a particular car over a decade? We have the same brains as our ancestors, so it is pretty much a worthless strategy. Actually, it is a well-documented scientific fact that it’s almost certainly wrong, or at best equivalent to guessing randomly. That’s not a criticism of you or our brains ... it’s just something you need to know before you trust it in certain circumstances. Your gut feeling about the girl you just me at a pub? Unless you have terrible judgement and/or no people skills, go with your gut! Estimating percentages over time? Use the scientific method.

Froo (not verified)    October 5, 2020 - 2:23PM

In reply to by Scott stratton (not verified)

Thank you Scott Stratton. As a scientist I felt like I wanted to comment to the person too - It is sometimes frustrating for us to deal with people who insist for some special reason that their subjective experience is somehow more valid than data and facts that they are being presented with and that the onus of explanation should be on us, But it’s not a very helpful attitude and also there might be others who read or think about the same topic may be more open minded so it’s worth while to engage with the more correct answers, and you explained a lot of the cognitive science. There’s a lot that goes on behind our thoughts and beliefs and perceptions. It’s probabilistic/ Bayesian but without getting too technical, want to say some thing like if we had a bias, conscious or unconscious (which in this case, we do because of what we keep hearing about this car; and by the way these biases usually are found in all genders) and expect more female Miata drivers, the brain would be more likely to sample the environment that way, remember it that way, and sample the environment that way, and remember and indeed If the original expectation/belief is so strong it may only take their brain two or three female drivers to reach that “conclusion.”

Stanley Soto (not verified)    July 5, 2020 - 9:51PM

Damage was done as soon as the car came out. Majority of Drivers, regardless of how many men actually paid for the car, were women. It will ferever be a "Chick" Car, and nothing will ever change that.

Mimi (not verified)    July 9, 2020 - 9:16AM

This discussion is like eavesdropping on a tree fort for 14 year old boys who are making ridiculous assumptions about what their future sex lives will be like. It’s a fricking car. And even if cars subconscious phallic symbols for males with fragile self esteem, it is still just a car. Grow up.

Robert Goatse (not verified)    August 27, 2020 - 12:38PM

Let's see. World's best selling sports car. The most autocrossed car. The biggest selling convertible ever. A 5.7 second 0 to 60 mph time. Training wheel for future racers. Accessible to everyone. Is it a chick car? Who cares. I love mine and will own one until I die. If you don't drive one because you think it's a chick car, you are the one suffering from your own insecurities. It's an icon, a superb vehicle, the best sports car ever, and women are men should be glad to own one.

JW Wayland (not verified)    November 11, 2021 - 5:34PM

My dad just bought a Miata and it's the manliest thing he's done in years. My mom's not allowed to drive it because she could never handle it. He said he'll pass it on to me once I can finish a cigar. His Miata is also a Mazdaspeed, and FACT: only 5428 Mazdaspeeds have been made out of many hundreds of thousands (over a mil). Just food for thought, WOMEN.