By on October 18, 2019


The Mazda MX-5 remains of the purest and most affordable sports cars on the market, and we’re glad it exists. While the plucky roadster might not be the optimal solution for family hauling, a certain ND example did get yours truly and a former managing editor from Toronto to Detroit in January, lugging not just our lanky asses, but two suitcases and camera bags each, plus a 24 of pale ale.

January’s not the happiest time of year in that neck of the woods, but the only climate anomaly that MX-5 had to deal with was a torrential downpour on the way home. Temperatures hovered just above freezing. We were fine.

It’s understandable why many cars go under wraps for the winter, taking on the role of garage queens until flowers start poking up through the soil, but it’s odd to see an automaker imply that a model must be put away. Can’t it take the heat — er, cold?

A Mazda Canada spot titled “Sleeping Cars” suggests that your Miata can’t hack it in the winter. Sure, it’s an ad for the new Mazda 3, with the company hoping to stimulate interest in that model’s newly available i-Activ all-wheel drive. And yes, a five-seater sedan or hatch with AWD makes a lot more sense than a rear-drive roadster in the white stuff. But to show a forlorn owner entombing his Miata in a garage — even with no visible snow on the ground and leaves still coating the shrubbery — seems like a cop-out.

Other “sleeping cars” seen in this ad include an air-cooled Porsche 911 and a previous-gen Jaguar XJ, but the inclusion of a new MX-5 among the cohort of somnambulant vehicles is worthy of note, even taking into consideration the ad’s thrust that the AWD 3 can offer just as much fun as the MX-5 (DNA and all that). How often do you see an automaker show or claim that one of its vehicles is not up to a task?

Ford doesn’t put out ads showing an F-150 becoming unmaneuverable in a crowded parking lot where two cars double-parked. Ram isn’t about to air a commercial showing a Power Wagon losing a fuel economy competition.

With its glass rear window and defroster, a modern MX-5 isn’t as vulnerable to icy elements as drop-top sports cars of yore. Sure, Mazda advises that you not lower the top in temperatures below 5C (41F), but many reviews of the ND depict the Miata coated in (legal) powder and shod with Bridgestone Blizzaks. The message also goes against the headline of this consumer-facing piece on Mazda’s website, titled “A Sports Car For All Seasons,” to say nothing of the rationale behind the retractable-hardtop RF model.

And for drivers in the Northern U.S. and Canada, there’s plenty of opportunity to replace your MX-5’s summer rubber with something offering more suitable grip. Canucks can head to to search for winter tire packages; depending on wheel size, you have a choice of Yokohama IceGUARD IG5, Continental VikingContact, Pirelli Winter 210 Snowcontrol Serie 3, or Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3.

Look, it’s understandable if you don’t want to subject your lightweight, low-slung roadster to the evils of road salt, deep snow, ice, unexpected oversteer, and SUV drivers who can’t figure out why their vehicle’s AWD doesn’t help them stop faster. Mazda’s Canadian ad just seemed worthy of mention.

[Image: Mazda/YouTube]

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20 Comments on “Mazda Ad Suggests One of Its Models Doesn’t Work Year-round...”

  • avatar

    First, big kudos to Mazda Canada for acknowledging the greatness of the old-school XJ. I bet no one will care to keep any of the current androgynous Jaguar sedan lineup under a car cover.

    Second, I didn’t take the ad to be saying that the Miata can’t survive the winter but that people owning such an awesome “member of the family” car would happier keeping the roadster pristine and leaving the slushy jobs to the AWD workhorse.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s my take too. My RF will be playing all winter, as I’m fortunate to live in Victoria BC where we rarely get much snow, and instead get unending rain for months on end….

  • avatar

    Sadly, the video does not like to play in the U.S.
    Anyway, my 1972 Triumph Spitfire was one of my best handling cars in the snow!

  • avatar

    I thoroughly enjoy driving my ‘99 Miata. But I must say that in terms of power, comfort, infotainment and carrying capacity, my ‘19 CX-5 Signature Turbo is my go-to vehicle hands down. There are days where nothing can take the place of shifting a high-revving drop-top on a long winding 2-lane backroad on a warm cloudless day. But for me, those days are getting few and far between. Winter snow? The Miata isn’t even a thought.

  • avatar

    I just came here to ask, is that orange paint on that Miata? Because if so, I’m interested. The current Miata color palette is just downright dour.

    I can only see the photo, not the video.

    • 0 avatar

      The orange was a limited edition of about 3000 for 2019(?) and sold out in like 2 days.

      • 0 avatar

        The 30th anniversary Miata came in orange. Of the 3000 cars, originally only 500 were for the US market. The US allotment sold out in about 4-5 hours. Later Mazda increased the US allotment by 143 or so – they went to the people on the waiting list.

        My daughter and son in law bought one – I got a ride in it when we visited them two weeks ago.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s a pity. Just shows that people who buy roadsters wants options other than grey, gray, black, white, and red.

  • avatar

    “Ford doesn’t put out ads showing an F-150 becoming unmaneuverable in a crowded parking lot where two cars double-parked. Ram isn’t about to air a commercial showing a Power Wagon losing a fuel economy competition.”

    This would actually be a good commercial for the MX5 or really any reasonably sized vehicle.

  • avatar

    Full disclosure I’m a vehicle enthusiast (gear head) living in the Greater Toronto Area. I’ve seen the commercial a couple of times.

    My take ? Number one . If you have a nice vehicle, any vehicle that you want to keep nice , park it for the winter. I ‘m taking my 05 Rag top out for maybe a final cruse today ?

    My take Number two. I like the ad. I also believe that Mazda has some very eye appealing products. . Here’s the thing. Mazdas in general, have a nasty history for serious rust issues . If I owned a nice Mazda, it wouldn’t see a snowflake .

  • avatar

    My ND goes to sleep for the winter. I could drive it but I don’t need to, so I don’t. Winter is hard on cars, and this one is a keeper.

  • avatar

    If you own a nice car I can;t see exposing it to the gravel and salt of winter roads, I’d park it for the winter too. My XJS will be going away this weekend too.

  • avatar

    I think it says a lot to park a vehicle over the winter. It is a bit of a luxury being able to do so, and making sure that the car will live on and not rust away. I too park a vehicle due to road salt, and I started cleaning it up for winter storage today in fact…

  • avatar

    Every time this subject comes up I’m grateful to be in a place where I don’t have to park any cars except on the very rare occasion of lowland snow.

    My 1995 Legend is garaged, but it gets driven all winter and doesn’t have a speck of rust anywhere on it.

  • avatar

    This ad displays a certain lack of institutional knowledge at Mazda. When the first Miatas showed up with their tiny motorcycle/lawnmower batteries, many of the batteries perished in Miatas that had been stored for the winter. It created a shortage that inconvenienced plenty of north-eastern customers and made the undersized batteries a topic of conversation.

  • avatar

    I’ve heard that a Miata with limited slip and snow tires is pretty darn good in the snow as long as you don’t exceed the ground clearance.

    • 0 avatar

      I had a friend who had a first generation Miata and drove it year round. He didn’t have the hardtop, and said on the highway below about -25C the heater couldn’t keep up and it got very cold in the car. Other than that, it had great traction, he never got stuck.

  • avatar

    A couple of years ago Mazda had a press day where members of the press could drive Mazda’s CUVs with all wheel drive in the snow. And they had some Miatas on hand that were driven in the snow, too.

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