Mazda Ad Suggests One of Its Models Doesn't Work Year-round

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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3 of 20 comments
  • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Oct 20, 2019

    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.

    • Jagboi Jagboi on Oct 20, 2019

      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.

  • Slap Slap on Oct 20, 2019

    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.

  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
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  • ToolGuy Also on to-do list: Read the latest Steve S. fiction work on TTAC (May 20 Junkyard Find)
  • 1995 SC I'm likely in the minority, but I really liked the last Eldorado best. That and the STS.