The question isn’t so much whether or not you should, but can you actually head out on the dirt roads and let this car loose to see what it can do when challenged by the trails that aren’t paved. Don’t make a mistake in thinking I’ve lost my marbles, I understand the small ground clearance and the low slung look of this car, but could you actually enjoy some fun on the sand and dirt where the Miata might be able to handle the ride and whip around for the off road fun that you want?
The Mazda MX-5 Miata isn’t a car that you typically think of as a trail rider, but it’s the perfect car to drive slower than others and feel like it’s going fast. The fact that Mazda has embraced this philosophy by keeping the power numbers lower than you might want while giving you all the fun you can handle from the drive means this is a car that is engaged to the road and the driver. You don’t have all the same electronics that take the fun away from you in the Miata that you find in other sports cars, this is a car meant to be fun for you.
No, you won’t take this car out on the rock crawl with the highly lifted Jeeps, you can’t head to the lake bed and expect it to churn up the mud, although a shallow creek bed might be possible and you can’t expect it to take on potholes, trees and roots like a champ either. Where the Miata can be the most fun is on packed dirt roads, gravel roads and across packed sand where it has a surface to ride on but the traction has been reduced to nearly nothing.
When you find the types of trails and roads that are cut through mountains and forests for use by fire officials, this is where the Miata is at its best. When the track is wide and turns are offered you can make the back end run wild and loose and still feel safe in this car. The idea of a slow car going fast means you could leave a cloud of dust and a trail of smoke behind your tailspin while only travelling at speeds of around 20 mph. This gives you a car that’s a lot of fun wherever you want to take it for a spin.
Don’t be completely fooled into thinking there’s no work involved in taking your Miata out on the dirt. Driving this little car on the dirt will be one of the most difficult driving experiences of your life. You’ll work for every inch on the trails and joyfully sweat through the experience of pure exhilaration. When you’re done you’ll also have an extremely dirty car that needs to be cleaned up, but the fun you can have with a Miata on the right trails is simply amazing and something you should try at least once.