All About the 2002 Mazda Miata Special Edition

The 2002 Mazda Miata Special Edition’s tricky marketing made it seem like much more than just an appearance package, but that’s really what it was.
Written by Sarah Gray
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
The 2002 Mazda Miata Special Edition starts with the Miata’s LS trim and adds the driver’s choice of two limited-edition colors—gray or yellow—as well as white gauge faces, aluminum accent rings, and other cosmetic upgrades. 
Since its release, the Mazda Miata has been loved for delivering affordable driving thrills. The 2002 Special Edition did not disappoint with an MSRP of $25,755.
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What is the Mazda Miata Special Edition? 

The Mazda Miata Special Edition (SE) was first added to the Mazda lineup in 2002 as a top-of-the-line trim. Adding $1,675 to the Miata LS’s $24,080 price tag earned drivers options like aluminum accents, an in-dash six-disc CD changer, and unique keys and badging.

2002 Mazda Miata LS overview

To understand what makes the 2002 Miata SE so special, we need to understand what we were starting with. Let’s take a closer look at the 2002 Mazda Miata LS, upon which the SE is based.
Marketing for the 2002 Miata Special Edition was a bit tricky—it advertised many options already included on the LS trim, like 16-inch alloy wheels and Torsen limited-slip differential. To put it mildly, the LS is already packed with options.
Let’s look at some of the standard specs for the 2002 Mazda Miata:
  • $24,080 starting MSRP
  • 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder engine
  • 142 hp @ 7,000 rpm
  • 125 lb-ft of torque @ 5,500 rpm
  • 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Torsen limited-slip differential 
  • P205/45R16 W-rated high-performance tires
  • Power door locks and remote keyless entry
  • Cruise control

What’s special about the Special Edition?

If we’re being honest—and we are—there’s not much that’s special about the Special Edition compared to the LS. That said, the SE package includes several nifty cosmetic upgrades that should appeal to many buyers—but some are also available as individual options on the base and LS trims.
The 2002 Miata Special Edition is available in two exclusive colors: Blazing Yellow and Titanium Gray. Both versions only come in two-door, two-seat convertible configurations. 
The Blazing Yellow Special Edition comes with a black leather interior, while the Titanium Gray model features saddle brown leather. Both add a Nardi leather shift knob and hand-brake handle.
In addition to these basic specs, each model takes the LS’s equipment and adds the following:
  • White gauge faces with aluminum accent rings
  • Aluminum door handles
  • Chrome fuel lid
  • Aluminum scuff plates
  • Aluminum pedals 
  • Bose four-speaker sound system with in-dash six-CD changer and speed-sensing volume control
  • Unique keys and badging 
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2002 Mazda Miata Special Edition vs. Standard Miata

We’ve already determined that the main difference between the SE and the LS Miata is their appearance. But what about the SE vs. the base Miata trim? 
For its second generation, Mazda packed features into the Miata, even in its base format. For starters, it included air conditioning—yes, a base model with standard AC was still a big deal in 2002. 
So, let’s see what drivers might be “missing” if they opted to save $4,500 and go with the base Miata: 
  • $21,280 starting MSRP
  • 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder
  • 142 hp @ 7,000 rpm
  • 125 lb-ft of torque @ 5,500 rpm
  • 15-inch alloy wheels
  • P195/50R15 V-rated high-performance tires
  • In-dash CD player (single disc) and two-speaker sound system
As you can see, you get a pretty well-appointed Miata even at the base level. Plus, if you wanted the sportier suspension and larger wheels of the LS or SE without paying $3,000–$5,000 more, you could just opt for the $1,025 Suspension Package that adds all the performance features of the LS at less than half the price.
That said, we all know a car is about a lot more than just what’s under the hood. Both the LS and the Special Edition Miatas for 2002 are excellent cars, and only 1,250 of the Special Editions were manufactured
There’s certainly something to be said about owning something rare. When you’re only talking about $5K—or realistically, a smaller bump in price for a used 2002 model—that’s not a lot to pay for something unique. 
In the end, we’d go for the 2002 Mazda Miata Special Edition over the LS or the base model any day.

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