Black Mazda Miata MX-5 (NA)

The History Of The Mazda Miata MX-5 (NA)

Read Also: The History Of The Mazda Miata MX-5 (NB)

The Mazda MX-5 (NA) was sold in North America as the Mazda MX-5 Miata. It was the first generation of the Mazda MX-5 and was produced from 1989 to 1997. Inspired by post-war British sports cars, the MX-5 ignited the publics’ enthusiasm in roadsters. Since its introduction, the MX-5 has won numerous automotive awards.

The MX-5 was announced in February 1989, at the Chicago Auto Show. It was released in Canada and the US on May 1989; September 1989 in Japan; and 1990 in Europe. A hardtop version was an option as well. In Japan, the car was not branded as a Mazda, being instead, branded as the Eunos Roadster.

Mazda Miata MX-5 (NA)

It came with a 1.6 L DOHC four-cylinder inline engine, producing 86 kW at 6,500 rpm and 136 N⋅m of torque at 5,500 rpm. The B6ZE(RS) engine, was specifically designed for the MX-5. Featuring an aluminum sump with cooling fins, lightened crankshaft and flywheel, and a quick and responsive five-speed manual transmission. An optional automatic transmission was also made available in the US and Japan; however, it had poor sales figures. The base model was stripped down as possible to achieve a low introductory price. The NA model had a top speed of 126 mph. However, in Japanese markets, the Eunos models’ top speed was limited to 110 mph.

After the 1997 model year, the MX-5’s first generation was discontinued. With the final 1,500 NAs produced for the US market introduced as the “STO” (“Special Touring Option”) versions.

Is the Mazda Miata NA a good car?

The Mazda Miata is definitely not the fastest vehicle on the market. Still, it’s nimble, making it a fun little vehicle to drive. Tall individuals, however, might find that it’s certainly not the most comfortable car out there.

However, in the world of compact convertibles, Miatas cheap and reasonably reliable. When it comes to mini sports cars, the Miata is second only to the BMW Z3 in collision safety. It even beats heftier vehicles in the same date-range, such as the Firebird, Mustang convertible, 3000GT, Camaro. Honda, Mazda, and Toyota all make nice and reliable compacts. Nonetheless, the Miata is, to many, the most fun to drive per dollar spent.

Mazda Miata MX-5 (NA)

I have yet to see a Miata with its hood open on the side of the road. When it comes to functionality, the Miata is a tad lacking, though. Obviously, storage space is not much since it’s only a two-seater. On the plus side, however, gas mileage for the 1999 Mazda Miata is an average of 22 MPG, which is quite good for a vehicle of this era.

Is the Mazda Miata a sports car?

Inspired from classic 1960s roadsters, Mazda pulled inspiration from vintage sports cars like the Alfa Romeo, Morgan, Lotus Elan, and Austin-Healey. This little car is actually really fun to drive. It revs high, and it handles smoothly. To some, the MX-5 (NA) is even a classic of the sport compact scene now

The fact that it’s so light also makes it a perfect project car for tuners. After a few basic mods, it’s not that hard to turn it into a tire-burning beast. And, even better, it’s also a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, making it perfect for drifting. With its low price tag and simple mechanic, it’s a natural choice for racing amateurs.

Mazda Miata MX-5 (NA)

Which generation of Miata is the best?

Every generation has its own perks. Other than a few visual updates through the run, the NC remained largely unchanged. All Miatas are a joy to drive, their small size, lightweight, and smooth handling characteristics make it a pleasure to drive, regardless of which year you choose. If you are looking into learning how to drive a manual transmission, the Miata is also very forgiving.

The early models are available for reasonably low prices. The NA1 is a nice daily driver. However, the 1.6 L engine may seem a tad underpowered. For many, the classic pop-up headlights, which is the iconic look, make the NA2 the Miata of choice. The NB models offer a little more power and upgraded styling while still retaining the classic feel. No more pop-ups, though. Not sure if it’s a good or a bad thing. You be the judge.

The NC models start to offer more interior space and conveniences, such as the power retracting hardtop. They still provide good performance and handling. The ND models, on the other hand, are a bit pricey due to them being more recent. The size and weight the Miatas have gradually put on over the years was also lessened, and the latest variation was given an increase in power.

Miatas are fairly easy to work on, parts are readily available, and reliable. In short, there isn’t one generation that’s better than another. It’s really a question of taste at this point.Mazda Miata MX-5 (NA)

Is the Mazda Miata a girl’s car?

The Miata acquired the “girl’s car” reputation when it originally came out. This was mainly due to women seeing it as a “cute new thing” and quickly became the primary purchaser of the Maita.

But now, things are different. Sales are nearly nonexistent, and only those who appreciate its performance are the ones actively buying them now. Those who drive first-generation Miatas are mostly young men these days. On the other hand, people who drive third-generation Miatas are older men with a bigger budget, who know the first-generation is more fun but prefer the roomier interior and amenities of the third-generation. The end result is that women aren’t really driving Miatas anymore.

Mazda Miata 1990

Although snug, the Miata NA’s two-seat cabin limits passenger space. Tall individuals may discover their heads clear the windshield header, and there isn’t much space in the trunk for two people using soft-sided luggage. New safety requirements required the Miata to add some weight during the NA generation. It topped the scales at approximately 2,300 pounds. Thanks to larger-diameter front discs, stopping power was also increased.

The History Of The Mazda Miata 3


The center console is narrow, armrests are thin. On the other hand, the footwells are surprisingly roomy. Tall individuals may discover their heads clear the windshield header, and there isn’t much space in the trunk for two people using soft-sided luggage. New safety requirements required the Miata to gain some weight halfway through its NA generation. It topped the scales at approximately 2,300 pounds. Thanks to larger-diameter front discs, stopping power was also increased.

When unveiled, the MX-5 Miata’s amenities included power windows and aluminum wheels, which were optional. The Miata was very lightweight, even by today’s standards. Only three colors were offered: red, white, and blue; Silver Stone metallic was later added.

The first Miata was simplistic. Options included an optional removable hardtop (in red only) and a viscous-type limited-slip differential. Consequently, the Miata was reasonably affordable, at a base price of $13,800.

Overall, the Miata NA and its subsequent generations are pretty good little cars. The bang for your buck you get with the early models is impressive and the downfalls of these cars are relatively small and linked to comfort more than performance. If you’re in the market for a sporty coupe, the Miata is definitely one you should take a look at.

Find a Mazda Miata factory repair and service manual here.

About Chad Ina

Chad Ina

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