The milestone cars of Mazda (1) – MX5(Miata)




The best seller of Mazda

Mazda MX-5 is one of the bestselling roadsters.  After introduction at Chicago Auto Show in 1989, it has been sold about 800,000 around the globe by 2007. Although it is not equipped the Wankel engine which is the icon of Mazda, it can say that MX5 made the Mazda of today. In fact, the market of light weight roadsters was being showed a decreasing trend in 1960s but the MX5 was enough to stimulate other car companies that produced this kind of roadsters. MG, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, BMW and Porsche such as comparatively bigger than Mazda at that time were impacted by this little Mazda, which indicate that MX5 clearly had an effect on automobile market.



In terms of the Miata’s Design, it was true that its designer referred the Lotus Elan for inspiration but it was always considered to be more durable than the fragile Lotus. Additionally, this car was intended for the people who prefer the comfortableness of modern saloons such as a suitable heater, weather protection and stable ride. Nevertheless, it still had the aspects of sporty driving like a raspy exhaust note and responsive handling. By these features which are enough to fascinate many drivers, MX5 could become an iconic car of Mazda. Even when the MX5 was re-designed in 1998, there were not considerable changes related with its design except the losing the pop-up headlights due to the fact that it was difficult to improve this car that is already ideal enough.


[The first generation:  1989 – 1999]



The MX-5 was focused on low weight. This car’s weight was just 955 kilograms, which could prove to be a truly lightweight roadster. FR layout could give driver exceptional driving dynamics.

 Platform   Mazda NA
 Body style   2 door convertible
 Engine     1.6L / In-line 4 cylinders engine (by1993)

1.8L / In-line 4 cylinders engine

 Wheelbase   2,265mm
 Length   3,950mm
 Width   1,675mm
 Height   1,230mm
 Curb weight   955kg

[The second generation:  1998-2005]



From this generation, the MX5 was truly regarded as the most popular two-seat roadster. The second generation Miata kept the original design language as well as the concept of lightweight roadster but it was more powerful and aerodynamic. Although it was somewhat bigger because of additional specification, the weight was still light when comparing with other vehicles in similar segment.

 Platform   Mazda NB
 Body style   2 door convertible
 Engine     1.6L / In-line 4 cylinders engine (Europe/Japan)

1.8L / In-line 4 cylinders engine

 Wheelbase   2,270mm
 Length   3,940-3,950mm
 Width   1,680mm
 Height   1,220-1,230mm
 Curb weight   1065kg

[The third generation:  2005-present]


Above all, it could provide more athletic and dynamic because of the improvement of handling and driving by its perfect weight distribution as 50:50 and 2.0-litre engine which was replaced from existing 1.6-litre one.

It does not seem to come from the first and second generation’s platform – NA and NB platform because the third generation platform(NC) rarely shares components with them. Yet the exterior is similar with original Miata. For reference, the third Miata was design by Moray Callum who is younger brother of Ian Callum.

 Platform   Mazda NC
 Body style   2 door convertible
 Engine     1.8L / In-line 4 cylinders engine (Europe)

2.0L / In-line 4 cylinders engine

 Wheelbase   2,329mm
 Length   4,000-4,020mm
 Width   1,720mm
 Height   1,240-1,255mm
 Curb weight   1,165-1,153kg


▲ The concept of MX-5 Superlight version to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the MX-5. (Source:






Holloway, H and Buckley, M (2002). C20th Cars. Carlton Books Limited: London

Mazda (n.d.). Heritage [online] available from < >  [17 November 2013]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: