In 1989, the Mazda MX-5 Miata hit the road running and since then, this now-classic two-seater has not stopped. The MX-5 Miata is the best-selling two-seat sports car in history.
Where does the MX-5 get that kind of momentum? A lot of cars advertise themselves as fun but turn out to be just ho-hum. In the MX-5, you don’t commute, you drive. There’s no mistaking that.
As is hard not to notice, the Mazda MX-5 Miata took its inspiration from the classic British sports cars. These were small, rear-wheel drive, convertible two-seaters that were very lightweight and thus did not require huge displacement engines. The Mazda MX-5 Miata would share all of these characteristics.
The first-generation MX-5 Miata arrived for the 1990 model year. The speedster’s design was an exercise in concision. Weighing in at less than 2200 pounds without options, the Miata proved to be just what everyone expected. It was quick and fun to drive with responsive handling. The automotive press found itself helplessly charmed, and soon consumer demand grew beyond production quantity. For a while, the first-gen Miata featured pop-up headlights, a fan favorite.
The second-generation MX-5 came along in 1997. The new Miata was more powerful than its predecessor with considerably more horsepower, and it had grown a bit in width. However, this two-seater dynamo remained almost as light. Exterior changes entailed a bit more of an aerodynamic profile.
The third-generation MX-5 Miata, which came out in 2005, won Japan’s Car Of The Year award. This Miata was truly all-new and it did not share any components with the second-gen car. The Miata was made even more drivable with the introduction of traction control and stability control as well as rear multilink suspension (the Miata featured a 4-wheel double wishbone design previously).
Debuting in 2015, the fourth-generation MX-5 Miata is the fastest Miata to date. The fourth-gen Miata is lighter than the third-gen car, getting some help from the strategic use of aluminum in the body. The speedster still features everything that fans loved about the first Miata that came out a quarter of a century ago – it still sticks to the road like glue and makes every drive an adventure.