Mazda MX-5 Miata generations

mazda miata generations

Mazda Miata, also known as Mazda MX-5 and Mazda Roadster, is the most popular 2-seat convertible in the world, holding Guiness book record – since 1989 to 2014 nine hundred thousands of cars were produced. It is the most popular compact roadster money can buy.
In this article we find out Mazda Miata year changes, features and brief specifications of every model. Mazda Miata year differences wasn’t much radical, the concept of affordable, lightweight 2-seat convertible remain the same throughout 25 years.

Mazda Miata models

There is only 3 Mazda Miata generations until 2015, when next generation 2016 model year Mazda Miata was presented for Japan market under the Mazda Roadster name. Every generation Miata underwent a few minor upgrades along with many special series editions.

1989 mazda mx 5 miata


The first generation (1989 – 1997)

The first generation Mazda Miata was producing for a long 8 years, the car was so good and successful in market that car maker didn’t want to spoil it by changing platform or by radical design change. Mazda MX-5 first generation under NA code was revealed in 1989 Chicago Auto Show. It was almost instantly available almost worldwide – in US, Canada and Europe and in Japan under Eunos brand – Mazda’s answer to Lexus and Infiniti brands. It is called Eunos Roadster.


The overall construction of 1st gen MX-5 is really lightweight, for instance Mazda Miata MX-5 1991 model year weights a bit more than 2000 lbs (Curb weight). That is why 1.6L 115 hp was enough to reach 60 in 8 seconds. All independent suspension makes handling almost perfect on track along with classic front engine/rear wheel drive layout with good weight distribution.
You could easily recognize Mazda MX-5 NA by lifting headlamps, with front fascia reminds Mazda RX-7 from the 90s.

1994 mazda mx 5 miata roadster

1994 and 1996 model year upgrades

The first gen MX-5 until 1994 upgrade brings the new 1.8L engine producing 131 hp, but the weight was slightly increased due to bigger engine and better equipment including dual airbags and limited slip diff (for some markets). In 1996 the engine was boosted to 133 hp and offers more durable Torsen limited slip differential as an option.

1996 mazda mx 5 miata roadster facelift

The second generation (1998 – 2005)

2nd generation Mazda MX-5 Miata was released in 1998 under the NB chassis code. The styling of the car was similar to the previous generation Miata, but it has new body panels and interior parts, the car became wider, more aerodynamic but heavier.

1998 mazda mx 5 miata roadster


Miata NB’s most notable change in the exterior is the new fixed headlamps, new larger wheels and tires. Suspension was upgraded by installation of the new anti-roll bars, there was new braking system, the overall suspension design remains the same. 1.8L engine underwent several upgrades to its intake system helps boosted the output to 140 hp. 1.6L engine was also available for Japan and Europe markets.

2002 mazda mx 5 miata facelift

2001 Facelift

In 2001, the second generation Mazda MX-5 received facelift, which gives many changes to every aspect of the car. There are new dashboard, seats in the interior, standard fog lights in all tirm levels. By mechanical means, suspension and tires was upgraded, along with modified engine – it was the same 1.8L but VVT technology and new intake system boost its performance to 152 hp (143 hp for US market).

The third generation (2005 – 2015)

The 3rd generation Mazda MX-5 (Mazda MX-5 Miata in US) released in 2005 built in NC platform sharing it with Wankel engine Mazda RX-8. New generation got completely different styling, new engine line-up, suspension, new equipment. In 2006 Mazda has also introduced coupe-convertible version of MX-5 with power folding hard top. This generation has been produced for 10 years!

2005 mazda mx 5 miata


The suspension design was change from all double wishbone independent to double wishbone in front and multilink in rear. The new engine line-up includes 2.0L I4 engine with the output of 170 hp. In Australia and Europe spec cars this engine produces 158 hp, and the new 1.8L 126 hp engine was available for European market only.

2008 mazda mx 5 miata

2008 Facelift

The third generation Mazda MX-5 Miata was facelifted in 2008, the most notable change is the new front fascia including larger grille, front and rear bumper, fog lights, side skirts, and tail lights. There was new dashboard graphics in the interior, and minor engine improvement. The 2.0 engine output was increased to 167 hp (EU-spec), suspension and gearbox were re-tuned.

2013 mazda mx 5 miata roadster

2013 Update

In 2013 Mazda MX-5 underwent minor upgrade of exterior – new front bumpers, fog lights and 17-inch wheels, and to technical part including modified brakes, re-tuned ECU and transmission, new equipment and trim levels.

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  • Kevin Sharkston

    My friend owns 2001 Miata, it is a very fancy car. We decided to tune it up a little bit, so I hope I find some info on this website