Mazda unveiled a tiny, affordable sports vehicle in February 1989 at the Chicago Auto Show, and it went on to become the world's best-selling two-seat convertible. The Mazda MX-5 Miata was clearly influenced by vintage British and Italian roadster sports cars of the '60s, while its design is directly based on the Lutus Elan, as can be seen in its design cues.

Due to their tiny sizes, two-seater convertibles are able to use smaller, lighter motors, and all these attributes were present in the Mazda MX-5 Miata. People from all walks of life have admired the model ever since it was first introduced in 1989, as it continuously provides the kind of driving enjoyment that can only be gotten in a lightweight sports car.

That said, it's our pleasure to present to you the most fascinating details regarding the introduction and evolution of the iconic Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Related: This Is How Much A First-Generation 1989 Mazda MX-5 Miata Costs Today

1st Generation Mazda MX-5 Miata: The Original And Still The Favorite (1989 - 1997)

Mazda MX-5 Miata first generation
Via: Mazda

Before the MX-5 was put into production, it passed through 7 years of rigorous planning, development, and testing. The first MX-5 (NA) debuted at the Chicago Auto Show in February 1989 and went on sale in the United States in May of the same year. The NA is a true lightweight sports car with a weight of just over 2,000 lbs, and its success sparked the development of open-top sports cars by other manufacturers.

The Mazda MX-5 was not about blistering speed, despite its 114 horsepower at 6,500 rpm 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder engine's ability to sprint from zero to 60 mph in 9.1 seconds and reach a peak speed of 114 mph.

2nd Generation Mazda MX-5 Miata: Sturdier And More Forceful Than The First (1999-2005)

2nd generation Miata
via: Pinterest

The second-generation MX-5 (NB) had its world premiere at the 1997 Tokyo Motor Show and went on sale in the 1999 model year. To compensate for the increased size, the 1.6-liter engine was accompanied by a revised 140 hp 1.8-liter unit, which enables zero to 62 mph in 7.8 seconds and a peak speed of 130 mph. It was a huge success for the company. The second generation was continually updated and improved over time. The 1.6- and 1.8-liter engines' power was increased, and purchasers could opt for a six-speed manual transmission.

An exclusive turbocharged variant and a coupe version were produced for the NB in Japan. The 10th Anniversary Edition was also released in the same year. The special version was available exclusively in Sapphire Blue Mica and had polished wheels and a sporty body modification.

Mazda MX-5 Miata second generation
Via: Mazda

Curiously, the MX-5 was named the world's best-selling convertible two-seater sports vehicle by Guinness World Records in 2000. Once again, in 2001, Mazda provided a limited-edition Miata painted in British Racing Green. The 2001 special edition boasted the very same features as the Miata LS specification level, plus polished 16-inch aluminum wheels, a Nardi steering wheel with wood trim, a six-speed manual gearbox, silver gauge trim, and a brown inside and roof.

Mazda also updates the MX-5 Miata's headlights and taillights in 2001, as well as installing variable intake-valve timing to the 1.8-liter engine, boosting horsepower to 155, and standardizing 15-inch wheels. There were two new color options for the 2002 MX-5 Miata: Blazing Yellow Mica and Titanium Gray Metallic.

Related: Check Out This Modded Mazda Miata MX5

3rd Generation Mazda MX-5 Miata: Gets Heavier And Bigger (2006-2015)

Mazda MX-5 Miata thirt generation
Via: Mazda

The third-generation MX-5 (NC) was unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show in 2005 for the 2006 model year. The 1.6-liter was replaced by a 1.8-liter entry-level powerplant, whereas the premium 2.0-liter motor produced 158 hp and came with a six-speed manual transmission. Even though the widened wheel arches gave it a more muscular appearance, the car's overall shape remained true to its original inspiration.

Furthermore, Mazda's innovative Power Retractable Hardtop (PRHT) model for 2007 was designed to meet customer demand. Aimed for a broader public, it was an astounding success with open-top car enthusiasts everywhere.

Later in 2009, Mazda tweaked the vehicle to make it crisper and more fluid in handling. At 7,200 rpm, the 2.0-liter motor's output had risen to 167 horsepower. In 2012, the MX-5 received a last makeover, including a more expressive front end, new 17-inch alloy wheels, and a redesigned active hood to increase pedestrian safety.

4th Generation Mazda MX-5 Miata: Returned To Its Roots (2015-present)

Mazda MX-5 Miata fourth generation
Via: Mazda

The most popular MX-5 was the fourth generation, which debuted in 2015. In addition, sales of the Mazda MX-5 surpassed one million units during this generation, making it the world's best-selling two-seat open-top sports vehicle. The 155 horsepower (116 kW) output of its 2.0-liter engine was somewhat reduced, however, the car's weight dropped by more than 200 lbs!

In 2017, Mazda introduced the MX-5 RF, which included a power-retractable top panel that folded neatly behind the rear pillars. Even though the folding top system added 113 lbs to the car's weight, the RF is undoubtedly the best-looking MX-5 of all time. Mazda adds a telescopic steering wheel in the MX-5 for the first time in 2019. The MX-5's 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine has been reworked for 2019, while the car's body remains the same. The horsepower jumps from 155 to 181, and the redline was set at 7500 rpm, which was 700 rpm higher than previously.

Mazda MX-5 fourth generation
Via: Mazda

Mazda, which is no stranger to limited-edition models, planned a special MX-5 model to celebrate the car's 30th anniversary. Recaro bucket seats, Bilstein suspension, and Brembo front brakes were all added in the 30th Anniversary version, however, performance stayed the same. Racing Orange paint, Rays 17-inch wheels, orange-colored interior details, and a numbered plaque identifying its place in the 3000-car manufacturing run are just some unique features of the special Miata. Since there were only 500 of the Anniversary Edition automobiles to be made available in the United States, they sold out quickly.

Mazda MX-5 has gained a cult following over the years because of its simplicity, convenience, and low operating expenses. It's been successful in a variety of motorsports and has even undergone a variety of aftermarket modifications, such as V8 engine changes and forced induction installations.

The most recent MX-5 is a real heir to the classic, blending beauty with a minimal curb weight and quick handling. Mazda is apparently evaluating possibilities for its fifth generation, including a hybrid or even completely electric drivetrain. We'll wait and see what happens!

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