1995 Mazda MX5 PEP 1.8 from North America


Real cheap fun


Overheats periodically.

Radiator failure at 69000.

General Comments:

Welcome to the world's best selling roadster of all time. The Mazda MX5 Miata is a fantastic little car to own, and an even better car to drive.

It's all due to the laws of physics. Even though the power from the 1.8L 4-cylinder leaves a lot to be desired (only 128hp and 110lb-ft of torque), in a car that weighs two-thirds of what most popular family saloons do, this eager little power plant is able to make a relatively slow car (0 to 60 in the high 8/sub 9 second range) feel very fast.

One reason it feels fast is due to the fluidity of the transmission. It is aimed toward spirited driving, and is subsequently geared to keep the little 4-banger in its relatively limited power band (power doesn't really come on until ~4500rpm and is good until redline). This, combined with the fantastic suspension and near perfect weight distribution, makes the car a joy to drive briskly through your favorite twisties.

However, this is not a car to be enjoyed in everyday driving. The Miata's practicality is severely hampered by having only two seats and somewhat limited cargo space (there is more room to be had by removing the spare tire from the trunk, but that is not particularly advisable).

Noise and ride comfort are also not very good; the soft top does not provide enough sound dampening at highway speeds, and the suspension can be jarring over harsh surfaces. I do suspect that the latter has more to do with the age of the suspension, but the car is not supposed to be a Buick to begin with.

The gearing of the transmission also means that you'll be turning at a noisy 4000rpm at 65 mph in top gear. The small size of the car also means that you need to be extremely vigilant, and wary of soccer moms in dinosaur SUVs and macho dudes in equally jacked up pickup trucks.

This is probably the absolutely cheapest sports car you can buy. Period. Since there are plenty of Miata in existence, parts are readily available from both dealers, aftermarket sources, and junk yards. If you have a moderate level of mechanical skill and a basic set of tools, you can do about 80% of all the maintenance duties.

I mentioned a failed radiator above, which was invariably linked to the overheating problem. A brand new OEM spec radiator cost 100 bucks shipped from a reputable online source and took 15 minutes to replace. That pretty much sums up the reliability and repair-ability of this little car.

In conclusion, if you're looking for an inexpensive, easy to maintain, reliable little sports car who's roof also folds down, you can't get much better than the first generation Miata.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th March, 2010

1995 Mazda MX5 Clubman 1.8 from Australia and New Zealand


Excellent, 10 out of 10. Buy one


Battery went flat first few weeks. Cost $220 Australian.

Seats wear driver side.

Timing belt must be changed at 100,000km's or sooner. Best do the water pump at the same time..

Great sports car that is not going cost you your house..

I also own 1991 BRG 1.6.. I need new rear window plastic; was burnt from sun. Need work on diff.. Alarm kept going off in the rain... Power window went up slow, needs work. Other than that, great sports car.

Most parts are cheap; there are MX5 wrecker yards all over Australia.. Also new parts as well from Mazda Australia.

I ended up selling 1991 BRG MX5 to a Mazda dealer in late 1998.. Ended up buying a Clubman in 2000.. looking at buying all colors from MX5 starting 1989 to 1997.

General Comments:

Excellent sport cars for any age.. I got my first Mazda MX5 back in 1997, haven't looked back since...

They handle like go cart - excellent... I now own Clubman black, 1 of 7 in Australia... no power steering/no air con/1.8 motor/ LSD Diff/ comes with Bilstein shocks. All factory spec made for the race track...

I also owned a 1991 British racing green back in 1997.. Tan leather seats /CD player/ 1.6 motor/ numbered as well. Only 300 were imported from Mazda Australia, only 200 had the numbers.. Don't know why?

They're great. Investment prices will go up next few years. The MX5 is world's best selling sports car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st January, 2010

31st Jan 2010, 12:56

Nice to see another person that loves the Miata. I have never driven another car that was so much fun.