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The Mazda Miata is one of the most popular affordable sports cars on the market right now, and while the Miata is rarely the fastest option, it is often the most fun option. However, like any other car, Mazda’s given the Miata redesigns over the years. Some generations of the Miata are naturally going to be better than others. Here’s a look at the history of the Mazda Miata and which one is the fastest.

A brief history of the Mazda Miata

A Mazda Miata, potentially one of the fastest Miatas. being revealed.
Mazda Miata | Getty Images

The Miata’s history starts in the 80s, though inspirations for the Miata date back to the 50s and 60s. Mazda began developing the Miata in the early 80s, and even then, it was clear what the company wanted from the car. The Miata had to be minor, lightweight, and balanced. After years of research and development, Mazda made just that, and the Miata made its debut in 1989. 

It didn’t take long for the Miata to become a hit with sports car enthusiasts. Like the Miata of today, the first generation of the Miata was affordable, small, and fun to drive. It featured a 1.6-liter I4 engine that got 116 hp, allowing it to hit a top speed of 116 mph. At the time, it cost $13,800, which equals about $32,500, adjusting for inflation.

Since the first generation Miata, Mazda has given the car four generations. The little Mazda has remained similar over the years, as it’s always been a two-passenger convertible sports car. However, Mazda has given the Miata more power over the years, and it’s why the fastest Miata is the latest Miata. 

This generation is the fastest Miatas

According to Autoblog, the fourth and current generation of the Miata, specifically the ones made after the 2019 model year, are the fastest Miata models. This is because of the fourth generation in 2015 and the 2019 model year. Mazda gave the Miata a more powerful engine and other performance upgrades during this time. 

The Miatas that received this upgrade got a more powerful 2.0-liter I4 engine option. The upgraded engine got 181 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque, but this wasn’t the only performance upgrade. Mazda made the car lighter than before while improving its fuel economy and safety features. As a result, the Miata’s top speed is 135 mph, which can go from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds. 

If you want practical, get this generation of the Mazda Miata instead


The Mazda Miata Isn’t the Affordable-Entry Sports Car It Used to Be

However, folks who want their Miata to be a good commuter car should probably consider the third generation of the car. This generation of the Miata spanned from 2006 to 2015, similar to the current Miata in many ways. For example, the third generation Miata also came with a 2.0-liter I4, but it got about 167 hp instead. This generation of the Miata weighs about 2,600 pounds, which makes it about 300 pounds heavier than the current Miata.

As a result, its performance specs will be worse. However, the Miata’s interior and cargo capacity won’t be worse. Since it’s the largest Miata ever made, it has the most interior space. On top of that, this generation Miata has a 5.3 cu-ft cargo capacity, which is also the most of any Miata. The combination of those factors makes this generation of the Miata more practical and comfortable while still being fun to drive.