There are many success stories, but there are unique success stories in the automotive industry, and the Mazda Miata and Toyota MR2 are one of those. In 1989 Mazda released the Mazda Miata (aka MX-5/Roadster in other markets), which will become the biggest selling two-seat roadster. Prior to Mazda’s introduction of the Miata, Toyota introduced the Toyota MR2 in 1989. The small, light, and nimble Miata and MR2 scored an immediate success as they were a reliable, nice, and cheap alternative to the expensive sports cars. In this article, we are going to walk you through the nitty-gritty details of these success stories.
Mazda Miata vs Toyota MR2 Spyder Side-By-Side Comparison
(*Prices are reflective of average BE FORWARD pricing as of April 2021)
Mazda Miata Toyota MR2 Spyder
Generations 4 (NA, NB, NC, ND) 3 (W10, W20, W30)
Production Year 1989 - Present 1984 - 2007
Performance 114 HP - 170 HP 81 HP - 160 HP
Fuel Consumption 12 KM/L - 15 KM/L 12 KM/L - 14 KM/L
Drivetrain RWD RWD
Key Features Keyless Entry, Alloy Wheels, Leather Seats, ABS,
Airbag, A/C, Power Window, Power
DVD, Airbag, Alloy Wheels, ABS, Power Window,
CD player, Keyless Entry, Central
Locking, Sun Roof
Seating Capacity 2 passengers 2 passengers
BE FORWARD price US$ 3670 - US$ 34,670 US$ 6330 - US$ 22,347
The Miata has a well-designed interior with standard features such as leather or Alcantara covered interior, supportive bucket seats, an adjustable three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel, air conditioning, red-glow aluminum gauges, a short-throw shifter, silver finishing on interior door handles, and air vent bezels. The special edition (LS) features stylish leather upholstery, a 225-watt amp with a six-speaker Bose audio system, power door locks, cruise control, heated seats, SatNav, and a remote keyless entry system with a retractable key.
The MX-5 offers reasonable storage facilities such as the glove box, lockable storage box between the seats, two cup holders, and door bottle holders. The MX-5 has a 150-liter boot as well.
The MX-5 Miata is available as a soft-top or cabriolet. It features an aluminum bonnet and boot lid, headlights with three bulb chambers, a bumper with fog lights, and mesh grilles.
The Miata comes fitted with 15-inch alloy wheels.
The MX-5 Miata comes with several safety features such as the rollover hoops, front and side airbags with a deactivation switch on the passenger side to be used when a child seat is fitted, grip-enhancing stability and traction control systems, ABS, seatbelts pretensioners, and a bonnet that pops up to protect pedestrians in the event of an impact.
Toyota MR2 Spyder
The Toyota MR2 was unveiled in 1984. It was a light, 2-door 2-seat compact mid-engine coupe fitted with a twin-cam 1.6-liter engine. The MR2’s drive layout was primarily a privilege of the supercars but was not anymore as the MR2 kept running costs low. The second-generation MR2 was released in 1990 with a longer and much wider body, but it also featured more extravagant styling, powerful engines, and extra weight. The extra size resulted in extra comfort and improved drivability. In the year 2000 the third generation MR2 commonly known as the MR-S in Japan, MR2 Spyder in the US, and MR2 Roadster in Europe (except France and Belgium) was released.
Options included air conditioning, Alcantara/leather seat facings, Alcantara/leather-accented upholstery, adjustable steering wheel, leather-wrapped steering wheel, power steering, power mirrors, power windows, heated rear window, a CD player with 6-CD changer, 4-speaker sound system, and sports seats.
Despite its small size and the absence of a boot, the MR2-S is not short on storage space. There are door pockets, bottle holders, cup holders, glove box, small storage space under the bonnet, and cubby holes behind the seats that can accommodate small travel bags.
The MR2 Spyders front features a trapezium-shaped bumper, an aggressive front grille, and round fog light incorporated into the bumper adding a sportier look. The dual-bulb headlights enhance the MR2 Roadster’s sporty appearance, while at the rear, the rear lights are covered with red lenses and two oval graphics. Also noticeable from the rear is the big-bore exhaust pipe that identifies the MR2 Spyder as a true performance car.
Other exterior features are the side air intake, 15-inch alloy wheels at the front 16-inch alloy wheels at the rear, and built-in spotlights.
Some of the safety features of the MR2 Spyder include dual front airbags, pretensioner seatbelts, ABS, driver’s airbag, anti-theft alarm system, cruise control, traction control, stability control, and brake assist.
Engine and Fuel Efficiency Comparison
The Mazda Miata is a front-engine rear-wheel-drive that made use of several engines on its 4 (NA, NB, NC, ND) iterations as listed below.
- The MX-5 Miata (NA) came fitted with the 1.6-liter 4-cylinder B6ZE (RS) DOHC engine that produces 114 HP with average fuel consumption of 12 KM/L.
- The MX-5 Miata (NB) came fitted with the 1.8-liter 4-cylinder BP-4W engine that produces 140 HP with average fuel consumption of 12 KM/L, but also the B6ZE was carried over from NA to NB. These engines transferred power to the wheels via a 5/6-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmission.
- The MX-5 Miata (NC) came fitted with either a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder MZR L8-DE DOHC engine that produces 125 HP with average fuel consumption of 13.7 KM/L or the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder MZR LF-VE DOHC engine that produces 170 HP with average fuel consumption of 14.5 KM/L. These engines transfer power to the wheels via a 5/6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission.
- The MX-5 Miata (ND) came fitted with either the 1.5-liter 4-cylinder SkyActiv-G (P5-VPS) DOHC engine that produces 130 HP with average fuel consumption of 24 KM/L or the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder SkyActiv-G (PE-VPS) DOHC engine that produces 160 HP with average fuel consumption of 15 KM/L. This engine transferred power to the wheels via a 6-speed automatic or manual transmission.
Toyota MR2 Spyder
The MR2 is a mid-engine rear-wheel-drive car that made use of several engines on its 3 (W10, W20, W30) iterations as listed below.
- The MR2 AW10 came fitted with a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder 3A-LU engine that produces 81 HP, while the AW11 came fitted with a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder 4A-GE DOHC engine that produces 118 HP and average fuel consumption of 14 KM/L. These engines transferred power to the wheels via a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission.
- The MR2 SW20 came with either a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder 3S-FE engine that produces 140 HP or a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder 3S-GE DOHC engine that produces 160 HP with average fuel consumption of 12 KM/L. There was also a turbocharged version a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder 3S-GTE. These engines transferred power to the wheels via a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission.
- The MR2 Spyder (ZZW30) came fitted with a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder 1ZZ-FED DOHC engine that produces 138 HP with average fuel consumption of 14 KM/L. This engine transferred power to the wheels via a 5/6-speed manual or sequential manual transmission.
The Mazda MX-5 Miata and the Toyota MR2 Spyder are two perfect open-top two-seaters that are fun to drive and cheap to run. These two cars are famous for offering the traditional thrills of the classic 60s and 70s British sports cars, but also offer the reliability of Japanese cars.
These two cars are available either as a Soft Top which features a folding fabric roof, and a cabriolet with a folding hard-top roof. They are both great options if you are into the thrills of the sports car enthusiasts, but also great cars for daily use.
Written by: Samuel H. Mponezya