MX-5 Miata NA: 1.6 or 1.8?

One issue has been a source of discussion among fans of the legendary MX-5 Miata NA for many years: MX-5 Miata NA: 1.6 or 1.8?

MX-5 Miata NA: 1.6 or 1.8
MX-5 Miata NA: 1.6 or 1.8

The NA version of the MX-5 Miata has a special place in the hearts of auto aficionados everywhere thanks to its svelte design and exhilarating performance. However, there are strong differences of opinion when it comes to selecting between these two engine options.

Some claim that the 1.6-liter engine provides a more agile and pure driving experience, while others vouch for the additional power and torque that the 1.8-liter model provides. Join us as we examine this venerable conundrum and discover what makes each solution unique in its own right.

The choice between the 1.6 and 1.8 engines when selecting the best one for your MX-5 Miata NA is not always clear-cut. Although each engine has its own distinct advantages, the choice ultimately comes down to your preferences for performance and driving pleasure.

Choosing the Right Engine for Your MX-5 Miata NA: 1.6 or 1.8

MX-5 Miata NA: 1.6 or 1.8
MX-5 Miata NA: 1.6 or 1.8

The 1.6-liter engine, which was used in the MX-5 Miata NA’s earlier generations, is renowned for being light and agile. It has a quick power delivery that enables you to push this small sports car to its absolute limits on winding roads. The 1.6-liter engine is also often more fuel-efficient than its larger sibling, making it an excellent choice if you value both economy and excitement.

The 1.8L engine, on the other hand, offers an extra boost of power that can really improve your driving experience. You’ll find yourself accelerating with more authority and taking advantage of speedier overtakes on motorways thanks to the 1.6L engine’s lower torque and horsepower statistics.

For those looking for an adrenaline-inducing ride in an MX-5 Miata NA, this extra power under the hood may come at a minor cost in terms of fuel efficiency, but it’s definitely worth considering.

The choice between the 1.6 and 1.8 engines for your MX-5 Miata NA ultimately comes down to your own tastes and driving requirements.

Overview of the 1.6-liter engine 

The 1.6-liter engine found in the MX-5 Miata NA is a powerhouse that delivers incredible performance on the road. With its impressive horsepower and torque, this compact engine provides an exhilarating driving experience. One notable feature of the 1.6-liter engine is its robust construction, which allows it to withstand high speeds and demanding conditions without compromising durability.

MX-5 Miata NA: 1.6 or 1.8
MX-5 Miata NA: 1.6 or 1.8

Pros and cons of the 1.6-liter engine 


  • The 1.6-liter engine offers improved fuel efficiency, allowing for better mileage and lower operating costs.
  • It is typically lighter in weight compared to larger engines, resulting in improved handling and agility.
  • The smaller displacement of the engine allows for reduced emissions, contributing to a more eco-friendly driving experience.
  • Despite its compact size, the 1.6-liter engine can still provide sufficient power for most daily driving needs.
  • Maintenance and repair costs are generally lower compared to larger engines, making it a budget-friendly option.


  • The smaller engine size may limit the overall performance capabilities and speed potential of the vehicle.
  • When fully loaded or during uphill climbs, the 1.6-liter engine may struggle to deliver optimal power and acceleration.
  • Towing capacity may be limited due to the modest power output of the engine.
  • While fuel-efficient, the 1.6-liter engine may lack the responsiveness or throttle response of larger engines.

Overview of the 1.8-liter engine

Due to its balance between performance and fuel efficiency, the 1.8-liter engine has been a favorite among auto aficionados. Although it might not have the strongest engine in its class, it provides a snappy and comfortable driving experience that is difficult to match. It is frequently utilized in sedans and compact cars because of their smaller sizes, which provide better weight distribution and handling.

MX-5 Miata NA: 1.6 or 1.8
MX-5 Miata NA: 1.6 or 1.8

Pros and cons of the 1.8-liter engine


  • higher fuel efficiency, resulting in cost savings over time.
  • Its compact size and lightweight design make it suitable for smaller vehicles.
  • Lower emissions contribute to a cleaner environment.
  • adequate power output for daily commuting needs.
  • Generally more affordable compared to larger engine options.


  •  Limited horsepower can make acceleration and overtaking slower.
  • Less suitable for towing heavier loads or performance-oriented driving.
  • Reduced torque may result in less responsive acceleration on inclines or when carrying additional weight.
  • Not ideal for larger vehicles where more power is required.
  • Some models might lack refinement and produce more noise compared to larger engines with better sound insulation systems


The choice between the 1.6 and 1.8 engine options for the MX-5 Miata NA ultimately boils down to priorities and personal preferences. The 1.8 gives somewhat more power and torque, while the 1.6 offers a slightly lighter and more agile driving experience.

Both options are good choices for any MX-5 aficionado because both engines are renowned for their dependability and smooth performance. In the end, it is advised to test drive both of them to determine which appeals to you the most because each one has its own special charm on the road.

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Shagufta Shahzadi
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