The MX5's first generation, the NA,
sold over 400,000 units from 1989 to 1997 – with a 1.6 L straight-4
engine to 1993 and a 1.8 L engine thereafter – it is
recognizable by its pop-up headlights.
It was launched at a time when production of small
roadsters had almost come to an end, the Alfa Romeo Spider was the
only comparable volume model in production at the time of the MX-5's
launch. Just a decade earlier, a host of similar models — notably
the MG B, Triumph TR7, Triumph Spitfire, and Fiat Spider — had been
available. The MX5 reinvented the genre and had the market to
Clarkson: 'The fact is that if you want a sports car, the MX-5 is
perfect. Nothing on the road will give you better value. Nothing
will give you so much fun. The only reason I’m giving it five stars
is because I can’t give it fourteen'