MX-5 Miata: How To Tell Between 1.6 & 1.8 Engines

The MX-5 Miata is an iconic sports car that has captured the hearts of driving enthusiasts for decades. Known for its nimble handling and exhilarating performance, the MX-5 Miata has become synonymous with fun on the open road. However, not all MX-5 Miatas are created equal, as two different engine options are available: the 1.6 and 1.8-liter.

While they may seem similar at first glance, subtle differences can help you easily distinguish between them. This article will explore the key characteristics and telltale signs to identify whether an MX-5 Miata houses a 1.6 or 1.8-liter engine, helping you make an informed decision when purchasing or maintaining this timeless roadster.

MX-5 Miata: How To Tell Between 1.6 & 1.8 Engines

How to tell the difference between 1.6 and 1.8


One way to easily determine the engine size is by examining the writing on the cam cover. If the letters are protruding, it indicates a 8-litre engine. Conversely, if the lettering is indented into the cam cover, it signifies a 6-litre engine.

The lettering on the cam cover is not just a random design element, but rather an important clue that can reveal the displacement of your engine. It acts as a badge of honor, proudly displaying its 16 Valve DOHC status for all to see.

By understanding this significance, you gain an invaluable tool in identifying the power and performance potential of your Mazda. This simple yet distinctive feature sets it apart from other engines and adds to the unique character of your car.

Another way to determine the size of your engine is by examining the spark plug wires situated at the top of the engine. These seemingly insignificant wires actually hold valuable information about what lies beneath the surface.

If they are routed towards the driver’s side, you have a spirited 1.6-liter engine under that hood, ready to be unleashed on open roads. However, if they run towards the passenger side instead, brace yourself for a potent 1.8-liter powerhouse eagerly awaiting every push of that accelerator pedal.

Next time, if you pop open your hood to admire your Mazda’s inner workings or diagnose any issues, take a moment to appreciate and decipher these subtle hints left for enthusiasts like us who yearn for every detail about our beloved cars.

It’s these small touches that make owning a Mazda such an exhilarating experience as we delve into its intricacies and unravel its engineering prowess one emblem and wire at a time. Check out Do MX-5 Miatas Have Rotary Engines? Explained

MX-5 Miata

The debate between the 1.6 and 1.8 engines

The debate between the 1.6 and 1.8 engines in the MX-5 Miata has been a long-standing discussion among automotive enthusiasts. While both engines have their own unique characteristics, determining which one is superior ultimately comes down to personal preference.

Choosing between the 1.6 and 1.8 engine on an NA MX-5 Miata ultimately boils down to what kind of driving experience you’re after. While the 1.8 may offer more power and a faster acceleration, it’s worth noting that the increased weight of the car could dilute some of that famous Miata charm.

The 1.6 engine, on the other hand, is regarded as the original heart and soul of the Miata, delivering a simple and pure driving experience that keeps you engaged with every twist and turn.

The 1.6 engine, found in the earlier models of the MX-5 Miata, is known for its rev-happy nature and lightweight design. With a smaller displacement and fewer cylinders than the larger 1.8 engine, it offers a nimble and energetic driving experience that can be truly exhilarating on winding roads.

The sound of the high-revving engine combined with its quick throttle response creates a sense of excitement that few other cars can match.

While some may argue that opting for the 1.8 engine gives you access to chassis bracing and an upgraded differential, those additions come at a cost both in terms of weight and price.

The enduring appeal of the NA MX-5 lies in its lightweight simplicity, which can be better exemplified by sticking with the tried-and-true 1.6 model.

The 1.8 engine provides a bit more power and torque, thanks to its increased displacement. This translates into improved acceleration and better performance at higher speeds.

The additional grunt makes for effortless overtaking maneuvers on highways or racetracks, giving drivers an extra dose of confidence behind the wheel.

Whether you prefer the peppy and lively personality of the 1.6 engine or crave the added power and performance offered by the 1.8 variant, both options have their merits when it comes to driving enjoyment in an MX-5 Miata.

Whichever one you choose, there’s no denying that this iconic sports car continues to capture hearts with its timeless design and thrilling dynamics. Read that How Reliable Is The Mazda MX-5 Miata? Explained

Final Thoughts – MX-5 Miata: How To Tell Between 1.6 & 1.8 Engines

Being able to identify the difference between the 1.6 and 1.8 engines in the MX-5 Miata can be a valuable skill for any enthusiast or owner of this iconic sports car. By paying attention to the engine code, VIN number, and various visual cues, it becomes possible to accurately determine which engine variant is under the hood.

Understanding the distinctions between these two engines can also help with troubleshooting potential issues and making informed decisions about modifications or upgrades. So next time you come across an MX-5 Miata, take a closer look and impress your friends with your knowledge of its engine specifications. Happy driving!

Have a look at how and Where Are Mazda Cars Made?

Hey there, Ryan here, the guy behind Casual Car Info. I have to admit, I wasn't always a car enthusiast. Cars never really caught my attention initially. It's only been in the last four years that I've developed a genuine interest in the automotive industry. My journey began when I bought a used Vauxhall Astra, which turned out to be plagued with issues. Determined to understand what was wrong with the car, I immersed myself in all kinds of car-related content.

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