1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata Consumer Review: A Great Car with one potential

1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata - Consumer Review

Average Consumer Rating

64 Total Reviews

Base Convertible (1.6L 4-cyl. 5-speed Manual)

Build Quality
Reliability Value
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
A Great Car with one potential problem
By rbarrwest on


1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata 2dr Convertible


A great car!!!! I have had mine since December of 1989 and have 115,000 miles on it.
But as my wife points out, it's hell when your mid-life crisis car is 24 years old!
There is one problem to watch out for if you buy a '90.
Some of them have the infamous crankshaft problem.
It usually appears after the timing belt has been replaced and additional miles put on the car.
Mine appeared at about 95000 miles.
The problem has to do with the design of the crankshaft nose, keyway, cam drive sprocket and pulley bolt.
The key was designed too short.
For a good discussion of this problem see www.miata.net/garage/crankshaft.html.
I had to replace the engine with one from a '92.

Best Features

Handling. This car is flat out fun to drive. Not the fastest in the world but plenty peppy. The stick clutch combo is outstanding.

Worst Features

Could use a slightly more powerful engine. The later models have upped the engine power but they seem to have lost the original spirit of the '90. Watch tire selection - the wrong tire can cause vibrations.
Recommend (9) (0)

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