According to a 2003 Edmunds.com article, "the Miata deserves credit not only for reviving a dormant passion for roadsters, but for emboldening other manufacturers."
Now in its third generation, the MX5's first generation, the NA, sold over 400,000 units from 1989 to 1997 – with a 1.6L (98cuin) straight-4 engine to 1993, a 1.8L (110cuin) engine thereafter (with a de-tuned 1.6 as a budget option in some markets) – recognizable by its pop-up headlights. The second generation (NB) was introduced in 1998 with a slight increase in engine power; it can be recognized by the fixed headlights, and the glass rear window. The third generation (NC) was introduced in 2005 with a 2.0L (120cuin) engine.
The MX-5 was conceived as an elemental small roadster – with light weight and minimal mechanical complexity limited only by legal and safety requirements; technologically modern, but a philosophically direct descendant of the small British roadsters of the 1960s such as the Triumph Spitfire, Austin-Healey Sprite, MG Midget and Lotus Elan.