As we all know, lighter means faster. You could have 1000hp, but if you have a heavy car you’re not going anywhere. The Mazda Miata (known as the Mazda Roadster in Japan has always been known as a car that’s unbelievably fun to drive even with its lack of power. We will be looking into cars that are a great alternative to the Miata. If you are someone of a bigger stature, this article may not be for you.

Honda Beat

Honda Beat
HONDA Beat via jdmconnection.ca

The Honda Beat was one of the only Kei cars to come from the iconic auto manufacturer. Like the Miata, it is small and compact, but unlike the Miata it is a rear-engine, making for an even better driving experience. It is now also available for import to the U.S.

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Suzuki Cappuccino

Suzuki Cappuccino
1991 Suzuki Cappuccino via importavehicle.com

Yet another Kei car, the Suzuki Cappuccino was an instant success. From its compact size, nearly perfect 50/50 weight distribution, and RWD, the Japanese people loved it from the moment it rolled off the assembly line. The best part? You can now import one!

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Autozam AZ-1

Autozam AZ-1

Of course, we couldn’t leave out the mighty Autozam AZ-1. This was a collaboration between Mazda and Suzuki. Mazda provided the looks and Suzuki with the Power. Even though it only produced 64hp from its 657cc turbocharged engine, the AZ-1 was and still is a blast to drive. As they are becoming of age to legally import in the United States, Be one of the first people in your car local community to have this iconic little car.

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Porsche Boxster

Porsche Boxster
986 Boxter by TechArt

Since its inception, Porsche has been known for creating two-seater cars that were light, RWD, and most importantly, fun to drive. The Boxster is credited for saving the auto manufacturer from bankruptcy in the ’90s. If you are looking for a German automobile that will give the Miata a run for its money, then the Boxster is for you.

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BMW Z3

BMW Z3
BMW Z3 via jdmconnection.ca

The Bavarian automaker is well-known for adding a sporty feel to all of their cars, but the Z3 was their quintessential sports car, thanks to its low weight and RWD setup, especially in the first and second generations. Just $3,500 can make you the proud owner of this little bundle of pure joy.

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Audi TT

Audi TT
AUDI TT via jdmconnection.ca

Audi Made the TT as a response to customers who wanted a compact car to really feel connected to the road. It is approximately the same size as a Miata but does come with Audi’s legendary Quattro AWD system. They start for just $3,500 on JDMBuySell.com and they are worth every penny.

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Honda S2000

Honda S2000
HONDA S2000 via jdmconnection.ca

Honda and Mazda have both made cars that are very similar to each other. Both are RWD. Both are two-seater convertibles. Both have a front-engine setup. Unfortunately for Mazda, the S2000 produced more power and most people recognize it as Honda’s ultimate sports car right after the NSX. As little as $12,000 can get you one of these iconic Japanese cars on JDMbuysell.com.

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Toyota MR-S

Toyota MR-S
TOYOTA MR-S via jdmconnection.ca

This was Toyota’s attempt to recapture the glory of the MR-2, and as we all know it was a good attempt, but it didn’t even come close to the popularity that the mid-engine RWD car of the ’80s and ’90s. Unlike the MR-2, the MR-S can be had for as little as $2,700 right now on JDMBuySell.com. So, what are you waiting for?

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Banner image credit to Thanos Honda

FAQ

How much is a Mazda Miata worth?

A Mazda Miata is worth anything from $3,000 to over $10,000, depending on the spec and YOM. The first-gen NA Miata is worth less than the NB and NC Miata, as prices for these easily go over $7,000. Mazda Miatas are slowly gaining demand while the supply is low, so if you have one in pristine condition, you might get more than you paid for it, especially if it’s a hardtop convertible.

What is the difference between a JDM and an export Mazda Miata?

The badging is the only difference between a JDM Miata and an export Miata. In Japan, it’s known as the Mazda Miata, but as the Eunos Roadster for export markets. Eunos is Mazda’s performance unit that was launched alongside Efini and Autozam but failed and shut down in 1996.

How can I import a Mazda Miata to the US?

The Mazda Miata is one of the JDM cars that are legal for import to the USA. Importing one is possible through local JDM importers, which is the best option. You can also import one yourself or via exporters in Japan, but this is a riskier option.

What is a JDM swap on a Mazda Miata?

A JDM swap is simply swapping a JDM engine into a Mazda Miata. The Mazda Miata is known to fit almost any engine, from ridiculous LS engines to RB and Rotary engines. If you swap a JDM engine such as a K24 or 2JZ, you’ll have a JDM engine-swapped Miata.

How to identify the engine on a Mazda Miata.

To know what engine you have on your Mazda Miata, or you are inspecting one you want to buy, open the hood and check the code stamped on the engine block. The first 4 or 5 numbers or letters will give you all the information you need to know, from engine type to displacement.

Christopher Weydert
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