Mazda may not be the biggest car company out there, but they pack a lot of punch. A few years back, the Mazda MX-5 became the most popular convertible two-seater in history, with the company producing over a million of them.
But which are the best Mazda cars? Are Mazdas reliable? What are the greatest Mazda sports cars in history?
We’re sure that you’re bubbling over with questions like this. We’ve got answers. In this list, we’re going to take a look at the five best Mazda cars that have ever been made.
From rotary engine madness to fun sports cars and an incredible pickup, we’ve got it covered. Ready to learn more about this awesome Japanese manufacturer? Then read on, and enjoy.
1. Mazda MX-5 Miata
The MX-5 Miata (or MX-5 for those outside of North America), is one of the greatest Mazda Sports cars ever made. It’s not the most powerful. It’s not even the best looking.
What it does have going for it is personality. Buckets of the stuff.
When you drive one of these cars, you can’t help but smile. A lot of that fun comes from its low ground clearance. Even though its top speed hovers around 130 mph, being so close to the asphalt makes it feel lightning fast.
Step hard on the pedal and it’s like drifting into hyperspace, with the small engine giving all it’s got. The car’s not bad-looking either. A touch generic perhaps, but not ugly: what’s more, it doesn’t scream midlife crisis.
Due to the Miata’s huge popularity, you’re never going to be stuck for Miata parts. If you need anything, you’ll be able to find it with ease. There are also a huge number of owner’s clubs and the like to join and events to go to.
Buying a Miata opens the door to a world of automotive fun. That’s why it’s one of the best Mazda cars ever.
2. Mazda RX-7
We were torn between the RX-7 and the RX-8, but ultimately, the RX-7 nudges it. This car demonstrates the level of innovation and originality that the best Mazda models are capable of. Take an awesome sports car, put a Wankel rotary motor in there, and watch it fly.
If you’re not familiar with the Wankel rotary engine, it effectively uses one large, rotating, triangular “piston.” This results in disproportionate power from small engines in comparison to traditional piston ones. We’re talking about 252 horsepower from 1.3 liters of displacement.
Sure, there are downsides. Increased maintenance costs are the most damning. But drive an RX-7 and you soon forget about all that.
The steering is communicative and weighty, and the exhaust crackles like the best of them. The handling is absorbent without being spongey, and the handling is sharp and focused. It’s really fast too.
It’s not the most widely adopted car. We won’t feign ignorance as to why. But it demands respect, and it really does earn it.
3. Mazda B Series
Another rotary-powered wonderland was this fun pickup. Produced by Mazda way back in 1974, this pickup packed a punch with its 1.5-liter rotary engine.
Now, rotary engines aren’t exactly known for their torque. That’s one of the most important things on a pickup truck. So why is this truck on the list of best Mazda models?
It’s because it’s a huge amount of fun to drive. It was never intended to haul huge amounts of cargo like an F-150. Instead, it was designed for power, with the stock “rotary power” decals serving as testament.
The truck packed smooth, quiet power, and a very pleasant interior. It was successful on the west coast, where its fun and unique styling proved popular.
The engine was economical for the time, quiet, fast, and ready to give you all the power at its disposal. The steering was sharp, despite some problems with understeer, and its brakes were good enough for the time.
If you want to find one now, you’ll have a bit of trouble hunting one down. They’re collector’s items and can command inflated prices as a result. If you want a hidden gem of a pickup, we couldn’t recommend it more highly.
4. Autozam AZ-1
This model is the epitome of what a kei car should be. If you’re not familiar with kei cars, they’re the lightest legal cars available in Japan. You might not think this is fertile ground for one of the best Mazda models ever made, but you’d be wrong.
This car, made under the Autozam brand and powered by a Suzuki engine, is deeply silly. Look at it. It’s making you smile, isn’t it?
What made the Autozam so good was that it was like driving a go-kart. The rorty little 660 cc engine was turbocharged. The car rode on MacPherson struts and packed the stopping power of disc brakes.
It even had gull-wing doors. It’s a stupid car. A beautiful, silly, incredible car that you can’t help but fall in love with.
It’s one of the best Mazda models ever made, even if Suzuki had a big hand in developing it. Of that, there is no question.
5. Mazda Eunos Cosmo
Cosmo is a terrible name for a car. But this model more than makes up for that.
This luxury grand tourer was powered by yet another rotary engine, this time with a triple-rotor design. For once, that isn’t the model’s most interesting feature.
When you’re inside the Eunos Cosmo, you notice how advanced the car was for the time. It was the first car to feature a built-in GPS, and also packed a color touchscreen that controlled a TV, mobile phone, climate control, radio, and CD player. This car, I’ll remind you, was made in 1990.
The Eunos Cosmo shows Mazda at its very best. A forward-thinking company that isn’t afraid to take risks. That’s what we love about Mazda, and that’s why the Eunos Cosmo, terrible name or not, is one of the best Mazda models ever made.
The Best Mazda Models: Final Thoughts
So what is it that makes these Mazdas the best Mazda models ever produced? Well, they all show technical innovation and fun. They’re not staid or boring: they’re brave, fun, and very silly in a lot of ways.
No other Japanese car company puts out such unique and interesting cars. That’s why Mazdas are awesome. That’s why these cars are awesome.
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