Is the 88 horsepower MK1 underpowered?

I’m thinking of buying a MK1 1.6l from 1997 which means that it will only have 88hp.

Do people who have this version feel like it is underpowered and that they are missing out on the higher horsepower engine types?

Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated!

I think it had 114 bhp

Hi Christophe,

The 1.6l engine in UK models changed after 1995 from 114 to 88 hp

89-93 115bhp
94 No 1.6 made
post 95 88bhp
Tuned for more torque

Thank you John, I learn every day.

What about the Eunos Roadster (import) 1.6. I have a 1993 and have seen a few different figures for horsepower. How can I find out what mine is? Thanks in advance.

Hey, yours should be 114bhp but if you go on Parker’ they still give you a breakdown of your specific stock spec

What is the answer to the original question, is the 1.6 88bhp underpowered.

Yeah I was wondering whether people found it way too slow or if it’s not that bad

It is obviously slower and has less power than the 115bhp version. If you drive the two back to back (or go out for a drive in one at all!!), the lower powered one will feel underpowered, but in isolation it will be more difficult to tell.

I had a 115bhp car and if you used the revs it could certainly go quicker than most “regular” hatchbacks. However if you look at the lower powered car, it is still very light and will still go quicker than a lot of cars and is good in isolation.

It depends on what you want it for. On this forum you will find a lot of people who are looking for ways to get more power (as this is ALWAYS a good thing!!). However if you are just going to put the roof down when the weather is nice and potter around, then it is fine. In the end it comes down to what you want to do with the car, but I strongly suggest you try one before you buy. I know there are restrictions at the moment, but I sold my NA at weekend and with the hood down and both wearing masks, the buyer had a drive…

Thanks Snelly for the reply!

Yeah I think you’re right that I need to test drive the 90hp and see what I think. I want to get the most out of the car and want to drive it properly so don’t want to be limited by the smallest Mx5 engine.

Thanks for the advice though I’ll insist on a test drive before I buy despite COVID!

There’s something special about ringing the neck out of a low powered car that sets the heart racing. The car you are talking about will handle just as well as any MX-5, The lack of BHP will make it safer at the limits.

One of the most fun cars I owned was a basic spec Ford Ka 1.3. Low power, wheel at each corner and I could use every bit of power, every day without ever getting near the limits of the car or my abilities and without losing my license.

A V8 powered turbocharged monster might be nice for track days but for fun on the road give me something that doesn’t want to chuck me in the ditch every five minutes.

The ND is only available in the US in 2.0 form as the Yanks won’t accept cars with smaller engines. In Japan it is only available in 1.5 form because they know what suits the car.

I’ve had the 115bhp NA and the 1.8 NA with more power. The 1.6 actually felt more punchy than the 1.8.

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The 95-98 1.6 is tuned for more torque, and you won’t notice much difference until you start pushing it, then you will notice the lack of power. Changing the head and cams to an early model one will get 105-110bhp, particularly if you get the head skimmed.

What I know about engines isn’t worth knowing, but as already quoted, it depends on what you want out of the car, and whether the cars performance is going to be a noticeable drawback, we had a Triumph Spitfire 1500 years ago ,and whether it was fast A roads or twisty B roads we had a great time and never thought about the engine specs , and I think it had about 72 bhp :sunglasses:

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I have only ever had the Eunos (import) in the 1.6 and the 1.8. I love both, the 1.6 is such a free revving engine and the 1.8 a bit more torquey and my choice if i had to use motorways a lot.
One thing I would recommend whichever model you choose is to have a full wheel alignment done as soon as, you won’t regret it.
Personally I have tended to steer clear of the lower powered UK 1.6 so can’t comment.

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