A lot say the mk2 is nicer to drive daily. The mk1 isn't all that bad though. Personally, I can't see the mk2 being much different to drive daily tbh, they're both pretty basic, both can have the same features (air con etc), and as far as I'm concerned, if you modify either, the difference is only going to get narrower.
Ooooh, we're talking mk2. I think the 1.6 is actually 110bhp in the mk2. Wouldn't worry about mileage, buy on condition. A lower mileage one may be more rotten. And that's not what you want. Check the chassis rails inside the front arches, they're renowned for going on MK2s
Engine wise, there isn't a lot in it in straight line terms, they're both slow as shit (just make sure it's not a post-93 UK 1.6, they're 90bhp), the 1.6 gets smaller brakes and no bracing, but on the road, as something to just run around in, that shouldn't be an issue. So its entirely up to you.
Yes. Do it. So many folk have been in mine and it's changed their opinion of them, a few have even gone out and bought them after - one mate has one and an e46 m3 and says the m3 steering feels horrid after driving his mx5, he actually prefers driving the mx5 for fun. If that doesn't say a lot, I don't know what does.