Mazda MX-5 review


What is?

The MX-5 is one of the most recognizable sports cars on the planet, inspired by one of the best, the Lotus Elan of the 1960s. In 1989, Mazda sought to replicate the impeccable steering feel, pure handling and construction of Lotus featherweight. in their own convertible format and the Japanese manufacturer has applauded them ever since.

So it’s just a copy?

Not at all. The MX-5 is now in its fourth generation and it’s not just a copycat British sports car, it’s an icon in its own right. Mazda surpassed one million sales in 2016, earning a place in the Guinness Book of World Records and has only continued ever since.

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Others have tried to approximate the MX-5 formula, most have failed. It’s a winning effort honed over decades: the car only powers its rear wheels with naturally aspirated petrol engines, there’s no four-wheel drive or turbos here, and those engines are smarter than ever and benefit from all the nuanced technology. which comes from ‘Mazda’s SkyActiv. ‘ engine development.

Do the motors have to go up a bit?

So while they are still 1.5 and 2.0 liter engines, over the years they have been tweaked and improved and are better than ever. Both engines now feature extended start-stop technology that recovers braking energy to help power auxiliary electronics to save fuel. The 1.5 unit produces 130 hp and 112 lb-ft and takes the MX-5 convertible to 62 mph from a standstill in 8.3 seconds. The 2.0-liter engine produces 182 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque and hits 62 mph in 6.5 seconds.

What if I don’t want a convertible?

You’d miss out on the full MX-5 experience if you skipped the manual folding top (it’s awesome, you can raise and lower the top from the driver’s seat with one hand) in favor of something heavier and more electronically assisted. . However, Mazda has made a small concession to modern tastes (no, it’s not an electric SUV) and currently offers the MX-5 with a power-folding hardtop.

This model has the RF badge for “retract fastback”. Yeah, it sounds better when you don’t know what it means. That extra 30/40kg makes the smaller car 0.4 seconds slower at 62mph, while the 2.0 adds 0.3 seconds. Unique to the RF car, an automatic gearbox option adds £2,000 to the price and an extra 1.1 seconds to the 0-60mph run. We’ll skip it, and you should too, because the standard six-speed manual transmission is a delight.

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In fact, the entire driving experience is a good antidote to the anesthetized, overly assisted, electronically supervised driving you’ll often find in other supposedly sports cars. The entry-level MX-5 weighs just over 1000kg and that’s because Mazda has stayed focused on the car’s mission, avoiding the temptation to add ‘just one more thing’ after another and end up with a block of lard.

Would it work as a single car?

If you’re happy that you can only bring a friend, then by all means, why not? The base car is reasonably equipped: all models come with heated seats, LED headlights, smartphone connectivity, air conditioning, native navigation, and cruise control as standard.

The 130-litre boot is pretty small on paper, but can fit enough for a weekend as long as no black-tie events are involved. If you’re upgrading to the MX-5 from a luxury car, you’ll find that the interior plastics are durable and the car lacks a few nice touches. But you don’t get an MX-5 for the luxurious cabin.

Our choice of the range.

Mazda MX-5 curvy front
2.0 Sports 2 Doors

What’s the verdict?

The MX-5 delivers bubbly fun at completely legal speeds and costs a pretty penny to run. What more could you want?

The Mazda MX-5 isn’t the world’s best-selling roadster by accident: Its recipe for simple mechanics and accessible fun means it’s a car with cheap running costs and broad appeal.

Mazda has successfully resisted the formula and created a car that just wants to make you smile at reasonable speeds. A day with the top down on one is sure to put a smile on your slightly tanned face.

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Mazda MX-5 convertible frontMazda MX-5 convertible side viewMazda MX-5 RF static rear view

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