The Mazda MX-5 convertible is just so much better on every front in this, its fourth guise. It’s lighter than last time around, handles more sharply, and it benefits from improved engineering, too. Although it comes with what can only be described as “nippy” engines, it offers enough tenacity and agility to more than make up for that perceived lack of straight-up power.
It’s also got a good legacy to fall back on, too. If you remember the original Mazda MX-5, you’ll recall how exciting it was. Happily, Mazda are seeking to recreate that excitement here. Let’s take a closer look at what it’s all about.
Mazda MX-5 Test Drive
Mazda clearly don’t buy into the idea that more is better, not where the MX-5 is concerned at least. There are a choice of two engines, both of them petrol units: there is a 2.0-litre 160PS variant, or a slighter 1.5-litre 131PS unit to choose from. Although you get a little bit less power, Mazda’s chassis guys would probably recommend the latter because it feels absolutely perfect for this car. Its lightness is its ace in the pack, too, and helps this convertible to tip the scales at the tonne mark – which makes it the lightest model since the original MX-5.
Straight-line pace is not what this car is all about. Instead, it’s more about agility and good handling. The engines are certainly smaller than last time around, but this gives them an edge because they can be set lower and further back. Indeed, the bonnet here is the lowest Mazda have ever used. Weight has been further shaved by the liberal use of aluminium for the boot, front wings, suspensions, and bonnet. The soft top hood is less meatier, too, which enhances this vehicle’s centre of gravity.
Overall, the Mazda MX-5 roadster is fun to drive and you’ll no doubt have a ball behind the wheel. It’s responsive, while refinement has been improved immensely. You’ll still hear some exterior noise, but it’s a lot better than last time around.
The Interior, Design And Build Of The Mazda MX-5
For any MX-5 enthusiasts and die-hards, the good news is that the shape of this car still hasn’t changed much since its conception in the early nineties. If anything at all has changed it’s that this MKIV variant looks slightly more aggressive and has a similar stance to that of the Jaguar F-Type convertible. Interestingly, some critics have suggested that the front end looks different (and odd), but whatever some people can see, it will surely grow on you.
Photographs don’t tell the full story, either: It’s only when you get up close and personal to this roadster that you realise just how small it actually is. Indeed, it’s a whopping 105mm shorter than last time out, though it is 10mm wider.
Not much has changed inside the cabin, and the driving position – as always – assures you that you’re at the wheel of an exciting sports car. The seat is low-set, while the pedals are crammed right next to your feet. It’s just so welcoming, and oh so easy to feel as snug as a bug in an MX-5. Taller drivers may struggle, as usual, because there isn’t a great deal of headroom, while the roof is kinda low. The steering wheel, meanwhile, offers scant adjustment.
Few of you will probably care much about space and practicality, but it’s still comforting to know that a pair of decently-sized bags can squeeze into the boot. The MX-5 roadster has never been a class leader when it comes to practicality, and that hasn’t changed just yet.
Mazda MX-5 Price & Running Costs
Prices for the new MX-5 convertible start out from around £19,000 and rise to £24,000, which makes it very competitively priced.
Whichever variant you plump for you’ll be treated to alloys and a leather steering wheel. Opt for the SE-L model and you’ll get cruise control, Bluetooth and climate control, too. Sports Models will also chuck in sports suspension, a 2.0-litre power plant and a Boss stereo system for good measure.
If you’re concerned about running costs, pairing up the lightest model with modest power will be a sensible idea. That said, this car is still one of the most affordable of its type – whichever variant you opt for. The 1.5-litre emits 139g/km of CO2, while the 2.0-litre emits 161g/km of CO2. The former meanwhile returns 47.1mpg, while the latter is goo for 40.9mpg. Impressive figures all round, and largely thanks to the lightweight design and build.
Our Favourite: Mazda MX-5 SE
Mazda have stripped this fan’s favourite of its meatier engines, but this really is no bad thing. Cars like this need to be light in order to be responsive. Bulky weight just makes it difficult to turn and harder to stop and start.
Shaving so much weight off this machine has helped thrust it back in the limelight, and it’s certainly one of the brand’s most exciting cars of recent times. The Mazda MX-5 convertible continues to put smiles on faces and though Mazda MX-5 SE trim is the pick of the bunch.
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