As the most popular two-seater convertible sports car of all time, the Mazda MX-5 is an established motoring icon. But how has Mazda improved its winning formula and made this new model even more outstanding? Here’s what you need to know.
STAND OUT FEATURES
The first thing you notice about the MX-5 is how small it is. The dimensions of the new car are almost a match for the very first MX-5 that launched in 1989. There’s only two seats inside and everything about it feels pared back to the bare essentials. With so little left on the car has there’s a purity to the way it feels. It’s a machine with one clear focus, and that is to make you feel good when you drive it.
WHERE DOES IT FEEL AT HOME?
The MX-5’s steering and suspension are just magic, not at all harsh or hard to live with. Open-top touring on tight backroads is where the MX-5 really excels, but just being able to drop the roof on your way home from work is a great way to de-stress.
Mazda has made sure that using the convertible hood is almost effortless. It can be raised or lowered and latched easily with one hand, even when moving. It’s not electric, because motors add weight and the MX-5 is all about simplicity.
WHAT’S IT MADE FOR?
Mazda has had to get clever with the ergonomics inside this small cabin. For example, the cup holders usually live back here out of the way, but you can take one off and clip it into this spot up the front here when you need it.
The glovebox has been moved from the normal position, to a cubby here between the seats, and lots of the car’s functions can be accessed through buttons on the steering wheel rather than buttons on the dash.
We do wish the steering wheel had reach adjustment as well as height. I’m about six foot two and while it’s snug, I do fit fairly comfortably, I just wish I could get the steering wheel closer. Anyone taller than me may struggle for headroom.
Mazda offers the MX-5 with two different engines, a 1.5L or a 2.0L. Both are four cylinder petrol engines and both are excellent. A lot of journalists love the smaller, high-revving motor, and others, such as myself, are in favour of the bigger one with that little bit of extra grunt. You can’t make a bad choice, but drive both and see what suits you. Both are available with a manual or automatic gearbox. If we were buying we’d get the manual.
Once you have your engine picked, you’ll need to choose a trim level. The two options are Roadster or Roadster GT. All MX-5s get decent equipment like cruise control, power windows and Bluetooth. Safety systems are the same on both models, the details of which you can find on our spec pages at WhichCar.com.au.
You’ll need to buy the Roadster GT if you want a premium infotainment system with sat-nav and upgraded speakers. The GT also has heated seats, auto headlights with daytime running lamps and a couple of other small extras.
WHO WILL IT SUIT?
The MX-5’s real party trick is its driving experience. If you only need a two-seater or there’s space in your garage for a weekend car, you really should give the MX-5 a go. It beat a field of tough competitors to win Wheels Car of the Year, and we can definitely see why.
Click here to read the full review on the Mazda MX-5.