Love it or hate it, the Mazda MX-5 is one of the most iconic roadsters of the last two decades. This latest model builds on the original cars ethos of lightweight driving dynamics. It’s nothing short of brilliant
Selling almost one million examples in Europe to date, the Mazda MX-5 is a motoring icon that made drop top driving affordable for many. This latest model comes with a choice of two petrol engines. A 1.5 SKYACTIV-G with 135bhp and 2.0 litre SKYACTIV-G with 180bhp (the 2.0 will be available in Ireland in 2016). Both options are mated to a 6-speed manual transmission as standard. It may not sound very powerful, but this new model benefits from Skyactiv body and chassis meaning it’s shorter and wider but even lighter than its predecessor.
If you want real on-road sports car handling, then look no further than the MX-5. This cars dynamics and engineering is the reason why the rest of the Mazda range are so much fun to drive. If offers one of the most engaging drives in any roadster at an affordable price too. Its combination of perfect balance with responsive well weighted steering make it a lot of fun to drive. It’s also 100kg lighter than its predecessor meaning its more agile than ever. Making your way down a B road at pace with the wind in your hair, the MX-5 is completely composed. On Motorways, it offers a comfortable ride with the only factor being some additional wind noise.
Incorporating Mazda’s KODO design ethos once again, the MX-5 is probably the best looking model ever created in the cars history. Now gone is the hairdresser appeal and in comes dynamic bold looks with an improved focus on driving dynamics. The MX-5 is available in two trim levels. These are Roadster and Roadster GT. The difference between the two specs is minimal and is basically just an automated rear view mirror. While beautifully finished in the cabin, it is the engineering and pedigree that underpins the MX-5.
In the MX-5 you feel snug and cocooned by your surroundings. The dashboard is not too dissimilar to that found in the Mazda 3 which is no bad thing. There is a lovely blend of soft touch materials like stitched leather trim with contrast carbon fibre style material with metal inserts. You also get the rather slick looking 7 inch touch screen that controls the infotainment system. It has a high quality look and feel to the finish just like the Mazda 3. If you enjoy your open top driving on the motorways, tick the box for the wind deflector option to minimise buffeting in the cabin.
The MX-5 was just short of full marks scoring 4/5 stars in Euro NCAP crash safety testing. Despite not scoring top marks, the MX-5 is a very safe car benefitting from an abundance of safety tech as standard. It gets a full set of airbags, ABS, electronic stability control including some clever pedestrian safety mechanisms like a pop-up bonnet to protect a pedestrian in case of impact.
If you are in the market for a two door roadster, space and practicality is way down on your list of essentials. Inside the cabin, there is not a huge amount of storage. There is no glovebox but a small cubby between the two seats. There is a boot, but it is cramped at just 130 litres of capacity with quite a narrow opening. You will easily get luggage in for a weekend away or weekly shopping, but you won’t be packing for much more than that.