Mazda MX-5 – New Car Review

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If ever I could do a one line review it would be this: The Mazda MX-5 is the best car in the World.

Mazda MX-5 1

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, when it comes to euro-for-euro bang-for-your-buck motoring, the two-seat Mazda MX-5 is the best there is.

The front engined, rear-wheel drive sportscar is now in its fourth generation. It is wonderfully precise to drive, has enough power to be enjoyable and has cuter-than-ever styling. The exterior shows hints of, dare I say “Ferrari”, mixed in with the disarmingly curvy 1989 original MX-5. The fact that global sales reflect the MX-5’s stature as the World’s favourite sportscar confirms the brilliance of the Japanese car.

Mazda MX-5 4

Yes, Mazda clearly nicked the best bits from British and Italian sportscars of the sixties and seventies and threw them in a mixing pot to deliver a reliable and wonderfully retro driving experience. Now I must put my hand up as a biased fan, I owned an original for three years, which is an age for a motoring hack – a motoring journalist’s year equals about seven years of most car owners! I also was lucky enough to endurance race the last version both on the track and on ice – which was outrageous fun!

Mazda MX-5 interior

MX-5 is not the most practical machine, but golfers can fit a set of clubs in the boot. You can’t seat more than two in here, and proper order too because this is a sportscar and it’s all about the driver and passenger. To this day I still remind my eldest child that SHE made me sell my favourite car (well equal favourite – I had a classic Citroen DS).

Mazda MX-5 3

So what are the ingredients that make MX-5 so special? Firstly, the car has an old school driving layout. Under the bonnet sits a length-ways mounted 1.5-litre engine (a more-powerful 2-litre is available in other markets also) – hence the long bonnet similar to an old MGB. The four-cylinder petrol engine connects to the rear wheels via a brilliant short-throw manual gearbox. The seats are low and the steering geared so that just a little input gets big results. MX-5’s tight steering ratio has been key in delivering the car’s precise and nimble handling that is simply joyous.

The latest Mazda MX-5 is greener and more economical but while that’s helpful it is not what the car is about. MX-5 needs the driver, and as a driver you need to drive the MX-5. So many cars these days remove and cosset the driver from what is going on, but the little Mazda talks to you all the time. It wants to put a grin on your face.

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The SKYACTIV 1.5 does 0-100kph in 8.3 seconds but it feels a lot quicker because you are only a few centimeters off the ground. Top speed from the 131hp machine is 204kph, but again that doesn’t really matter as the MX-5 lets you have tons of fun at legal speeds. The latest car is lighter and stiffer too and this means better performance over the outgoing car.

Prices start at €28K, with the Roadster GT costs €30K… but you get €100K’s worth of fun!

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About Author

Michael Sheridan

Michael is Motorhub's Editor. Well known from TV and radio, Michael has been writing, presenting and judging cars since the mid 90's. He is a renowned Producer/Director and documentary film maker. Dozens of credits include: The Whole Way Round (Gay Byrne), The Shamrock Run (Alan Shortt), The Viking Run (Clodagh McKenna) and The Irish 66ers (David Mitchell) and The Climb for Kids (Colin Farrell). Print credits include: the RTE Guide (motoring editor 1999-2003), many national daily papers and Sundays including The Irish Times (freelance) plus other magazines. National radio credits include multiple at RTE Gerry Ryan show, the Mooney Show, The Dave Fanning Show, Drivetime etc. TV credits as a motoring expert include RTE's flagship current affairs show Primetime and TV3's Ireland AM. Michael also presented RTE's car show Drive! in the late 90s and directed some items in MPH2 on TG4. Michael contributes weekly on motoring issues to The Last Word show with Matt Cooper on Today FM. Michael has represented Ireland's motoring journalists in Motorsport at the International Mazda MX-5 endurance race series in Italy and the Arctic Ice Race. He has been a Car of the Year Judge for over 18 years and is a former Chairperson of the Association of Professional Motoring Press (APMP).

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