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Mazda MX-5

Overall verdict


The same as it’s always been. Just, better than it’s ever been before


Ask us again about that new front end...
A complete sweetie of a roadster, this is the best the MX-5 has been perhaps ever.

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Our choice


2.0 SE-L 2dr


What we say: 

The world’s best selling roadster is all-new. But don’t worry. Mazda hasn’t dropped the ball...

What is it?

You know perfectly well what this is – the car that, 25 years ago, made motoring fun again. And now it’s entering its fourth generation, and still the basic package hasn’t changed. At all. No fashionable turbos or trendy hybrid systems, no double-clutch gearbox, not even an electric roof. Just a simple two seat soft-top with a compact four cylinder engine (of either 1.5 or 2.0-litres) and six-speed manual gearbox. 

Don’t think this is Mazda being lazy, though. Not only is the MX-5 genuinely brand new from the ground up (chassis, suspension, engine, cabin, bodywork, everything), but it’s bucked the usual new car trend by being smaller than the last one and, impressively, over 100kg lighter. 


Mazda has lasered in on the really important things with the new MX-5. Important things like the driving. And, oh boy, is it good. We know what you’re thinking, “it’s only got a 1.5-litre engine with 129bhp, it hasn’t got enough power to get out of its own way”. But in a car that weighs less than a tonne, we promise you that’s enough. The SKYACTIV-G engine is torquey, sounds great and is well matched to the chassis. Which is a honey. 

It dances along difficult roads, the new MX-5. OK, we’d like a drop more steering feel if we’re being really picky, but the chassis itself is plenty communicative, the ride is good and it’s more refined than you’d think. It’s an absolute peach. It’s proves there’s a joy in simple things. Heavens, even changing gear is bliss.

On the inside

The styling may have a new found edge of aggression (we’re not sure about those squinty headlights), but the cabin is just great. It’s the quality and ergonomics that strike you first. The way things are so easy to operate, and sited where you expect to find them. The seats are comfy, the boot is surprisingly deep, the headlights are strong, the sat nav (if you option it) is intuitive and there’s more space in the cockpit than you expect. It even feels well screwed together from materials you don’t mind touching. It’s a real step forward, especially when you start choosing the contrasting colour schemes and trim materials of the Sport.  


No headaches here either. We got 50mpg on a gentle drive, 40mpg everywhere else. For a sports car, that’s little short of remarkable. The 2.0-litre is thirstier, but only costs £850 more to buy. It’ll hold its value well, be cheap to run and insure and while emissions of 139g/km aren’t exceptionally low, an annual tax bill of only £130 isn’t too alarming. 

Highlights from the range

Title 0–62 CO2 MPG BHP Price
The fastest
2.0 SE-L 2dr
7.3s 161g/km 40.9 160 £20,260
The cheapest
1.5 SE 2dr
8.3s 139g/km 47.1 131 £18,310
The greenest
1.5 Icon 2dr
8.3s 139g/km 47.1 131 £20,810


How about something completely different?



Jaguar F-Type

Rear-drive two-seat roadster with proper joie de vivre? How about a Jaguar F-Type? Tis a bit angrier than the MX-5, admittedly