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Mazda MX-5: prices start at £18k
We may have driven the delightful new Mazda MX-5 a few months ago, but it’s taken until now for firm numbers to materialise.
With a bargain bucket sports car like this, though, you could argue there are just two that really matter: power and price.
The latter has always been a key part of the MX-5’s appeal, and its £18,495 starting point looks particularly enticing. See, when the original MX-5 launched over 25 years ago, it cost just over £14,000. That made it more than a VW Golf GTI and the equivalent of nearly £30,000 in today’s money.
There are two engine choices, both of them naturally aspirated petrols and driving the rear wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox. In a world increasingly dominated by turbochargers and paddleshifters, three cheers for that.
A 129bhp 1.5-litre kicks the range off, and thoroughly enjoyable it is too, while further up the range there’s a 158bhp 2.0-litre, which we’re yet to drive. Starting at £20,095, it carries an £850 premium over the 1.5.
As well as extra performance, the 2.0 also brings with it a limited-slip differential and 17-inch alloy wheels, so it looks like an easily recommended upgrade on the face of it.
All models get alloys, LED lights, air con and much media connectivity as standard, with goodies like Mazda’s swish new touchscreen system, heated leather seats and active safety stuff - including a blind-spot monitor - available further up the range.
Buy the toppest-spec MX-5 and you’ll be shelling out £23,295: sharp value when its closest rival - the Toyota GT86 - demands just 300 fewer pounds in its comparatively poverty-spec entry-level trim. True, the Toyota is 39bhp healthier, but it’s also heavier and stays resolutely roofed when the sun is out.
Nevertheless, we’d expect it to give the MX-5 a very strong fight when it comes to turbo-free, old-school entertainment. Which would your money be on?