The Mazda MX-5 has long been known as one of the most value for money roadsters. 27 years ago, Mazda launched the first generation of the MX-5 in 1989 at the Chicago Auto Show. From the beginning the MX-5 or the Miata as it is known around the world was known as a fun sports car. Loved by everyone the MX-5 became the best-selling two-seat convertible sports car in history and to date, the MX-5 is still a popular seller. Let’s find out why.
Watch my video review:
The all new MX-5 is bold and unique making use of Mazda’s signature KODO soul of motion design language. At the narrow front, LED headlights strike you like eyes, generating a powerful beam of light for high visibility. Indentations run along the bonnet for better aerodynamics. With the soft top closed, the roof reinforces the striking design of the vehicle. When open, the vehicle becomes even more streamline. At the rear, you have tail lights that wrap around the sides with dual exhausts. 17-inch Alloy 8 spoke wheels come in silver and gunmetal and give the strength and rigidity that this hot sports car deserves.
Climbing into this low roadster, I honestly felt a bit nervous as I had never been this low on the road before. As I reached on over for the start button to start up the SYACTIV-G 2.0L engine , I realized that my life may change. And boy it did. The 4 cylinder engine gives a whopping 118 Kw of power and 200 Nm of torque, the MX-5 is quick. This is the first MX-5 that makes use of the Skyactiv technology meaning that the MX-5 is lighter, sleeker and has a more rigid body with the lowest centre of gravity to date.
As I pressed down on the throttle, I heard the SKYACTIV-G engine give a roar, the MX-5’s way of telling me she was ready to go. With each change of gear, on the 6 speed manual gear box, the front of the MX-5 lifts up as the engine roars and reaches higher revs. This is due to the fact that the MX-5 is lighter than most vehicles with similar power and torque. In fact the new generation MX-5 is 100KG lighter than it’s predecessor and 50KG heavier than the original. This is all thanks to the Skyactiv technology ensuring that parts are lighter.
The MX-5 handles the road really well. Steering is light and responsive and you really feel like you are a part of the driving experience and not just some accessory. Driving the MX-5 is very similar to driving a go cart. You hear the engine roar, you feel the wind in your hair (if you have the roof open) and you feel each gear change and rev increase in your body. The pedals are close together so it’s best to drive in thinner shoes than wider shoes. Looking through the windscreen you pretty much can see most of the bonnet which is actually a nice view. And I like that a lot. Suspension is soft and subtle. Using as little as 6.7 litres of fuel every 100km, this is a really low fuel consumption for a sports car!
Being safe on the road is no concern when driving the MX-5. The high-strength SKYACTIV-BODY is engineered to minimize harm in the event of a collision. There are front airbags for both passengers as well as side-airbags with head-protecting cells that safeguard against impact even with the top down. With features such as Electronic Brake-force Distribution & Emergency Brake Assist which makes breaking safer in an emergency situation and Limited-Slip Differential which minimizes wheel spin, you can drive with confidence.
When taking corners Dynamic Stability Control can reduce the power to an individual wheel to keep the MX-5 stable. Traction Control System stops the wheels from spinning on surfaces that are slippery or loose by regulating torque.
On the inside, the MX-5 is pretty much what you would expect from a Mazda. You have a soft touch leather dashboard, 7 inch display with infotainment system and comfortable leather seats. All the necessary controls are perfectly positioned on the dashboard and steering wheel for a flawless driving experience. The MX-5 is sporty yet uncluttered. There are only 2 doors. It also only has 2 seats. If you consider yourself tall, getting in and out of the vehicle will be a bit of a struggle but once you are in, I found that there is more than enough space to sit and drive comfortably. The boot has a capacity of 150 Litres and is very small. Placing my drone in the boot with my tripod, it took up most of the boot. Then again, you don’t buy the MX-5 for traveling so for day to day usage, the boot space should be adequate. The soft touch convertible roof is opened manually by pulling a leaver near the rear view mirror and pushing it into it’s housing. To open the roof you pretty much do the opposite. At first you may feel like this is a tedious task every time you want to open or close the roof but I found it makes you feel like you are part of the car and not just the driver. There is also keyless entry, so you can enter the MX-5 in style!
Starting at R441,700, you will not get another sports car of this caliber at this price point. If you didn’t know, Fiat are bringing the fiat 124 spider to South Africa which is made at the same assembly line as the MX-5. I guess I will have to take the 124 for a spin for a full comparison.
If you are looking for a fun convertible sports car with a premium interior, features and loads of speed but don’t want to break the bank, the Mazda MX-5 may just be the vehicle for you.