Mazda MX-5 (2005 – 2015) At A Glance
Lots of people claim to be father of the Mazda MX5. The story I like most came from Shigharu Hiraiwa, original project leader. The task fell to him to sell the MX5 concept to the then formidable three-man Mazda main board.
He simply said, "would you like to build a car for one third less than a Mazda 323?" All three heads nodded in the affirmative. He then asked, "would you like to sell that car for one third more than a Mazda 323?" all three heads nodded enthusiastically. That's how the original Mazda MX5 got signed off. Now, 16 years and 721,000 sales later, we have a third incarnation of the most successful sportscar ever built.
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Real MPG average for a Mazda MX-5 (2005 – 2015)
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Ask Honest John
What is a pensioners racing car?
"My wife and I - both pensioners - are car enthusiasts. We recently bought a Kia Sorento KX3 automatic for towing the caravan and now would like a car for local journeys. We want either a car very good to look at or a performance car. Our budget is less than £10k. What do you suggest?"
In your position, I'd be tempted by a Mazda MX-5. Your budget will get you a third-generation model (https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/mazda/mx5-2005/) with the 2.0-litre engine, producing 160PS and hitting 62mph in 7.9 seconds. It's not the most powerful car you could buy for the money, but it's a lot of fun and will also be cheap to run. If you'd prefer a bit more practicality, consider a hot hatch like the Volkswagen Golf GTI.
What fun convertibles are good for under £10k?
"I came to the world of driving in my late 30s and while learning I bought a Daihatsu Copen. I'd like another convertible - are there any other relatively recent convertibles for under £10k that will give great fun? Ideally with a hard top. "
Take a look at the Mazda MX-5. They lack the rarity appeal of the Daihatsu Copen but there's a reason they're so popular. £10,000 will get you a late third-generation model - you'll want the Roadster Coupe for the folding hard top roof. Alternatively, the Honda S2000 is a more serious sports car, but you might have to shop around a bit more to find a good one.
Apart from rust - is there anything to look out for on the older Mazda MX5 models?
"I'm looking to buy a Mazda MX5 and don't want to spend more than £4000. I'm aware some early models are prone to rusty sills, are there any other things to look out for? I'm also torn between a Mk1 with pop up headlights (appeals to the 6 year old in me) and a mid 2000's version - what would you recommend? Will an older car hold its value and potentially appreciate slightly?"
Rust is the main enemy particularly in the area between the seats and the rear wheelarches because the drains get blocked. See the entries in http://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/ The older the car is, the more rusty it is likely to be. Avoid the gutless Mk II 1.6.
I don't use my Mazda MX5 very much - is the lack of use enough to flatten the battery?
"I have a Mazda MX5 1.8 which has done 21,000 miles since I bought it new in 2005. Last week its third battery (27 months old) was completely flat. I had driven it on country roads for about 30 miles, seven days before that. So I was surprised. On the other hand, I only use it about once a week and then only for a short journey. Do you think this relative lack of use, and the fact that the battery is only half charged most of the time, is cause enough for the short life of my batteries? The MX5 takes a small battery, as I'm sure you know. Do small batteries have shorter lives? I don't use the heated seats and seldom use the heated rear window or the fan."
Yes. Your use of the car has taken out of the battery more than it has put back in, ultimately reducing the capacity of the battery from its original 13.5 volts to less than 12 volts, which is not enough to start the car. If you don't use the car much you need to take it on a 20-30 mile run at least once a month to keep the battery in a reasonable state of charge, or put it on a battery conditioning float charger in your garage.