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Mazda MX-5 (2015–)

Last updated 22 June 2018

Excellent handling makes it fun to drive. 1.5-litre model works very well on uneven UK roads. 2.0 as quick as many drivers would ever want. Well-equipped for the money.
No rear seats. High emissions.
Updated 21 June 2018
Mazda MX-5 revised

Both soft-top and RF feature improvements in dynamic performance, an upgrade to Mazda's i-ACTIVSENSE safety technologies, and refinements to design and packaging. These include updated 1.5 and 2.0-litre...

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Introduction

The latest Mazda MX-5 sticks to the formula that has made Mazda's little sports car so popular. It’s small, light, affordable and fantastic fun. But there are some changes. This time around it's more aggressively styled and has new engines but as ever it's still easy to live with every day.

There are two engines to choose from – a 1.5-litre with 131PS and a 2.0-litre with 160PS. The free-revving 1.5-litre is all most MX-5 buyers will need. It has an enjoyable exhaust note and sprightly performance, taking 8.3 seconds to get from 0-62mph. The 2.0-litre is a second faster, so its peformance gains aren't huge - but it does gain a front anti-roll bar and a limited-slip differential to sharpen up the handling.

Those extras aren't really necessary for drivers who don't participate in track days though. The 1.5-litre might not be quite as immediately direct as the 2.0-litre, but it rides slightly better and works wonderfully well on pockmarked British roads, providing huge amounts of fun and driver feedback, even at low speeds.  

The fun-factor is ramped up even more when the fabric roof is down. This is a simple, manually operated affair with a latch near the rearview mirror. The handbook recommends getting out of the car, but it can easily be folded up or down from the driver’s seat, even with a seat belt on. It takes a few seconds and no real strength is required.

Fun though the MX-5 is, there is no escaping its tiny size. The cabin is quite cramped for taller drivers and there aren’t many places to store odds and ends like change or drinks. The boot isn’t particularly spacious either – although it does have enough room for some weekend bags or a trip to the shops.

But criticising the MX-5 for its practicality is missing the point. If you want excellent driving dynamics and top-down motoring at a fairly reasonable cost, there is simply no better alternative. There are some great hot hatches for similar money, but none can match the MX-5 for pure, simple, back-to-basics fun.

Mazda MX-5 1.5 Sport Nav Road Test

Mazda MX-5 RF 2017 Road Test

Long Term Test Mazda MX-5 2.0

Owners' reviews

5
A drive lightens the darkest day
5
Marvellous. As Clarkson said...the perfect answer to depression
5
Fab
 

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