MX5 Auto advice required!!!! - Citroënian {P}
Hi all,

Thinking of moving on from the Furby and getting an MX5. I've found a lovely car with low miles, right colour, hard top, leather...exactly what I need.


It's an automatic. I've not really got a problem with this, it drives very well and I'm not such a sporting type that I'd ever miss the manual. The problem really is this

The dealer tells me that it's a UK car, but I can find nothing about UK MX5s autos anywhere they all seem to be imports.

If anyone has knowledge of these cars, I'd appreciate their opinions (good/bad points over manual) and an idea of what mpg I would be likely to achieve.
Or if anyone is better at Googleing than me, any good websites would be appreciated - I've tried the UK owners club site, but no specs there!

And if it is an import, what are the differences to owning a UK car - insurances, MOTs, etc. It's >3years old and currently has an MOT so I'm guessing it's type approved - the speedo is in mph.

Cheers everyone, any info / opinions that don't include me changing jobs to Toni&Guy would be great. Virtual pints to the best three answers!!


-- You know, it\'s not like changing toothpaste
MX5 Auto advice required!!!! - Citroënian {P}
coughs embarrasingly

C by C -- "And to complete the range a UK official automatic MX5 1.8. Performance is severely compromised, though, with a zero to sixty of 10.7 seconds and a top speed of 118mph. Price was £16,495 and combined consumption 29.8mpg."

Ok, then that seems fast enough for me, any opinions anyone? They seem to be as rare as hen's teeth, there's only one on the whole mazda uk used car site (around the price I want to pay, anyway!)

Would it be a bad idea to get a low performance, performance car - tbh, it seemed plenty fast to 70 to me if a bit noisy. Will it loose money too quickly and will the auto be an albatross around its neck when I come to shift it, or will it make it more desirable, with its USP.

-- You know, it\'s not like changing toothpaste
MX5 Auto advice required!!!! - dragon
Try the forums at as a starting point.

MX5 Auto advice required!!!! - T Lucas
I used to import loads of autos from Japan and they all found homes very easily because they were auto.Lots of people like auto on things like 206cc,MX5 etc and because there is a limited supply will find a buyer with ease.
MX5 Auto advice required!!!! - bell boy
if you are getting it for the right price and not interested in gear changing (it wouldnt bother me either ) then go for it but when you come to sell the market will be limited
I usually start the advert with something like 'rare auto' this way if someone desires it they dont get bored reading all the rest advertised in 'the book' so yours stands out
i would buy it as said
MX5 Auto advice required!!!! - Chuffer Dandridge
Personally I wouldn't find the slight loss of performance an issue, but I prefer autos anyway

You can usually idntify imported MX5s as they have a square (rather than oblong) rear no plate. Not foolproof though, as it is possible to swap the panel. Also import odometers usually in kilometers.
MX5 Auto advice required!!!! - Honestjohn
Ahem, from cbcb for latest MX5 Ibuki:-

"Enthusiastic dealer also offering independently imported 2.0 litre 6-speed automatics from £17,995 ."

Always a few older models, both official UK ant not official.

MX5 Auto advice required!!!! - bell boy
good call hj a dead end...........:-O
MX5 Auto advice required!!!! - Citroënian {P}
The link has an extra "." - it should be - {HJ's link now edited - DD}

Excellent recommendation, good site, they seem to be people who know their 5s

-- You know, it's not like changing toothpaste
MX5 Auto advice required!!!! - Avant
Lee - I do think you ought to try both manual and automatic. Go to a Mazda dealer, or anyone selling a used MX-5 who'll give you a test drive. Either will be a good car - sure - but will an automatic be as much fun as a manual?

I'm a highish-mileage Mercedes driver and an auto suits me fine. But if I did fewer miles, and most of them were leisure miles, I think I'd go back to a manual. SWMBO's Mini is a manual and we certainly wouldn't eant that as an auto.

There are lots of MX-5s around so make sure you get what you really want.
MX5 Auto advice required!!!! - martint123
The gearbox, along with RWD is one of the nice things about MX-5's. The VIN will be the giveaway between UK and import.
MX5 Auto advice required!!!! - apm
Agree with Martin- the MX5 box is a delight- snick, snick, snick! They also seem to have found the ideal place for the stick. Your left hand just falls onto it.

Jap imports will generally come with more toys- a/c, headrest speakers and leather etc, and have advantages & disadvantages (toys are nice to have, but everything will be in Japanese!). Choose the one that is in the best nick for your budget, Jap or UK. Look for rust in the sills if it's an older car.

Great car, manaul or auto. Never tire of driving the other half's. Seems so modern compared to my MG (but it would, wouldn't it?).

Dr Alex Mears
MG BGT 1971
If you are in a hole stop digging...unless
you are a miner.
MX5 Auto advice required!!!! - mjm
The gearbox action, the position of the lever and even the sound of the selectors moving is so reminisant of the 1960's Lotus Elan that they must have copied it in every detail.

It must be personal choice, manual or automatic, but apm (or Dr Alex, if he prefers-- ) is correct. It is a great car.
MX5 Auto advice required!!!! - martint123
It's rumoured they even copied the MGB diff whine.
MX5 Auto advice required!!!! - Harmattan
The 1960s Elans -- or at least my 1963 Series 1 -- used the Ford 2000E gearbox so it had relatively humble beginnings but was just right with the short Elan gearstick. People keep comparing the MX5 to the Elan but I have never had the chance to drive the Mazda and just can't believe that it is anything like as controllable as the Series 1, even on 13 inch skinny tyres that are not a patch on today's rubber. Unfortunately as it was an every day car and a pregnant wife couldn't fit behind the wheel, it had to go. Bet the MX5 has adjustable steering.
MX5 Auto advice required!!!! - Citroënian {P}
there are lots of MX-5s around so make sure you get what you really want

I think you might be right - the auto I'm looking at is a _really_ nice car but the leather on the driver seat is cracking and the performance doesn't compare too well to my current Fabia :

parameter ... MX5 ... (Fabia)
0-62 ... 11.0 ... (11.5)
max speed ... 118 ... (115)
mpg (combined) ... 29.8 ... (56.5)
BHP ... 139 ... (100)

Of course, the MX5 drives much better, but it looks like most of the power is lost in the gearbox. The 146BHP 1.8i Sport does 33mpg, 126mph and 8.5 to 62 and costs the same to insure.

Manuals seem to command a premium over the auto but choosing manual gives a choice of every car in the country, except the one auto. The comments about the click-click-click and natural positioning of the gearstick ring true. I Took out a 1.8i Sport with the 6 speed manual tonight and the gearchange was excellent (but then it had only done 14000 miles)

Am thinking, looking out of the window, that this is the time of year to be looking at buying a cabrio so I'll give myself a few weeks to look around and get a feel for what there is out there.

Many thanks for the replies, I really appreciate the ideas and advice, it does help organezize my brain on these things, keep the ideas/comments coming.


-- You know, it\'s not like changing toothpaste
MX5 Auto advice required!!!! - mjm
I had a 1965 series 2. My son has a Mk 2 MX5 (fixed headlights) It is a 1,6 ltr (110 bhp I think.) The standard Elan was 105 bhp. The Elan was lighter so comparing bhp/ton they are probably about the same. To drive, in my opinion, and relying on 30-year-old memory, they are very similar in feel. The performance is generally about the same. Son?s has power steering, which feels ok. The MX holds the road well and handles well, but ---

The suspension, compared to the Elan?s, is very hard and the wheels are wide alloys with low profile tyres. My Elan had 13-inch wheels with, I think, 155/70 tyres. On billiard table smooth roads, the MX5 is fine. In Gloucestershire there aren?t many of those. Typical road undulations, potholes, etc, upset the MX, it will hop and skip about. The size of the wheels means that suspension travel is limited, hence hard springing. If I had the choice of what to take for an entertaining drive, it would be the Elan. Relying on memory, again, I can?t remember it losing its composure in the way the MX5 does. It seemed to cope with undulations etc with ease. It would be interesting to re-jig the MX5 with softer springs, narrower wheels etc and see what happened. I tend to agree with you, the Elan has the edge on controllability.
MX5 Auto advice required!!!! - Harmattan
That is an excellent and useful comparison, mjm. I have seen lots of comments comparing the two cars but nothing of a back-to-back nature. I had my S1 in the late 80s so it could be coloured a bit. However, never before or since -- even with the Plus 2 -- I had later have I been able to four-wheel drift controllably in the way you could with the original Elan. And on Dunlop SP Sports I seem to recall. The two Loti and a Reliant Scimitar V6 coupé are the only 'modern' cars I have had where I could walk outside to do something and think 'No, I am going for a 10-minute drive through the woods and up a few hills just for the fun of it'. I am sure a Caterham, Ariel Atom, Chevron B1 and one or two others might have the same effect from current offerings.
MX5 Auto advice required!!!! - martint123
I think 185/60/14 tyres are standard, so I wouldn't class those as low profile, neither would I say mine hops and skips. It is said a 4 wheel alignment can make a world of a difference to perceived road holding. There are a number of 'alternate' values that reportedly increase road holding at the expense of comfort, along with many aftermarker dampers and springs. (mine is still on the 'comfort' settings).

MX5 Auto advice required!!!! - Vansboy
Another 'enthusiatic' Mazda dealer is but they didn't give the impression that they liked to 'deal', certainly not when we were shopping for Mrs V's Montana - Crikey - over 3 years old it is now!!

Anway, when I was doing the searching, you CERTAINLY could get some good value autos, if you lloked around. Also expect them to be well n truly toys, rather than regular transport - maybe the third car in the family, used by the lady once or twice a week, if it was sunny, type of use!!

BUT... you mention leather & hardtop. The Montana has both, the roof didn't come out of storage, other than to try it, during the first winter of ownership, so not worth the hassle, or extra £500 it's supposed to add to used prices (new list is around £1500!!)

& appart from my views on eating animals. or sitting on their skins, it seems a silly choice for a car that might get a lot of direct sunlight, on the interior. Colour fades & discomfort. Plus I think the cloth Mx5 trim FAR more comfortable anyway!!

Unless your desperate, for this car, do think again & find a manual & experience what the Mx5 was designed for & DRIVE IT!!

MX5 Auto advice required!!!! - mjm
Martin, It wasn't meant as a real critisism of the car, just a comparison. Compared to how the 60's Elan was set up, the MX5 feels hard and a bit harsh. The car is on Pirrelli P6000 195/50/15's (genuine Mazda wheels).

The build quality, etc is excellent and it is a good all round sports car, lots of fun when I can get my hands on it.
I suppose I am getting older and used to Xantia ride quality!


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