When it comes to fun open-top cars fewer fit the bill better than Mazdaís MX5. This car has a pedigree dating back to 1989 and a cult following all over the world. It has a reputation for delivering sports car thrills for a very un-sports car like price. The fourth generation MX5 really is in a class of its own where its only real competition is FIATís 124 and even the 124 itself is based on the Mazda. Although the Toyota GT86 is similar in terms of fun and affordability it misses out on the MX5's convertible roof. So, is the Mazda MX5 the perfect convertible package? Letís see shall we.
So, whatís the MX5 like on the road? Well, simplicity really is the name of the game here as there are only two engines to choose from. The entry level 1.5 litre petrol needs to be worked hard in order to perform at its best though certainly doesnít feel slow. However, our pick is the more powerful 2.0 litre petrol engine. This engine is thrilling without being frightening on tight country roads and the extra punch makes overtaking just that little bit more effective. Itís also fitted with a clever limited slip differential which means you can accelerate out of corners without skidding. Both engines are teamed up to a six-speed manual gearbox which really is a delight to use.
When the roof is up there is an acceptable amount of noise for roadsters like the MX5. Even when the roof is down things donít get too blustery either. On the downside there are some vibrations through the steering wheel and pedals when the engine is at very low, or very high, revs. The MX5 has soft suspension which means that itís a comfortable car on most roads. It copes easily with bumps and ruts and even on larger alloy wheels itís never uncomfortable. Where this car really shines though is with its handling. It feels nimble and quick to change direction with its accurate and well weighted steering and this makes the driver feel involved. Although the soft suspension means that this car can lean a little into the corners it really is a small price to pay.
You sit quite low in the Mazda MX5 which is in keeping with its sport remit. Thereís enough adjustment in the seat to get comfortable and although the steering wheel only adjusts for up and down and not reach you should still be able to find the right driving position. Thereís a good view out of the front of the MX5 but when the roof is up visibility out of the back is quite poor. As a note, you only get parking sensors as standard on the top of the range Sport Nav models.
Things arenít exactly plush in the cabin but it does have more luxury touches than previous models and range topping models even get leather seats. Base models get a CD player and radio with two USB inputs and for this reason alone we would recommend upgrading to an SEL Nav trim. By doing this youíll get a nice 7-inch touchscreen with sat-nav, Bluetooth connectivity and DAB radio. The system is really easy to use via the touchscreen and also via the rotary dial on the central console. The only irritation is that even if you turn off the voice guidance the speakers will still dim when thereís supposed to be an announcement, which is a bit odd.
Space and practicality is admittedly where the MX5 falls slightly short. The best way to describe this interior is Ďsnugí as youíll be sitting in close proximity with the person next to you Ė taller drivers may find it a little too cramped. When it comes to storage there are no door-bins and only a small storage space in the central console. There arenít any rear seats so you wonít be able to take any rear passengers and youíll struggle to fit any more than a jumper behind your seat. When it comes to the boot itís the same amount of space whether the roof is up or down. Itís not a huge amount as youíd expect but itís enough for two weekend bags.
The MX5ís affordable price tag means that many few can match it in terms of attainable driving fun. With both of the petrol engines being fairy efficient it means that running costs are pretty competitive as well. Entry level SE models come with air conditioning, LED headlights and two USB connections. However, we think that upgrading to the SEL Nav trim is a wise move because this gets you the 7-inch infotainment system, sat-nav and an upgraded stereo. Team it with our recommended 2.0 litre engine and youíll also get 17 inch alloy wheels. The MX5 gets a 4-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash tests, four airbags and a bonnet that pops up in the event of an accident to help minimise injuries to pedestrians.
The Mazda MX5 really is a terrific two-seater thatís affordable to buy and own. Of the thousands of convertible cars for sale on DesperateSeller.co.uk it has to be one of our favourites. If you like the sound of the MX5 then check out the Mazda MX5 cars for sale on DesperateSeller.co.uk.