MX5 remains small sports car benchmark
From £18,495 -£23,295
We at OX love the Mazda MX5. I bought my Mark 3 for three reasons; first they’re great little cars to own, affordable, fun, and reliable. Whilst many of us are still preoccupied with 0-60 mph times and top speeds, the real world of motoring on our speed camera’d roads of today means truly enjoyable driving must be found in other areas than outright speed.
An MX5 is fun at any speed; with that magical keen driver’s combination of compact size, front mounted engine, rear wheel drive, and responsive handling without sacrificing ride comfort. Add to that day to day practicality and reliability, and this ‘people’s’ car becomes accessible sporting fun for everyone, being the second reason I like it so much.
Reason three is the one you hear most often when someone tells you the story behind the reasons they chose to buy an older car for fun: Memories. Mine are the occasion of the original Mark 3 launch event held in the famous village of Portmeirion, where the TV Series ‘The Prisoner’ was filmed. Whilst it was a great location, driving the Mark 3 MX5 across the hills in the sun with the top down, working those gears like an original scene from the Italian Job was my calling card to future ownership. I intended keeping my MX5 for only a few months as an ‘in-between’ car after selling a Maserati . 6 years later I still own the MX5; the longest I have ever kept a motor car, and it is still loads of fun to drive.
The fourth generation
Entrée then the all new fourth generation Mazda MX5. This latest and best MX5 ever went on sale in August last year, proving a sales hit from day one. We have written about the car many times in these pages but until now, we’ve missed opportunities to actually drive it. Recently Mazda finally loaned us the car so it was time to put the hype to the test.
Whilst this latest MX5 is an all-new car, it certainly felt ‘familiar’ once behind the wheel. The sporting simplicity of the dash and interior remain with the big centre placed rev counter reminding you that this is first and foremost a sports car. Push button start, sat-nav, and mobile connectivity left our 2 litre top of the range Sports model wanting for nothing.
Of course, the real excitement of an MX5 is in the driving, and rather than disappoint this latest reiteration of the marque exceeded our expectations. This is how an MX5 should drive; sporty, sharp, exciting, chuckable, yet precise and safe. The original Mark 1 of course was the car that sparked the legend, and now by design we see the rawer aspect of the original replicated in this very latest model; it’s just a whole lot better than any MX5 we have ever known. As the latest model you may argue ‘it should be’, yet we have seen example after example of manufacturers producing successive models that just don’t live up to the USP of its predecessors. The new MX5 does in big measure, building on its original virtues and making it even better.