Mazda MX5 Roadster Coupe – Review
By Liam Bird
Yes, I know. The fact that the clocks have changed and that it’s more than a bit parky in the morning hasn’t escaped me. I too have to scrape the windscreen. I’ve also noticed that it’s dark too; both when I get up and when I get home. And yes, before you start, I have switched the heating on. So why then am I writing about a sports-car at this time of the year? Aren’t they for the summer?
The truth is I’ve come pretty close to buying an Mazda MX5 on more then one occasion. But, like more than a few of you reading this I’d imagine, I too can only really afford to run one car. I’m still not really convinced about the idea of spending the winter driving a rag-top either. A ‘proper’ roof seems, well, just warmer – and potentially drier too.
Well, that’s where the MX5 Roadster Coupe comes in. Not only is it a proper sports-car – and by that I mean convertible, two seats, front engine, rear wheel drive and a hoot to drive – but it’s also got a proper roof: a folding hard-top. Because the third generation MX5 was designed from the outset to cope with a folding lid there’s absolutely no loss of boot space either;. The Coupe’s roof retracts into exactly the same compartment as the regular soft top, meaning the world’s best selling roadster loses none of its, admittedly moderate, load lugging capability. It still won’t swallow two medium-sized suit cases though. Trust me, I tried.
“Brings a smile to your face”
On colder days the Roadster Coupe can actually be rather a cosy place to spend some time. Air-conditioning is standard and heated seats mean there’s no reason to feel anything but toasty. The hard-top benefits from a bigger rear window too, so despite a rather black and sombre interior there’s more light, visibility, and even space than you might expect.
Despite the MX5’s compact dimensions there’s no reason why you should end up banging your elbows against either the door or your passenger. Plus, if you keep the roof up there’s plenty of room behind the seats to store a squishy bag or a jacket or two. But even on chillier days, if the sun shines, you’ll want to get the roof down and revel in the wind-around-the-woolly-hat driving experience.
There’s no need to be travelling at inter-galactic speeds in a MX5 to get the best out it. You can enjoy its precision and lightness without ever attracting unwanted attention.
And thanks to its ability to be guided with just a flick of the wrists, Mazda’s little marvel will always bring a smile to your face. It all feels very controllable and un-intimidating, meaning it’s easy to play with a little over-steer too, should the mood take you.
Come rain or shine, hard-top or not, an MX5 is no more difficult to live with than any other car. It may lack a back seat, but the trade off is it delivers the kind of driving thrills few other cars of its price can muster. OK, it might well be hopeless on snow. I have yet to sample one on the white stuff. But so is your Focus. After a week of living with one I’d say it’s the sports-car for all seasons.
Mazda MX5 2.0i Sport Tech Roadster Coupe
Engine: 1999cc 4cylinder, DOHC 16 Valve
Transmission: 6 speed manual, rear wheel drive
Power: 158 bhp @7000rpm
Torque: 139lb ft @5000rpm
0-62 MPH: 7.9 Sec
Max Speed: 136mph
MPG: 36.2 (Combined)
VED: Band 1