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MX-5 is still a great buy

Created on 15/08/2016 @ 10:57
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Test Drive by Graham Breeze

There are good reasons why the latest Mazda MX-5 looks remarkably like the original model which not only made two-seater motoring fun but also made it affordable.

It’s now over 25 years ago since the MX-5 first appeared and while the latest model benefits from a lot of outward design changes it is still instantly recognisable as the world’s best-selling roadster and is still within reach for the average man in the street.

Design chiefs at Mazda have resisted the temptation to make sweeping changes. It would have been easy to bring in an electric roof system or drive down the trendy hybrid route. Instead they have stuck with the tried and tested and even made the car smaller and lighter.

Was that the right choice? You can bet your last pound on it and little wonder that handling and driver engagement saw the model recognised as Best Real-World Driver’s Car at Autocar magazine’s annual test of affordable enthusiasts’ cars.

It’s the lightest MX-5 since the iconic original arrived on the scene and is shorter and lower, yet wider than the outgoing model. Smaller overhangs, a lower centre of gravity and Mazda’s “Soul of Motion” styling reflects a focus on driving pleasure.

Having already been named Japan Car of the Year 2015/16, 2016 UK Car of the Year and 2016 World Car of the Year, the MX-5’s trophy collection is growing ever bigger. Plus, with the one-millionth MX-5 having rolled down the production line inApril, the world’s best-selling two-seater sports car continues to win the hearts of customers and media alike.

Featuring Mazda’s award-winning SKYACTIV technology, the all-new MX-5 two-litre petrol engine and lightweight chassis ensure new levels of performance and economy. At the same time the latest MX-5 meets ever-increasing safety refinement requirements.

What’s great about the MX-5 is that its price means it’s an achievable aspiration for many who would normally be locked-out of the roadster sector. When it was launched in 1990 the 115ps Mk1 MX-5 cost £14,249 (equal to £31,687 in today’s money), yet 25 years later with vastly more standard equipment, the all-new Mazda MX-5 costs from £18,495.

There may not be enough space to store a shopping bag but the cabin is still stunning with black leather and red stitching, heated seats and more technology than you will ever need, housed in an easy-to-understand centre console.

On test was the range topping 160ps, 2-litre Sports Nav model with an on-the-road price of £23,696 which went up to £24,365 when you added metallic paint, leather trim and a safety pack. You could realistically put the car of your dreams on the road for less than £20,000 though.

Outward changes include 17inch alloys, rain sensing wipers, adaptive front lights, dusk sensing headlights, rear parking sensors and body coloured door mirrors along with a few stylish curves that weren’t there on the previous model.

Folding the roof down proved a simple procedure and even with it folded there was enough volume from the Boss sound system to run a small disco with nine speakers blasting out sound.

And you won’t be disappointed with the performance. There was a top speed of 133mph on the test model and 0-62mph in only 7.3seconds with combined cycle fuel figures of over 40mpg and CO2 emissions of 161g/km.

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