- Incredible handling
- Cheap to run
- Great value for money
- Not the most practical
- Entry-level SE trim doesn’t have much kit
- Some cheap materials in cabin
World’s best-selling roadster is better than ever
The Mazda MX-5, since its first introduction in 1989, has become a motoring icon. The compact front-engined, rear-wheel drive convertible is one of the best-handling production cars, and it’s incredibly fun to drive. It’s not the most practical car, but that’s not what the MX-5 is about. It’s light, exceptional through the corners, and is surprisingly cheap to buy and run. If you want a car that’s going to put a smile on your face whatever the weather, you can’t get much better than the Mazda MX-5.
The latest fourth-generation MX-5 was introduced in 2015, and featured a complete redesign. A new chassis, body design, interior, and retuned engines.
Classy cabin, but not the most practical
The Mazda MX-5 is a car that values fun above practicality, so it’s clear to see why the MX-5 isn’t the best option for those who want useable storage space. Nevertheless, the design is attractive, and there’s plenty of kit as standard.
The dashboard of the MX-5 is much improved over previous models. It’s design is fresh and contemporary, and the quality of materials used is pretty impressive. There’s soft-touch plastics used throughout, and whilst there are some cheaper feeling materials lower down in the cabin, you’d have to go looking for them to find them. It really is a classy cabin, and few buyers will be disappointed.
Space isn’t something the MX-5 claims to be exceptional at. There’s very little in the way of storage space in the cabin, and there’s not even a glovebox or cupholders. The boot capacity is also fairly limited, but there’s enough room for a couple of cabin bags, or a picnic hamper for Sunday drives out into the countryside.
Equipment levels in the MX-5 are pretty impressive, though the most basic SE trim doesn’t come with an awful lot of kit. The next-level SE-L is the one to go for, as it features dual-zone climate control, cruise control, alloy wheels, and an excellent infotainment system, which includes an impressive 7” touchscreen, a DAB radio, and Bluetooth connectivity.
The inside of the MX-5 does exactly what it needs to. It’s not the most practical or spacious, but for a sports car it serves its purpose. The interior design is full quality and is well-built, and there’s still enough room in the boot for some weekend fun.
Exceptional handling ability
The Mazda MX-5 is a car that’s built to be fun to drive, and it excels at its task. There are few cars that are quite as much fun as an MX-5. Steering is exceptionally nimble and precise, and the rear-wheel drive setup makes it grip well through the corners. The sports suspension setup on the Sport models make the MX-5 even more fun, as the suspension is stiffer, reducing body roll to virtually zero when you throw it into a corner.
Comfort levels in the MX-5 are surprisingly good. For a car that’s geared towards performance, it’s actually pretty comfortable. It copes well with speed humps and potholes, even on the stiffest suspension set up. Those who really want comfort will want to stay away from the Sport setup though, as rough, loose surfaces can become uncomfortable, especially on long drives.
Gearbox options in the MX-5 come only in one guise. Drivers who don’t like changing gear won’t like the MX-5, as it comes only with a six-speed manual. This transmission is however one of the best we’ve seen, as it’s sharp, and features a short throw, which make it perfect for changing up and down quickly going in and out of tricky country road corners.
Two punchy petrol engines
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your MX-5, you’ve only really got one option: petrol. There’s two different power outputs to choose from, and both are surprisingly efficient.
If it’s power that you want from your MX-5, the best engine in the range is the 2.0 litre four-cylinder block. This produces 160bhp, and will accelerate you from 0-62mph in just 7.9 seconds. That might not look like the fastest car on paper, but in a car as light and agile as the MX-5, it feels mightily quick out on the open road.
Most people who are considering buying a sports roadster aren’t too interested in the car’s eco-credentials. Nevertheless, the 1.5 litre petrol engine available in the MX-5 is relatively green. It produces just 139g/km of CO2 emissions, which for a sports car is pretty impressive. This model is also the best for money savers, as it offers up to 47.1mpg. That’s more than you’re going to get in some practical family hatchbacks.
Whichever engine you choose to go for in your MX-5, you’re not going to be disappointed. There’s enough power in both engines to keep up with the MX-5’s fantastic handling ability, but those who want to save money over the long run should stick to the lower-powered 1.5 litre petrol.
Exceptionally safe for a sports convertible
Cars such as the Mazda MX-5 aren’t expected to perform well in safety tests. The MX-5 is however, the safest car in its class. With scores of 84% in adult safety, 80% in child safety, and 93% in pedestrian safety, the MX-5 is far safer than both the BMW Z4, and the Audi TT. There’s also roll bars, four airbags, stability control, and an Isofix child seat point as standard.
Excellent value for money, if you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation
For a sports roadster, the MX-5 really is exceptional value for money. Not only is it cheap to buy, it’s also cheap to run. CO2 emissions are, for its class, relatively low, and fuel efficiency is unbelievably impressive. The entry-level 1.5 litre petrol engine returns figures that rivals some family hatchbacks, which is incredible when you consider just how much fun can be had in an MX-5.
Insurance costs in the MX-5 are also pretty reasonable for a sports car. It’s obviously going to be more expensive than your average family car, but it’s not unaffordable. The cheapest model in the range to insure is the 1.5 SE, which is in group 25, whilst the most expensive is the top of the range 2.0 Sport Nav, which is in group 29.
Depreciation is a factor with the MX-5, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Mazda MX-5 remains one of the best sports cars currently on sale in the UK. Not only is it fun to drive, it’s also relatively practical and cheap to run. There isn’t a car out there that can consistently put a smile on your face quite as much as an MX-5 can, especially for the money.
Buying a used Mazda MX-5 online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Mazda MX-5 for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used MX-5. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Mazda MX-5 online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Mazda? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Mazda MX-5, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used MX-5, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Mazda to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.