Product Type: Mazda cars
Newest Review: ... superb. You don't sit on the seat; you sit IN the car, very low down. Getting out can be a bit of an effort, however. The seats are very... more
The best way to go 'topless'
Mazda MX-5 1.8i
Member Name: markos9
Mazda MX-5 1.8i
Advantages: Fantastic to drive, reliable, good looking
Disadvantages: Running costs a little high
The Mark 2 MX-5 is, in my (slightly biased) opinion, the best looking MX-5 of them all. The newer version (Mark 3), although a very good car and slightly bigger than the mark 2, looks a bit bloated. It does not look as sleek as the previous version.
I think, in the right colour, that the Mark 2 MX-5 is one of the best looking cars on the road (again, but I'm biased). It has a low slung appearance, and is all organic curves, rather than harsh lines. With the top down, it looks even better. Unlike many other sports cars it does not appear aggressive; rather to me it screams fun.
I found the interior quite a nice place to spend time. The dominant colour is black (actually, almost the only colour) which looks purposeful, I liked it. The instrument panel dials are surrounded by silver, which sets them off nicely. There is not an awful lot of room in here, but the driving position is superb. You don't sit on the seat; you sit IN the car, very low down. Getting out can be a bit of an effort, however.
The seats are very comfortable and good looking, with a reasonable range of adjustments. Anyone over six feet tall may feel a little hemmed in.
The equipment level is acceptable, rather than generous with power steering, electric mirrors and windows, and remote central locking.
Lowering the top is simplicity itself. Unhook two latches and lower with one hand. This is FAR faster than the fancy electrical hoods you see nowadays, and much lighter. It's possible, if you're reasonably strong, to raise the hood with one arm, whilst sitting in the driving seat. This is excellent, as it means you can raise and lower the hood, according to what the weather's doing, without having to pull over and get out (warning, do the hood thing whilst stopped at the lights, not whilst driving).
The running costs are a bit higher than an average supermini, but not as high as more expensive sports cars, a reasonable compromise.
Fuel economy is surprisingly bad. The car is one of the lightest on the road, yet the official combined figure is 32.5 mpg. In normal use, I rarely achieved this. During my ownership, I averaged 27 - 31mpg (ouch!). This hurt when petrol was at its priciest last year.
Insurance is group 13 (I paid £550), and, due to its high CO2 emission figures, it's in band F for car tax which is £210. I did hear that there are changes on the way and that this will increase.
Maintenance costs are not cheap, but not too dissimilar to other marques. I paid £205 for a 24000 mile service which consisted of a few checks and an oil change. Good value for money, not!
Having said that, the car is so reliable, that, other than servicing, there should be few other costs incurred.
I have, of course, saved the best for last. This car is fantastic to drive! It was designed with the philosophy of "Jinba Ittai" which means "rider and horse as one". Driving this thing, with its direct steering, with your backside a few inches from the road surface, really does feel like you're part of the car.
Power is reasonable at 146 bhp which is enough to enjoy the experience. The car has 50:50 weight distribution and rear wheel drive which is (apparently) a great layout for a sports car.
The car holds the road well (in the dry!) and responds well to your inputs, with plenty of feedback from the steering wheel.
With the roof down, it's even better. Driving 'topless', you're not insulated from the elements at all. Your speed seems higher and the view is superb. I found that I tended to drive faster with the roof down than up.
One slight problem is that, as the car is so low slung, you can feel a bit vulnerable on the motorway. I was sometimes unsure if lorry drivers even knew I was there!
In the wet, it can be a different story. The lightness, weight distribution, and rear wheel drive combine to be a bit scary sometimes when its wet. It's possible to find yourself facing back the way you came when going on to a roundabout if you put your foot down. If you're careful, it's fine. Fit good tyres though (I used Goodyear Eagle GSD3's which are recommended for this car and were superb).
Overall, this is a brilliant car. With petrol prices down, the days lengthening, and with spring on the way, I'm regretting selling it!
Summary: A brilliant little sports car.