Inside the Mazda MX-5, the changes are more material than functional. The cabin remains quite snug and people over 6ft tall might find the legroom a little on the short side, although the door pockets have now been changed to allow for more leg space, width ways.
With the exception of the Sport Tech and Power Shift models, the hip-hugging, sports seats are generally fabric covered and for the driver, there is height adjustment to go with the rake-adjustable steering column. The previous piano black surfaces of the Mazda MX-5 have been changed to a dark silver finish and the instrument dials have new graphics. All of this is aiming towards a more up-market look, an idea that is accentuated by the use of silver highlights on the comfort control dials and a bit more padding on the doors and high, central tunnel, armrest.
It certainly looks smart and functional and, with its high-level gearshift and 'proper' handbrake, it feels sporty even before you get in. Getting in is not the problem but for the less agile, getting out may require a helpful push, but before you get to that stage, there is a problem with storage.
The Mazda MX-5's glovebox is quite small but there are lidded cubbies behind both seats and mid-bulkhead, although I doubt that any would hold an average size handbag. Furthermore, while moving the seats to get to the outer storage bins is easy enough, it is a little irritating that they don't return to their original position. Depending on the size of the occupants, there could be some space behind the seats but it is far easier to use the 150-litre capacity boot.
The soft-top roof with heated glass screen, folds into its own section leaving a flat surface. It is a manual operation that, although simple and quick enough, requires the engine to be turned off and some external adjusting to complete the task. The Mazda MX-5 Roadster coupe's roof, on the other hand, is opened and closed by means of a button. Furthermore, it takes just 12 seconds and doesn't impinge on the boot space.
The Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe stands 10mm taller than the soft-top but thanks to some clever weight-saving measures, it is just 37kg heavier. Moreover, the ideal, 50:50 front and rear weight distribution remains the same, so the dynamics and stability aren't compromised in any way. And that becomes evident around town and well before the inevitable, exuberant driving.
The Mazda MX-5 always has and still does have a positive effect on the driver, which I suppose is where the Jinba Ittai comes in. The car feels taut from the get go and the engine noise of some models has been enhanced for an even more sporty experience. It is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, with or without the exhilaration of having the roof down.
This is a 12-year+ news article, from our Mazda archive, which dates back to the year 2000.
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