Often we drive cars that are titled sports saloons but they aren’t really, it is just marketing hype. However, the Mazda MX-5 is a true sports car, with the handling to match. It is very close to perfect. I am sure that there are many motoring pundits and enthusiasts that would disagree and no doubt there are better handling cars but at £18,000 this car is very good.
The MX-5 is not particularly quick but it does offers the right amount of power to be exciting. You can play with the car through bends, steer with the throttle should you desire and the MX-5 does exactly what you expect of it. Being rear wheel drive, in the wet the end will break away, but it is still reassuring. Although, your bad driving is not protected by traction control or ESP (electronic skid prevention).
The MX-5 is a very controllable car and easy to master, the 1.8 sport does feature a Limited Slip Differential and larger 16” wheels and tyres that aid its already considerable grip.
The steering is precise and gives the correct amount of feedback
to the driver always keeping you composed and in tune with the road.
The car is more fun on country ‘B’ road which allow for a more spirited drive; around town the car is fine, although with the roof up visibility can be a pain over your left and right shoulders. The car rides well over speeds bumps and even though the ride is firm it didn’t break my spine over the occasional pot hole. Mazda has stiffened the chassis by 22% over previous models. The car does rattle and creek although this is not intrusive - perhaps I am being a little bit fussy. Most convertible cars suffer from this problem as they lack the rigidity of fixed roof.
At motorway speeds with the roof down you had better tape your wig on as it will blow off, but it is fun for the occasional blast. With the roof up the wind noise is no more than you would expect and you could cover long distances with out too much earache.
This is a 18-year+ news article, from our Mazda archive, which dates back to the year 2000.
If in doubt check with your local Mazda dealer as car prices and technical data will have changed since 2003.
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