The Mazda MX-5 is the world's best-selling roadster, and has been offering value-packed, entertaining driving since it was first launched in 1989. There are 1.8-litre or 2.0-litre engines to choose from, and you can opt for a canvas roof, or a folding hard top – which offers better protection from the elements. Both engines need to be worked hard to extract their performance, but that's part of the fun. The five and six-speed manual gearboxes are very precise. Handling is superb, making the car exciting to drive. The Mazda MX-5 is a strict two-seater, but has a good-sized boot. Equipment levels are OK on the entry-level cars, but you pay extra for air-conditioning. The 2.0-litre car is very well equipped.
- Very reliable
- Lots of fun to drive
- Affordable to run
- Limited boot space
- Basic entry-level version
- Inefficient automatic gearbox
Mazda MX-5 owners have always enjoyed excellent reliability combined with good looks and huge driver enjoyment. Prices are reasonable, especially when you consider the high cost of many rival performance cars that aren't nearly as much fun as the MX-5 to drive. Entry-level models aren't exactly luxurious, but that's part of the Mazda's appeal of back-to-basics fun.