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.
- Fun to drive
- Sharp styling
- Everyday usability
- Boot is very small
- Some cheap interior finishes
- No automatic gearbox available
The Mazda MX-5 first appeared in 1989 and this latest model is the fourth generation of what has become a hugely popular and iconic affordable sports car. It's shorter, lower, wider and lighter than its predecessor and uses Mazda's advanced SKYACTIV engine technology to return impressive CO2 emissions and fuel economy while still being powerful and fun to drive. Aggressive styling ensures it stands out on the road, while the quality hi-tech cabin borrows much from the Mazda3 family hatchback.