Mazda MX-5 roadster

Mazda MX-5 roadster

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • Fun to drive
  • Sharp styling
  • Everyday usability
  • Boot is very small
  • Some cheap interior finishes
  • No automatic gearbox available

“The new Mazda MX-5 keeps the model’s signature traits of superb handling, eager performance, sporty styling and low running costs.”

The Mazda MX-5 has barely put a foot wrong since the original version of this popular two-seater sports car debuted in 1989. It's always stuck to the proven formula of a retractable roof, an affordable purchase price, reasonable running costs, light weight, rear-wheel drive and tremendously entertaining handling.

It has few direct rivals – the similarly fun-to-drive Lotus Elise is a lot more expensive to buy, while more conventional convertibles such as the Volkswagen Golf cabriolet and Audi A3 cabriolet aren’t as much fun to drive. The similarly priced Toyota GT 86 also promises affordable, rear-wheel-drive fun, but it's only available as a hard-top coupe, not a convertible. MINI recently announced it would be discontinuing the two-seater MINI Roadster, removing another potential alternative to the Mazda.

The Mazda MX-5 is now in its fourth generation and shows no signs of losing the magic that has helped it to sell nearly a million examples worldwide in the quarter of a century that it's been on sale. This latest version is shorter, lower, wider and lighter than its predecessor, offering the same grin-inducing handling and eager performance that MX-5 drivers have come to expect over the years.

It's possibly the most visually attractive MX-5 to date, too, using Mazda's Kodo design language to create something that's instantly recognisable as an MX-5, yet still bang up-to-date. Narrow headlights and tight, swoopy curves make it look very compact and aggressive – and it looks particularly good in brighter colours such as red, which help to highlight its bold lines.

The new Mazda MX-5 is expected to go on sale in the UK in late summer 2015. Exact specification levels – as well as performance, fuel economy and CO2 emissions figures – have yet to be confirmed, but having driven the car, we can confirm that it shouldn’t disappoint either long-term fans of the MX-5 or those who are new to sports-car ownership.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.2 / 5

SKYACTIV engine technology ensures the new Mazda MX-5 can put a smile on your face without breaking the bank

Engines, drive & performance

4.2 / 5

Light weight means the new MX-5 doesn’t need loads of horsepower to offer a fun and involving driving experience

Interior & comfort

4.8 / 5

A hi-tech, high-quality interior largely borrowed from the Mazda3 hatchback makes the new Mazda MX-5 a comfortable and satisfying place to spend time

Practicality & boot space

3 / 5

Practicality was never a Mazda MX-5 strong suit and that hasn’t changed with this latest model

Reliability & safety

3.9 / 5

Mazda has a long record of producing dependable and safe cars and the new Mazda MX-5 should be no different

Last updated 
30 Jan 2015
Own this car? Leave your review.