Mazda MX-5 roadster - Interior & comfort
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
As with previous Mazda MX-5s, the driving position of the present model leaves you in no doubt you’re at the wheel of a dedicated sports car. You sit low down, with the pedals spaced close together at your feet and the gearstick at just the right level for your left hand. All this leaves you feeling snug and cocooned, in keeping with the Mazda MX-5 philosophy of making the driver feel at one with the car.
Taller drivers may find the MX-5 too small – those over six foot are likely to find the roof too low and the position of the steering wheel uncomfortable. Mazda updated the car in 2018 and added reach adjustment for the steering wheel (it previously only adjusted for rake), which should help a wider range of drivers find a comfortable driving position. It remains particularly worth test-driving the car before buying one if you're very tall.
Mazda MX-5 dashboard
Interior quality was a bit of a sticking point in previous generations of MX-5. The dashboard and other cabin fixtures were reasonably solid, but they were made of plastics that felt a bit dull and cheap compared to what was on offer in some rivals. The latest version has raised the game in this area considerably, though, with classier-looking materials used for most of the parts that you see and feel on a regular basis. There are still some lower-quality materials in evidence lower down in the cabin, though.
Anyone who’s driven a Mazda2, Mazda3, Mazda6 or Mazda CX-5 will be familiar with the MX-5’s infotainment system, which has a rotary controller that allows you to scroll through a range of easy-to-read menus to operate many of the car’s on-board systems.
The MX-5’s trim levels were overhauled in early 2020, with even the entry-level SE-L coming well equipped. As standard it comes with black 16-inch alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel, heated cloth seats, electrically heated and folding door mirrors, climate control, cruise control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with sat nav and LED headlights.
The MX-5 Sport specification has chrome interior trim, leather upholstery, a nine-speaker Bose stereo system and extra safety technology such as autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warning.
The MX-5 Sport Tech trim with the 2.0-litre engine benefits from sports suspension, a limited slip differential, Bilstein dampers, a reversing camera, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, heated black leather upholstery with silver stitching, adaptive LED headlamps and 17-inch alloy wheels.
The range-topping GT Sport Tech adds grey metallic BBS alloy wheels, black mirror caps and a new optional ‘Polymetal Grey’ metallic paint. Inside, the leather interior is finished in burgundy with contrasting silver stitching, which also features on the door cards.
A limited edition R-Sport model enhances the 1.5-litre petrol MX-5's specification with a set of unique 16-inch Rays alloy wheels, piano black mirror covers and a grey fabric roof. It only comes in a Polymetal Grey paint colour, with contrasting burgundy Nappa leather upholstery.
The main difference in specification on RF models is, obviously, that retractable hard-top. It only takes 13 seconds to retract and makes the car look striking, both when it’s in place and hidden away. It’s totally automatic, unlike the soft-top, which has to be unlatched from the windscreen header rail before you fold it away – and can be raised or lowered when the car is moving at up to 6mph.
For now, there aren’t many options to choose from except for a range of metallic, pearlised or pearlescent paint choices at £550.
You can also add Premium Connected Services for the sat nav, which includes information on live traffic and weather, and even extends to fuel prices and local search. It’s free for 60 days, after which you need to spend either £75 for a one year subscription, or £115 for three.
The optional six-speed automatic gearbox can’t be specified on the standard MX-5, but is available as a £1,600 option on the MX-5 RF in Sport Tech and GT Sport Tech trim levels.