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In-depth reviews

Mazda MX-5 - Interior & comfort

“While the interior is the nicest of any MX-5 so far, it’s starting to feel a little outdated”

Carbuyer Rating

4.2 out of 5

Owners Rating

5.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Interior & comfort Rating

4.0 out of 5

There’s no doubt that the latest MX-5 feels like the most sophisticated and grown-up of any that’s come before it, but it’s now been around for about a decade. The finish and materials used on lower-trim cars can be a little disappointing, but step up to a mid-range car and there’s wider use of stitched leather and some pops of colour that improve things. 

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If you’re coming from a classic MX-5, though, it’s worlds apart – there’s an infotainment screen on the middle of the dash that doesn’t feel too invasive, and while the driver’s dials are still analogue, this will be part of the charm for many buyers. It’s arguably a breath of fresh air in 2024, when many cars are dominated by digital readouts and too much information to know what to do with.

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.

We’d like Mazda to fit the same infotainment system you get in the Mazda3 and Mazda CX-5, but the MX-5 still features the last-generation touchscreen that’s not quite so user-friendly or crisp. The rotary dial is very handy, because it allows you to control the screen without taking your eyes off the road for long periods of time – once you’ve remembered the position of the buttons, that is. With wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in the latest version, however, we expect most owners will rely on these interfaces instead of Mazda’s.

Equipment

There are three trim levels to pick from, with even the entry-level Prime-Line (previously 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, Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay, a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with sat nav and LED headlights. Pre-2020 models in an entry-level spec only get a basic radio, so if you’re buying a used example it’s worth hunting out a version equipped with a touchscreen to enjoy the extra connectivity features.

When fitted with the 1.5-litre engine, the MX-5 Exclusive-Line trim benefits from rear parking sensors, silver alloy wheels, automatic headlights, a Bose stereo upgrade with nine speakers, keyless entry and added safety features. With the 2.0-litre engine, the Exclusive-Line spec increases to include a reversing camera, adaptive LED headlamps, 17-inch alloy wheels and Bilstein dampers.

The range-topping Homura trim (previously called GT Sport Tech) adds grey metallic BBS alloy wheels, black mirror caps and a Light Stone Nappa leather interior finished in light grey with contrasting stitching, which also extends to the door cards.

The main difference in specification on RF models is that retractable hard-top. It only takes 13 seconds to stow away 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.

Options

We’d recommend the optional sports exhaust system, which costs just under £1,000 and makes the engine sound far more exciting, especially with the roof down. There’s also a range of exterior

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Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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