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Dynamite does come in small packages. We spend some time with the explosive Mazda MX-5.

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By: Charles Molefe

The Mazda MX-5, popularly known as the Miata in the United States of America this is a vehicle that has always been a source of envy to me. Usually, the MX-5 is encircled by hordes of admirers that want to share their thoughts and opinions. First introduced in 1989, the MX-5 stayed in production until 1997, proving its success in many ways. Mazda has created a product that ticks the below categories.

  • Exotic.
  • Daily cruiser.
  • Track day tool.

Technology

The below list of features showcases the MX-5’s technology and it further cements its position as a strong competitor in the roadster segment.

  • Premium Bose® 203 watt amplifier with 9 speakers
  • Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS)
  • Hill Launch Assist (HLA)
  • Retractable Hardtop
  • Rear-view mirror with auto-dimming function
  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
  • Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM)
  • Multi-function Commander Control
  • Climate control air-conditioning
  • Daytime running lamps (LED)
  • Emergency Stop Signal (ESS)
  • Headlamps (LED)
  • Headlamps auto on/off function
  • Limited Slip Differential

Aesthetics

Looking at the MX-5 you are quickly lured by its subtle presence, and I was often met with the urge to touch, feel and very often provocatively stare at the car, this is a very good-looking piece of machinery, everywhere I went, the car was welcomed with jubilation and not surprisingly admiration.

The user-friendly entertainment system is a joy to use, you can link your mobile phone and immerse yourself in the Bose nine-speaker audio system. One fascinating feature that came in handy is the built-in speaker in the driver’s headrest, it aids the driver a lot during telephonic conversations irrespective of whether the top is down or not. Speaking of the top, Mazda has engineered the mechanism to open or close the roof in a period of 13 seconds, during the operation a graphic display of the process is displayed and helps you to know when the top is secured.

The interior feels very comparable to that of more premium vehicles, however, If you are a man of size and are planning to purchase this vehicle, I would recommend that you have a test drive before setting your sights on ownership, nonetheless, here resides the emotional challenge, as soon as you depress the start button and let the naturally aspirated engine come to life, you are instantly sold.

Performance 

The MX-5 is powered by the SKYACTIV-G 2.0L motor that produces 118kW and 200Nm of torque. Several consumers have generally said that there is no way that those power figures are enough to induce hair raising moments, fortunately, they are incorrect, bear in mind that the MX-5 tips the scales at 960 kg, the lack of weight helps propel this vehicle to the 100km/h mark in a claimed 8.6 seconds, this is more than enough to challenge some of the hot hatches out there.

What makes the experience even more immersive is the distinct exhaust note linked to the expressive engine that wants to be at the higher echelon of the rev range. With a redline north of 6900 rpm, your aural senses are elevated, in turn, this spurs on an entertaining experience.

The most fascinating aspect of this vehicle’s performance is its ability to carve out corners and handle like it’s on rails. However, this type of performance is available when the traction control is on. There is a healthy dose of feedback from the steering wheel and this enables you to push the car a little more than usual, be wary of the tail-happy MX-5, it is not shy of letting go. Mazda has ensured that this car is predictable and never at any stage will you be left wondering if the car is losing control these attributes can be linked to the even weight distribution and the limited-slip differential that is being used.

It’s a pity that no car is perfect, the one gripe I have with the MX-5 is how the cruise control is not the best, it struggles to maintain the selected speed when you are faced with a slight incline, the gearbox kicks down a cog and the exhaust roars to life, I’m certain that the MX-5’s long gear ratios are to blame for its indecisive moments. 

Summary

It didn’t take long for the MX-5 to convince me why it is such a great vehicle, the growing worldwide sales figures and fanbase speak wonders and I have no doubts why. It is arguably one of the most driver-orientated cars that I have had on test thus far and I am extremely envious of those who are privileged to own them.

The MX-5 grants you access to feel alive again and that is something very few cars have managed to do, this is one vehicle that has had me smiling from ear to ear and the MX-5 managed to convince me that this is a good choice irrespective of other available options.

Gottagged Rating:

8.9 / 10

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