We go topless in the entertaining Mazda MX-5

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By: Charles Molefe

I have always been envious of people who have acquainted themselves with the legendary Mazda MX-5 popularly known as the Miata in the United States of America. Wherever you spot the MX-5 you are more than likely to see a horde of admirers or owners who are giving each other tips on how to string out more performance or in most cases discussing who has the most unique MX-5.

The first iteration of the MX-5 was introduced to the market in 1989 and stayed in production up until 1997, in many ways, this proves how successful this little roadster is. Mazda has created a product that easily ticks off all the boxes in the below categories.

  • Roadster 
  • Flamboyant cruiser
  • Track day car. 

As I slid into the MX-5, I was highly pleased that I was in a familiar place, the interior feels a lot like the Mazda 3 Astina plus, if that is anything to go by you already know that you will be in a good space, albeit a bit tight. 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, however, there lies the problem, as soon as you depress the engine start button and let the naturally aspirated 2.0L engine fire up, you immediately fall in love.

Aesthetics

When you look at the MX-5 you are quickly lured by its presence and I am sure that the ability to open up the roof has a lot to do with it,  you often have the urge to touch, feel and very often ogle at the car, this is a very good-looking piece of machinery, in spite of its petite measurements,  it stands out well above the crowd.

The interior is laden with technology such as, automatic headlights, Bluetooth connectivity, heated seats and a host of other nifty tech bits that promote this roadster into the higher spheres of its class. For entertainment purposes you have the extremely user-friendly audio control panel that is centred on the dashboard, you are able to link your mobile phone to either Apple Carplay or Android Auto, this does come in handy. Coupled with the ease of pairing your device to the car you also have a nine-speaker audio system from none other than Bose.

The MX-5 is the first convertible/roadster I have had on test, I have always argued with myself regarding open-top vehicles, do they make sense and is the prospect of having one parked in your garage a sensible choice? Well, in this case, the MX-5  managed to sway me into believing that this is a good choice.

It was very seldom that the little roadster didn’t attract attention, not to mention the numerous compliments that were thrown its way, everywhere I went, the car was welcomed with jubilation and not surprisingly admiration.

Performance 

The MX-5 is powered by a 2.0L naturally aspirated motor that produces 118kW and 200Nm of torque. A number of consumers have often said that there is no way that those power figures are enough, unfortunately, consumers tend to believe that astronomical power figures are the answer to everything. 

Let me attest to my experience with those so-called measly power figures, to begin, the MX-5 tips the scales at 960 kg, the lack of weight helps propel this vehicle to the big three in a claimed 8.6 seconds, this is more than enough to challenge any poser who is fooled into thinking that power is all you need to be part of the performance league.

What makes the experience even more immersive is the distinct exhaust note linked to the tireless engine that is very keen on rising up the rev range, with a redline north of 6900 rpm your aural senses are always catered to.

The most entertaining aspect of this car’s performance is its ability to carve out corners and handle like it’s on rails, you receive a lot of feedback from the steering wheel and this enables you to push the car a little more than normal.

Many a time I approached corners carrying a little bit too much speed, however, the traction control was always there to reign in the horses and keep you on the straight and narrow, the ease of squeezing out the best out of the little roadsters is a good enough reason to justify the sales numbers of the MX-5, not many cars out there are able to bring you back to the straight and narrow and I am very pleased with how playful and controllable this vehicle is.

It’s a pity that no car is perfect, the one gripe I have with the MX-5 is how the cruise control is really not the best out there, it really struggles to maintain the selected speed, I’m not sure if it’s the gearbox that is confused but for some odd reason the gearbox changes, ferociously, trying to maintain the desired cruise speed, I doubt that the constant ratio change does well for fuel consumption and It was a little alarming at times as you are really not expecting the car to gear down and increase the revs so frequently, I tried many scenarios to test if I was at fault but unfortunately not, there wasn’t much else I could do to avoid the surprising gear changes.

Summary

To be honest, it didn’t take long for the MX-5 to convince me why it is such a great vehicle, the worldwide sales figures speak wonders and I have no doubt 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 have them in their yards.

Would I buy the vehicle and get rid of my daily drive? In a heartbeat, it really is a no brainer, this vehicle digs deep into your intrapersonal sphere and grants you access to feel alive again, something very few cars have managed to do. I will gladly say that albeit my first test in a roadster, this is one vehicle that has had me smiling from ear to ear.

Features

  • Advanced keyless entry.
  • 7-inch touchscreen display.
  • Lane departure warning.
  • Daytime running lamps.
  • Retractable hard-top.

Gottagged rating

7.8 / 10

Pricing

From R 538 200,00

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