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Mazda MX-5 (2.0-litre Sport Tech Nav Roadster) review

Andrew Unsworth
24 Sep 2013

A bargain two-seat convertible that’s as exciting and engaging as ever, though there are some minor annoyances

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The car’s road holding is such that we never caused the tail to swing wide, but we feel there are few roads, especially in southeast England, where you can safely exploit the MX-5’s full potential. This makes it an ideal trackday car. The only thing we’d improve are the brakes. They’re perfectly adequate when moving through town and in general use, but we’d prefer greater stopping power for braking at higher speeds.

Body roll was minimal, and the ride was comfortable whether we were gently stop-starting through town or enjoying a 60mph cruise along a country road. The suspension dealt with bumps and pot holes with aplomb, damping them so that you’re made aware of their presence and can feel the road beneath you without giving you or your passenger a spinal injury. Indeed, it’s a fantastic combination of comfort and sports car rigidity, and neither we nor our passengers had any complaints, even after a few hours at the wheel.

Mazda MX-5 Driving Roof Up

The MX-5’s steering is incredibly light, which makes parking even easier than you’d expect it to be in a small car, but it can feel a little numb. Visibility is also excellent, thanks to large wing mirrors and the fact there isn't much room between the rear window and the large rear-view mirror.

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You don’t expect a small, two-seat sports car to be overly luxurious, and the MX-5 isn’t. However, it does have almost everything that modern drivers demand, such as electric windows, air-conditioning, comfortable seats and a multifunction steering wheel.

Mazda MX-5 Heated Leather Seats

Cars with Sport Tech trim, such as ours, even have heated leather seats, which should make winter cruises with the roof down more comfortable than they’d otherwise be. The seats are very comfortable, and although there’s ample lateral support (important when tackling those corners) it isn't tight on your back.

The MX-5's steering wheel is suitably small, and its multifunction controls are ideally located to let you change tracks, adjust volume and set cruise control. The only thing missing are telephone controls, as telephony is only available on Sport Tech Nav models, and is not built into the car as standard. Sport Tech Nav models support telephony through their TomTom head units and have a small microphone glued to the top of the steering column to facilitate calls. Steering wheel-mounted telephone controls are essential for modern drivers, so we hope to see them on the next MX-5’s steering wheel.

Mazda MX-5 Steering Wheel

The MX-5’s cockpit is a very pleasant place to be, but it isn't perfect. There are a few annoyances that detract from the pleasure of driving it, such as the way the driver's sun visor hits the rear view mirror when you extend it fully to the window, which is maddening. We were also plagued by the foot rest, which we often caught with our foot whenever we used the clutch pedal. Even when you get used to it, and know it’s something you must avoid, you can still feel the foot rest next to your foot when operating the clutch. Given that we have size nines, we think those with larger feet will have an even greater problem. Thankfully, the foot rest can be unscrewed and removed, and this is something we’d be tempted to do if we owned an MX-5.

Mazda MX-5 Cockpit Shot

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