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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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There are few cubby holes in which you can store essential items such as sunglasses and phones. However, the lockable glove box and lockable cubby between the driver and passenger are large enough to store many important possessions. Surprisingly, there’s more room in its 150-litre boot than you’d expect, certainly more than enough room for a few nights away, although you’ll have to use soft luggage such as holdalls rather than suitcases to make the most of it.

Mazda MX-5 Boot With iPad

THIN ICE

Models other than those with Sport Tech Nav trim come with a standard CD and radio, rather than the TomTom satnav and multimedia system fitted to our car, but we must say that we’re not enamoured by it. Although it's a colour system, many of its screens don't use colour well. This makes it difficult to see which tracks or CDs are currently playing.

Thankfully, its navigation map does make good use of colour and is easy to see and understand at a glance. However, the individual screens could be better organised, as it’s often unclear what you should press to get to a particular screen. It wasn't very responsive, either, being too slow to act on our commands, whether we were entering a post code or switching from the navigation to audio screen.

Mazda MX-5 Nav Screen

The MX-5 has a USB extension cable in the glove box to which you can connect your phone or MP3 player. Although it charged our iPhone 4S okay, it couldn't play audio from it, and it wouldn't play tracks from our 2nd-generation iPod Nano either. It would look as if it were playing a track, but it didn't output any audio. The TomTom system has a 3.5mm jack input, so we just played our music through that.

The sound quality of the audio system varies depending on the source material, but it sounded best when playing tracks from our iPhone through the auxiliary port. The sound system is okay, and is plenty loud enough, but we've heard better sound quality from other vehicles, such as the Toyota GT86 and the Renault Clio RenaultSport 200 EDC Lux.

Mazda MX-5 CD Screen

As for telephony, we connected to our iPhone 4S via Bluetooth, and it worked well enough. As there are no steering wheel-mounted telephone controls, it’s not as easy to exploit this feature as it is on newer Mazda models such as the Mazda6.

We prefer the multimedia systems fitted to Skyactiv Mazdas such as the CX-5 and Mazda6, and we hope the next MX-5 has the modern system fitted as standard. As it is, we’d prefer to get the standard CD audio system and then fit an aftermarket multimedia head unit instead.

THRIFTY THRILLS

The Mazda MX-5 is available from a very reasonable £18,495 for the 1.8-litre soft-top version, rising to £23,295 for the limited edition 2.0i Sport Tech Nav model we reviewed. Its insurance band ranges from 21E for the 1.8-litre soft-top to 28E for the limited edition Sport Graphite hard-top model.

The 2.0-litre hard-top’s engine has a claimed fuel economy of 36.2mpg on the combined cycle, which is about right for a car with this level of performance. The 1.8-litre MX-5 has a slightly more frugal fuel economy of 39.8 combined.

Mazda MX-5 Rear Three-Quarters

We're expecting a new MX-5 to be released within the next 15 months, and think now is the time to snap up a bargain model from the current generation. We’re already seeing some great finance deals. Gadget fiends may want to hold off to see what the new model brings, but if you can’t wait to own this charismatic, immensely pleasurable and surprisingly practical sports car, arrange a test drive at your local Mazda dealer now.

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