I've owned my MX-5 for around 4 years now, and it really is an excellent car to drive - especially on open B-roads. The seating position is perfect (and I'm just under 6ft tall), the cornering is precise and involving, and it's very comfortable even on long journeys. However, being a typical front engine RWD roadster, don't take it out on icy / snowy roads, even at a crawl the back end loses grip but it's easy to correct the oversteer. Seems ok in the wet though, but I wouldn't recommend going nuts! 0-60 is around 8 seconds, so faster than your average road car, but nothing to write home about. But then you buy this car for it's fun factor, rather than racing others off at the lights! Running costs aren't bad either for what it is (although you can't compare this to a more sensible car), returning a combined MPG of around 31 depending on how heavy your right foot is. Whilst servicing costs are very similar to smaller, less powerful hatchbacks, the servicing intervals are every 9,000 miles which is quite frequent compared to more modern cars. Tax is £270 per year, so that's not cheap either. The interior is of high quality with clear, well positioned dials.
The only (well known) downside is rust. Mk2 MX-5's rust like hell (even when only around 6 - 7 years old). before buying, check the rear arches for rust and keep drain holes clear. My brake cable is starting to rust now, so keep an eye on the underside too.
I recently took the plunge and bought a 2003 MX-5, having originally been looking at a pre-2000 Mercedes SLK and BMW Z3. I am far from disappointed with it.
The driving experience is superb. The handling is great, the steering nicely weighted and communicative, and the ride surprisingly compliant. As you would expect for an open top there is a little bit of scuttle shake, but its not bad, especially if you have a roll bar fitted.
I've had the car now for three months, and because its not my only car I don't use it that much. Fuel consumption has been quite reasonable - probably better than my main car in fact, but then you don't really buy a car like this for its fuel economy. Insurance is also very reasonable.
When all is said and done the MX-5 is a two seater, and if you're over 6 foot tall you're going to struggle to get comfortable in the driver's seat. The boot is quite small, though you can squash a fair bit in with some effort and planning. Quality is very good, as can be seen from the condition of my 5 year old, 60,000 mile example.
Overall, and excellent little car, as long as you don't have unrealistic expectations about practicality.
The car is fantastic to drive, it looks good and the running costs aren't too bad, the build quality is second to nothing i have ever owned.
The alloys do however bubble which is a common fault on all Mazdas that i see so must be made cheaply. But aside from that my wife and i love it.
Having driven and owned cars ranging from a Rover Metro to Ford Ka's, and more recently three Mazda's in succession: a 1989 Mazda 626 2.0l, a 1998 Mazda 323F 1.5, and now this 1.8 S Mazda MX-5.
Compared to these other cars, the handling and the feel of the car when you drive is superb, the engine does like to be worked to get the most out of it, but it also doesn't burn oil and fuel as readily as some of the other roadstars you can buy (for substantially more I may add e.g. Porsche, BMW Z3, Audi TT).
Again, being my 3rd mazda, and like the previous 2, the running costs and reliability is fantastic. They go in for the service yearly, and they come back fine with little or no problems.
This is well worth it, and certainly reliable and cheap to run too, you can't go wrong with a Japanese car!
Order a brochure, find your nearest dealer or book a test drive
Amazing car, once driven, never forgotton, forget all the pretenders like BMW Z4 and Mercedes SLK, they will never have the passion of a Porsche
I love this car! Handling is great, its fun to drive and even reasonably practical!