I had a Mk1 MX-5 for seven years until I wrote it off in a minor shunt (one bashed panel is enough when a car is 15 years old, sadly). Now I have a new Venture Edition 1.8.
The good news is that it feels a lot like the Mk1 to drive, but the suspension has been much improved and it is rather supple on rough roads, even with its 17" pram wheels. The 1.8 has enough power and is cheaper to tax, and more reliable, than the 2.0 version. Under the bonnet it's all basic stuff - no turbo and indirect multipoint injection, so it should be as reliable as the legendary Mk1. The gearing is something else Mazda has improved - it now does only 3000rpm on the motorway in 5th gear, instead of an unsettling 3650 in the original car. This is possible because of variable valve timing and variable intake geometry, which help a lot with the torque curve.
Inside it has heated leather seats, climate control, satnav, cool red dash lighting and everything you could ever want. Yes, you have to fold the tan mohair roof down by hand, but at least it still looks good with it up (the Roadster Coupe is rather ugly like that) and it's quicker than an electric roof anyway.
It exceeded the claimed mpg straight out of the showroom. Expect over 40mpg on decently long trips. Not many petrol cars will really exceed that by much, whatever the exaggerated claims are.
The bad stuff: £200 to tax, it's not as pretty as the Mk1 and (amazingly) MX-5s can rust badly, so get yours treated when new.
My MX-5 is an 06 plate with 39k miles on the clock and It drives like it just rolled off the production line. I've owned a lot of sports cars over the years and the MX-5 is the pick of the bunch. Mazda have got the formula absolutely bang on which is why they have sold 900,000 of them. I had a Porsche Boxter before, can't fault it as a great car to drive but pound for pound as an overall package the MX-5 is leagues ahead. This is the Mk 3 version with 160 bhp, which is more than enough to beat just about anything off the mark and the chassis has the ability to lose cars 4X it's value on country roads. My mate in a Jag XK disappeared in my rear view mirror. I'd recommend indulging in a set of Yokohama Advan Neovo AD08 tyres. Yokohama is the preferred choice of Mazda and this tyre has been voted the best handling street tyre in the world. Also keep it serviced by Mazda official dealers, which aren't the cheapest but it will maintain it's bullet proof build quality, give you years of trouble free motoring and maintain it's strong residual value. Practicality wise it has everything you can possibly want. Well shaped boot, lots of useful storage inside. Fantastic driving position once you are in, I'm 6' 2 1/2" so a bit of a climb down and out and women will find a graceful exit a work in progress. Everything well laid on on the dash, very functional and clear and great sound system. It's a car that puts a big grin on your face, stunning to look at and drive, Faultless.
Purchased new with whopping discount so it was such great value for money. Owned now for over three years and is everything I could hope for from a small sports car. You do need to push the 1.8 engine hard to get it to respond but it doesn't disappoint.It is economical,comfortable and such a pleasure to drive. The hood can be lowered and raised in seconds and with such a powerful heater, even in the winter top down motoring can be enjoyed. I have so much fun in this car whether driving like a pensioner(which sadly I am) or giving it a bit of wellie on the motorway(always within the speed limit of course) and feeling like I am in a racing car.
I can't fault the MX5,it looks great, goes well, is cheap to buy and run, is reliable and gets lots of comments, and is so user friendly to own. Everyone should try one of these before they die.
I would love to say I love this car and most of the time I do. It's good fun, it's fast, it looks great, it's comfy and with the top down it turns heads. So why don't I love it. I brought this one from new in 2006 after owning my previous one for 5 problem free years. Unfortunatley this one has not been the same. It's had no major problems but the ones it has had have been long winded in correcting. Leaking roof which took 5 times back to the dealership to find, resulting in a new roof. Annoying rattle from the centre console just behind yur left ear, 7 times in the garage but still rattling. Knocking from the front brakes, turned out to be a known fault with the brake mounting, after a lot of fighting Mazda they finally decided to pay for the repair. After only doing 21K I now don't know whether to cut my losses and sell but nothing else out there looks as much fun.
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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!