The Mazda MX-5 is the only two-seat sports roadster you can buy for less than silly money, so it’s really in a class of its own. The Toyota GT86 is its closest competitor, and that’s more expensive and unavailable as a convertible.
Any rivals would need to be remarkable to better the fun, lightweight Mazda. It is available with a 1.5 or 2.0-litre petrol engine, both of which offer easily accessible, free-revving performance. The MX-5 is also balanced and light-footed through corners, and comfortable even over broken surfaces. We favour the 2.0-litre model – the small premium is worth it given the sharper handling and punchier performance. Go for it in SE-L trim (or SE-L Nav) and you’ve got one of the best-handling cars short of those sports cars costing twice as much, at a great price and with generous standard equipment levels. Some might wish there was a folding hard-top variant, but the manually operated fabric hood is a doddle to use.