Category winner

From its quick, easy roof mechanism to its unfettered yet effective petrol engine and smart interior, simplicity is what makes the MX-5 stand out among convertibles.

That sense of purpose also comes through in the driving experience, which is head and shoulders above either of our other contenders’.

And while the MX-5 can’t match the Audis for material quality or refinement, you’ll be having too much fun to care. Add in the MX-5’s excellent value, efficiency and everyday usability and you can see why this roadster is easily the best convertible on sale today.

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THAT OUR CONVERTIBLE of the Year from 2017 is in the running again should come as no surprise.

Beneath its taut styling, the MX-5 has one of the most agile chassis around, with a terrifically responsive front end that darts into corners and lots of grip.

Both of the MX-5’s engine options are gems; we prefer the 2.0 for its extra low-down shove, but even the 1.5’s willing nature makes it a joy to drive. And because neither engine is all that powerful, you can have fun in the MX-5 without fear of losing your licence.

The MX-5 fits its convertible brief well, too, with a simple manual fabric hood that can be flipped up and down in seconds from the driver’s seat. And while space is a bit tight, softly sprung suspension ensures the ride is comfortable, while the combination of a lightweight body and super-efficient engines means that the MX-5 costs peanuts to run.

True, there are roomier convertibles in this price bracket – the Mini Convertible, for one. But what the MX-5 lacks in space, it makes up for elsewhere by offering real character for a relatively low price.

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