The Mazda MX-5 is, quite simply, one of the best loved and most recognisable sports cars you can buy. In fact, the original model won the Sports Car award in our 1991 What Car? Car of the Year awards, and the latest fourth-generation returned to win our Convertible Car category in 2016, 2017 and 2018. It’s safe to say, then, that it’s earned its sporting stripes, with a focus on plastering a big, silly grin on your face.
While you can find drop-tops such as the Mini Convertible and Fiat 500C for similar money (if not less), neither offers quite the same traditional sports car appeal. There's also the option of the Mazda MX-5 RF, reviewed separately, which stands for Retractable Fastback; in other words, a metal folding roof rather than a fabric roof. It's a little more expensive, but provides a desirable alternative to the soft-top that makes sense all year round.
Buyers can choose between a 1.5 or 2.0-litre petrol engine, both of which promise enough poke for you to have fun without fearing for your licence. Neither is a real powerhouse, but that’s no issue, considering that the MX-5 weighs about the same as a city car.
If we’ve piqued your interest, carry on reading over the next few pages to get the complete rundown of what’s good, and not so good, about owning an MX-5. And if you decide that it’s the sports car for you, head over to our New Car Buying pages, where you could land yourself a tidy saving on the list price.