Now in its fourth generation, the long-awaited MX-5, which is also called the Roadster in Japan, is back and we take it out for a little spin.
Referencing to the first generation model and using Mazda's Skyactiv engineering programme, the new MX-5 is much smaller and lighter than its predecessor. At 55mm shorter than the first generation model, It’s the most compact MX-5 yet and, save for the original, the lightest at a little more than 1,050kg.
With that in mind, you wouldn't really expect it to have lots of cabin space. And yes you are right. There really isn't much space in here but hey, we aren't complaining. In actual fact, I grew to like the coziness as the day went by.
Importantly, the driving position is almost spot on. You sit low and snug in the sports seat but some might find the non height adjustable seats a little restrictive.
Good to still find proper cupholders despite the premium in space.
Speakers built into the headrest ensure that you can hear what's on the radio when the roof is down.
One of the best features the MX-5 is its ability to go topless in a few seconds. I love how you can stow the roof and latch it back up with just one hand.
The MX-5 doesn't have many negative points but if you look hard enough, you can still find a couple of them. While not critical, having the pedals slightly offset to the right mars the driving experience slightly.
On the topic of pedals, I got to sample both the manual and automatic variant and my vote goes to the manual transmission. With a positive throw action of the gearlever and a very manageable clutch, its a joy to savour the mechanical interaction going on when you drive it hard. Meanwhile, the automatic blunts the performance slightly and can be a little slow to react when you request for gearchanges.
If you opt for the six-speed automatic, there is a "Sports" mode that you can toggle on and off. It increases throttle response and delays the gearbox from shifting up early.
The 158bhp 2.0-litre lump redlines at 6,500rpm. I wish it could rev higher, like how its 1.5-litre variant can go up till 7,500rpm before it runs out of breath.
The exhaust note is on a rorty side but don't expect the car to crack or pop like the european sports cars do when you drive it hard.
17-inch wheels with 45 profile tyres allows the car to have some decent ride comfort while the brakes haul the lightweight car down from speed easily. Meanwhile, I have no complains about the quick-ratio electromechanical power steering which felt sharp and confident all the time.
Having 200Nm of torque at your disposal might sound a little stingy but with only so little weight and a rev happy engine, I barely found the car wanting in terms of acceleration. Besides, a century sprint figure of 7.3 seconds sounds pretty decent to me. And, when driven sensibly, it is possible to achieve a realistic 12km/L!
With all said and done, you could probably guess that we love the new Mazda MX-5 quite a bit. I mean, in today's tech-laden and heavy cars, the charm of something small, simple that drives well is really refreshing. Beside, what else looks as good as it at this price?
Oh, on a side note, you might even be able to slip through some parking gantries with its low height ;)