Mazda MX-5 car review: ‘It’s dead cute’ – The Guardian

Posted: Saturday, June 04, 2016

I don’t know how you can tell that a car has got lighter, I imagine in the same way that you can tell down the phone that a relative has put on a few pounds. The Mazda MX-5 has dropped 100kg on its previous incarnation, and treads the roads like the only size zero at a party. It is dead cute. The shape is classic and unfussy, with the edges rounded to smooth out what would otherwise be an aggressive amount of cool. Things I hate about sports cars (the manufactured and unnecessary growling, the awkward getting in and out), I loved in this sports car – and not only because it is small. It has a dynamism that you ought to expect from its two-litre engine – a huge amount of horsepower for its size – but still surprises.

It’s a two-seater, of course, and the driving posture is absurdly racy, a practically Formula One curve to the seat, so that it holds you like a baseball glove. If your driving persona is pretty diffident – I would just as soon be on a bus, staring out of a window – you may be horrified to discover how much you enjoy yourself. Economies of space have necessitated some odd positioning: the CD player is behind you. (While we’re here, who listens to CDs these days?) But all that, plus the fact that you can’t fit both your children in the car and they have to follow you in an Uber like dalmatians, is petty detail. The rest of the controls are intuitive and simple.

Being so low-slung on the road makes you feel cunning and feline. However fast you’re going – really, right down to 17mph – you have the sense of outpacing everyone. The acceleration is magnificent, and there’s a different kind of fun at every speed, so I found myself trying to choose my favourite gear (fourth, since you ask). The traction is so grippy and the handling so sure that you become one with the road, though that doesn’t mean you share every bump and tribulation. It’s surprisingly resilient and cushioned, at least the Recaro is.

The downsides are as you’d expect: emissions aren’t disastrous, because it’s so teeny, but you could do a lot less planet damage in a more responsible vehicle. The boot is deeper than you’d think, but still titchy and the wrong shape for anything with a shape of its own (you could fit pillows in it, basically). But you didn’t buy it to look responsible or move furniture, did you? You bought it to look and feel like a Viking, and wham, you do.

Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5 gear stick


On the road price: £22,695
Top speed 133mph
Acceleration 0-60mph in 7.3 seconds
Combined fuel consumption 41mpg
CO2 emissions 161g/km
Eco rating 5/10
Cool rating 10/10

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