I recently had the chance to drive the Mazda MX-5 for the first time in almost six years. For once its arrival proved very timely as it coincided with a summer heatwave, meaning the roof was hardly ever up. Even at midnight we were driving happily home with the roof down.
I won’t go into any detail with this blog item, as you can read my longer review of the Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe here
, but the years have worn well for the MX-5. Aided by the weather, it was such an enjoyable few days that I started working out our car-owning needs as a household.
Do we have a vehicle that can keep us going in the winter? Check. Do we need a second vehicle that can keep us going in the winter? Maybe not. Do we have a vehicle that we can really enjoy on summer drives? No.
One of my requirements was a metal-folding roof. There have been two fabric tops in our family motoring history and while both have been remarkably good, I prefer the security and, usually, better visibility of a metal roof.
It all seemed to point to trading in my car for a Mazda MX-5, then we hit one stumbling block. My wife pointed out there is no place to put the dog. A chihuahua might just be able to sit with its tail end in the storage box behind the gap between the front seats, but our dog had no chance.
There then followed a period of studying used car lists and trying to remember what sports cars had two seats, plus doggie space! (The answer is very few.) Then we began to get silly. What sports cars are there that have that space and four-wheel-drive, so that we could still get up our drive in the ice and snow.
That seemed to leave us with the Porsche Carrera 4 and the need to organise a bank raid.
Yes, almost six years on from first driving the Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe its appeal is still strong.
Despite my attempts to add four-wheel-drive and dog stowage space into the equation, I believe a strong part of the Mazda’s charm is its purity and simplicity.
It is, as I alluded last time, the archetypical British sports car of the 1960s, that just happens to be made in Japan. That’s because the motor industry in the UK forgot what it was good at and killed off the Austin-Healeys, MGs and Triumphs that were strong sellers around the world.
Prices for the Mazda MX-5 start at £19,995 for the 1.8-litre, rising to £23,095 for the 160 PS 2-litre. This bigger engine car does 0-62 mph in a reasonably brisk 7.9 seconds, with a top speed of 136. It also comes with a six-speed gearbox (or the option of a six speed automatic).
Combined fuel consumption is 36.2 mpg with CO2 emissions of 181 g/km, putting it into Band I for UK road tax.