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Your Year Round Companion The MX-5

Dec 8, 2007
After a 17-year-long love affair with motorists the world over, some might question why it's taken Mazda so long to propose an even better version of their neat little MX-5. But they have...

And now, just when you thought your relationship with the world's best selling roadster was ticking along quite nicely, there's another suitor on the horizon for your affections. It's got all the attributes and foibles you've got used to over the years as you've driven around in your MX-5. Only now, with its retractable hard top that takes just 12 seconds to transform it to top up or top down motoring, it'll happily be your partner all year round.

For a car that's had cult status since it was launched back in 1989 there have been surprisingly few changes over the years.

The car launched just a year ago at the Geneva Motor Show was only the third incarnation, hence giving credence to the phrase 'if it ain't broke don't fix it'. It's in the Guinness Book of Records as the most successful open two seater vehicle ever, with over 750,000 sold. The concept then has worked well. 50:50 weight distribution, north south engine placement, classic two seater design with a long bonnet and short rear end and its manually retractable soft top. But we all get a bit lazy with age, don't we? It was no hardship to raise or lower the soft top, especially on the latest version launched last year, when you literally just threw it back and it all fell into place.

But in a major concession to the, quite frankly, lazy motorist, all you have to do on this model is release the latch and press a button. Simple as that. Mazda are convinced they will expand their world wide fan base of the MX-5 with this version, appealing to those who've never owned an MX-5 but find the thought of open top roadster fun quite appealing, with the fall back of the added comfort a hard top offers. Where it scores big time is in not needing to take up valuable boot space, which is at a premium in a car like the Mazda anyway. The hard top drops into the space behind the two comfy seats, leaving the boot volume the same as the soft topper. Spatial economy or what?

Our test car dished up plenty of fun during its spell and even thought the weather was typically British we still managed a spell of top down running as the sun made a short and quite frankly feeble attempt to cheer everyone up. With the aircon not even on high setting and with the side windows up, the roadster showed what a great fun car it is to drive, its punchy six speed gearbox picking the ratios with a satisfying click, and the car displaying its inbuilt ability to corner swiftly and safely.

There's a choice of three powertrains - 1.8i or 2.0i with five speed gearbox, or the 2.0i Sport with six speed box. Prices start from 18,210 on the road, which represents a relatively modest 1,200 premium over the soft top model. Every model has stylish alloys to give it the premium appearance it deserves, and every model has an ipod connector in the glovebox which is linked to the steering wheel mounted audio controls. So you can listen to your favourite tunes through a top drawer BOSE sound system while driving your favourite roadster. Top up or top down. Great fun.
About the Author
To see more about new cars and used cars try visiting http://www.motorstoday.co.uk
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