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All the Mazda MX-5’s limitations melt away on the test drive

Mazda MX-5 RF


Price: £27,165

Engines: 2.0-litre petrol, 161PS

Performance: 0-62mph 7.4secs, top speed 134mph

Transmission: 6sp manual

Fuel effiiciency: 40.9mpg

Emissions: 161g/km CO2


The limitations of having a Mazda MX-5 two-seater as the second car of the household were made evident by the Christmas break.

With boot space totalling 127 litres, accessed by a fairly narrow opening, the MX-5 RF left me an easy, if later judged to be inadequate, excuse for having bought only the smaller items on my wife’s request list.

It also meant my sanity remained at least partly intact during our customary trip to stay with relatives – while the gifts, our three kids and two dogs filled Mrs Rose’s Volvo, I followed in comparative peace, alone in my sports car except for a boot filled by two overnight bags and a half-case of wine.

Family transport clearly is not this Mazda’s forte. But de-stressing is. It’s so light on its toes, nimble yet just supple enough in ride, even though the Sport trim has a stiffer Bilstein suspension set-up and limited slip differential to help power out of bends. Five minutes behind the wheel on an open country road is all it takes for frowns to turn to smiles.

My conclusion is that the test drive is the single most important part of a prospective MX-5 buyer’s experience. I’d hope the roadster has been in Mazda’s portfolio long enough by now for its dealers to have their ideal route mapped out.

There is a sign the network has it covered. Some 4,698 people bought the Japanese two-seater in 2017 – 11% more than the prior year.

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