As the anniversary of the delivery of the MX-5 approaches – and its return to Mazda HQ – in May it seems fitting to appraise its time with AM and also appropriate that it should be given a real test of its abilities.
Not the trifling sub-10 miles commute or shuffle round Peterborough town centre, but a seven hour marathon return trip to Liverpool on a dealer visit.
Unfortunately I knew just a few miles up the road when I reached Oundle that I realised the 350-plus mile trip was not going to be a breeze.
The relatively cramped conditions were taking their toll on my left leg and with very little wriggle room it was something I was going to have to get used to. The heated seats were a boon, promoting blood flow to the aching leg.
Skirting Birmingham, in the rain, congestion and sometimes snow I reached a Zen-like state, accustomed to the pain.
Another point that became obvious was the need in a small space for every touch point for arms, legs, hands, back etc to be comfortable.
Luckily the MX-5’s touch points were not causes of more pain: the centre storage unit cover is padded as are the door sills.
A plus-point in the challenging conditions was the hard roof.
To be cocooned more substantially than in a canvas hood brought comfort benefits in dreadful weather and from the gutsy grumble of the 2.0-litre engine working hard on a busy M6.
A near-12 months in our hands has led to some wear and tear. A squeak somewhere behind the right ear has developed recently, perhaps in the suspension.
Despite the challenging drive, in admittedly extra-ordinary circumstances, there has been practically nothing to complain about in the MX-5 despite the potential limitations presented by its size.
In fact the opposite has been the case: we’ve admired the handling, performance, the engine note is engaging without being intrusive, the roof adjustment mechanism is one of the best and quickest on the market, and the standard equipment generous.
There was one quibble around how economical the engine is –returning an official 36.2mpg and ‘real life’ a little lower than that– but Mazda aims to address that this year with the introduction of ultra-efficient Skyactiv engines.