Mazda MX-5 2015 review
Fans of the Mazda MX-5 have been waiting with bated breath since pre-orders started for the release of the latest 2015 model, and having checked out the real thing since it went on sale on August 29th, it’s clear that they won’t be left disappointed.
Already touted at the Auto Express annual New Car Awards as ‘Roadster of the Year’, it’s a challenge to find a direct rival for the Mazda MX-5 2015, with competitors of the same quality charging an extra cottage in the Cotswolds and those of the same price failing to live up to Mazda’s superb ride, technological innovations and sense of fun. Some would argue the closest comparison would come in the form of the Toyota GT86, but with no soft-top option and a much heftier bill, it can barely hold a candle to the Mazda’s prowess. Let’s take a closer look at the new 2015 model.
How to improve on perfection? With subtlety it would seem, as Mazda have put faith in their tried and trusted design, making only a few minor but aesthetically welcome tweaks. We like the larger alloy wheels and twinkling LED headlights (saving unnecessary trips to the mechanic as well as the environment), but little else has changed. There is a fluidity – reminiscent of a Spitfire’s wing – to the look of this latest edition, which fits with the classic snarling bumper and compact rear end to leave you in no doubt that this is a predator with some serious bite.
The basic trim offers a comparatively generous package, including 16” silver alloy wheels, dual exhaust and LED headlights as standard. If you’re looking to climb the spec ladder, the SE-L incarnation will give you 17” gunmetal alloys, LED daytime running lights and a strut brace for additional safety on top of the basic package, whilst the Sport Nav version features a whole heap of clever tech additions including rear parking sensors, rain sensing front wipers and an adaptive dusk-sensing headlights.
For a cost-effective option that offers so much in terms of ride quality, you could have almost forgiven Mazda if they’d scrimped on the internal decor.
Not a bit of it – the new MX-5 wrings every last penny out of its affordable price tag, with the SE-L model boasting Bluetooth connectivity, dual USB ports, rear parking sensors, climate control and a 7.0” colour touchscreen display to give it everything a top-range new car should have. If you want a splash of luxury to accompany your techno-wizardry, the top-of-the-range Sport trim will see you reclining into racing seats with tactile leather upholstery, and enjoying the crystalline sounds of a Bose surround-sound system.
The understandable economy when it comes to internal storage options is more than made up for by ample boot space. This is an improvement on the previous model, and is uninhibited by an opened roof, making summer weekend breaks ideal. Mazda have kept the low seating position that makes you feel glued to the asphalt, and even tall drivers will find they have plenty of space.
On the road
It’s not a proper roadster unless the rear-wheel drive makes you cling on round corners as the back wheels slip out subtly beneath you. The Mazda delivers superior driving dynamic to many of its more expensive counterparts, and we agree with commentators who say it’s the best handling model since the original Mk I in 1989. With a smooth six-speed gearbox, it’s ideal for the UK’s winding roads and wet weather, giving enough grip to handle even the sharpest of turns.
With a combined fuel consumption of 47.1mpg, new Mazda MX-5 owners can boast a CO2 emission rate of just 139g/km in order to enhance their green credentials. This does not mean compensating on power, however, as even the 1.5 litre version revs up to 7,000rpm to give a thrilling injection of pace. Despite the comparisons to the Mk 1, one area that remains undisputed is pure power. Whereas the 1.6 litre original generated a steady 114bhp, the 2.0 litre MX-5 2015 can crank up to a hefty 158bhp, beating the original in a recent track test despite being given a four second handicap.
The Mazda MX-5 2015 is in a league of its own when it comes to enthralling yet affordable driving experiences. Its charm is such that any minor objections you could find simply add to the persona of this rocking roadster.
One final comparison to the Mk 1 further boosts the MX-5 2015’s standing as of ‘Roadster of the Year’: in 1990 the going rate for this car started at £14,249; today it is £18,495. No surprises there you might say, but factor in 25 years’ worth of inflation and you’ll see that the 1989 MX-5 would be worth around £31,687 had it gone on sale today. Mazda have made a souped-up variant of a car that has always been thought of as an affordable option punching above its weight, but at almost half the price. Power for a pittance – who could refuse?