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5 things we love about the Mazda MX-5

5 things we love about the Mazda MX-5

About the author

Chris Pollitt is an award-winning automotive word-wrangler, editor of the website Not 2 Grand and a keen collector of crappy old cars.

The Mazda MX-5 has, unbelievably, been around since the late 1980s. And in that time, it has remain largely unchanged.

Yes, the technology and design have moved on, but the essence, the MX-5-ness of it all, that’s as pure today as it has ever been. And that’s special.

Many cars lose sight of their roots as they get older, and usually fatter. Not the MX-5 though. It’s still fun, it’s still charming and it’s still a car that will always, without fail, put a smile on your face.

As such, we love it. But what if we had to but that love into a listicle guise? Worry not, because that’s exactly what we’ve done here. So, here are our top five reasons why we love the MX-5

01 It’s pure

Things have changed a lot since the 1980s. The MX-5, however, isn’t one of them. When it was originally penned, the idea was the capture the magic of a two-seater sports car in its purest form, and that’s something a 1989 MX-5 does just as well as its 2018 counterpart.

Think about other cars and how they get bigger and fatter as the years advance. The MX-5 has never done that. It’s still small, and therefore nimble, light and peppy.

The original goal hasn’t been forgotten over time. If anything, it’s been put at the forefront of the designer’s minds. 

02 It’s simple

KISS – keep it simple, stupid. That’s the MX-5’s motto so it seems. Electronic this and turbocharged that with torque vectoring the other is all very exciting, but it also served to dull the driving experience in some cases.

Mazda has had to concede to things like traction control and ABS, and more involved engine management systems, but even so it hasn’t gone overboard.

It’s fitted what the car needs to be modern, nothing more, nothing less. At its heart a new MX-5 is still the lightweight, basic, front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports car it’s always been. It’s pure. 


03 It’s exciting

We’ve covered the fact the MX-5 is fun, but the other thing to consider is that it’s also exciting. Because it’s stayed true to its roots, the same basic principles have remained. You sit low, to power to weight ratio is good and the chassis is tight.

This means, when you push on, it becomes an exciting little car. You can hunt apexes, rev it to the redline, hang the back end out, whatever you want. And it takes it all and thrills you as it does do.

People think you need big power to achieve big excitement, but that’s simply not true. It’s not about how much power you have, it’s about what you do with it. And the MX-5 uses it well. 

04 It’s reliable

Okay, so the early cars were prone to a bit of rust, but then was every car from the ‘80s and ‘90s? Rust aside, the MX-5 has proven itself as a superbly reliable machine. This comes in part from being a simple beast, but it’s also because the MX-5 was and always has been built to high standards with lots of care and attention.

The new cars are impressive, but jump in one from 1990 and you’ll be staggered by how well it’s put together. There’s pride here, and it shows.

Plus, Mazda’s engineering department is fastidious when it comes to ensuring the mechanicals are the best they could possibly be. Seriously, you just need to service and put fuel in your MX-5 to keep it happy. 

05 It’s customisable 

The desire to be individual is a fundamental part of the human condition. We all want to stand out and be seen, and so does the MX-5. There aftermarket tuning industry is big for many cars, but it’s nothing compared to the MX-5.

If there’s something you want to do to your MX-5 to make it stand out, you can buy all the bits you need with ease. From wheels and suspension through to body-kits and hard-tops, it’s all out there.

But it’s not just visual, you can get all kinds of tuning parts for the engine, too. If you want to go full race, you can, or anything really. The world is your oyster when it comes to the MX-5.