We Brits have long had a love affair with the open top two seater sports car – just think back to Lotus, MG or Triumph. But ever since the early '90s only one car has truly captured the nation's heart; the Mazda MX5.
Mazda has shaved over 100kg off the weight of this 4th generation model, meaning that entry level versions weigh as little as the Mark 1 from 1989 – an impressive feat given the added bulk of the modern safety kit.
Amazingly, though, it's managed to keep the interior looking pretty luxurious. You can have heated leather seats, climate control, a Bose sound system and even a satellite navigation system controlled via a BMW iDrive style toggle.
There's a decent amount of space for such a small car, though a lack of glove box means your only real storage area is the cubby-hole between the seats. The MX5's boot has shrunk in size, too. There's now just 130 litres of space on offer, though unlike many convertibles folding the roof down doesn't rob it of space. Speaking of the roof, this model goes back to basics, so no electronic folding car tops here. Simply unclip the top, push the fabric roof behind you and you're ready for top-down motoring.
It's behind the wheel that the MX5 really starts to impress. It's easy to feel how light the whole car is from the driver's seat, and thanks to perfect 50/50 weight distribution it handles incredibly well. The slick gearbox is a joy to use and the precise steering means you relish any opportunity to do some cornering.
There's a choice of two petrol engines: A 1.5 litre with 129bhp, or this 2 litre with 159bhp. We'd pay the nominal sum extra to have the 2 litre, though the lighter 1.5 arguably offers a driving experience closest to that of the original MX5. Regardless of which you choose, they both have enough power to entertain the average driver and sound pretty sporty, too.
That's what we think of the Mazda MX5, but what about a couple of potential customers? Jump to 2:30 in the video above to find out what they thought of the car.
October 1, 2015