In 1989 a revolution was born. Something that would become so successful that it would kill off the once globally craved British sports car. The Mazda MX-5 was born out of an experiment, it takes its name from “Mazda eXperimental number 5, that led the Japanese manufacturer to a formula that today has sold over 900,000 cars. The MX-5 was well priced, fantastic amounts of fun to drive and crucially provided bullet proof reliability. It was classless, cheeky, always ready to play and the world fell in love with this little convertible. The car was in such high demand when it was launched that it is reported that dealerships sold units for nearly double their sticker price. 24 years later and this working class hero is still on sale.
Over the generations the MX-5 has evolved with the times but never lost its raw focus on driving pleasure. For 2013 the car gets a slight nip and tuck introducing a more aggressive grill. I personally own a MK1 Mazda MX-5 from 1992 and I adore the purity of the way it drives, the question is, has the new car lost any of the original cars innocents?
This specific test car is the 1.8 litre SE that provides an entry level of just £18,495, though our car does have optional pearlescent paint bringing its total to £18,990. So, in the grand scheme of sports cars it is still very well priced. Its proportions are much the same as the old car with short overhangs and a near identical wheelbase. It is a handsome car to look at and the flared wheel arches overtly state that this is a machine built for having a good time. The smart new alloy wheels are also pleasing to the eye portraying an aesthetic that looks purposeful. Inside you could describe the cockpit as being on the basic side. The console doesn’t provide snazzy dials or even a colour screen, but there is reasoning behind the spartan nature. This car is all about the driving sensation. Not gadgets and toys that distract, take away from and add weight to it. It is a beautiful simplicity and many features such as the aluminium trimmed speedometer and air vents hark back to what began in 1989. The steering wheel may not contain anything over than a volume switch for the radio but as a result it offers comfort and the ability to be grabbed at any angle. It’s cockpit is a snug fit and seats two, much like a glove. The roof is also a straight forward affair as one central latch unclips and the roof can just be thrown over your head. This car just like its grandfather isn’t about things that are tangible, but the stirring of emotions whilst you drive it.
What is it like to drive? I would describe it as, and you can quote me on this, “the best thing since sliced bread!” It is a sensational machine bursting with driver feedback and instant responses to every little input you make. The steering is quick and extremely communicative encouraging the driver to get involved with the playful nature of this car. The suspension though firm around town, is sublime on little country roads working in harmony with every other component killing body roll and maximising the grip that the tyres can give the car. It leaps like a deer from bend to bend teaching any driver more about the act of driving than almost any other machine. Gear changes from the snappy 5 speed manual are as delicious as they have been for decades. Turning traction control off unleashes a whole truck load of childish fun as the supreme balance of the MX-5 means that drifting is most defiantly on the menu. It will hold a slide all day long and though it only has 125BHP, with the sheer lack of weight your only limitation is just how much rubber you want to turn into smoke. With the roof down and the wind deflector up, the 2013 car is refined and the perfect companion for a summers day. The buttons are easy to read and the surfaces don’t glare at you whilst the sun it out. Even in the UK on a fresh morning in February you can have the roof down as the heaters are brilliantly capable of keeping you warm.
This 2013 Mazda MX-5 is one of the best choices you can make when buying a new car. If you are in the market for a sports car it would be foolish to discount this machine because it undercuts competitors in a considerable fashion. Badge snobs can brag about their cars all they like, but the truth is the the Mazda MX-5 is, and always has been, one of the most genuinely soul enriching experiences the automotive world has to offer.