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Mazda MX-5

The independent definitive Mazda MX-5 video review
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    By Jonathan Crouch

    Mazda has boosted the appeal of its fourth-generation MX-5 roadster. Jonathan Crouch reports.

    Ten Second Reviewword count: 47

    It's hard not to like the fourth generation Mazda MX-5 roadster, especially now that it's faster, safer and more efficient. As before, there are 1.5 and 2.0-litre petrol engine options and anything this car lacks in outright power, it more than makes up in agility and tactility.

    Backgroundword count: 165

    Is there another car sold today that rivals the Mazda MX-5's legacy? The Porsche 911 is an icon and the Toyota GT86 might well become one. The Volkswagen Golf is a name most can identify with, but the MX-5 is special. It has rewritten the record books again and again for sports car sales and its recipe of light weight, driver focus and simple front engine/rear drive layout just has an inherent rightness about it that hasn't dated. But, as is the case with most cars, successive generations get bigger and heavier. The MX-5 hasn't been immune to this issue, customers demanding improved safety, more equipment and better quality as each successive generation has been developed. With this MK4 model though, originally launched back in 2015, Mazda drew a line in the sand and went back to the light, tactile approach that made the MX-5 so great in the first place. Now the company's added a touch of extra power and technology to the equation.

    Driving Experienceword count: 288

    As before, this fourth generation MX-5 is offered with either a 1.5-litre unit or a 2.0-litre engine but both these normally aspirated petrol powerplants have been significantly worked upon. The 1.5 still puts out 132PS, but the 2.0-litre powerplant's original 160PS output has been now raised to 184PS at a heady 7,000rpm (up from 6,800rpm). You always did have to rev MX-5 engines hard to get the best from them.. Torque has risen slightly with the 2.0-litre, from 200 to 205Nm. Mazda says that this 'SKYACTIV-G' 2.0 unit is now higher-revving and acoustically-tuned. The rest to 62mph sprint time is now 0.8s faster at 6.5s. This improved fourth generation design continues to conform to five key criteria that Mazda claim define the MX-5 - rear drive with a front-mid engine layout, 50/50 weight distribution and an eagerness to change direction, plus a low kerb weight and an affordable price. All models get six-speed manual gearboxes. The MX-5 isn't about straight line pace, it's about agility and tactility. Because the engines are so small, they can be tucked down and back in the car. Mazda reckons the bonnet and overhang used here are the lowest and shortest of any production model. Weight has been pared back by using aluminium for the bonnet, boot and front wings, while the soft top hood is also very light, improving the centre of gravity. Much of the front suspension is aluminium, as is the gearbox casing, the differential casing and the bracing that runs down the car's backbone. The virtuous circle of weight saving means that the smaller wheels only need four bolts as opposed to five. Lower rotational masses mean that the brake assemblies can also be made smaller, simpler and lighter.

    To see the full road test text contact us on 0330 0020 227

    Pictures (high res disabled)

    Statistics (subset of data only)

    Min

    Max

    0-60 mph (s):

    7.3

    8.3

    Combined mpg:

    40.9

    47.1

    Extra urban mpg:

    51.4

    57.6

    Height (mm):

    1225

    1230

    Length (mm):

    3915

    Max Speed (mph):

    127

    133

    ... and 5 other stats available

    Scoring (subset of scores)

    Category: Convertibles

    Performance
    70%
    Handling
    90%
    Comfort
    70%
    Space
    70%
    Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

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