MAZDA MX-5 WINS WHATCAR? BEST CONVERTIBLE OF 2016

“The MX-5 is great value to buy and run, and easy to live with, but more than that it’s brimming with the simple joys of open-top motoring.”

THE MAZDA MX-5 IS AVAILABLE RIGHT NOW AT EDEN MAZDA BASINGSTOKE

REFINEMENT 4*

Noise levels with the roof up are perfectly acceptable, and wind rush is successfully diverted around you and your passenger when the hand-operated hood is dropped; this means the cabin feels open to the elements but is not overly blustery. Both engines deliver a pleasing rasp at medium revs and stay smooth at high ones, but it’s the manual gearbox’s fantastically slick shift that makes changing gears and working the engine the biggest pleasure.

RIDE AND HANDLING 5*

The MX-5 is an extremely light car, with the lightest versions weighing less than a tonne. That means it is exceptionally nimble and quick to change direction, but another positive is that it can have comfortable suspension yet still feel keenly tied down. The steering is accurate and provides plenty of feedback, too.

BUYING AND OWNING 4*

Prices are extremely competitive: the entry-level model is less than £19,000, and there are precious few sports cars available at this price. Even the most expensive versions are comparatively good value when you consider how well equipped they are. The car’s light weight and relatively efficient engines make it cheap to run, too.

BEHIND THE WHEEL 4*

The MX-5’s driving position is perfectly straight, with ideally spaced pedals and a steering wheel that lines up with the centre of the seat. We’d like the steering wheel to adjust for reach as well as rake, though, and the high window line can make the interior feel quite snug. What few buttons there are in the cabin are simple to use and within easy reach.