Currently reading: Mazda MX-5 long-term test review: a practical drop-top?
Mazda's MX-5 gets a dog's seal of approval, but does the drop-top fare well when put to our practicality test?

With a week’s holiday booked and plenty of sun forecast, there was only one car on the fleet that would do: the Mazda MX-5. As Friday arrived, it seemed like a solid choice. The sky was blue, so the roof was dropped and my 90-minute commute became something to savour.

As Saturday dawned, I attempted to show my wife that the little Mazda was more practical than you might think. We were due at a friend’s Eurovision Song Contest party that night, so I crammed the boot with our bag, some rainbow-coloured afro wigs, platform boots, a few bottles of wine and our duvet.

While it all fitted, just, we did have one other occupant to carry: our dog, Sprocket. With no room at all behind the seats, she ended up in the passenger footwell, fighting with my wife for leg room. My practicality promise fell apart.

Despite this, the MX-5 did a convincing job of winning over both wife and dog. The former appreciated the sharp handling and good looks, while the latter seemed to enjoy the wind in her fur, especially when harnessed into the passenger seat.

But while Sprocket enjoyed herself, it took a great deal of restraint to drive in a manner that wouldn’t empty her stomach. The Mazda may not be outright fast, but the chuckable handling is an absolute delight that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

There isn’t a great deal of power, but you can enjoy feeling the rear end help to steer the car around corners at sane speeds. We’re not talking lurid slides here; you just need to wind on less steering lock than you might think.

It wasn’t all plain sailing, though, because a tyre pressure warning light came on. Never mind, it should be an easy fix with a compressor — or so I thought. However, a check of the pressures revealed that the tyres were properly inflated. It seems a sensor may be at fault, so a trip to the dealer is in order. Is this enough to put me off using the car again? Most definitely not.

Read our previous reports

Winter tyre review 

The perfect weekend car?

First report

Mazda MX-5 2.0i SE-L Nav

Price £20,685 Price as tested £21,335 Economy 41.4mpg Faults None Expenses Four winter tyres £420, four summer tyres £440 Last seen 18.5.16


Read our review

Car review

Fourth-generation MX-5 heads back to Mazda's roadster's roots, surpassing its predecessor in every area

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TerryM 15 July 2016

The MX-5 is undoubtedly the

The MX-5 is undoubtedly the most affordable, nimble, state-of-the-art and agile roadster that was ever built. I just love this ride. But how does it tackle the wind noise and buffeting? My drop top was so bad at handling these bogeys that there was no other option but to mount a wind blocker. But fortunately, the Backblade wind deflector is a cool equipment that keeps my cabin nice and quiet even at highway speeds!
EZach78 20 August 2016

Yes, Backblade wind deflector

Yes, Backblade wind deflector is keeping the vices of wind noise and buffeting in check even on my Cabrio. And you are right, a good wind blocker is an inevitable equipment for most Verts.
Ben Tom 4 June 2017

Wind blocking equipment is a

Wind blocking equipment is a great necessity for all drop tops. Super-premium drop tops of the likes of Mercs and Bimmers come equipped with the required technology to ward off these bogeys unlike their modest counterparts. I too have a Backblade wind deflector affixed on my ride, and it’s pretty good.
Kenty 1 July 2016

MX5 Mk4

The tyre sensors on the new MX5 are brilliant! Mine activated...I stopped, found a nail in the tyre.

Saved the tyre, and possibly prevented an accident...well done sensors!!!

xxxx 27 June 2016

@mr J

Spot-on, and don't get me going on Stop-Start so called tech.