Currently reading: Mazda MX-5 long-term test - the perfect weekend car?
Our long-term Mazda MX-5 is being put through its paces on the weekends, whether it be with a long motorway journey or a blast in the country.

What’s the perfect weekend car? It’s a difficult question to answer and nearly everyone will have their own answer. But after a number of weekends away and with almost 4000 miles on the clock, our long-term Mazda MX-5 is making a good case for itself.

That’s not to say that it isn’t a very good car the rest of the time. In fact, the Mazda is a pleasure to commute in, but it’s just that the Mazda MX-5 really shines when the working week is done and you can head out of town

So what makes a good, or great, weekend car? For me, it needs to be fun, good to drive, capable of handling a couple of weekend bags and also refined. The Mazda offers all of these.

First off, it is most certainly fun; if nothing else, the fantastic soft-top ensures that. The ability to drop the roof while stopped at a set of traffic lights and quickly raise it again should the heavens open means being able to take full advantage of any good weather.

The fun continues, because the MX-5 is one of the best cars to drive on the road at the moment. It was tested to its limits at our £30k driver’s cars event last year, where it impressed each one of our testers. It really was put through its paces and it returned to London with a well-deserved victory.

Great handling and driving thrills are all well and good, but practicality is also a must and there has to be enough space to cope with a bit of luggage. A weekend car doesn’t need to be able to handle flat-pack furniture - well, not for me, at least, although I’m sure for some it would have to and the MX-5 makes no claim of being able to do that. However, it is quite capable of carrying a couple of weekend bags, some shopping bags and other gear. What’s even better is that the roof doesn’t impinge on boot space whether it’s up or down.

The final criteria for an excellent weekend car is refinement. Expecting Mercedes S-Class-style motorway cruising ability is perhaps asking a bit much, but it’s great to come back from a weekend at the wheel and not be utterly exhausted. The MX-5 is remarkably quiet with the roof down and the windows up, and it’s easy to have a conversation with your passenger. With the roof up, it is noisier than something with a metal folding roof, but it’s still impressively hushed. Four hours on a motorway one weekend proved that.

Are there any niggles? Of course there are - the removable cupholders are proving to be a bit of a pain - but at the moment I’m choosing to see these irritations as adding character and will report on them at a later date.

Right now, I’m focusing on getting the roof down as much as possible.

Mazda MX-5 2.0l SE-L Nav

Price £20,695; Price as tested £21,355; Economy 34.2mpg; Faults None; Expenses None


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