The new cabin is a major step forward from that of the previous Mazda MX-5. It’s not only the design and feel of the cabin, but also the fact that Mazda has engineered so much more room. The chunky gearlever is well sited and there’s plenty of clearance for your knees under the now height-adjustable wheel.
The seats offer decent support and visibility is improved, but it’s mainly the fact that you now sit lower in the car that makes the real difference.
That said, tall occupants will notice the footwell’s lack of length and width. Some may also find it difficult to find a comfortable driving position, having to either choose between sitting at an odd angle or brushing their head against the roof.
Despite the improvements made in the fit and finish of the cabin plastics, they’re still a step or two behind the MX-5's admittedly far more expensive rivals. But there’s a surprisingly small gap between the quality of the Mazda's interior and that of the Toyota GT86 – a car introduced seven years after the third-gen MX-5.
Mazda's manual hood is exceptionally well thought-out and incredibly easy to operate – just release with the button near the rear-view mirror and fold it back. With the hood lowered, it’s clear that Mazda has worked hard to contain buffeting and noise levels. With it raised, the general refinement is acceptable, but on our test car, there was a tiresome droning from the back of the hood.
The Roadster Coupé’s folding hard roof takes up barely any more space than the MX-5’s soft-top, so there’s the same, 150-litre boot, roof up or down. It’s a superbly packaged mechanism, and a quick one at that. Twelve seconds might be about four times as long as it takes on a regular MX-5, but it annihilates its hard-roofed rivals. It’s noticeably quieter than the soft-top, too.
Refinement is acceptable in the Roadster Coupé, but there’s a degree of wind noise where the A-pillar meets the roof. Take a Roadster Coupé and a soft-top on back-to-back drives and the fabric-roofed model reveals considerably more noise. Both suffer from notable road noise intrusion, too, but not to an uncomfortable extent.