From £17,665
Mid-spec model loses the toys, but is none the worse for it.

Our Verdict

Mazda MX-5

The Mazda MX-5 is still great fun, and more grown up in its third (NC) generation. For pure driving fun, little else gets close

20 December 2005
What's new?
This is the mid-range MX-5 – it doesn’t get the Sport’s six-speed ’box, 17in wheels or Bilsten dampers, but it does have the fizzy 2.0-litre engine and a limited-slip differential.
You get side airbags and traction control as standard, but a cloth hood and alloy wheels are part of an £800 Option Pack.
What’s it like?
Rapid. On paper it looks plenty fast enough but the MX-5 isn’t about speed, it’s about ability and agility and that’s what makes it quick. The steering (which thankfully isn’t electrically assisted) is refreshingly direct and quick, although it doesn’t have quite as much feel as the old MX-5's.
Compact dimensions and excellent visibility mean town driving is stress-free, and country roads are immensely fun. And the gearchange must be one of the most accurate (and delightful to use) ever built. The rear tyres will happily give up their grip unless the road surface has been towel-dried, but it’s always benign and easy to control.
nside it’s snug but not cramped with adequate (if not generous) storage, and excellent seats.
Should I buy one?
Obviously. These days there are few cars that trade power and speed for entertainment, but the MX-5 is one of them. It’s also a more practical proposition than the old MX-5, although you’ll still struggle to fit more than a single suitcase in the boot. That’s not a reason not to buy one, and there are many reasons why you should.
Dan Stevens

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