It won’t come as a huge surprise to some of you that my favourite car of the year is the Mazda MX-5. I’ve already gushed enthusiastically on another blog about it being one of the three cars I’d rank as the best in the world right now.

So, in the name of variety, I got to thinking about what else I could cover under the banner of my favourite car of the year. I considered the all-round astonishing Tesla Model S P85D, the raucously brilliant Mercedes C63 S AMG Coupe, the achingly polished new Porsche 911 or maybe the Honda Civic Type R, which responds to no-holds-barred driving like a dog seeing a tennis ball.

New York update: The retractable fastback (RF) hard-top version of the Mazda MX-5 is unveiled 

However, I couldn’t make any of them my favourite car of the year. Only the Mazda MX-5 deserves that honour. I find both the 1.5 and the 2.0 equally joyous to drive, but I favour the 2.0 since it’s still low powered enough that you can rinse it out without fear on UK roads, but has a bit more muscle when you want it. The handling is a delight; lively enough to thrill, even on track, but accessible enough not to frighten you even on awkward, unforgiving British back roads. It’s even easy to live with, thanks to the fairly soft suspension (don't bother with the Sport model and its Bilstein dampers) and nicely appointed cabin.