Mazda MX-5 2.0 Sport

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Mazda MX-5 2015, front
Mazda MX-5 2015, front, static
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Mazda MX-5 2.0 Sport Nav, boot
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MAZDA'S MX-5 has been around for some years now - but it's never looked better.

The latest incarnation of the little convertible has lost the traditional soft rounded look in favour of a more angular design and it's given it a whole new lease of life.

There's now a Ferrari-esque look to the little car which sets it apart from other small, two-seater sportscars.

But the best thing about it is it still offers the sort of seat-of-the-pants, flies- in-the-teeth rear-wheel-drive sportscar motoring that enthusiasts want - all be it with a host of hi-tech features on board.

The compact cabin is now stylish in the extreme, with superb high-backed heated leather sports seats, satellite navigation and on-board computer.

But in true sportscar tradition the three-dial dashboard is still dominated by the centrally set large rev counter.

Despite the MX-5's concessions to modernity it's cabin is still best described as "snug". There is no space behind the two seats, no glove box and the steering is only adjustable for height and not reach.

Anything you want to store inside has to fit into the small space under the armrest or in the tiny, lockable compartment behind the heads of the driver and front seat passenger.

But it's this snugness that makes you feel at one with the car and makes driving it so rewarding.

Get behind the wheel and - if like me you cut your motoring teeth on much earlier two-seater convertibles - it's guaranteed to put a spring back in your step.

Powered by a 2.0-litre, 160bhp, four cylinder petrol engine the new MX-5 is quick off the mark and very lively, hitting 62 miles per hour in just 7.3 seconds on its way to a top speed of 133mph.

And as it does it likes to shout about it, with a super throaty roar from its twin exhaust tailpipe.

I tried the car late in the year but some weak winter sunshine inspired me to briefly drive with the top folded down and, despite the month, the high-backed seats with a wind deflector set between them and the low seating position meant I was able to remain comfortably warm.

The hood is not powered - that's to save wight - but takes just seconds to lower and higher and it can be done with one hand. Once down it locks into position behind the two seats and doesn't affect the car's boot capacity of 130 litres - fine for soft bags but forget suitcases.

The car comes with blind spot monitoring as well as rear cross traffic alert, to allow you to safely reverse out of a parking space without colliding with other vehicles looking for one.

There's also an automatic dipped/main beam system on the headlights and it's one of the best I have come across, as are the headlights themselves.

The ride as you would expect is firm but it's something you soon get used to and the steering is pin sharp without being extreme. It gives plenty of feedback so you know exactly what's happening with the MX-5.

As always Mazda has the gear ratios spot on making this little car brilliantly flexible around town, lively around country bends and smooth on the motorway.

If you're looking for a fun car but still want your creature comforts the Mazda MX5 is well worth sampling.

FAST FACTS

Mazda MX-5 2.0 Sport Nav

Price: £23,695

Mechanical: 160bhp, 1,998cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving rear wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 133mph

0-62mph: 7.3 seconds

Combined MPG: 40.9

Insurance Group: 29

C02 emissions: 161g/km

Bik rating: 24%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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