Mazda MX-5 - Used

Car Review

Mazda MX-5 Sport Graphite, front, action
Mazda MX-5 Sport Graphite, side
Mazda MX-5 Sport Graphite, rear
Mazda MX-5 Sport Graphite, interior

THEREare a number of brilliant cars that feel like a breath of spring or a win on the lotto to anyone who loves driving.

But there's one that has stood out ever since it was launched and is still right up there with the most enjoyable on the market.

It's not the quickest by any means but the Mazda MX-5 two seater is a hoot to drive winter or summer and marvellous on a warm summer's day with the top down.

From the earliest cars with their pop-up headlights to the latest 1.5 and 2.0-litre sportsters, this has been the best small two seater you can buy.

Not only that but, would you believe, it has also been given the accolade of the Most Reliable Car in the World.

When it comes to a more affordable sportscar, this is the one that stands out.

And you can ignore the ignorant berks who call it a hairdresser's car because they have obviously never driven one.

I would rather have an MX-5 than a Golf GTI, a BMW Z4 or an Audi TT. It's better looking than them all and it's more fun to drive.

Engines have been 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0-litres. Early 1.6 models had about 110bhp and are brilliant, but in later ones this was reduced to about 90.

The 1.8 has 140bhp in earlier models, but this was later reduced to 124, and the 2.0-litre has 160.

Acceleration is good to marvellous and all the engines have a wonderful free revving nature, with smooth power delivery and a delightful, addictive sound.

All that is very, very good but where these cars excel is in the corners. Superbly direct and tactile power steering and a brilliant chassis give the finest of handling and road-holding.

The level of grip is little short of miraculous, making the whole car immensely agile, very safe and huge fun in so many driving situations.

And the ride is also much better than any such out and out sportscar has a right to.

Putting the manual hood down takes about three seconds and can be done from the driver's seat, but getting it back up again is easier from the outside.

When up, it's completely weather tight and windproof and most models come with a glass heated rear window.

Everything inside is beautifully to hand, and the tiny, short throw gearchange is a joy to use.

There have been many different varieties and special editions, some of which have leather and air con, but all have a marvellous driving position.

The model built between 2005 and 2015 came as either a 1.8 or 2.0-litre, and the 1.8 sprints to 60 in 9.6 seconds. It's also capable of 35mpg and has reasonable group 21 insurance.

Pay about £5,700 for an '11 11-reg 1.8SE, or £14,100 for a '15 15-reg 2.0-litre Anniversary.

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