By Mike Torpey on 2019-09-21 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Mazda MX-5 1.5 Sport
OPINIONS as to why the Mazda MX-5 is the world's best selling sports car are divided.
There are those who remain convinced it is down to value for money - where else could you buy a stylish two-seater convertible for a little over £19,000 - others reckon it's all about the way the car drives.
While both sides have a valid point, they may also have missed the point.
Because the key to the Mazda MX-5 is actually its simplicity - it's light, focused, hugely nimble and, a few stowage issues apart, a car pretty much without fault.
Look at what else is out there at around the same price and there's no contest - only the Fiat 124 Spider came close, and that car used the same mechanicals as the MX-5.
Two petrol engines - a 1.5-litre unit with 131bhp and a 2.0 that develops 184bhp - are up for grabs and buyers also get the choice of a convertible with fabric roof or the RF with folding hard top.
Those with a greater need for speed will no doubt opt for the higher powered engine, which starts at £22,795, but there's still plenty of grunt from the 1.5.
That's accompanied by some extra tuning of the main silencer to project a cleaner more powerful engine note too.
Of course cruising round country lanes and enjoying the sunshine doesn't come much better than in a convertible.
Problem is you're rarely more than a few minutes away from the arrival of brooding cloud and stair-rod rain.
And with the MX-5 soft-top there's no relaxing push-button retraction - it's the old lift and tug strategy, which is more fun anyway.
Otherwise this is a car that's rewarding to drive, feeling agile and stable in equal measure.
That's partly down to Mazda's weight saving ‘gram strategy' which played a big part in the chassis development of a car that's actually the lightest MX-5 since the first-generation - and that was 29 years ago.
The range also now has telescopic steering and improved seat sliding operation to boost driver comfort and improve what they call the Jinba Ittai - car-and-driver as one - ethos that sits at the heart of the MX-5 philosophy.
New active safety features included from Sport Nav+ trim upwards include front and rear Smart City Brake Support, Traffic Sign Recognition and Driver Attention Alert.
Mazda MX-5 1.5 Sport Nav+
Mechanical: 131bhp, 1,496cc 4cyl petrol engine driving rear wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 127mph
0-62mph: 8.3 seconds
Combined MPG: 47.1
Insurance Group: 26
C02 emissions: 143g/km
Bik rating: 32%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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