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Some Mazda MX-5 basics: Some pros and cons

Also known as the Miata in North America, the Mazda MX-5 is a two-seater roadster utilizing a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. It first made its appearance at the Chicago Auto Show in 1989 and has been in production ever since. Conceived to be a small roadster, it took inspiration from the small 1960s Italian and British roadsters, such as the MG MGB, Alfa Romeo Spider, Fiat 124 Sport Spider, Lotus Elan, and Triumph Spitfire, light in weight with minimal mechanical complexities but technologically modern. The second-generation MX-5 was released in 1998 and the next one followed suit in 2005. As of February 4, 2011, Mazda has produced a total of 900,000 MX-5s. In 2012, Mazda announced the production of a fourth-generation MX-5.

Pros

The Mazda MX-5 in production today is bigger than the models before it, measuring 20mm longer, 20mm taller, and 40mm wider. But despite the larger size, it is just 10kg heavier than its older brother with a weight of 1,095kg. This very minimal gain in weight is due to what Mazda refers to as the gram strategy. With it, engineers were given the task of cooking up various means of saving weight throughout the MX-5. This led to a lot of detailed tweaks that though simple was able to achieve the weight-saving goal everyone in mind, like the simplified rear-view mirror that allowed Mazda to cut back on 84g of weight and the use of aluminum on the suspension control arms and the engine’s sub-frame.

The cabin is also a step forward from what the MX-5 previously had. And it’s not just about the design and the overall feel of it. Since the new MX-5 is roomier, the added space has also contributed towards improving interiors. If you’re concerned about boot space, it’s remained at 150 litres though, the same for both hard roof and soft-top. The roadster is hardly a machine for moving a lot of things so a boot space of that level should just be enough.

The MX-5 takes some getting used so you’ll have to stay committed with using it every day despite never really settling down on typical British roads. However, ride and handling has improved so much (not that it was bad before) thanks to a rear-wheel-drive system that’s excellently balanced. And once you’ve gotten a hang of the MX-5’s quirks, you can drive it up and down any road beyond its grip limits, much more easily that what you’d have to go through with other sports cars.

In terms of price, the MX-5 is priced just right for what it offers. You will spend more, of course, as you go up trim levels, but you can expect to get your money’s worth with the added features. The MX-5 also has decent fuel economy, with the 1.8-litre unit coughing up 39.8mpg.

Cons

But despite the added bulk and noticeable level of spaciousness in the MX-5, foot wells are lacking in width and length. This fault in the foot wells though is probably due to the fact that seats sit passengers lower in the car than they used to. Taller, leggier passengers will definitely be the first to realize this downside.

What do you think?

(Average rating: 5 , Total rates: 1 )

Design and history: A quick look at the Mazda MX-5

Known as the Eunos Roadster (Japan) and Miata (North America), the Mazda MX-5 is a two-seater roadster that was first introduced to the market at the Chicago Auto Show in 1989. Lightweight and modern but with minimal mechanical complexities, the MX-5 took inspiration from Italian and British roadsters from the 1960s like the MG MGB, Triumph Spitfire, Fiat 124 Sport Spider, Lotus Elan, and the Alfa Romeo Spider.

The second generation of MX-5 models was revealed in 1998 and current ones in production have been around since 2005. The MX-5 continues to hold the record for being the best-selling two-seater convertible in history, with more than 900,000 units built and sold all over the world as of February 2011. The third generation models are marketed to use just the MX-5 name though many enthusiasts in North America still like to use Miata to refer to them. To address this, the MX-5 is sold as the MX-5 Miata in the US.

In designing the Mazda MX-5, the company adhered to the idea of Jinba ittai, that the rider and the horse be as one body. This phrase led to the development of core design requirements for the first-generation MX-5s, including creating a car that would be as light and compact as possible while addressing global requirements for safety.

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