Motors road test: Mazda MX-5 1.5 132ps Sport

The Mazda MX-5 looks stunning with the roof down.The Mazda MX-5 looks stunning with the roof down.
The Mazda MX-5 looks stunning with the roof down.
Julie Marshall picked the wrong time of year to enjoy the MX-5 Roadster at its best

Arranging to drive the MX-5, Mazda’s superlative roadster during the second week of January was probably not the best decision I’ve made.

However, when I penciled it in my diary, I anticipated crisp winter days with the roof down, bowling along narrow country lanes with the heated seats on and the climate control keeping the rest of me snug and warm.

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Sadly, that was not to be. Except for the day when it was due to be collected it was either raining or a downpour was imminent and I didn’t want to risk getting caught out.

The Mazda MX-5 is in its element of roads like these.The Mazda MX-5 is in its element of roads like these.
The Mazda MX-5 is in its element of roads like these.

That was a real shame as the MX-5 is even better to drive with the wind in your hair than it is with the roof in place.

In the thoroughly modern world of motoring the MX-5 is a breath of fresh air - literally.

It’s old school without being archaic. The majority of the controls are knobs, the infotainment system is simplicity itself to use and it even has an aux -in plug for those of us that still occasionally tote an old iPod around in the bottom of our bags.

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It also supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and has two proper USB slots.

The stylish interior of the Mazda MX-5.The stylish interior of the Mazda MX-5.
The stylish interior of the Mazda MX-5.

Getting in and out of any roadster can be a challenge and the MX-5 is no exception. I’m not very tall at all and I struggled.

Once settled behind the wheel I found it comfortable enough but I wouldn’t fancy my chances if my legs were much longer.

My passenger had no such problems and was able to make an elegant exit with a bit of practice - and providing I wasn’t parked too close to another car. The seats don’t adjust for height and at times I felt a bit too low down - especially on the motorway while overtaking monster trucks.

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We tested the 1.5 Skyactiv-G Petrol Sport with 130bhp. It’s not the quickest MX-5, and will do a straight line 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds but the sheer pleasure of driving and the lovely exhaust note it emits mean that doesn’t really matter.

It handles beautifully and, providing you spend a bit of time getting to know the terrific gearbox it will reward you with a great motoring experience.

Over the course of a week of mixed driving we average 44.2mpg against an official 44.8mpg so not bad going at all.

The MX-5 is a proper two-seater with very little in the way of storage in the cabin. There is a lockable box between the seats, a small centre console and a shelf for your phone. I had no trouble fitting my iPhone in but someone with a larger android device would struggle. The cup holders are in a weird place as well.

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The boot holds 127 litres of kit which is enough for a decent sized suitcase, or in my case, three bags of shopping!

For a sports car costing less than £30,000 it has plenty of kit and I reckon it is great value for money. Our Sport model included cruise control, rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, keyless entry and engine start\stop button as well as the features already mentioned.

Fact File

Mazda MX-5 1.5 132ps Sport

Price: 28,025 (£28,595 as tested)

Engine: 1.5 Skyactiv-G Petrol

Power: 130bhp

Torque: 112lb/ft

Transmission: six-speed manual

Top speed: 127mph

0-62mph: 8.3 seconds

Economy: 444.8mpg

CO 2 emissions:142g/km

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