Everyone has their own car dreams. For some, it is a weekend trip to Lviv. For others, a vacation driving on the Transfagarasan highway. But rest assured: Mazda MX-5 will support any idea, decorating it in memory and making it a bright red prominent spot on the line of life. Here is the color of this Mazda MX-5test specimen. What else will you be remembered for, Miata?
Design: classic sports car, only small
Is this a Ferrari car? A question that may seem like a fiction or an anecdote – if only it wasn’t a reality that happened while photographing the Mazda MX-5. After all, the truly modern Miata resembles famous sports cars. I see hints of the classic Corvette here with its Coke bottle profile, I see hints of modern Jaguar coupes. But someone even sees a Ferrari.
Maybe it’s just the color? Deep and saturated red, which in recent years has become one of the characteristic features of Mazda cars in general. But it is especially suitable for the MX-5, further emphasizing those awkward side curves and tense lines of the huge hood. Even the rear roof racks, which were later added to the design of the Mazda MX-5, look natural and aesthetic. After all, the test car is a Mazda MX-5 Retractable Fastback: that is, a version with a folding hard roof. This is not a classic “roadster”, but a car with a “targa” body.
Modern model Mazda MX-5 is surprisingly compact – a little less than four meters (3.915 m to be exact) at 2.31- meter wheelbase. However, here every millimeter is full of emotions and sensations: a large hood, widely spaced wheels (track about 1.5 m), a short “nose”, an intense look through narrow headlights, pointed lights with round elements – together all these details add up in the form of a classic 2-seater open sports car. I specifically write the word “sports car” and not the word “roadster”: because currently Mazda MX-5 is offered in the official Ukrainian dealer network only in in this form, with a folding hard roof.
But let’s remember the story. A classic 2-seater compact “roadster”: this is what the Mazda MX-5 has always been, since the first generation appeared in 1989. The idea of this model from that time until now has been driving pleasure. However, this pleasure will be achieved not so much because of the high power of the engine, but because of its compact size, lightness of construction, open body and connection with the surrounding world.
Of course, the history of the Mazda MX-5 had its own interesting branches: versions with a hard roof (a kind of “cap”), spider projects and powerful MPS versions. In the current generation, the Mazda MX-5 variant with a targa body can be considered such a branch.
The MazdaMX-5 car appeared at the end of the 1980s and since then it has not betrayed its principles for four generations: an open body, compactness, and lightness. Although there were other interesting options in the history of the model – serial or prototypes. One of which can be considered a Mazda MX-5 Retractable Fastback, which debuted in 2016. By the way, in general, the fourth generation Mazda MX-5 has been produced since 2014, the car received significant updates in 2019. And let’s go into more detail about the design…
Technology: classic design, only modern and with features
Traditional layout “engine in front and drive to the rear wheels”, carrier body and fully independent suspensions, 2-liter 4-cylinder atmospheric gasoline engine, mechanical or automated transmission. A classic of the automotive world? Yes. But with Mazda features that usually have the addition of SKYACTIV to their name. For example, the body is made of high-strength steel grades plus partially used aluminum panels – this is how it was possible to achieve lightness and at the same time strength of the structure. An openwork amplifier runs through the center of the car, the front suspension received A-arms, the engine is distinguished by a high compression ratio (13:1) and direct fuel injection.
The version with a “targa” body brought its own features. Such a car has a hard folding roof (plus 40 kg), which folds/unfolds at a speed of up to 10 km/h in just 13 seconds. Such a car has its own amplifiers from the bottom of the body (or only one amplifier, if we are talking about the version with an automatic transmission) because the calculation of the stiffness of the structure additionally relies on the possibility of “locking” the body under the condition that the roof is raised and fixed. And such a car has its own shock absorbers, improved sound insulation, a graphic 4.6-inch display in the instrument cluster.
Finally, a few words about the 2019 updates – they applied to all versions of the Mazda MX-5: both with the “roadster” body and with the “targa” body. The most important change is the increase in engine power: the lightening of the parts made it possible to raise the maximum revs from 6800 to 7300 rpm, the fuel injection pressure increased, and the intake and exhaust system was changed. In general, the changes led to an increase in torque and power – now 184 hp are removed from the 2-liter engine. and 205 Nm. Other changes in 2019 concerned electronics: a rearview camera and a complex of active safety systems were added.
Design for the fans of the automotive world: strong steel and light aluminum, openwork levers, forced engine. The version with a targa body has an electric drive for raising and lowering the roof, its own shock absorbers, and a small display. Interestingly, compared to the previous generation, the current Mazda MX-5 model has become more compact and lighter. So: the car became lighter, the dimensions decreased, the power increased. What does all this promise us? That’s right…
Behind the wheel: classic pleasure, only of the high quality
High or highest? That’s the question. After all, in any case, the Mazda MX-5 drives in a way that remains in the memory of every real driver. All these stories about lightening the car, forcing the engine, special suspension – all these stories turned out to be written for a reason.
Automotive journalists have a saying “to control with the tips of the fingers”. So, the Mazda MX-5 car is one of the best examples of this. The light steering wheel does not require a strong grip – and the feeling of liveliness of driving this car becomes all the more noticeable. It seems that you didn’t even turn the steering wheel, but only looked towards the bend – and the little Mazda MX-5 is already easily turning its nose there. Ease of feeling, ease of control. A true go-kart with almost no skidding: it changes direction with just one look or one breath from the driver. This is phenomenally cool!
It is as phenomenal as balancing with the right foot in the interval of 5-7 thousand revs of the engine. All that was before this is nothing. Because only from 4.5-5 thousand the engine “wakes up” and starts driving at full power, not restraining any of the 184 “horses” and not restraining its roar. Wind in the hair, rumbling in the ears, happiness in the heart! However, it is not easy to achieve automotive ecstasy: when the start from the traffic light is given in the style of “well, where are the almost 200 promised horses?”, when the first barely noticeable surge of power comes at 4-4.5 thousand revs; at this time, you should believe in the Mazda engine – and press the accelerator to the limit! Finally, to outshout AC/DC’s classic Thunderstruck: yes, it’s real thunder and lightning – only on wheels! Too much emotion? But in the case of the Mazda MX-5, the entire car was created just for this.
However, there is a comment. And it is because of it that I have to say pleasure of the “high” kind, and not the “highest”. First of all, sometimes one gets the impression that the body with a folded roof lacks rigidity – on a bad road, vibrations are felt, which can negatively affect the driving process. Although if you raise the roof, it is firmly fixed in the frame of the side glass, and everything passes – the car feels like a monolith. Secondly, at a normal pace of movement, the automatic transmission switches on the traditional medium revs (3-3.5 thousand), which does not give an opportunity to feel the full power of the engine.
This is the second time I’ve seen this car and I make the same comments. But: the remarks are the same, but the opinion is different. In retrospect, I would like to point out that such comments are a small price to pay for a large improvement in practicality. A full-fledged hard roof turns the car into “almost a coupe”: it’s quite quiet and cozy inside, such a roof is safer (no one will think of trying to cut it anymore), and the rigidity of the body when closed is quite normal. And as for the automated transmission, it allows you to put a not very experienced person behind the wheel – this can be useful, for example, during a long trip. After all, no one canceled the petals under the steering wheel and the “SPORT” mode!
This is also the case when the feeling of the steering wheel is perhaps the most important in the character of the car: a wonderful classic round steering wheel that you want to turn – turns are “our everything”! Despite the flat shape, the seats hold well in turns. Or maybe because the interior is cramped? For example, under the feet of the front passenger there’s a hump in the floor from the exhaust system; the traditional “glove box” has not found a traditional place – two small niches are offered instead. Forgot about the engine? Not at all! It opens perfectly at high revs – so don’t hesitate to press the accelerator all the way and don’t forget to turn on the sports mode of the 6-speed automatic transmission. There’s acceleration to “hundreds” in 7.5-7.6 seconds – even faster than promised by the passport (7.9 seconds and 199 km/h maximum speed). By the way, a car in the city consumes about 9-10 liters per 100 km, on the highway it needs 4.9-5.2 liters with the roof closed or 5.5-5.7 liters with the roof open. The trunk with a volume of 127 liters is so as not to violate the almost perfect “50/50” weight distribution (by the way, only 1112 kg).
Cost: one classic configuration, but in the style of “all inclusive”
As if everything is simple – one car, one configuration, and the same price? It turns out that no: currently the Mazda MX-5 car is offered in the Ukrainian official dealer network in only one TOR configuration, but two prices have been set for it – about 1.62 million hryvnias (conditionally $40 thousand) for custom cars or 1.13 million hryvnias (conditionally $28 thousand) for a car from a warehouse in Ukraine.
What will we get for this money? We will get a lot: hard folding roof targa body), forced 2-liter engine (184 hp) and 6-speed automatic transmission, LED adaptive headlights, climate control, leather interior, four airbags, row control traffic, monitoring of the “blind spots” of the rear-view mirrors, the emergency automatic braking system in city conditions, the MZD Connect multimedia system, BOSE audio, 17-inch alloy wheels.
Mazda MX-5 is offered by us through official dealers only in the maximum TOR configuration – and this means LED-, nice wheels, multimedia system, rearview camera, climate control. The leather on the seats is rough, but strong; pay attention – the speakers of the BOSE audio system are hidden in the headrests. These are features that are important for cars with an open roof: the leather must withstand rain and sun, and the sound must be close to the ears of the driver and passenger.
Mazda MX-5 test drive results
In general, all summaries are already written in the title and at the beginning of the article. This Mazda MX-5 model is a great option for making your automotive dreams come true. Even in this version with a hard roof and an automated transmission: car enthusiasts can scream as much as they want about the loss of drive relative to the classic roadster on the mechanical transmission. However, on the other hand: the car lost a little – but gained a maximum in terms of practicality and convenience. And it’s still Miata.
Here, the conclusions are not so much about the car, but about the lifestyle. If you have room in your head and heart for real dreams, then there will be room for the Mazda MX-5, in any version. Therefore, this is what I sincerely wish for all of us: to have dreams. And a Mazda MX-5 car to top it off.