Here are my thoughts on the Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe 2.0i Sport Tech Nav after my week-long test drive.
Day – 1 First Impressions
This was my first taster of the MX-5. I’ve never driven or even sat in an MX-5 before, so the Mazda has my full attention to see if it can impress me. I was looking forward to testing out this iconic car for a week, and couldn’t wait to get it on the road. Being 6’4” the first time I got in the driver’s door there was a bit of a problem, I could have done with being about 2 inches shorter. But after a bit of playing around I found two solutions. One, take the roof off, easy, and the second approach was sliding down the chair a little and getting my knees up. I was committed to not letting anything stop me enjoying the car and I soon got used to it.
My first thought regarding the car was simply how pure and simple everything about it was. It’s clear that Mazda have focused on the basic elements of driving and that is reflected well in both the interior design and the driving characteristics of the car.
Day 2 – Behind the Wheel
Within the first 24 hours of having the Mazda, I could already see why this car is such a success. This may sound strange, but it’s very different from most modern cars I have driven, the controls feel directly attached to the wheels, I guess as they should do…I told you it would sound strange. But they don’t feel numbed or controlled via computers, the steering and pedals give you an instant response to any input, and for a driver’s car this is exactly what you want. So driving through busy traffic does make the car seem a little bit primitive, but once you hit an open road Mazda have given you everything you need to have some fun.
We went out on the evening to capture a few pictures of the car at night. Before shooting any car we will take a close look at the car’s styling features to help capture it at its best. The Mazda looks great from any angle, but when you look up close there are some very subtle features on the car which make it look very up to date. We took the car to a location that has a relatively low level of light pollution and painted the car with light for around an hour trying a few things out. The Mazda lit up very nicely, helped by the fact it was white. Overall I think the body styling of the Mazda is great, it’s a nice balance of minimal, and classic sports car styling. It’s a great looking car.
Day 4 – What Features do you Get Inside
Using the car everyday, back and forth from the office, I have unfortunately spent a fair bit of time in traffic, but it was a great opportunity to get to know all the switches and buttons inside the MX-5. As I touched on previously, Mazda have kept the car basic inside and out. Inside the dash is fairly plain; in the middle you have 3 knobs to control the heater, then above these a large colour infotainment screen. I think this simple concept works well, especially for such a small car.
Day 5 – Open Top Roadsters
By now I have driven the car in a selection of different environments and had the roof on and off throughout the week. But I’m still surprised how much difference dropping the roof on the MX-5 makes to the driving experience; it really adds to that fun factor.
Dropping the roof back is simple; unclip the safety catch, hold the roof down button, and in around 12 seconds it’s down. With the roof down it changes a few things, instantly you have infinite headroom – great for me, a lot more light in the cockpit, and visibility all around you is un-obscured. This gives you a feeling of freedom and nimbleness, without the car even moving anywhere.
Taking the roof off opens you up to the elements, you can hear the grip from the tyres, the rpm from the exhaust note, and you have a greater awareness of the speed you are travelling at. So dropping the top genuinely does make the car feel a lot more exhilarating to drive.
If you ask me, the hardtop coupe roadster we have here is the best compromise; it has the benefits of the hard top in sound reduction and heat insulation when you need it, but also the ability to take the roof down as you would get with a conventional soft top.
Day 6 – Photo Shoot
We had a second photo shoot booked in with the Mazda and to catch the sunrise we were up and on the road by 6am. We took the car to a spot that looks over some hills, and with the right light it can make quite a decent shot. At 7.30am with the sun rising the Mazda fitted the scene a treat. The contrast of the white Mazda and slight red tint in the sky created a fairly dreamy picture that leaves you imagining what it would be like behind the wheel of the MX-5 Roadster Coupe.
One of my favourite locations from the day was some rubber tracks that we found on an industrial trading estate, we put the car over the tracks and took advantage of some steps that were available to get the height, shooting back down onto the car. The pictures imply the Mazda MX-5 has a bit of a wild side when it wants to.
Day 7 – Looking back on the week
Driving the Mazda MX-5 for a week has been a real eye opening experience for me. After just 24 hours I could see why the MX-5 is so iconic; it’s not the most powerful car in the world, but it doesn’t need to be, it is very affordable and has been designed with the driver in mind. It’s sharp, raw and absolutely loads of fun when you get it on the open road, especially when the road gets twisty.