Best car

Mazda MX-5: the classic roadster

The iconic roadster that still holds its rivals at arm's length, says expert car reviewer Andrew Frankel

Mazda MX-5 1.8i SE

This model from £18,495

How good is the Mazda MX-5? After three generations and almost 25 years in production, it remains in a class of one. Pretenders to its crown as the world’s greatest affordable roadster have come, but none has stayed the course. The MX-5 reigns supreme.

Why? It combines the best of all worlds. At its core lies indestructible Japanese engineering so the car will be safe and durable. It’s stylish too. And sufficiently quiet, comfortable and practical to use every day or take on holiday. But most of all, it’s fun to drive in a way all too few cars are these days. It’s light, beautifully balanced and even with a 1.8-litre engine, still quick enough to keep you amused. You can spend far more on a 2-litre engine or a car with a retractable hard top (like that pictured above), but there’s no real need.

An MX-5 is also an outstanding second-hand buy: they’re sufficiently plentiful for prices not to be kept artificially high, and so long as you buy carefully, should provide years of trouble-free motoring.


  • Engine: 1798cc, 126bhp
  • Top speed: 121mph
  • 0-60mph acceleration: 0-60mph acceleration


  • Claimed economy: 39.8mpg
  • Insurance Group: Insurance Group

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