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Mazda MX-5 (2024) (2015 - )

The MX-5, which has graced UK roads for more than 30 years, has been given a mild make-over for 2024 with design enhancements both inside and out, along with upgraded technology.

Starting price:

Why we love it:
  • Brilliant to drive and offers open-top fun
  • Attractive pricing and impressive day-to-day running costs
  • A ‘must’ for any driving purist
Where it could be better:
  • May be a bit cramped for taller drivers
  • Zero over-the-shoulder visibility
  • Limited storage space, so have to think carefully when packing


Mazda MX-5 (2024)

There’s no denying the fact, we Brits love our open-top cars. At the first hint of sunshine, or even on a day without rain, it’s down with the roof for that wind-in-the-hair feelgood factor.

And one convertible stands out in this field – the Mazda MX-5. Admittedly there are faster and more dynamic two-seaters out there, but they come with a far higher price-tag, whereas the MX-5 is a car for the people with prices starting from £28,000. 

The eight model line-up features four roadsters and four Retractable Fastback (RF) versions with a choice of trim levels called Prime-Line, Exclusive-Line and Homura. The entry-level cars are powered by a 1.5-litre 132PS Skyactiv-G engine while the Exclusive-Line can be selected with either the 1.5-litre unit or a 184PS 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G engine. The range-topping Homura automatically gets the larger powertrain and that’s the car we opted for in RF guise.

The MX-5, which has graced UK roads for more than 30 years, has been given a mild make-over for 2024 with design enhancements both inside and out, along with upgraded technology. 

Mazda MX-5 (2024)

While many new cars seem to be morphing into one somewhat boring and bland style, you are guaranteed to turn heads if you are driving the latest front-engined, rear-wheel drive MX-5 Retractable Fastback, especially if it is supplied in a dazzling shade of red like our test car.

This year marks the first styling upgrade since the fourth-generation model was launched back 2015 and it sees a new headlight design that now combines the daytime running lights. These were previously housed in the lower bumper. They also include a new light signature to give the vehicle a more distinctive appearance and there are redesigned rear lights too. 

Our RF version featured the three-piece fully automated roof that looks just as stunning upright or lowered. The Homura model boasted a stand-out piano black roof, along with 17-inch gun metallic BBS alloy wheels matched to red Brembo front brake calipers. 

Moving inside, the compact cabin is beautifully styled with designers and engineers making the very most of the limited space. The latest car features an upgraded three-gauge analogue instrument cluster which is clearer to view. It features a large central rev counter with the speedo shown in the right dial and the information display to the left highlighting fuel levels, temperature and driving range.

There is a larger 8.8-inch colour display screen offering access to the many on-board systems, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, sat nav, a premium nine-speaker Bose sound system, DAB radio and plenty more besides.

A simple dial is used to navigate the screen with quick access keys to certain functions such as navigation, music or home. And there are USB-C ports to keep devices connected on the move.

New Recaro sports seats trimmed in leather and Alcantara have been introduced and these can be heated against the winter chill. And it’s always great to drive a car with a ‘proper’ handbrake.

On The Road

Mazda MX-5 (2024)

Handling & Performance

Powering our MX-5 RF was a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder Skyactiv-G petrol engine delivering 184PS and 205Nm of torque. That’s quite a lot of grunt for a car that weighs in at just 1,171kg, including a 75kg driver.

It can power its way to 62mph from a standing start in 6.8 seconds - it feels much faster to be honest, especially with the roof down. The maximum speed is 137mph and the car features a six-speed manual gearbox.

This is a vehicle that can weave its way through busy traffic in town centres and can sit comfortably on motorways at 70mph, but in reality, it comes alive when faced with the open road – the more twists and turns, the better.

With a low centre of gravity, the rear-wheel drive MX-5 fizzes through country lanes with the raspy engine note the perfect accompaniment. It is grippy, agile and can be pushed into tight corners with complete confidence, making it one of the most enjoyable ‘driver’ cars out there.

The acceleration out the starting blokes is blisteringly quick and there is always plenty of power on tap to overtake slower moving vehicles when necessary.

The steering is light but offers perfect levels of feedback and it remains one of the greatest assets on this car. Then, with the slightest hint that the rain has eased, the roof can be lowered automatically in a matter of seconds.

Hit a pothole and you will feel the full force shudder through the cabin, but that aside, the ride is exactly what it should be in a two-seater sports car.

Mazda MX-5 (2024)

Space & Practicality

One glance in the direction of the MX-5 will leave you in little doubt that this car will never score highly when it comes to space and practicality. It has two seats, enough storage for a couple of overnight bags or a cabin case with coats and that’s about it.

There is no glovebox, but there is a lockable compartment behind the seats, along with two cup holders, a small cubby bin and a couple of trays.

Getting in and out the MX-5 with any sense of dignity takes some practice as it’s so close to the ground, but there is plenty of driver and passenger space to stretch out.

There is ample seat and steering wheel adjustment to find a great driving position and all dials, controls and readouts are perfectly placed for ease of use on the fly. The visibility forwards, sideways and through the narrow rear screen is okay-ish, but forget the over-the-shoulder view as it’s non-existent. This again is typical of two-seat convertibles.

The MX-5 RF is 3,915mm long, 1,735mm wide (excluding mirrors) and 1,235mm tall with a wheelbase of 2,310mm.


Mazda MX-5 (2024)

Running Costs

The Mazda MX-5 line up is split into two body styles, Roadster and RF. The Roadster costs from £28,000 for the entry-level Prime-Line version and rises to £34,800 for the Homura with the more powerful 184PS engine.

The MX-5 Retractable Fastback ranges from £29,900 for the 132PS Prime-Line and tops out at £37,000 for the 184PS Homura that we tested. Our car featured stunning Soul Red Crystal paintwork that added a further £810 to the final price, but looked gorgeous and was worth every penny.

According to WLTP figures, the car could deliver combined fuel economy of 41.5mpg with carbon emissions of 153g/km and that CO2 figure would result in a first-year road tax bill of £645 dropping to the standard fee of £180 after 12 months.

Mazda has an excellent reputation for reliability, but for added peace of mind, it comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, and the Mazda MX-5 RF Homura, as tested, sits in insurance group 32.


Mazda MX-5 (2024)

The Mazda MX-5, which is now in its fourth generation, has been gracing our roads for more than three decades and it has always been viewed as the benchmark for pure lightweight sports cars. 

The latest model delivers that convertible fun factor, along with all the agility, driving dynamics and handling associated with the MX-5 over the years. 

And with lots of choice between body styles, engines and trims, there is an MX-5 to suit all demands. Now all we need is a decent summer to really put this rear-wheel drive beauty through its paces!

By Maxine Ashford
Apr 08, 2024

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