CHRIS HARRIS: THE MAZDA MX-5 IS PANTS (DUCKS)
February 7, 2011 12:51 PM  |  Posted By: Monkey Harris
Rated 2.6 out of 5.0 by 9 members  |  102 Comments  |  51374 Views
Related Categories: Misc

 

To suspect yourself of being the only person in the known universe to hold a particular belief can be both frustrating and, in a strange way, enormously liberating.

It seems I am alone in being completely ambivalent as to the existence of the Mazda MX-5. Apparently the 900,000th example has just rolled out of Hiroshima, which means there will be yet more public outpourings of emotion for a machine which drives with all the precision of a boneless limb.

Truth be told, I think MX-5s are, well, sh*t .

This will not endear me to anyone who has ever owned or loved an MX-5, and it isn’t intended as some dramatic broadside to wind-them-up. I just always judge sportscars on the way they drive and I’ve always found the ‘ickle Mazda slow, imprecise and unsatisfying. Of course the principle behind the MX-5 is fantastic: affordable open-air fun in a cute little RWD package, but the reality on sticky modern rubber has never even approached delivering on that promise. And the driving position is terrible.

In fact, beyond the car’s outward specification, I don’t really see it as a sportscar at all - it never feels like one through your legs, feet and bottom - because sportscars are supposed to be exciting. And the MX-5 isn’t exciting. An Elise is exciting because it’s a proper sports car, whereas the MX-5 is just a way of being a little more exposed to the elements.

So, gather round and have a good pop at me for being rude about a national treasure. Or, use this opportunity to finally admit in public that you too think the MX-5 is pants. 

 

 
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Carlesshoonigan at 9:11 PM May 29, 2012

Mr. Harris, while you are certainly entitled to your own opinion, my belief is that because you have so much access to high-powered 'true' sports cars, you lack an appreciation for the concept of driving a slow car fast. In a lot of your videos, you blast around in some pretty quick machines, including old ones that were fast even in their time. Fact is, not everyone will be able to enjoy their car on a track and blast around doing triple-digit speeds. The point of the Miata is that it will feel alive at speeds that are close to whatever national limit is imposed. It's a car that can be enjoyed every day. It's not for everyone (like yourself), but don't rain on the parade for everyone else. That said, since you seem to think favorably of the Subaru BR-Z, which has similar specifications in terms of power and weight and purpose, hopefully you will understand the joy there is in small, lightweight, non-powerful cars like the MX-5.

RPF at 11:53 AM January 30, 2012

Totally wrong, Chris! My wife has owned a Mk2 and owns a Mk3 (which we lowered - highly recommended mod!) and I have had a 996 Turbo (former EVO Car of the Year) and I know that both MXs were better sports-cars than the 911 ever was! Of course the 911 had immense ability, but it also understeered like hell and was humourless - exactly the opposite of the MX-5s! It depends what you want from a sports-car, doesn't it? Most of us know that in real-world conditions you cannot be drifting around corners or simulating the Mulsanne. So when you come across a cheap car that has almost no cornering limits and - like the old mini - makes 40mph feel like 80 in a merry, kart-like way, while being reliable, cheap to run and even better in the sunshine, it's hard to resist. Sports-cars should be fun!!! To the BHP-is-everything bores I say; stop thinking about your penis size all the time and try to enjoy life some more. If you can't get over yourselves, try a supercharged MX5.

recordprod at 9:06 PM June 3, 2011

The thing I noticed when trying out MK3 MX5's was the difference from car to car with the same spec, age etc. Maybe there really are some fantastic ones and some less impressive ones out there? I love mine but will be going for the BBR upgrade in 6 months or so.

speedingfinez at 9:32 PM February 25, 2011

I really wasn't keen on my MX5, a Mk1 1.8iS (it was so much unlike a sportscar I went straight to a Caterham) but having since been out in an another modified MK1 I changed my opinion. Worth trying the BBR car Chris? Were you on the staff of Autocar when the Mk2 MX5 won the handling day? Bet you were pissed :)

macmiata at 10:59 AM February 24, 2011

Hell of a way to get a lot of replies. Sure, the Lotus is faster. Sure, a Ferrari is faster and more sporty. Did any of them sell 900.000? Nope. I own a 1,6 '93 miata with turbo. I drove a Opel speedster 2,2 (close enough to a lotus elise for you?) The owner drove my turbo miata. He said 'Wow, this miata is more kicks than the opel'. I sat in a S2000, the driver pushed it from a stop. I hated the car until it finally got to 7K rpm. A miata is a car you can tune and drive daily for a few thousands. Show me how you do that budget trick on a 300 HP sportscar that Harris likes. I would also like to see your next door neighbor drive a miata next to a RWD sportscar on a wet circuit. What car will be his fastest lap around? No drive aids allowed. On Zolder, I passed lots of porsches 911 on the wet track before it got a turbo. I chased a GT40 several rounds before it spinned off wonce I got turboed. I didn't believe it either till I did it... And I'm no pro driver at all. Just like the others

macmiata at 10:52 AM February 24, 2011

Hell of a way to get a lot of replies. Sure, the Lotus is faster. Sure, a Ferrari is faster and more sporty. Did any of them sell 900.000? Nope. I own a 1,6 '93 miata with turbo. I drove a Opel speedster 2,2 (close enough to a lotus elise for you?) The owner drove my turbo miata. He said 'Wow, this miata is more kicks than the opel'. I sat in a S2000, the driver pushed it from a stop. I hated the car until it finally got to 7K rpm. A miata is a car you can tune and drive daily for a few thousands. Show me how you do that budget trick on a 300 HP sportscar that Harris likes. I would also like to see your next door neighbor drive a miata next to a RWD sportscar on a wet circuit. What car will be his fastest lap around? No drive aids allowed. On Zolder, I passed lots of porsches 911 on the wet track before it got a turbo. I chased a GT40 several rounds before it spinned off wonce I got turboed. I didn't believe it either till I did it... And I'm no pro driver at all. Just like the others

WillB at 5:23 PM February 13, 2011

Everyone is entitled to their opinion....So here's mine :-) I've been very lucky in my life to have driven some special cars, Ferrari's, Aston Martin's, a handful of AMG Mercs, many "M" division BMW's, Porsches, MX-5's......the list goes on. My Girlfriend owns a MK2.5 Sport, LSD, Bilsteins etc. The whole point of a Roadster/Sportscar is to make it work for you, the "driver" does the work, eeking out the last couple of horses and elements of grip the car has to offer. I don't know of any other vehicle that offers the amount of fun and grip £ for £ than my girlfriends Sport. The MR2 has a vague front end with no feel and the 205GTI is a tinny bouncy little number, the Elise is great, but price? Practicality? Insurance costs? But saying that I've enjoyed all three for what they are and appreciate why people like them. True, I do feel a bit effeminate sat at the lights with the hood down but you get that with pretty much any convertible. Keeping my BMW but still nicking the GF's MX!;-)

zltm089 at 1:32 PM February 13, 2011

Spot on Chris!!! ...

RWD at 10:04 PM February 11, 2011

Now that is one effective buzz-maker, well done Chris. Next step: the 911 is just Hitler's car with the engine still in the wrong place.

spannercat at 7:38 PM February 10, 2011

I'm with you on most points - BUT..... They have a place - I bought one in November with the sole intention of running it for the winter - fun in the snow etc... and - I have loved it! It's time for it to go now but you are welcome to have it for a week or two if you fancy! I paid sub £2k for one with a lsd and the 140 ish bhp engine - removed the softtop - fitted a hartop and then bought a set of skinny steel wheels with 185 barums on them - I had the geo done and basically it's just a good laugh! In the dry it's a bit pants and you need to go too fast to make it entertaining but on the salty cold, greasy roads that we had over the worst of the winter, it would light the rears up for fun in any of the first 3 gears, pretty much anywhere. I also found you could basically goon it within the boundaries of your own lane down a country lane and could be immensley precise with it, not something I can do in much else. So in summary - people will buy them as new cars because most people who buy new cars want it as a nice looking little sporty thing (my missus has had 2 brand new ones!!) but as an old shed to hoon about in while the roads are too shitty to get the nice stuff out of the garage, I believe they provide the perfect fix. I think you may have been looking at them too seriously to get from a drivers point of view.

irishguyintexas at 7:31 PM February 10, 2011

I agree Chris. Good job having the guts to say it publicly. I've always thought the same and I'll go one step further - corolla without a roof - boring! The S2000 at least had a characterful high reving engine that kept you grinning even if it wasn't the worlds best handling sports car.

RA5CAL at 2:22 PM February 10, 2011

Attached is a vid of my brother who is a trackday novice (his motoring accolades including putting one of my previous cars through a brick wall). Looking at the front wheels - you can see how late he reacts to the slide... There arent many cars out there that would have let him experience oversteer like that and even fewer that would have let him get away with it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKWsoCq6qG0 The mx5 may not be the last word as a sportscar.. but it is a great introduction to them.

Nick Prangnell at 1:47 PM February 10, 2011

The MX5 isn't perfect, but is perfect for many people. My mk1 is slow and unresponsive, but involves the driver in everything it does - and I think its involvement not excitement that makes a sports car. For me it's a car to teach me RWD, but while I accept once the initial challenge has worn off the MX5 will not be as exciting, it will always be an involving, balanced and absorbing way of getting from A to B. And Chris, I'm looking forward to your 'Guide to being a Motoring Journalist'!

calculon at 5:23 AM February 10, 2011

Mazda underpowered the MX-5 so as to make it cheaper to insure and cheap to gas (no premium either). Mazda also styled it like a cute wittle micromachine for the same reason- so it wouldn't appeal to a certain demographic who would raise insurance on it for everyone. I'd guess Mazda don't make a coupe for the same reason. These are not things one needs to make excuses over. Mazda intentionally designed it away from the enthusiast set, and went for broke on low cost and low cost-of-ownership- because they are trying to sell middle-class earners a second or third car. E.g., female thirtysomethings and middle-aged folk who are looking for something that they can drop the top on every so often, and to have that two-seat image. These are the design targets- not making the best enthusiast car money can buy with that price range and design layout (that would be a used S2000). Take it or leave it. You can't fault an enthusiast for leaving it, as it were.

nicknick at 1:10 AM February 10, 2011

Chris, I am a tough bloke who hates sissies and I drive a NC MX5 and love it. It is a fantastic car, that puts a smile on my face every time I drive it. It handles, steers, brakes and performs well. I REALLY DON'T KNOW WHAT THE HELL YOU'RE ON...SMACK MAYBE? to come to a silly conclusion like that about MX5s'. 7.5 seconds to 100km/h is quick enough for me in the real world. Chris, you test cars worth many times the price of the MX5 and are obviously much faster.. but I ask you what the hell is the point of these cars when we all live in such a regulated, nanny, police enforced spped limited propoganda state aimed at raising revenue from motorists who do 5km/h over the limit. The MX5 is a great car and an icon at that so get off your drugs and come to your senses!

nicknick at 1:02 AM February 10, 2011

Chris, I am a tough bloke who hates sissies and I drive a NC MX5 and love it. It is a fantastic car, that puts a smile on my face every time I drive it. It handles, steers, brakes and performs well. I REALLY DON'T KNOW WHAT THE HELL YOU'RE ON...SMACK MAYBE? to come to a silly conclusion like that about MX5s'. 7.5 seconds to 100km/h is quick enough for me in the real world. Chris, you test cars worth many times the price of the MX5 and are obviously much faster.. but I ask you what the hell is the point of these cars when we all live in such a regulated, nanny, police enforced spped limited propoganda state aimed at raising revenue from motorists who do 5km/h over the limit. The MX5 is a great car and an icon at that so get off your drugs and come to your senses!

sqd8r at 10:35 PM February 9, 2011

My buddy sent me this, he also owns a miata, but my first question was who is Chris Harris, someone important or just someone with a blog and a opinion? He explained but TBH it's expected; when you have access to hot cars it would be understandable that the miata is slow, in comparison, but in today's speed enforced society the miata works perfectly for getting the most out of less. Really didn't mind your opinion, but once you stop testing and having access to exotica real world ownership comes into play. Lotus, nothing wrong but reliability doesn't match the miata, price is nowhere comparable in North America, and the dealer backup doesn't compare, again in NA. When you ding up a miata, as mine has unfortunately been by two errant drivers in as many years, it's significantly easier to get panels replaced and a local shop to do it compared to driving 300 - 500 km for Lotus repair. I can afford a Lotus, Cayman etc. and I choose to buy the miata because bang for the buck it's the best.

ruymoreira at 9:10 PM February 9, 2011

Have a '01 1,8 Sport, stock. Yes it has scuttle shake, the seat is high and it's not the fastest road machine out there. But it's an honest car: it does what it says on the thin! The chassis can handle more power and for me that's what makes it great, a great drive is determined by your ability only; not for the loads of power or electronic aids. You can have fun in a modern Ferrari, but for us mere mortals the car's limits are way greater than our ability and in my opinion that's not as fulfilling. The lack of power also teaches to drive better in my opinion; you learn to "flow" down a road, maintaining as much speed as you possibly can. It's a car that shines in an B road; small,nimble and with the roof off letting feel all that surrounds you. For me it's a mix of Lotus Elan(original)+MGB minus the foibles and that just works all the time. Find a early mk1, do a geometry check on it and stick 4 medium range 185R14's and do get back to us with your findings!!! Keep up the good work!

screaming viking at 8:45 PM February 9, 2011

I feel I need to transate this for the rest of the English speaking world. He just called this Miata a pair or underware. Are we talking tidy whities or lacy panties?

IIVVX at 7:31 PM February 9, 2011

they are super gay for a myriad of reasons

Hugo Reis at 6:35 PM February 9, 2011

I actually believe Chris wanted to play with the nerves of those who are MX-5 fanatics, just what he is about the 911. ;) If we go for unfair comparisons, I think the Porsche is a car with a bigger number of downsides per €. Thats exactly the point of an MX-5. I run daily a MKI Miata (US) with air-con, airbag, cruise control, viscous diff et all. I paid 8K€ 5 years ago which, in Portugal, is OK for a pristine 29k miles car. It takes me to track-days and back to work on monday with hardly any costs and no bad surprises. Never failed on me. It's great to use on vacations even if rain falls. It's not fast, but goes sideways easily if you want and has wonderful steering and gearshift. Please tell me how many cars can do that at the double of its price. Chris: I like your style and really enjoyed the fact that you decided to tease the fanatics. I also write for a car magazine and my major pleasure is to rant about the cars everyone loves. It's funny to stay on this side of the fence. :)

cardigankid at 5:28 PM February 9, 2011

What should an open sports roadster be? Good question. It should be what the TR6 used to be but better. Cheap, light, minimum of extras, enough power to make it interesting, predictable handling, economic to run. If Mazda were interested in this, they would offer aftermarket options like lowered suspension, supercharger, Recaro seats without compromising your warranty. The single best feature of the MX-5 is that if you want to drop the hood, even if you are doing 80 mph, you just flick the catch and back it goes, hoping that your hair hasn't got stuck in the framework in the meantime. To put it back up you just put your left hand behind your shoulder and give it a heave. Priceless.

miata saint at 3:29 PM February 9, 2011

It is the first time I register to right an opinion and it's damn right I am doing it on a Miata issue. Although gentlemen before got it right, I will stress this: Miata (any generation) is THE MOST DEMOCRATIC sports vehicle in the known universe. You can push it EVERY DAY (regardless of costs, fear of reliability) on ANY PLACE (does not have to be a track) and it is for EVERY ONE (great tuning potential if needed). But as the little troll inside the monkey implied little earlier, it needs at least one thing proper no-matter what: wheel alignment. It makes a hell of a difference!

cardigankid at 2:27 PM February 9, 2011

Tell you what, Morte. If you try some of the things you can do in an MX-5, in an S2000, you really will be morte.

Monkey Harris at 2:26 PM February 9, 2011

One piece of information seems to leap-out at me from the many discussions about the Mazda: that there are MX-5s and there are MX-5s. There are standard cars and ones which have had geo-changes and other small mods that people say release more from the package. I'm writing from the experience I've had with new, unmodified machines. It's also been fascinating seeing people publicly deconstruct their notions of what a sportscar/roadster/fun-car should be. I suppose that is the crux of my issue with the MX-5: I love the idea of cheap, open-top, driving purity, the MX-5 should be the perfect solution, but it has never delivered for me. As for alternatives, well, I'm not sure the ideal budget sporting roadster exists: certainly I think the mk3 MR2 does the job better than the MX-5. I stand by my comments about hot-hatches and budget rear-drove coupes and saloons though, both of which for me deliver, respectively, either the sharpness or the tail-driven experience more effectively.

phb at 1:29 PM February 9, 2011

I wonder how many people, like me, registered just to reply to this article. Even if not done on purpose it's a great move! In a way you are absolutely right, as a sportscar the mx5 might be sh!t, that's however missing the point: it isn't a sports car, it's a roadster. A sportscar is fast, a roadster feels fast. A sportscar is expensive to maintain, a roadster is cheap to run. The list goes on. I sold a 911 and switched to the current mx5 with the 2liter engine, a soft-top, recaros, etc... I'm having tons of fun. The retuned engine is a tad better than the mk3 and although it's no VTEC there's enough poke to put a smile on your face, thanks to the tight chassis, precise steering and lovely balance. Unlike the S2000 the mx5 is also great fun to drive at low speeds, and I'm a big Honda fan. And did I mention how great it is compared to the 911 *not* to get any attention other than that of kids when driving with the top down? It's no sportscar, just a lot of fun for the money.

emem at 12:57 PM February 9, 2011

Oh dear, the MX5 is wonderful. You don't always have to go a million miles and hour to get thrills but if kicks in the back are your thing then the MX5 will always disappoint. True, the underpowered 'essence of driving' nonsense wears thin but rev it up, snick the right gear and just enjoy it for what it is. Perhaps what's disappointing is the formula for greatness is there and it's not reaching it's potential?

lahtiain at 12:43 PM February 9, 2011

I really appreciate when somebody has guts to say his own opinion, even more when it's going to raise some critisism. Anyway, why I like the MX-5? It's honest. I drive '93 115hv model with maybe 13 years old totally-crap-when-new all season tires, which are even more crap now. And the reason is the lack of grip. 17 years old MX-5 wasn't a fast car when it was new, and it certainly isn't today. But it doesn't matter. With crappy tires it only needs a bit playing with the weight transfer to initiate suprisingly big slides. And thanks to low weight, nice weight balance and low speeds, those slides are easy to control even by a total amateur like me. It's just a great tool to learn driving. I cant imagine myself drifting new M3 in tight mountain roads, but in MX-5 I can, and that's what matters. Of course, probably most of the 80s light RWD boxes can do the same, but how many of them have the same playful attitude as the MX-5?

RA5CAL at 11:49 AM February 9, 2011

"You are judged by the company you keep"... Surely a sh !t car should be compared to others that are languishing with less than 3* in the evo knowledge? It seems somewhat flattering that a car that can be had for the same cost as a high end bicycle is being compared to the likes of the 5* Elise... Just because a car is overhyped - does this instantly qualify it as sh !t when it doesn't meet expectations? And what are the expectations? Is the hype about it being an accessible package that allows Joe average to take the car past its limits (and come back) or is the hype created from reports that it is now the most raced car in the world and that Gordon Murray mentioned it as a benchmark for a modern small sports car? It seems you are very conscious of the reaction you may get throughout your posts... go on admit that there was a little bit of a troll in the monkey this week mr Harris.

ZA Ferrari at 11:17 AM February 9, 2011

Am pretty sure it would have been amazing if it had a certain German sports car makers badge on the nose.

Muckinfunky at 9:56 AM February 9, 2011

Well this post by Monkey has stirred up some debate! It looks like there is a mixed bag of responses too. I would have firmly been on the side of Chris until my Mrs insited on buying a 2.0 mk3. It's not about the out and out speed of the thing, nor is it about the ridiculously high ride of the thing... it's about having a laugh at speeds not likely to put you in jail and wet roundabouts with no traction control. The car is a laugh, it is a bit of a hair dressers car but should not be slated too heavily as it did restart a generation of 2 seat RWD sports cars. It also doesnt break the bank and while it would not have been my choice (S2000) it is massive fun on a Scottish B road and quite dynamic. Needless to say though coilovers and a Cosworth supercharger makeover would be welcome!

Sodaz at 8:36 AM February 9, 2011

I agree with you there Chris. I've driven the MX-5 many times and I didn't think it was as great as what many believe. The only MX-5 that was good fun had an aftermarket turbo and coilovers on it and it made all the difference. It was much easier to slide the tail out and it had the straight line oompph that the stock car lacked.

cardigankid at 8:35 AM February 9, 2011

Everyone knows that most MX-5's are bought by women because they look cute and will give them a sexy image. This is not sexism just a statement about gender preferences. They do not care about 'handling' and they have no intention of going 'fast'. Selling 900k of them has more to do with that. If you are 6'2", male, and you don't mind looking butch your head will still be braced against the roof frame when it is shut. The suspension is set so high it is ludicrous, but someone said to me that is due to a legal requirement. Still, I had a go in a 2.0i SportTech model because Jeremy Clarkson bigged it up in one of his articles, saying it was as much fun as an F430 Spyder. It felt light, uncomplicated and quite responsive. There is a polite little sports exhaust. It really wasn't bad, but with a little effort it could be so so much better. IMHO therefore you are right, but why doesn't someone produce a small roadster that IS the real deal?

wilsonlaidlaw at 7:44 AM February 9, 2011

I am with Chris. A nasty cynical roofless blancmange. My wife wanted one about 10 years ago. I went a drove a few and was totally underwhelmed. We ended up getting a Honda CRX VTEC Type R grey import (the electric roof one), which at least had some fizz to it. Wilson

gaius49 at 1:16 AM February 9, 2011

Chris, You are right, the NA and NB (lets leave out the NC because it isn't a miata) aren't great cars from the factory. The steering is quite numb, the brakes are marginal, and the things tend to corner on their door handles. All of these things can be fixed, and the result is a fantastic little sports car. With proper brakes (and wheel to fit), a real suspension, and some form of FI, these cars are bloody quick. Mazda botched most, if not all of the replacable bits and got the unfixable stuff right. The suspension geomtery is actually quite good, and the dimensions are quite pleasantly small. The springs, dampers, bumpstops, tophats, bushings, chassis flex, brakes (who puts sliding calipers on a sports car?), and power steering are all fixable with time and effort. In stock form, the NA and NB are rather dubious but when properly fixed, they are rather brilliant.

Monkey Harris at 8:28 PM February 8, 2011

Thanks for all the comments and for taking this mild broadside in the manner it was intended. Knackered at the mo, but will come back tomorrow am and answer as many of your points as possible. I now have another point to add to my 'Guide to being a Motoring Journalist'. [Take a very deep breath before you're rude about the MX-5: there are thousands of people who love them!!]

iantoh at 4:37 PM February 8, 2011

3/3 i better stop soon.. sorry for the long comment. i just felt compelled to say something, anything, in defence of the little defenceless miata. as averagespeed posted, the miata is a legend because its the great democratiser for rwd cars. if not for the miata, there would not be the boxster, z4, and countless other roadsters. if you're ever in town (i live in singapore), i'd love for you to try out my car. it might not get your adrenalin pulsing, or be terribly exciting, compared to your personal fleet, for sure, but hopefully, it'll bring a smile to your face and make you feel just a little guilty for calling it "sh!te".:) cheers, ian

iantoh at 3:54 PM February 8, 2011

2/3 To me, the miata represents simple driving joy. Cheap, accessible and unadultered. its fun even when youre driving in the city, well below the speed limits, with each gear shift and throttle blip seemingly benefitting from your efforts at finesse and fluency. it might not make much of a difference speed-wise, but the miata encourages you, and although it might not catch the latest hot hatch, the miata always feels like its saying, "let's give it a shot, we just might catch up"- that's its loveable nature i think. now my driving experience pales significantly in comparison to yours. that's to be expected, but of the small assortment of go-fast metal i've had the opportunity to drive, including boxsters, s2000s, holdens, vws, civics, evos and wrxs, i've truly had the most fun in the two miatas i've owned. the first, a stock 1.6 NB, and my current, a mazdaspeed miata, with about 190rwhp from simple bolt ons (Intake,DP,MP muffler and Tein mono flex coilovers.

iantoh at 3:35 PM February 8, 2011

1/3 Hi there Chris, the internet is a wonderful thing- after years of reading your articles, i get the opportunity to chime in, in reply to your post. first up, i'd like to say i enjoy reading your articles and columns, but was rather dismayed to read of your opinions of the miata. im certainly glad i got to establish my own opinion of the miata without having read your views first, because in my experience, its a lovely, engaging drive. may i ask what were the specifications of the mx5 you last drove that inspired the above rant? i've driven many miatas over the years (club members who've asked my opinion on this or that aspect, etc), and i've certainly been appalled by the state of some of em. blown shocks, wayward alignment, etc. but drive a well-cared for and modestly tuned example and its an entirely different experience. [ramble continues above]

MartinM at 1:51 PM February 8, 2011

+ 1 for Hanzo.

Leonard at 1:15 PM February 8, 2011

I think Hanzo hit it on the head there :)

Hanzo at 12:59 PM February 8, 2011

Chris, I value your review from other reviews you've done however, I think you've missed the point on this one. Allow me to explain. Yes, the MX-5 is imprecise, low on power, low on grip, soft on damping however, the point of the MX-5 is to allow "real world" driving fun. Yes it's not exciting to drive but, it is fun to drive, there is a difference. Mazda didn't set out to make the MX-5 a hardcore, fast, grippy, stiff sports car on purpose. Let's face it, on the public road you can't go but so fast. MX-5 gives you the feeling of speed and danger without breaking the law. Mazda dialed back the driving feel of a racing car to suit the public road. You however, have the option of making MX-5 a true racing car as we've seen in Open Race series and MX-5 Cup series. There is a good reason why MX-5 is now at 900,000th units with plenty of competitors came and went over the 20 years period. It allow an average Joe to enjoy motoring on the public road.

Overstier at 12:38 PM February 8, 2011

Satisfaciton is different things to different people but I owned a standard Mk1 for a year and wouldn't agree that it's unreponsive. Yes it responds more slowly, but it does so honestly and with everything in proportion - something many sportcars fail to deliver. Being small and light and able to slide round roundabouts at 20mph (Hankook Optimos, take a bow)is more relevant than ever and it's cheap to own & run. Even if you find a 205GTI more exciting more of the time (and I do), shouldn't the MX5 be celebrated for keeping RWD within reach of the masses when the laws of economics have made FWD the default?

Tuure Turunen at 12:03 PM February 8, 2011

I think the idea of MX-5 is, that it's cheap to buy, and you can upgrade it to match your skills as they develop. In stock form, it's not a fast car, but how many enthusiast keep their cars stock? Mk1 MX-5 is a great little thing, it is noisy and rattly, but hey, look at the price. As a great learning experience to rwd sports car world, it's THE car whose drivers are the one's who can drive, not just pose in side of their expensive sports cars that they can't drive the way they are deserved. It's also a great car to learn the basics of tuning your car. Negative side is, that it is also a car for hairdressers... poor hairdressers.. :D

mpzr at 10:47 AM February 8, 2011

For me, a good part of the pleasure of my two MX-5s (a 2 and a 2.5) is the wind-in-the-hair thing. When I was young enough to have the reaction times to drive a 911 or an Elise I of course couldn't afford one. Now of more mature years and not wanting to kill myself I can have a sensible saloon for the inlaws and the shopping and a toy for the weekend!

Dave Knott at 10:30 AM February 8, 2011

Well Chris, surely all this strong opinion warrants an "affordable sports cars" group test! How about forming up the best of the 3 generations of MX5 (Mk1 BBR Turbo, Mk 2.5 Sport, Mk 3.5 Sport Tech) vs the Mk3 MR2 vs the best FWD affordable sports cars (Clio 182 Trophy + Clio 200 Cup). I want the definitive EVO verdict....!

miclai at 6:33 AM February 8, 2011

I owned mk1 mx5 and I am driving an early mk3 MR2. I liked the quick throttle response, revvy engine, exhaust note, communicative chassis & steering, excellent gearchange and power oversteer of the mx5. Although it did flex a lot, sit high and lack of support from the seat, and not that fast. It was the lightest with no luxury and I advanced the timing to 14 degrees. The MR2 is a lot faster but it does not rev as quick, throttle response is not as quick, worse gearchange and in stock form the suspension is too soft and roll induced oversteer occurs easily on track as EVO said. I lowered it and it cornered neutral and generated a lot more grip. I kept up with Porsche 964 and Elise S2 on track.

miclai at 6:20 AM February 8, 2011

I owned mk1 mx5 and I am driving an early mk3 MR2. I liked the quick throttle response, revvy engine, exhaust note, communicative chassis & steering, excellent gearchange and power oversteer of the mx5. Although it did flex a lot, sit high and lack of support from the seat, and not that fast. It was the lightest with no luxury and I advanced the timing to 14 degrees. The MR2 is a lot faster but it does not rev as quick, throttle response is not as quick, worse gearchange and in stock form the suspension is too soft and roll induced oversteer occurs easily on track as EVO said. I lowered it and it cornered neutral and generated a lot more grip. I kept up with Porsche 964 and Elise S2 on track.

miclai at 6:20 AM February 8, 2011

I owned mk1 mx5 and I am driving an early mk3 MR2. I liked the quick throttle response, revvy engine, exhaust note, communicative chassis & steering, excellent gearchange and power oversteer of the mx5. Although it did flex a lot, sit high and lack of support from the seat, and not that fast. It was the lightest with no luxury and I advanced the timing to 14 degrees. The MR2 is a lot faster but it does not rev as quick, throttle response is not as quick, worse gearchange and in stock form the suspension is too soft and roll induced oversteer occurs easily on track as EVO said. I lowered it and it cornered neutral and generated a lot more grip. I kept up with Porsche 964 and Elise S2 on track.

daiblade at 1:08 AM February 8, 2011

I was never really impressed by the mx5. The suzuki cappuccino ran rings around it in all areas except space. I'm still waiting for a modern car that is as chuckable as a fiat x1/9. Mx5s, elises have nothing on a good x1/9 when it comes to fun as sane speeds.

funlurva at 1:04 AM February 8, 2011

'These are not the droids you are looking for-move along, move along' Come on peeps, I imported a MK1 on a boat, with lsd and sports susp.. Awful scuttle shake and a 106gti laughed at it in the wet. Good for my girlfriend, but lsd aside, not good for me!

Haider at 12:46 AM February 8, 2011

Hairdresser + car = MX5

roaduscarnivorous at 10:50 PM February 7, 2011

I for one hate the Porsche 911 in an analogous way. Everyone's gotta have an opinion. I do, however, love the MX-5.

AverageSpeed at 9:31 PM February 7, 2011

Have been meaning to join this forum for ages and these seems as good a reason as any. Can't agree with this; MX5 is the modern democratiser of RWD fun and that is enough to make it great. Sweet steering, sweeter gearchange and nimble handling added bonuses. Top speed not relevant, in my opinion. Scribbled a longer riposte: http://www.averagespeed.co.uk/?p=114

Samoht at 9:28 PM February 7, 2011

Nineteen years ago in Autocar, Eoin Young expressed very similar opinions after buying a new Mk1 MX-5, and selling it four months later. Too slow for overtaking, he spun it in Richmond Park, and getting ribbed by friends for driving a hairdressers' car were the reasons. You can find excerpts here under 'Summer Blues' http://www.classiccar.co.nz/articles/darth-vader2019s-miata-2013-mazda-mx-5-v8-2013-177

wonkunit at 9:18 PM February 7, 2011

Well i used to like Chris Harris. Its not really fair to compare an Mx-5 to an Elise, the Lotus is only 3 or 4 times the price. if we could all drive Elises and Exiges we would but some of us don't have that kind of money (students perhaps?), so lay off!

LT at 8:55 PM February 7, 2011

Totally agree. All potential MX5 buyers should be forced to drive a Honda S2000 before they make a decision. The they will know what a real sports car at an affordable price feels like.

robertsouthern at 8:52 PM February 7, 2011

Tim & monkey Harris - spot on the money - hairdressers car! Fine for a girl!

zagrebzagreb at 8:50 PM February 7, 2011

I rented a previous generation Miata and drove it about 600 miles over a long weekend on all sorts of great roads north San Fran and the Bay Area a few years back. What sticks in my mind is the 'clompity-clomp' ride quality and the zero-progressiveness of the handling, due I'm sure to the fact that it was waaaaaay over-tired. 215 section width on a car with barely more than 100 bhp? Lame. This has always been my issue with most modern sports cars: they pretty much all have more tire and grip than engine, which just kills the fun.

P.T at 8:29 PM February 7, 2011

At last,.someone who agrees with me re MX5..driven three examples enjoyed none of them. Thought it was me but clearly not! Nice one Chris.

blasos at 8:22 PM February 7, 2011

                                                                                                                                                                        Sorry, Chris, but you're well off the mark. You couldn't be more wrong if you tried. "I think MX-5s are, well, sh*t" - great choice of words, Chris, very eloquent and well thought-out. I've driven and owned quick (if not savagely fast) cars E30s, Truenos, Levins, Integra Type-Rs, Civic SiRs, Fiat Coupe, Silvia Ks, 180 SX etc., and the MK1 Mazda MX-5s I've driven (but not owned) absolutely annihilate any of them for driving feel and fun. I think you're spending too much time in your 911 Beetles and Bugatti Veyrons etc. You need a dose of reality and a heavy dose of humility. MX-5 is a legend, Chris Harris is not a legend.

jrn at 7:24 PM February 7, 2011

Chris, I highly rate you as a driver and rely on your writing to get an impression on cars I'll never drive but... you must be joking. Maybe you should be more specific: what generation MX-5 are you talking about? I'll admit I've owned a Mk1 MX-5 and have not driven a recent version so if you're talking about a Mk3 I'll shut up. In my experience the Mk1 MX-5 is as pure, direct and nimble a car as you can find. I'm not alone, evo rates it as one of the greatest drivers cars of all time (issue 135, I'm sure you're aware). The least you can do is take a drive in the BBR MX-5 mentioned in evo 153 and report back on your view. I'd love to hear because I feel you can't see beyond the admitted power deficit. Let's face it, you are unable to appreciate a car with less than 200bhp. Look at the list of cars you've owned recently. I'll just assume you were bored today and needed some attention. Well done though if you just wanted a rise out of me.

Trevor M at 7:20 PM February 7, 2011

AHAHA! This is why I love Chris Harris's work. No nonsense. I really loved his criticism of the current Porsche 997 standard models in the current issue of Excellence Magazine, as well. The first Mazda Miata (now mx5) I saw was in the hometown I grew up in. It was the original model owned by the phoniest little rich boy poseur in town and he had personalized plates that read: IM SCOTT. hahahha. The Mazda Miata has never recovered in my mind since.

dannyw100 at 7:16 PM February 7, 2011

I'm sure if funds permitted we'd all plump for stuttgarts finest but for us mere mortals an mx5 provides something most cars don't now, fizzy fun. My mx 5 felt awesome as soon as you got into 2nd gear. Everyone told me how great the mr2 was so I bought one and personally thought it was bobbins, heavy feel, yaris like steering which went very light at times and an uncomfortable sensation that a heavy engine was peering over me all the time. cheap, bullet proof, not fast but fun, the mx 5 what's not to like!

honestpaul at 7:10 PM February 7, 2011

I've owned 4 of 'em, love em to bits and found they offer way more opportunity for everyday fun than the 'too much faffing about' Elise. MK1's were best, simple, willing (for 100 odd bhp) informative and just so easy to jump in and drive quickly. Rather than bemoan the lack of muscle I like it that you can rag them to within an inch without scaring every other road user by doing silly speeds. We don't need to go faster than this (I have a S2000 and WRX for B road emergencies though). Yes the current engines lack brio and musicality but they're honest and gutsy enough for Darren Turner to propel the little thing around Rockingham Race Circuit quicker than the admittedly more accurate Clio 200 Cup (Car Magazine PCOTY 2009). That'll surprise Chris.

iedei blog at 7:01 PM February 7, 2011

100% agree! it is a gutless little wimp. as with so many other cars, the MX5 is simply a gigantic, well formed pile of hype....

Monkey Harris at 6:33 PM February 7, 2011

Well, If I can be sure of one thing, it's that people have an opinion about the MX-5. Suppose this issue questions the role and form of a sportscar as much as anything. For me it's about the driving, for others (and that must be the vast majority because Mazda's flogged 900k of the things) it's about the wind-in-the-hair stuff. Which of course I'm not so worried about. For that reason, the Clio Cup I drove for the vid a few weeks back is actually much more of a sports-car because it responds and satisfies in far greater quantities. I get the value side, I just think that the MX5's Legend as a driving experience is vastly over-rated. I was at Autocar one year (think it was 2003) when the last MX5 beat the Gen2 GT3 for the Handling Day prize. Yes, it cold be coaxed into an angle on a wet track, but it was so imprecise and slow. Needless to say I didn't agree with the verdict....

Bunta at 6:28 PM February 7, 2011

I got quite excited when I borrowed one for a weekend trip to France after the universal praise and countless "best affordable sports car ever!" reports. It was utterly gutless, badly put together and about as much fun as having your wisdom teeth removed with a rusty spoon. Utter rubbish.

Monkey Harris at 6:24 PM February 7, 2011

Well, If I can be sure of one thing, it's that people have an opinion about the MX-5. Suppose this issue questions the role and form of a sportscar as much as anything. For me it's about the driving, for others (and that must be the vast majority because Mazda's flogged 900k of the things) it's about the wind-in-the-hair stuff. Which of course I'm not so worried about. For that reason, the Clio Cup I drove for the vid a few weeks back is actually much more of a sports-car because it responds and satisfies in far greater quantities. I get the value side, I just think that the MX5's Legend as a driving experience is vastly over-rated. I was at Autocar one year (think it was 2003) when the last MX5 beat the Gen2 GT3 for the Handling Day prize. Yes, it cold be coaxed into an angle on a wet track, but it was so imprecise and slow. Needless to say I didn't agree with the verdict....

globalsupercars at 6:10 PM February 7, 2011

I've just spent the last week test driving £3k Mk2 MX-5s and Mk3 MR2s (not, in any way may I add, inspired by a certain article...). Anyway, the MX5s felt great. A little scuttle shake (as I expected having not driven many soft tops) but fun. But I didn't fit. So I test drove MR2s: no scuttle shake, more fun and I fit. No contest really! I am now cash in hand, hunting for the right example!

Teffers at 6:07 PM February 7, 2011

@Pistachio - I could probably show most things a clean pair of heels in anything. That's driver related. I'd love an MX5, for sunny afternoons bimbling about in the countryside with my mistress. But unless I was in a one make series I'd rather drive almost anything else on track ;)

Leonard at 6:06 PM February 7, 2011

I have literally just purchased a new shape MX5 2.0 Sport (not picked it up yet) as I had an MX5 itch that needed to be scratched. Maybe I should have got an earlier model to get it out of my system but I needed something I could drive a 300 mile trip in to visit my girlfriend and I wanted the reliability of a newer car. Now I did consider other cars but what else can you get that is similar for £8k? 2007 car with 25k miles from a dealer. Reasonable storage, soft top, comfort and rwd with lsd fun? Must admit I am slightly confused by EVO's hatred of the MX5 as every other motoring mag loves it. Guess I will find out for myself later this week, one way or another! And Chris I normally agree with your car taste (big up the Mitsi Evo) but I hope you turn out to be wrong on this one.....

AlexM at 5:39 PM February 7, 2011

Everyone is allowed an opinion, and I appreciate yours however I do happen to disagree with you. You are right in certain aspects, they are slow, at times uncomfortable, noisy etc. However the fun and cost outweighs all of these factors. They arent going to win any drag races and, in standard form, will get raped on track but I don't care. When I fancy a drive, I just hop in the little mazda and it instantaneously puts a smile on my face. It feels a hell of a lot faster then it actually is and you can really push it on a quiet B road without the fear of losing your license or your life. On several occasions I have pulled away, revving the little engine to within an inch of its life causing a huge grin to appear on my stupid looking face only to be overtaken by a 50 year old Milf in her family saloon with 3 kids in the back seats. Do I care? Hell no, I was far too busy having fun. This, I feel, is the essence of what makes the MX5 great!

Pistachio at 5:21 PM February 7, 2011

Teffers, one never said it was always the fastest thing on a trackday that is impossible but an MX5 if driven well can show a clean pair of heels to some, I say "some" other cars....I just think the MX5 gets bad press when it is a good little inexpensive car, now what's wrong with that. I used to have one yes, but also had a Ferrari F355 Berlinetta as well which was also fast but in a different way :)

Pistachio at 5:13 PM February 7, 2011

Hmmm Si, I think a bad workmen blaming the tools comes to mind. Just because it wasn't driven well does not a bad car make. You have to get use to first understeer in and oversteer out but boy can it slide nice through long corners when you get it right. The seats arent good enough either but that is fixable.

RS4 at 5:09 PM February 7, 2011

I agree with Chris. The 2.0 is not particularly fast, and the interior feels fairly low quality. If it has to be a convertible I would go for a 2nd hand Z4.

M2M at 4:57 PM February 7, 2011

I don't have much experience with this car in general, since I've only tried a Mk II car with 125 hp once. I expected fun and it just felt unimpressive; maybe I just did not have the right expectations. Maybe Dave is right and one should put the Clio RS's (197 or 200, won't matter much) engine in it. Volunteers? @Chris: your post made it to the Jalopnik front page, so expect some flames. :o

AngusParvo at 4:50 PM February 7, 2011

I'm not saying the MX-5 is the greatest car in all of history, but it's an amazing amount of fun for the money. I've been using a Mk1 as a daily driver and in 10 years it has never failed to start right away and get me where I'm going. Try that in an Elise.

Chris Caldwell at 4:33 PM February 7, 2011

I drove a 2000 base model with 14" tires and it a bit of fun. I think it would be a good car for someone to learn the dynamics of driving a RWD car hard. I think the cute looks and lack of power would get old quick though. Chris you drove a AE86 last year and found it rather exciting. Knowing they have similar power what makes the AE86 more fun then the MX-5?

Teffers at 4:26 PM February 7, 2011

I don't mind them, but they do have their place (a nice A or B road) BUT I do object to the MX5 lovers and their slavish preaching about how they are always the quickest things on any trackday blah bla balance blah. SLOW!

Pistachio at 3:46 PM February 7, 2011

Hmm I am surprised by your comments as I think the 1st MX5 was a great little car especially when fitted with a small MOMO steering wheel and some decent rubber or even slicks!!. I have tried a strapped down, race exhaust race version from the one make series (1990-91) as well which was awesome. Driven well it could scare the likes of a Caterham Seven at Goodwood(honest). Another mod on track was to disconnect the power steering as it sapped power, so off came the rubber belt and then it gained a lot of feel on track, a pig in the pits to move around but who cares. I still like the little low speed excitement car that the MX5 is and alas we don't all have the funds to buy a 911 GT3. Properly sorted on a twisty track the MX5 can be a lot of fun.

Limpet at 3:03 PM February 7, 2011

It's about 7 years since we sold our mk2 1.8i (S model with slippy diff), and I have to say I found it a cracking little sports car. Yes, it could have done with more power, but the 1.8 twin cam was happy to spin to its 7k red line, sounded good and growly doing so, and delivered excellent, consistent throttle response. I always thought the Mazda's strength was the way everything gelled and felt "just so". Ours was running on relatively modest 205/55 Michelin Pilots which meant there wasn't a face distorting amount of grip, but the transition to a slide was quite benign, and with the quick steering and responsive engine, made it a joy to play with in long, fast corners. It also sent lots of information up through the seat of your pants. The biggest problem for me was the car's 'hairdresser' image, which I felt was actually quite undeserved. It's no Elise, but then it doesn't have Elise running/upkeep costs either. An MX-5 costs no more to service or repair than a 323.

Alfa Male at 2:52 PM February 7, 2011

You accept though that people like rear wheel drive sports cars at a low price level right? I mean; this is becoming a bit like a "I think cheap cars are not very good" argument. You could off course be quite right about that (depending on ones points of reference which in your case would take some beating). For some people though, daily life is a commute in a company car and a fun weekend/track outing in an MX-5 and in that world it stands comparison very well in my opinion. I still think that at it's price point it is a whole lot better than anything comparable; even ratty E30's that are remotely funny to drive are more expensive here (and very ratty indeed) and the Boxter argument is a completely different ownership proposition than a new MX-5.

Megabuck at 2:37 PM February 7, 2011

Perhaps this points up a problem with modern rubber. After all, evo's own tyre testing focused on outright lap times, cornering ability and so on - yet the stickier rubber gets, the more it will tame wayward handling. Ultimately quicker, but easier/less fun/less skilfull. So maybe evo should run a test to find good, non-sticky tyres; the tyre which provides a good level of feedback, but which do allow over/understeer, and which do allow older cars to behave as they would when new.

s222ney at 2:31 PM February 7, 2011

@Dave Knott: But it hasn't, and therein lies (part of) the problem...

cenuijmu1 at 2:25 PM February 7, 2011

Chris, Problem with the Boxster and MR2 is one is over-tyred and mid-engined and one is mid-engined and tricky on the limit it seems. Same goes for the Elise. However I do admit the yearning for the old MG might have sunnied ( opposite of clouded :) ) peoples judgements. As BBR once more do a turbo mk1 and supercharged mk3 I think this would make a good article, not only can you say your piece in print but compare how the cars have changed over the years with size and weight. Go on, you know you want to. OK, still the issues you mention, but they would be faster. Or would it just make it worse though in your eyes? Point taken David.

Dave Knott at 2:15 PM February 7, 2011

At this price point - circe £20k (I'm talking a new Mk 3.5 Sport Tech here), your alternative performance cars are ALL FWD. For this reason alone, the MX5 deserves praise and we should all be thankful for it's existence. The fact that the chassis is superbly forgiving when experimenting with oppo lock shinanigans & is fitted with a proper limited slip diff is also cause for celebration. It's also got a low kerb weight, nice, pointy steering and is well built enough to be cheap to run and reliable. Yes, it could do with a proper, exciting powertrain, and, like you say, a better more adjustable driving position, but overall, it's a hell of a cheap, fun package. If it had the engine from a Clio 200 would you still say the MX5 is pants? - I don't think so.....

Monkey Harris at 2:11 PM February 7, 2011

Okay, the value argument is valid: it's a cheap RWD car with a foldable roof. But sadly it uses neither of those attributes very well. I've never drive one that felt especially RWD because the motors aren't very powerful, sound dull, and the car has plenty of mechanical grip. There's a wallowy loose-ness to it as well: you turn, the bodyshell flexes, the steering column shifts, the suspension rubbers compress - it's actually very hard to get feedback from the car at all. In this respect almost any hot hatch is better: certainly the 205s/AXs are much more appealing in the way they steer and respond. But they're not rear wheel drive. For me the open-top thing doesn't add to the RWD experience, so I'd probably have a ratty E30 with the biggest motor I could afford and 185s on the rear. The mk3 MR2 is in a different league as a driver's car for me - but it's more expensive. As for new cars at the same price - take a look at how much Boxster can be bought for the price of a new MX-5.

Insomniac at 2:07 PM February 7, 2011

MK1 owner here. I've never driven a new one, and I've never driven an old one that was standard. Mine has braces and wider wheels and tyres, with the old skinny ones languishing in the back room. As my first RWD car, it's been brilliant at trackdays and trips around the country. It's rattly, not particularly quick, but compared to all the FWD hatches I've had before, it's better by miles. Compared to the Elise it delivers 80% of the thrills for 50% of the cost.

Martin Spain at 2:03 PM February 7, 2011

In standard form, and speaking as an owner of a mk1 MX-5, I'm in agreement with Monkey. Pros: they're cheap to buy, run and fix, easy to reach the limits of the car. Cons: they're slow. With the 1.6 engine like mine, they're really, really slow. The seating position is too high, and the scuttle does shake on the poor road surfaces in the UK. The lack of power can be addressed with FI, but my feeling is that by the time you've spent a few grand on that, you might as well save the dosh and get yourself a more powerful car anyway. The engine is tough and withstands a lot of abuse, but it's absolutely characterless, and for me that's the biggest issue. Gotta agree with David, though - I do love the popup lights!

David_Yu at 1:52 PM February 7, 2011

@ cenuijmu1: True, but I like to believe I am capable of judging a car on its own merits and within context. However, I have to confess that the Brunette's MX-5 was "treated" to a set of 15" TSW split spoke alloys and the required larger rubber may have spoilt the handling balance still further. But even on the standard wheels and tyres, I never managed to indulge in the sort of lurid oversteer some people seemed to imagine should come with something so Elan shaped. Although I hate FWD with a passion, a 205GTI would make a far more fun ride for similar money, or for a bit more, a Mk3 MR2 would provide the proper RWD open top experience, enhanced by having a decent engine behind you.

Alfa Male at 1:40 PM February 7, 2011

So what is your suggestion to the Evo Readership at the ownership pricepoint and segment it represents (1k-2k 2nd hand and/or whatever price a new one is). Isn't bringing an Elise into the equation somewhat besides the point?

cenuijmu1 at 1:39 PM February 7, 2011

Journo's seemed to like the original ones, though it has wandered up and down since then, the latest one seems to be better liked by Evo even though it has got a lot heavier and has a funny face. If it is too slow then turbo charging or supercharging can be added, if you want it to have a rock hard ride and poor gear change, to make it "sporty" like an Elise, no doubt that can be done as well - still saving money over the Lotus. Just going on hear-say, never driven one, though watching them on trackdays they do seem to be driven up to and more over the limit than some other cars, perhaps because they are cheap and fairly friendly / boring in extremis. You have to remember Chris that a lot of people have not much dosh and move onto it from something very boring and front wheel drive, rather than being a road tester who can drive any exotica. Same goes for you David, I believe you were driving something with 600bhp plus when you thought your wifes MX-5 was dull.

_Tim_ at 1:37 PM February 7, 2011

They've never done much for me either. My Mum bought one. She's a hairdresser...

Marv at 1:37 PM February 7, 2011

Oh and the original Lotus Elan for that matter!

Marv at 1:34 PM February 7, 2011

What do you think of Mk3 MR2s, Chris?

Jobbo at 1:17 PM February 7, 2011

Why would you want to put modern sticky tyres on a 20yr old MX5? Hardly surprising that it doesn't suit them.

markos at 1:03 PM February 7, 2011

The current generation model has lost the driving appeal of the previous one, which I liked. Yes, it was always quite slow and didn't have enough power you could eventually use for power oversteer (in reality it was possible. On ice.). But I quite liked the steering, cornering balance and that gearbox. And no, I'm not a hairdresser.

razorsharp at 1:02 PM February 7, 2011

Thank you for sincereness. Although 99 percent cars would feel like that after 205 Gti, when I got back into it after driving much praised second generation MX5, all I could say was "What a car!".

David_Yu at 1:00 PM February 7, 2011

You are brave voicing this in public! But yes, I was never impressed with my wife's Mk1 MX-5 really. Steering lacked feel and there was never enough oomph to make use of the RWD layout. Rolled a lot and suffered a surprising amount of scuttle shake for a car designed from the outset as a roadster. Best thing about it were the pop-up lights...

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