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Mazda MX-5 review

2015 onwards (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 4.4 out of 54.4
” Affordable sports car that's fantastic fun to drive “

At a glance

Price new £28,015 - £34,835
Used prices £6,628 - £25,389
Road tax cost £190 - £255
Insurance group 25 - 34
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Fuel economy 40.9 - 45.6 mpg
Range 386 - 465 miles
Miles per pound 6.0 - 6.7
View full specs for a specific version

Available fuel types


Pros & cons

  • Enormous fun to drive
  • Well-executed yet inexpensive
  • Remarkably cheap to run
  • Very compact cabin
  • Little in-car storage
  • Small boot 

Written by CJ Hubbard Published: 16 September 2022 Updated: 14 June 2023


The Mazda MX-5 is a sports car with enormously broad appeal. Not only is the Mk4 MX-5 – known as the ND – remarkably affordable and cheap to run, it’s also so easy and enjoyable to drive that it brings in a wide spectrum of buyers.

It could be your only car or a weekend toy. You could be looking at dipping your toe into the cold fresh water that is sports car ownership. Or you could be a serial MX-5 owner after the most recent model.

Whatever you want it for, and whatever your experience of the breed, it is unlikely to disappoint. After all, it’s no accident the MX-5 is the bestselling sports car of all time. Helped by the fact it’s one of the cheapest ways to get in the driver’s seat of an all-time classic sports car setup that’s increasingly uncommon: the front-engine, rear-wheel-drive convertible.

As such, there are two schools of thought when it comes to MX-5 rivals.

The first is other rear-wheel drive convertibles. There aren’t many alternative affordable examples around, though – perhaps an entry-level BMW Z4 or used Fiat 124 (now discontinued, this was built by Mazda for Fiat using the MX-5 platform). Not even compromising on a fixed-roof helps these days, as the only truly focused cheap RWD coupe is the Toyota GR86, and that’s effectively sold out in the UK; maybe consider a BMW 2 Series.

Or take a look at a hot hatchback. The Ford Fiesta ST is our pick at the cheaper end of this market, while the Hyundai i30 N is a riot if you need something larger.

None of the above offer the sheer unbridled simplicity of the MX-5 experience, though. On which subject, while Italian philosopher Umberto Eco mused that ‘people are tired of simple things’, apparently the roof design team in Hiroshima (where the Mazda is made) weren’t big on ideology.

The MX-5’s roof is fabric, not metal, and manually operated. It’s super simple, and you can open and close it with one hand in seconds. Perfect for the changeable British weather. However, if you do want an electric hard-top, the Mazda MX-5 RF can oblige.

The MX-5 is available with a choice of two four-cylinder SkyActive-G petrol engines. They make do without turbocharging and, combined with the sweet-shifting six-speed manual gearbox, are great fun to thrash yet refined and economical at a cruise.

The engine range was updated slightly in 2018, adding more power, while the 2022 MX-5 has seen the introduction of a new stability control system called Kinematic Posture Control (we kid you not).

Read on for our full Mazda MX-5 review, with a verdict that draws on everything from this diminutive car’s practicality and running costs to its performance and handing.