Low­down on fun

It seems faster when you are close to the bi­tu­men, writesGRAHAMSMITH AT THE PUMP

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Cars 2005- 2007 Mazda Mx- 5 -

SPORTS cars such as the MX-5 aren’t for every­one, but they are for any­one who wants their motoring to be a fun-filled ex­pe­ri­ence.

Mazda was on a win­ner when it in­tro­duced the MX-5 in the late 1980s and rekin­dled in­ter­est in cars that were fun to drive. verts with the new car. Some of those may have been too tall to com­fort­ably fit into the smaller twoseater, hence the new car was 40mm longer, 20mm higher and 40mm wider than the out­go­ing clas­sic.

The ex­tra di­men­sions reaped greater in­te­rior space with the re­sult that the cock­pit had more leg and shoul­der room.

De­spite be­ing larger it was only 10kg more, thanks to us­ing alu­minium for chas­sis and body parts.

As with the body, the en­gine also grew, from 1.8 to 2 litres. With vari­able valve tim­ing the larger power unit de­liv­ered per­for­mance peaks of 118kW at 6700 revs and 188Nm at 5000 revs.

Back­ing it up was a six-speed man­ual gear­box. A six-speed sports shift auto was an op­tion.

Mazda en­gi­neers were keen to stress that they weren’t about set­ting new per­for­mance bench­marks with the MX-5. Their mis­sion was to de­liver a bal­ance of per­for­mance and han­dling for the everyday driver.

To that end they de­liv­ered a stiffer body, ex­tended the wheel­base by 65mm, widened the track and squeezed fat 17-inch rub­ber un­der the pumped-up guards.

LOOK to pay $25,000 to $30,000. MAZDA build qual­ity is gen­er­ally high and that equates to a re­li­able run in ser­vice. Own­ers re­port few prob­lems. There are no in­her­ent flaws that of­ten crop up.

Check for a ser­vice record and look for signs of abuse through hard driv­ing, even week­end motorsport.

The MX-5 will stand up to some hard driv­ing, pro­vided it’s well ser­viced. WITH a well-bal­anced and ag­ile chas­sis, four-wheel disc brakes with anti-skid pro­tec­tion and elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, the MX-5 was well equipped to avoid a crash.

But if the metal did start crum­pling there was dual front airbags as well as side airbags for pro­tec­tion. QUITE the fuel miser, the MX-5 will of­ten re­turn 8.5 litres for 100km in use around town. GARETH Walker and his wife bought a 2006 MX-5 with 40,000km on it and are very sat­is­fied. He ad­mits it’s not the fastest sports car, but it feels quick be­cause of the low seats and tight sus­pen­sion.

The six-speed man­ual gear­box ra­tios are prob­a­bly a lit­tle close for city driv­ing and they of­ten skip gears on the way through, but the en­gine has enough torque to cope.

The roof is sim­ple to op­er­ate. Only one hand is re­quired to drop it, though get­ting it back up does re­quire a lit­tle con­tor­tion in the driver’s seat. IF YOU like driv­ing you’ll love the cute lit­tle Mazda sport­ster.

For the sports fan: the Mazda MX-5 may not be prac­ti­cal with fam­i­lies or for short trips around town, but it’s pop­u­lar with peo­ple who like sports-car cruis­ing.

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