Mk4

A light­weight, zippy lit­tle sports car packed with all the mod cons re­quired by mod­ern mo­torists – an en­gi­neer­ing tri­umph

Total MX-5 - - CONTENTS -

Com­pact, light, quick and nim­ble; Mazda keeps faith with the orig­i­nal MX-5 con­cept

It weighs the same as a mk1 and, amaz­ingly, it’s slightly shorter. The 1.5-litre ver­sion is as peppy as a mk1 1.8 with its 131bhp, while the 158bhp 2.0 is re­ally quite quick. And as of mid-2018, that got hiked to 181bhp.

Yet the mk4 has all the mod­ern safety gear plus the sim­plest and neat­est of all MX-5 hoods, and it’s im­pres­sively fru­gal. Mazda’s cur­rent spe­cial­i­ties of light­weight, high-strength con­struc­tion and ul­tra-high-com­pres­sion en­gines are the key, en­sur­ing a con­vinc­ing MX-5 ex­pe­ri­ence with a mod­ern take. There’s even a hint of Jaguar F-type in the looks, es­pe­cially at the tail.

The mk4 has the stiffest struc­ture and the most faith­ful han­dling of all. It draws you in like a mk1 but does it with­out a nod to the 1960s, so lumpy roads just aren’t an is­sue. There’s a Road­ster Fast­back (RF) ver­sion, too, a new take on the re­tractable hardtop with a touch of Fer­rari Dino aft of the cabin. One snag, though: the mk4, oddly, has the tight­est cabin of all the gen­er­a­tions, both for tall peo­ple and for a jour­ney’s clut­ter. The boot is tiny, too, be­cause the cabin is set fur­ther back in the wheel­base.

Pro­vided you fit, which ver­sion to choose? The lighter-nosed 1.5 has the more pleas­ing bal­ance and is quick enough for most. The faster 2.0 pro­vides a dif­fer­ent thrill.we love them both. Val­ues: from £11,000 (2015 1.5) to cur­rent list price (£18,995–£29,195).

Tail lights are a piece of gor­geous de­sign Shame the info screen doesn’t re­tract Sky­ac­tiv en­gines are lively and very ef­fi­cient: 40mpg+ is eas­ily achiev­able

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