Car reviews - Mazda - MX-5 - convertible
18 Jun 2003
NISSAN EXA COUPE (1987-1991)
NOT a soft-top but the 1.6 or 1.8 (from 1988) twin-cam engined N13 Pulsar-based coupe with a targa T-top and removable rear hatch structure. Its front-wheel drive small car platform means this is much more a sporty runabout in the mould of a Toyota Paseo, although it does have a bit more space inside than expected.
FORD CAPRI 2D CONVERTIBLE (1989-1992)
WRONGLY maligned, the Capri overcame its early quality problems and developed into a good vehicle. Locally re-styled Club Sprint models are now commanding good prices. The Mazda-sourced 1.6-litre 16-valve DOHC engine performs well - and its turbo variant even better. Avoid the earliest 1989 1.6 8-valve models.
VOLKSWAGEN GOLF 2D CABRIOLET (1990-1994)
MORE of a convertible sedan than a sports car but smart and lively with a 1.8-litre engine driving the front wheels through a five-speed manual box. A good boulevard cruiser, this cabriolet was a revolution in its own right, as witnessed by cars like the Holden Astra, Peugeot 307 CC and Renault Megane convertibles.
TOYOTA MR2 2D COUPE (1987-1990)
THE original MR2, almost origami-like in its angular-ness, is a classic, with superb steering and handling from a lightweight body and super-sweet 1.6-litre DOHC 16-valve gem of an engine that's mid-mounted, driving the rear wheels through a five-speed manual box. A great driver's car, and Toyota-reliable to boot.
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