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Car reviews - Mazda - MX-5 - convertible


Faster, nimbler, comfier and safer, MX-5 MkIII improves on Mazda's 1989 original

18 Nov 2005

MAZDA defied early sceptics and probably surprised itself with the success of the MX-5. How, after 16 years, do you make what was once defined as a retro car remain attractive and desirable? Maybe you ensure that it continues to provide the best driving experience for the money, and maybe you don’t stray from the basic principles of simplicity, and affordability, that connect you with customers. The third-generation MX-5 delivers more than its meagre price increase indicates, with more performance, better handling, more comfort and more safety, yet it hasn’t watered-down the charm of the 1989 original. Rather, it’s enhanced it.
Model release date: 1 September 2005 to 1 March 2009

Previous model

Mazda MX-5

Released: March 1998
Ended: August 2005
Family Tree: MX-5

The MX-5 was virtually unchanged since its introduction here in October 1989 until 1997. There were some limited edition models and a larger 1.8-litre engine in 1993 but the essence of the car remained – a stylish, soft-top two seater. In March 1998, the all-new second-generation two-seater arrived with new sheetmetal and no pop-up headlights. Although some traditionalists were furious the shape has ensured the MX-5 remained a classic. In October 2000, the MX-5 was tweaked a bit more - given a new front bumper, bigger alloy wheels, subtle head and tail-light changes and a power increase courtesy of variable valve timing. The arrival of the third-generation MX-5 harnesses the attributes of its forefathers without diluting the driving experience.

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