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Mazda’s MX-5 makeover improves the world’s only affordable two-seater RWD roadster

18 Mar 2009

IF you want a rear-drive two-seater convertible sports car under $80,000, only Mazda obliges, with the iconic MX-5. Now in its 20th year, the loveable roadster receives a facelift of debatable merit. But there is no denying that a more flexible engine, combined with slightly higher dynamics and improved refinement levels, is welcome, proving that the recently independent Japanese carmaker is not resting too much on its laurels.

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Model release date: 1 March 2009 to 1 September 2012

Previous model

Mazda MX-5

Released: September 2005
Ended: February 2009
Family Tree: MX-5

A LANDMARK achievement, the third-generation rear-drive two-seater roadster managed to right the previous model’s few wrongs – namely packaging space, refinement and comfort – in a timelessly handsome shape. Performance from the 118kW/188Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder twin-cam petrol unit is strong and economical to boot, while the six-speed Activematic automatic gearbox finally introduced a viable alternative to the fine six-speed manual item. Purists reeled in horror when a retractable hardtop model known as the Roadster Coupe was released in mid-2006, but what it lacks in overall beauty it makes up for in security and (slightly better) refinement. Either way, the NC MX-5 is a real and dedicated sportscar experience.

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