Mazda MX-5 (2015-present)

Latest version of hugely popular Mazda MX-5 roadster is the best yet

Strengths & Weaknesses


Great fun to drive
Head-turning looks
Affordable for a sports car


Not at all practical
Interior could be nicer
Visibility bad when roof is up
Best New Discount

Mazda MX-5 Convertible 2.0 sport nav 2dr

Total RRP £24,395

Your quote £22,293

You Save £2,102

60-second review The Mazda MX-5 is a model name that has been around since the early nineties. In that time, it’s become known the world over for providing a fun, affordable top-down driving experience and is the best-selling two-seater convertible of all time. The most recent fourth-generation model, introduced in late 2015, remains true to the original’s philosophy of offering a small, light and simple rear-wheel-drive car with a modestly powerful engine and very precise steering for a satisfying, involving driving experience.

Direct rivals for the MX-5 are hard to come by. It’s a lot cheaper than even the cheapest Porsche Boxster, Lotus Elise or BMW Z4, while less expensive convertibles like the Audi TT, Mercedes SLK and MINI convertible are heavier, have four seats and lack the Mazda’s pure focus on fun. The Toyota GT86 and Subaru BRZ sister models are other possible rivals, but they’re not offered as convertibles, so you miss out on wind-in-the-hair thrills.

Inside, the MX-5 is best described as ‘snug’. There’s enough space for two average-size adults, but no rear seats, not much in the way of storage bins or pockets and a very small (130-litre boot). It’s best suited to being a fun ‘weekend’ car to have alongside something bigger and more practical for doing the shopping or school runs in.

The MX-5 is also well equipped, although the interior feels solid and functional rather than plush and luxurious. Mazda has also decided not to use turbocharging technology in this car, so fuel economy and CO2 emissions from the two petrol engines are on the high side, with a minimum £130-a-year tax bill.

Really, though, it’s all about how the MX-5 feels behind the wheel. It’s simply one of the most fun-to-drive cars you can buy at any price, with superbly precise steering and a very slick six-speed manual gearbox. For that, you can overlook a few minor faults.

Last Updated 

Thursday, March 24, 2016 - 16:15

Key facts 

Three years/60,000 miles
Boot size: 
130 litres
Tax (min to max): 
£130 to £180

Best Mazda MX-5 for... 

Mazda MX-5 1.5 SE-L 2dr convertible
The 1.5-litre petrol returns the best fuel economy of the two Mazda engine options – around 47mpg. As it isn’t turbocharged, its CO2 emissions are quite high, though, so road tax is £130 a year.
Mazda MX-5 1.5 SE-L Nav 2dr convertible
As it only has two seats, the Mazda MX-5 is not suitable for use as a family car. We think the SE-L Nav is the sweet spot of the range, though, striking a good balance between an affordable purchase price and appealing standard equipment.
Mazda MX-5 2.0 Sport 2dr convertible
The 2.0-litre is a stronger performer than the 1.5-litre, getting from 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds and generally feeling more urgent and responsive in day-to-day driving. It is more expensive, though, and the 1.5-litre is just as much fun to drive, so it’s debatable whether it’s worth it.
Mazda MX-5 1.5 SE 2dr convertible
The entry-level Mazda MX-5 is a perfectly fine car – it’s just missing some kit that buyers tend to like, such as sat-nav and automatic climate control (it has manual air-conditioning).

Mazda MX-5 History 

September 2014: Unveiling of fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 for 2015 sales
November 2015: Sport Recaro limited-edition model added to range

Understanding Mazda MX-5 car names 

  • MX-5
  • Engine
  • Trim
    SE-L Nav
  • Engine
    Mazda offers two petro engines for the MX-5: a 1.5-litre and a 2.0-litre.
  • Trim
    There are four MX-5 trim levels – SE-L, SE-L Nav, Sport and Sport Nav – as well as special editions from time to time, like the Sport Recaro.

Mazda MX-5 Engines 

Engines: 1.5i, 2.0i (petrol) One of the trickiest decisions to make when buying an MX-5 is what engine to get. As this is a sports car, the obvious choice may seem to be the more powerful 2.0-litre, but in reality it’s not that much faster than the 1.5-litre. What’s more, we actually think the latter is a nicer engine, particularly for the kind of back-road fun driving most people will buy the MX-5 for.

The 2.0-litre will be appreciated if you use the motorway a lot or are a serious enthusiast planning to use your MX-5 on track. As well the extra horsepower, it also has sportier suspension for sharper handling, but for most owners, the 1.5-litre is more than sufficient.

As neither engine is turbocharged, the Mazda MX-5’s fuel economy and CO2 emissions aren’t particularly impressive when compared to other modern sports cars. It’s still reasonably cheap to run, though, and the fun you’ll have driving it makes up for the slightly higher bills.




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Mazda MX-5 Trims 

Trims: SE-L, SE-L Nav, Sport, Sport Nav, Sport Recaro Affordable sports cars like the MX-5 are all about the driving experience, rather than lashings of in-car technology and luxury. So we don’t think it’s necessary to spend too much on a high-spec version – or trim level – when even the cheapest MX-5 has that great 1.5-litre engine and sweet six-speed manual gearbox.

The range begins with SE-L, which has climate control, cruise control, push-button start, electric windows, 16-inch alloys, LED lights, a seven-inch colour touchscreen, DAB digital radio and Bluetooth. SE-L simply adds sat nav, which is worth going for, as not only does it make day-to-day driving less stressful, it’ll also make the car more appealing on the used market.

The Sport model adds keyless entry, grey rather than silver alloy wheels, automatic lights and rain-sensing wipers, parking sensors, two extra speakers for the stereo, heated leather seats and a lane-departure warning system. Sport Nav, like SE-L Nav, simply adds sat nav to all the above.

Sport Recaro is a limited-edition top-of-the range MX-5 introduced in late 2015, available exclusively with the 2.0-litre engine. To the Sport’s spec, it adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a black rear spoiler and bodykit, alloy pedals and special Recaro sports seats.

Mazda MX-5 Reliability and warranty 

Reliability and warranty Previous versions of the Mazda MX-5 are known for their near-bulletproof reliability and long-term dependability. This model’s immediate predecessor, for example, was ranked 17th for reliability and 66th for build quality out of 200 cars in the most recent 2015 edition of Auto Express magazine’s Driver Power customer satisfaction survey.

We’d fully expect this current MX-5 to match or beat those results in the 2016 survey. Mazda’s manufacturer warranty cover is average rather than exceptional – three years and 60,000 miles – but you’re unlikely to encounter any big problems with this simple, straightforward and very well screwed-together car.

Used Mazda MX-5 

Used Mazda MX-5 The Mazda MX-5 is a very popular and desirable car, so used values are strong and new discounts reasonably modest. At the time of writing, only year-old examples were available on the secondhand market and had lost barely 10% of their new list price. We’d expect that trend to continue, with gradual rather than steep depreciation as the model ages.

So, unless you can find a used MX-5 in the exact colour and spec you’re after with very low miles, it may be worth holding off for now until more examples reach the market, or checking out the discounts available on a brand-new cars from dealers on BuyaCar.

With a sporty model like the MX-5, it’s even more important than usual to conduct a thorough test drive of any example you’re looking at and make sure it has a full service history – just in case it’s been abused by an over-enthusiastic previous owner.

List price

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2 years old

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Best for performance

Mazda MX-5 2.0 Sport












Best for families

Mazda MX-5 1.5 SE-L Nav












Best for economy

Mazda MX-5 1.5 SE-L












Mazda MX-5 Prices

Mazda MX-5 SE

1.5 se 2dr

  • Doors 2
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy 47.1mpg
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £17,206

You could save up to: £1589

Mazda MX-5 SE-L Nav

1.5 se-l nav 2dr

  • Doors 2
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy 47.1mpg
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £18,719

You could save up to: £1776

2.0 se-l nav 2dr

  • Doors 2
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy 40.9mpg
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £19,979

You could save up to: £1816

Mazda MX-5 Sport Nav

1.5 sport nav 2dr

  • Doors 2
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy 47.1mpg
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £21,033

You could save up to: £2062

2.0 sport nav 2dr

  • Doors 2
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy 40.9mpg
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £22,293

You could save up to: £2102