Driven: Mazda MX-5 2.0 Sport Nav 2015 Review

DRIVEN: Mazda MX-5 2.0 Sport Nav 2015 Review

Following a short test drive of the Mazda MX-5 2.0-litre Sport Nav during a Mazda test day, here are my thoughts about this all new roadster.

What’s the Mazda MX-5 2.0 Sport Nav all about?

The Mazda MX-5 has got a long history in sports car motoring, and the car has always been about doing the very best with the resources you have. For years the MX-5 has created lots of fun on both the racetrack and the road.

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The MX-5 on test was the 2.0-litre petrol in Sport Nav trim with the safety pack and in beautiful Soul Red.

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The car was powered by a 2.0-litre, 160bhp engine matched with a six-speed manual gearbox that puts the power to the rear wheels. This means that the car can do 0 to 60mph in 7.3 seconds and will do a top speed of 133mph. The car also only weighs 1,075kg improving the handling and fuel efficiency figures.

How does it drive?

The latest generation MX-5 still provides all of the driving thrills that you want and expect from such an iconic driver’s car. It seems that Mazda have gone with ‘if it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it’ approach.

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The 2.0-litre engine is probably the best engine the MX-5 has ever had. This engine packs a big punch and really helps the MX-5 come alive. However, the MX-5 isn’t about outright power, the real magic comes in the corners. And with the new car nothing has changed here, the car still feels very well planted, as I think you’d expect. It still has that raw mechanical feel through the steering which helps to establish exactly what all four corners of the car are doing at any one point. This is one of the characteristics that everyone loves about the MX-5 and I’m happy to report that it is still very much there.

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The suspension on the car actually feels very well configured for enthusiastic driving, you can feel the road below you but it is comfortable to live with and I wouldn’t say it is too hard.

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The six-speed gearbox in this car works very well with the 2.0-litre engine, and feels beautifully smooth with a nice amount of travel between the gears. It is actually very enjoyable to use.

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The brakes on the car worked exceptionally well during my testing. I’m sure the real test will be getting onto the track and testing them at high speed, but for road usage they have some great stopping power.

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Comparing this model to the previous model I do feel somehow that the car has slightly grown up, the MX-5 has always felt like a very raw car to drive, which can be painful on a rough road, the latest version still provides all the thrill but removes some of that harsh ride pain.

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What’s it like inside?

The interior of the MX-5, again, has never been as good as it is today. Just take a quick look inside, you’ll notice a clean new design which looks fantastic. The interior now feels really premium for such a cost-effective car, this could be a game changer.

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For me, I really liked the exposed paintwork inside the car across the top of the doors. The materials used in the car are all very fancy; the leather seats are supportive and well made, the leather steering wheel feels great in your hands and the gear stick is also well crafted out of leather and chrome, which feels super premium when switching gears.

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The car tested comes with the satellite navigation system which works exceptionally well and is without a doubt 10 times better than the previous version in the old MX-5, I have to say, the old version did feel like it was retrospectively fitted.

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The Experience

The Mazda MX-5 still provides an open top adrenaline rush, and it’s not an experience that you will get bored of quickly. The characteristics of the MX-5 are so pure that it is the perfect setup to learn and develop your skills as a driver. It leaves you feeling fully engaged with the sensation of driving and rewarded when things go well.

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The Mazda MX-5 has had some drastic changes to both the looks and the workings underneath. But, without a doubt, it has made everything better. The looks of the car are absolutely brilliant. The new engine in the car is amazing, both in regards to performance and efficiency. Lastly the rest of the comforts, entertainment system and safety technology are fully up-to-date. The MX-5 has once again been regenerated for modern times, and is still a brilliant package.

Check out the 2019 Mazda MX-5 RF review.

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Video Highlights


Mazda MX-5 2.0 Sport Nav 2015
  • Price: £24,505  
  • Engine: 2.0-Litre Petrol
  • Power: 160bhp
  • Torque: 200Nm
  • Transmission: 6 Speed Manual
  • 0-62mph: 7.3 Seconds
  • Top speed: 133mph
  • Weight: 1,075kg
  • Economy combined: 40mpg
  • CO2: 161 g/km

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Author: Paul Hadley