Mazda MX 5 serves up dream ride
SOMETIMES it's nice to get caught up in the daydream of life.
Sometimes it's nice to dream about what you would do with that big lotto win, about watching the sun rise on a yacht off the Whitsundays, about sleeping in past 5am on a Sunday.
It's so much easier to let the mind drift when you're in a Mazda MX 5, top down, the sun in your hair. Even if it is stuck at a traffic light in morning commuter hell.
For a solitary moment, a tiny fraction of time, you hear nothing but a throaty purr of a well-tuned machine and then your reverie is broken by a small voice.
“Mama, this car is super cool,” says the almost four-year-old ensconced in her car seat. She is working the dials of the radio with her feet. “It's just like Noddy's but even better.”
High praise indeed, I think, as the light changes. Thoughts interrupted but a memory made.
While it requires some nifty manoeuvring to get inside the MX 5, it is surprisingly comfortable once you're settled in place.
This close to the ground the headroom appears generous and the sporty recaro seats are supportive and luxurious to the touch.
With space at a premium, controls need to be practical and efficient and that they are. Some of the plastics are a touch hard but that's probably because the cabin is designed to withstand those surprise showers when you are caught with the top down.
Storage is limited but clever and the retractable roof has its own cavity so the boot is able to handle that overnight bag or a couple of shopping bags with the top up or down.
On the road
Fun, fun, fun. That's how we would describe the MX 5.
The buzz of the 2.0-litre engine starts that flutter of freedom and great handling and direct response steering allows it to soar. It's equally happy being pushed around corners, the curvier the better, or stretching its legs in cruise mode.
While the double wishbone suspension is excellent, it's only natural that you will feel some of the irregularities in the road surface but that kind of adds to the thrill.
Ratios are pretty close together which necessitates a bit of work with the stick but the gearbox is so smooth that this is no great hardship. There is an automatic available for those who prefer it.
Visibility is not the best and the headlights of oncoming cars tend to be a bit dazzling.
We were genuinely surprised by the fuel consumption. The hard top is 37kg heavier than the soft alternative but still manages a respectable 8.1 litres/100km.
The MX 5 features Mazda's smiley face five-point grille, restyled head and tail lights and revised body styling for aerodynamic improvement. Whether you've just nipped out to the post office or are cruising down the highway, the MX 5 is sure to turn heads.
Mazda has just sold its 900,000th MX 5, earning the car a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the best selling two-seater of all time. This little package has done little wrong since it was first released in 1989.
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