Road Test: New Mazda MX-5 2.0-litre 2016

The fourth, most stylish and latest generation of a motoring legend in its own right, Mazda’s MX-5 certainly makes best of its toy-like character to defy that ballooning car trend to stay surprisingly true to the great original the 1990 original.


Mazda MX-5 quite brilliantly brings a 25-year legend into its latest era, defying the trap that other sports cars fell into as they slowly grew into giants, gained bigger engines and put on great weight to carry the same passengers perhaps more comfortably. This car has however kept to both its promise and stuck to its roots to not only retain a very special place in every car lover’s heart, but to deliver a surprisingly capable driver’s car that can hold its head up high – even in this headiest of company.

Even more impressive is that this Mazda MX-5 has actually slimmed down from the previous, car – not only does it ride on a shorter wheelbase but it’s lower and lighter too, thanks to more extensive use of aluminium that now spreads throughout to even further drop its center of gravity. The new Mazda MX-5 even looks smaller and trimmer, but it certainly seems bigger inside; the seats sit lower and recline more and there’s a tad more headroom, but it’s still a challenge for bigger people to access.


The Mazda is a genuine roadster and you know you are driving one thanks to your racy poise ensconced in a tight and nifty confine. The South African MX-5 gets the normally aspirated US-spec 180kW 2-litre four-pot rather than the Euro 1.5litre Skyactiv lump and it delivers a in a taut, tight and crisp sound befitting of its low centres of mass, axis and rotation. MX-5 is excellently balanced up to the point where it loses traction and even then, it drifts steadily and is easy to catch, its responsive steering quick to reward a deft touch.


The Mazda is a still basically a toy inevitably bound to be a well-heeled owner’s second ride or the daily driver for footloose and fancy-free youngsters or empty nesters alike. Either way, Mazda MX-5 offers incredible appeal, pedigree and heritage and the promise of a truly fun car to drive that it delivers on and then some. Impressively true to an impeccable legend, if this latest Miata tickles your fancy, it will make you more than happy – it’s far more than just a toy after all.

This review was first published in AutoNews. by Michele Lupini. Get your copy.

Base Price R389 800
Engine Capacity 1 998 cm³
No. Of Cylinders 4-cylinders
Aspiration Normal
Power 118kW at 6 000 r/min
Torque 200Nm at 4 600 r/min
Transmission 6-speed Manual
Drive type Rear wheel drive
Acceleration 0-100 km/h in 7.3 seconds (claimed)
Top Speed 214km/h
Fuel Consumption 6.7l/100km (claimed combined)
CO2 Emissions 156g/km


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