Still the most entertaining affordable sports car
This is now my third MX-5 and what can I say? Until someone builds a better affordable sports car, I'll just keep buying the things.
Much is made of the series 2 being a softer car than the original series 1 but it's still one of the most fluid and enjoyable handling cars on the road at any price, with almost telepathic steering. It grips strongly, and then communicates everything through the wheel rim and through your backside. You can slide it around and play with it, without ever feeling like it's going to bite you. Power oversteer, drifts, doughnuts - whatever takes your fancy. Nothing else at this price comes close as a package.
Performance is good, although this 1.8 engine really likes to be worked hard. It doesn't deliver all of its 146 bhp until 7,000 RPM meaning you have to row the gearbox hard, but it's no hardship when the gear lever is a tiny 4" long thing which plugs directly into the tail of the gearbox right underneath it. Front engine and RWD = no gear linkage to speak of. Knife through butter quality and a lovely short gate.
Fuel economy is poor for a small car (26-28 mpg) and insurance is expensive despite a lowish group. Build quality, dealers and driving experience however are all first class. At this price, it's unbeatable.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 1st April, 2004