2002 Mazda MX5 Sport 1.8 from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Great for summer, poor for winter

Faults:

Clutch replacement needed at 66000 miles.

Leaky seal on differential led to loss of gear box oil and consequent damage to gearbox, requiring new gearbox (actually got a reconditioned one) at 66000 miles.

Number plate holder fell off at 60000 miles.

Reverse gear always been a problem even after new gearbox, takes numerous attempts to get it into gear.

General Comments:

Everything about this car is classy and fun, but one major bugbear is that it won't move in even the slightest bit of snow and slush. Whilst every other car on the road seems to negotiate the slightly slushy and icy roads with no effort, the MX5 just refuses to budge. Mine has been abandoned on the side of the road for over 2 days unwilling to move. Tyres by the way are just under 6 months old and were good quality, so can't blame them.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 21st December, 2009

24th Dec 2009, 13:36

Without sounding too patronising, what style of driving are you using to try and move off? You want to move the tyres as slowly as possible with good clutch control and almost no revs. In fact pulling off in second is often the best way. You want to drive in as high a gear as possible with very few revs.

Having said that, some cars are just pants in the snow. Being so light and very likely on wide tyres (alloys), it will be worse than something weighty with narrow tyres. Maybe it is geared awkward for pulling off in the snow.

Hope this helps.

25th Dec 2009, 18:45

This car isn't a good snow traveler for 3 reasons:

1. It's very lightweight.

2. It has rear-wheel drive.

3. It's engine is in the front.

These 3 things together make a horrible winter combo. For the track, or dry pavement, these same 3 things make a beautifully driving vehicle. But it doesn't matter how good your tires are if you're so light you can't get any weight on them. And especially with the engine being in front, with the drive wheels at the rear. It just takes even more weight off those rear drive wheels. Great summer car, but very lost in the snow. I figured that these things would be quite obvious to see...

18th Sep 2012, 07:14

Having to replace a clutch at 66,000 miles is pretty damn good, especially considering the enthusiastic driving an MX-5 encourages. I wouldn't say that was a fault at all.

2002 Mazda MX5 1.8 Fuel Injection. V.V.T. from North America

Summary:

This car ranks about a 6 out of 10, great weekend toy, but not a very good every-day driver

Faults:

Emissions control unit went out at 34,500 miles. Replaced by dealer under warranty.

Has started to randomly "stutter" while driving. (RPM's drop, speed drops, then both come back to normal).

Car has nearly died three times while heater was on lowest setting.

Weak charging system.

Lower plastic trim piece under steering column has come loose. (Seems to be a common problem for Miatas)

Center console compartment latch broke but was replaced under warranty.

Hard to shift into reverse or 1st gear when cold. (This has even happened after several miles of driving).

Noisy valve train.

General Comments:

The Good: Aside from all the drawbacks of this car, it really does handle better than any car I've driven.

Its extreme light weight helps with this, although for real acceleration out of corners I think the motor could benefit from about 15 more horse power. The sheer size of the car makes getting in and out of tight spots quite easy.

The convertable top takes hardly any time to put up or down, and when it's down there are NO blind-spots.

With the right set of snow tires and an easy right-foot, this car does surprisingly well in winter conditions.

Great car for cruising or for spirited driving.

The Bad: If you drive the car like it WANTS to be driven, expect about 18-20 mpg around town and 26-28 mpg on the high-way.

Be warned, sport-tuned suspension and a rigid frame make for a jarring ride over anything but the smoothest of streets.

Clutches on these cars are not the most durable, so this is not an optimal vehicle for someone who is learning how to drive a manual.

Aftermarket parts for this generation and year are surprisingly expensive and quite hard to find.

Just doesn't have enough power.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 9th October, 2008

1st Jan 2009, 14:38

The writer stated that the car was underpowered, I disagree. This car gets up to highway speeds quickly and has no trouble keeping up with traffic. In the straights I would not expect this car to take on a high powered exotic but in the twisties is where it really shines. Overall, this is a very quick and nimble car.

The writer also says that it has a rough ride. If you compare it to a full sized luxury car that may be true. In my opinion it is a very smooth riding car. I live in IN where the roads are terribly rough and it seems to absorb the bumps just fine.