2017 Mazda MX5 SE 1.5 from UK and Ireland


A let-down


At 3 & 1/2 months old and having done 4800 miles, you wouldn't expect anything to have gone wrong with it, however the exhaust started blowing badly at 3 weeks old, the USB port regularly loses connection with any USB device plugged into it, and the hood appears to be sagging and baggy on the OSR quarter, whereas it's still tight and close fitting on the NSR.

Overall build quality is not up to my expectations for a Japanese car. It feels quite flimsy and 'budget', and having owned Japanese cars before, this doesn't measure up.

General Comments:

I bought this car new, have owned it for 3 & 1/2 months and 4,800 miles at the time of writing this review. Overall I'm pretty disappointed with it and was thinking of selling it at 6 months old in the Spring when the weather picks up, but it's been that much of a let-down that I've already been shopping around for a replacement and might be getting rid of in a couple of weeks.

Build quality feels pretty flimsy and 'budget'... I'd put it on a par with the Dacia shopping-cart that I had before - expect that this Mazda is over 3x the price. It's definitely less practical & comfortable than the previous NC model. Paint is thin and the front picks up stone-chips very easily. Performance from the 1.5 engine is pretty tepid... flat as a pancake at lower revs and only just acceptable at higher revs. Handles beautifully in the dry, and is very easy to provoke it into nice sideways slides on roundabout and bends in the wet, even at very modest speeds, but overall the handling just doesn't seem 'right'. I'm not a stranger to RWD cars having owned a good few in the past (also have a Mk2 Escort Mexico replica that I've owned for 25 years), but I'd go as far as saying that in comparison with all the others, this MX5 feels nervous and skittish in the wet when pressing on. I bought it new with 0 miles on the clock, but it feels 'nervous' on the roads... like driving a BMW with the tyres pumped up to 70 PSI or an accident damaged RWD car that's had a poor repair and misaligned geometry. Your average rep-mobile has way more performance, comfort & safety.

Fuel consumption computer in the dash is optimistic, with 43 MPG being more realistic with gentle driving than the 47 MPG usually indicated. Can't comment on any other running costs other than putting petrol in it as I don't intend on keeping it long enough to find out. It's a nicely styled car, but definitely one for the female driver. As a guy, you will feel very self-conscious driving it. Glad I bought it via a broker, as although I'll take a hit selling it on, it softens the blow slightly.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 17th December, 2017

5th Jan 2018, 17:19

Took one for a test-drive yesterday and wasn't impressed. At 6' tall, even with the seat reclined as far as it would go, I was very conscious of how close my forehead was to the bodywork/frame above the windshield. I'm no tefal-head, honestly, but all I could think of was that if I was involved in even a minor 20mph fender-bender, my head was going to smash into it and snap my neck!

Designed by petite engineers in Japan for petite, slim customers. Regular Americans simply won't fit very well. Being pretty low, everything following you looks like an SUV in the rear-view mirror and their lights dazzle you. My wife's Geo Prism looked like it was a Hummer that could ride right over the top of me.

21st Mar 2018, 21:29

Original reviewer here. Posted the original review on 17th December 2017, and part-ex'd the Mazda for a Dacia Duster 1.5DCi on 6th Jan 2018. Total ownership 4 months and 5 days. Unbelievably the Dacia is the superior car to the MX5 in every way, and WAY cheaper. My ownership experience only highlighted for me that the MX5 is one of the most over-rated cars ever. Was glad to see the back of it. Now have a good, comfortable, practical, economical car AND a Kawasaki ZX-10R for less than what the MX5 cost me.

23rd Jul 2018, 19:00

Test drove one recently. Can't believe how short of space they are inside. Think I will buy the Fiesta ST instead.