MX-5 Puts a Smile on your Face even on a Rainy Day

A six-speed automatic transmission is available as an option, but why would you want to deprive yourself of one of the best manual transmissions I have ever used.

  • 2017 Mazda MX-5 GT Review


    • What’s Best: The six-speed manual transmission is one of the best on the market.
    • What’s Worst: You need to be a contortionist to get in and out of this small car.
    • What’s Interesting: For a small car, Mazda has made sure the MX-5 has most of the tech available on larger vehicles.

Just my luck!

The week I had booked Mazda’s well-reviewed convertible MX-5, the skies opened up on Monday and didn’t stop until the following weekend.

And when it did stop raining, the cold wind made it impossible to try driving around town with the top down.

So this review is written with a hint of anger towards Mother Nature and her joy in seeing me drive around in a convertible that not once had the top down.

2017 Mazda MX-5 GT Review

Just recently I read a review my colleague Jim Robinson wrote last year. He wrote ‘I find this one little car is what “motoring” is all about.

With just enough power to have fun but not enough to get you in trouble, the MX-5 as Mazda likes to call it (but the Miata as it always will be to me), satisfies the senses while being attainable by the masses.”

Jim obviously has better luck than I do because he noted he put about 1,000 kilometres on the car, all with the top down.

The only thing I can confirm about the top is that not once did the black cloth top leak sitting outside in a week’s worth of rain.

2017 Mazda MX-5 GT Review

The MX-5 features three models, the GX, GS and my tester for the week, the GT.

All three are powered by the same 2.0-litre, 16-valve, four-cylinder engine with a six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic transmission is available as an option on all three models but why would you want to deprive yourself of one of the best manual transmissions I have ever used. Changing gears was seamless.

It was almost as if you started to choose the next gear and the shifter took over.

That manual transmission meant a change in my drive-to-work routine, no tea in the car, but that was a small price to pay for the smile this transmission puts on your face.

Also Read: Top four sports cars around $15,000

Besides the MX-5 is not a car that features the comforts of home.

Try drinking something with the lid off while driving over a bump and you’ll be wearing what you are drinking.

The engine produces 155 hp at 6,000 rpms, which, when combined with that smooth manual transmission is quick enough to get your heart thumping and put a big smile on your face, even if you haven’t seen through the front windshield without the wipers on for days.

At $39,200, the MX-5 GT comes loaded with a long list of standard safety features including lane departure warning system, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert system.

2017 Mazda MX-5 GT Review

Other standard equipment includes a Bose premium sound system with nine speakers, which I’m sure would be needed with the top down though I have no evidence to prove that, push button start and hill launch assist for those still a little nervous about driving a manual in a hilly town.

The interior of the MX-5 is laid out like every other Mazda vehicle, with the driver in mind.

Controls are easy to use and get to though I was a little flummoxed with the cup holders being placed behind the driver and passenger seats.

The MX-5 should in no way be thought of as a family car. Information from Mazda notes the trunk has 130 litres of cargo space but if you squeeze them close together you might get two grocery bags in the trunk.

2017 Mazda MX-5 GT Review

The other small irritating issue I had with the MX-5 was getting in and out. Likely more to do with my age than the vehicle, it was a long way down to get into that seat.

And with the rain consistently pouring, the seat was usually wet by the time I contorted my body into it.

But all that was quickly forgotten when I hit that start button, heard the roar of the engine and placed it in gear.

2017 Mazda MX-5 GT Review

2017 Mazda MX-5 GT 

BODY STYLE: Compact roadster

DRIVE METHOD: Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive

ENGINE: 2.0-litre, 16-valve, DOHC four-cylinder (155 hp and 148 lb/ft of torque); six-speed manual, optional six-speed automatic transmission driving the rear wheels

FUEL ECONOMY: (Premium recommended) Manual transmission, 8.9/7.1L/100 km city/highway; automatic transmission 9.0/6.7/100 km city/highway.

CARGO: 130 litres

TOW RATING: Not recommended

PRICE: Base, $39,200, add $300 for the Soul Red metallic paint.


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