Five years but just 20,000 miles old, this MX-5 is now almost half price – and spring is nearly here…
By Matt Bird / Monday, March 15, 2021 / Loading comments
'The Answer to Everything'. You might have seen that written around here one or two times in the past, relating to the Mazda MX-5. And with good reason, too – there are so many scenarios that it just suits better than anything else. In 2021, it probably deserves more recognition than ever; as enthusiasts grow more disillusioned with a heavy, complicated, autonomous, electrified future, so Mazda's here and now should hold even more appeal.
The MX-5 probably still gets tarred with old labels, when it really shouldn't. At its core this is a 1,000kg, rear-wheel drive, naturally aspirated manual sports car; short of something you have to climb in there isn't a purer driving machine out there right now. Yet it's still one that your phone will pair with and can heat your behind on a motorway cruise. Mazda took onboard the criticism of the Mk3 and returned with a Mk4 that looks set to be remembered very fondly indeed. Imagine looking back in a decade's time to see that Mazda was selling a brand-new MX-5 with a six-speed manual gearbox in 2021, a car that revved to nearly 8,000rpm and was substantially lighter than its predecessor.
In essence, however, though the facelift was more substantial than most, the ND MX-5 has been around (and sold well) for six years now, meaning there are bargains to be had. A new MX-5 starts from £24,050 for the 1.5, with the 2.0-litre range kicking off at £28,655. This car, on the other hand, is just 20,000 miles old and for sale at £12,995. Interesting…
A range-topping 2.0-litre Sport Nav, this 2016 MX-5 is said to come with a full service history to back up the mileage. The condition points to gentle use, too, with unmarked wheels and an interior that, if not factory fresh, still has plenty of life in it. The MOT is due soon, but the first two tests have only thrown up advisories on brake wear, so there's no cause for concern here.
And with spring in sight, there aren't many better places to enjoy life than behind the wheel of an MX-5. In fact, driving a used one might be even better than new, knowing that the slight frustrations of the car – a perched ride height and its influence on the handling – can be very simply (and cheaply) remedied by the aftermarket. It could prove to be just the start, too, as there's plenty of tuning choice out there now.
Though nobody would deny the additional appeal of a facelifted Mk4 MX-5 – it brought an extra 24hp for the 2.0-litre car – the most affordable version of those is £5k more than this car with comparable miles. And, well, £5,000 is a fair chunk of cash, whether you wanted to bank it or use it to tweak the MX-5.
As when it was new (and still today, in fact), there are precious few valid rivals for the little Mazda. A Toyota GT86 might be a tad better to drive, though of course lacks the open-top option; a Lotus or Caterham will be more thrilling again, but spending £13,000 on one quite clearly won't buy one from 2016. Or a car that's anywhere near as usable. It says a lot about just how sparsely populated the sports car segment now is that the closest rival to a used MX-5 is, well, another MX-5, in the form of Fiat's 124 Spider. £13k also buys a decent one, this blue Lusso a year newer than the Mazda and with even fewer miles. But you'll trade eager 2.0-litre for a 1.4 turbo with less power, and there aren't many who prefer Fiat's approach to making an entry-level roadster to Mazda's. There's only one still on sale, put bluntly.
So, there it is, the MX-5 being the Answer to Everything all over again. We can't be far from £10k 2.0-litre Mk4s now, which would be an exciting development. There really isn't anything like one, and in 2021 that deserves to be celebrated. How on earth Mazda plans to update this one is still to be answered; until then, the secondhand ones are only getting more affordable – and you really, really should.
SPECIFICATION | MAZDA MX-5 2.0
Engine: 1,998cc, 4-cyl
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected] 6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],600rpm
MPG: 40.9 (NEDC combined)
Year registered: 2016
Recorded mileage: 20,494
Price new: £23,295 (Sport Nav)
Yours for: £12,995
See the original advert here.
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