Mazda Mx-5 variants
Total price
Monthly payment
Figures are based on a 20% deposit

Finance representative example (PCP)

Total cash price £19,999. Borrowing £15,999 with a £4,000 deposit at a representative APR of 12.9%.

49 monthly payments
£299.22
Fixed interest rate
12.9%
Total amount payable
£26,039.52
Cost of credit
£6,040.52
Optional final payment
£7,677.00
Annual mileage limit
6000 miles

There are a handful of trim and engine choices available for the MX-5. This guide will talk you through them so you can choose the version that’s right for you.

Mazda MX-5 buying guide

What Mazda MX-5 trim levels are there?

Entry-level SE+ cars include 16-inch alloy wheels and air conditioning, along with keyless entry and starting. We'd suggest upgrading to SE-L, however, to gain climate control, heated seats, cruise control and a touchscreen infotainment system with DAB radio and Bluetooth. SE-L Nav cars add a built-in sat nav.

Sport trim adds rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers, leather upholstery and extra active safety gear including automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warning. Sport Tech adds larger 17-inch alloy wheels and a reversing camera, plus a limited-slip differential and sports suspension on 2.0-litre models.

GT Sport Tech sits at the top of the range gaining BBS-branded alloy wheels and special optional leather colours for the cabin. There have also been several limited-edition MX-5s which get exclusive features and finishes.

Mazda MX-5 interior and technology

There’s a great sense of purpose when you sit in the MX-5. The high centre console, stripped-back dashboard and big central rev counter make it immediately plain this is a car built for driving enjoyment. All the controls fall quickly to hand and the important stuff is all assigned to physical buttons and knobs, so making adjustments is easy while driving.

The MX-5’s infotainment system looks quite dated now. It’s a small touchscreen perched on top of the dashboard, with graphics that look decidedly ‘last generation’. The lack of screen real estate means it’s hard to tap the option you want on the move because the on-screen buttons are small. You can use a central rotary knob to control the screen, however, to save you taking your eyes off the road as much.

Unlike some convertible rivals, the MX-5 isn’t kidding itself that it’s a four seater, with no second row whatsoever. As a result, there’s quite a lot of space for two people, and a few handy cubbies in the cabin for odds and ends. The boot isn’t large by any standards, but will handle a couple’s holiday luggage without breaking a sweat.

What’s the best engine for the Mazda MX-5?

There’s just two engines available for the MX-5 – both four-cylinder petrols that don’t rely on a turbocharger to make extra power. The smaller 1.5-litre unit is fun to use and feels like a good match for the car, but the larger 2.0-litre version has noticeably more overtaking power.

Mazda MX-5 engine range explained

Mazda MX-5 1.5 132

This non-turbo 1.5-litre petrol feels well matched to the MX-5 and has enough power to accelerate with conviction. You’ll have to use the whole rev range and swap gears frequently if you need to get up to motorway speeds quickly, but that’s all part of the fun when driving an MX-5.

Mazda MX-5 2.0 184

The 2.0-litre petrol engine adds extra strings to the MX-5’s bow. Not only does it feel more relaxed when accelerating up to motorway speeds, it’s also calmer when overtaking, requiring fewer gear shifts for a burst of pace. Plus, when you do drive it hard, the 2.0-litre engine has quite a lot more performance than the 1.5-litre version, and can readily keep up with most hot hatches in a drag race.

Mazda MX-5 FAQs

All MX-5 models are strict two seaters with just two doors and a convertible roof. However, you get a choice of either a fabric soft-top roof or a folding-metal hard-top roof. The latter is badged the MX-5 RF and is set up to be slightly softer than the fabric-roofed version, with better noise and thermal insulation, although it does fractionally blunt performance and handling.

There’s not a lot of direct competition if you’re exclusively looking at two-seat convertibles. Used car buyers might want to cross shop the MX-5 against the Audi TT Roadster or the Fiat 124 Spider/Abarth 124 Spider siblings, or the hardtop Toyota GT86. For a little more money there’s the likes of the BMW Z4 or, if you just fancy a bit of performance, you might want to look at hot hatches like the Volkswagen Golf GTI or Abarth 595.

The MX-5’s long-bonnet looks can be a bit deceptive because it measures less than four metres long – shorter than superminis like the Ford Fiesta or Nissan Micra. Thanks to the small size and near-total visibility with the roof down, it’s easy to park the MX-5 in tight spots – handy because rear parking sensors are only offered on mid and high-spec versions.

There are just two seats in the MX-5 so practicality clearly isn’t its strongest suit. Nevertheless, there’s enough space for you and your passenger to get comfortable, with enough leg and headroom, even with the roof closed. The boot, similarly, is fairly good for a two-seat sports car – it’s large enough to take several soft bags or a couple of carry-on suitcases without complaint.