Do you remember your first time? That's right, the first time you stepped into a car with a fully legal driving licence and experienced the joys of the open road? Well, no matter how sated with driving you may now be and wherever in the world you are, it is still possible to rediscover those earlier days of driving pleasure by simply treating yourself to the Mazda Roadster.
Kodo – The Soul Of Motion
This diminutive soft-top (and more recently with a sliding hard-top in the RF version) has been around in various iterations since 1989. Depending upon your global location, the car, in the early days, carried the Eunos name but in recent years is known variously as the Miata, the MX-5 and the Roadster. If small sports cars are your thing then all versions are worth considering because Mazda have stayed true to the design philosophy of ‘Kodo’ (The Soul of Motion), being a simple formula of a front-engined, rear-wheel drive sports car since the car was first introduced.
Engines vary region to region. Right now Europe gets a choice of two four-cylinder engines are on offer with 1.5 litres (47mpg) and 2.0 litres (40mpg). Surprisingly, it is the smaller engine that delivers the most pleasure. It isn't fast, with the benchmark 62mph (100kph) arriving in a modest 8.3 seconds, but it feels fast and that's the important thing. The driving position is laid back and relaxed and the sensation of speed is as a result of the driver sitting low to the ground. Some versions have an 1800cc engine. All variants are worth considering.
On The Road
With just 129bhp, the 1.5L Roadster does without a strut brace, limited-slip differential that the larger-engined version gets. In 2.0L Sport trim – Bilstein dampers and sports suspension are fitted. Again, this is region dependent so remember to check locally.
On county back roads this little sports car is one sweet ride. The naturally-aspirated engine (Mazda don’t use the modern turbocharger) delivers linear, long-revving power right to the red-line on the prominent tachometer. Low-powered or not, you only need one corner and one second gear thrust to know that this Roadster is the real deal.
With a modest engine you can't expect scorching performance (and what's the point anyway with modern global traffic rules?) but, by keeping the revs high, you can experience the sensations of nimble driving. But a peppy engine is not much use without the handling to go with it. This is where the Mazda really scores. You feel connected with the road, there’s grip that will keep going long after your nerves have failed, which means cornering ability is outstanding. It is possible to introduce a little oversteer, especially when the roads are wet, but there's sufficient advance warning to ease off the throttle and correct.
The Mazda two-seat Roadster is a living thing and an absolute joy to drive. Old school driving as it should be. A second car perhaps, to supplement the SUV?
Get in touch with us about importing your next car and we'll be delighted to help.