Review - Mazda MX-5

By Alexi Falson on 25 May 2022
image for Review - Mazda MX-5 The Mazda MX-5 is one of the most famous names in the world of two-seater sports car thrills, and best of all, it’s always been competitively priced when you take its performance into account.

In its latest form, Mazda has added some new entertainment and safety features to the package, while adding its famed Kinematic Posture Control system as standard, rounding out an already impressive driving package, and making it one of the most cost-effective options for the segment.

Just how good is the latest MX-5, then? Let’s take a closer look.

Starting Price: $37,790

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Mazda MX-5 (ROADSTER) Specifications

Model Date 2022
Model MX-5
Series MX5V
Transmission 6 SP MANUAL
Drive RWD
Engine GDi
Engine capacity 1496
Engine configuration DUAL OVERHEAD CAM / 16 valves
Engine RPM 7000 / 4500
Cylinders 4
Torque 152
KW 97
Fuel tank size 45.0
Fuel usage specs 6.1 / 0.0
CO2 142
ANCAP security rating 5

For more details and other variants, check Mazda MX-5 car page.

How Much Does It Cost?

The MX-5 soft-top lineup kicks off from $37,790 for the Roadster Manual, while the automatic is priced at $39,790. Moving to the GT Manual brings the price to $44,420, while the GT automatic is priced at $46,420. 

Finally, the range-topping MX-5 Roadster GT RS is priced at $47,420. 

If you’re looking for a hard-top, the RF manual & automatic are priced at $42,100 and $44,100 respectively, while the RF GT manual & automatic are priced at $48,500 and $50,500 respectively. 

From here, the range moves to the MX RF GT Black Roof manual & automatic, which are priced at $49,520 and $51,520 respectively, while the range-topping MX-5 RF GT RS is priced at $51,500. 

How Much Can OnlineAuto Save You?

Using OnlineAuto’s car buying service, you could save by letting one of our car specialists help you find the best value model for you.

What Features Does the Mazda MX-5 Have?

Mazda’s entry-level MX-5 Roadster and RF variants come riding on 17-inch alloy wheels, and receive automatic LED head and tail lights, LED daytime running lamps, black cloth upholstery, cruise control, climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear lever, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, limited-slip differential for manual variants, kinematic posture control system, and a 7.0-inch infotainment system with DAB+, sat-nav and Apple CarPlay which is paired with a six-speaker sound system.

Moving to the MX-5 GT variants adds keyless entry, body-coloured mirrors, heated front seats, black leather upholstery and an upgraded nine-speaker BOSE sound system.

The range-topping GT RS grade adds 17-inch BBS forged alloys, Bilstein suspension dampers, upgraded front suspension braces, a four-piston Brembo brake package and gloss black side mirrors.

Range Features:

  • 17-inch alloys 

  • Automatic LED head & tail lights

  •  LED daytime running lamps 

  • Limited-slip differential (manual variants) 

  • Kinematic Posture Control 

  • Black cloth upholstery 

  • Cruise control 

  • Climate control 

  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel & gear lever 

  • Auto-dimming rear-view mirror 

  • Keyless entry (GT variants) 

  • Heated seats (GT variants) 

  • Black leather upholsery (GT variants) 

  • Nine-speaker BOSE sound system 

  • 17-inch BBS forged alloys (GT RS) 

  • Bilstein suspension dampers (GT RS) 

  • Upgraded front suspension braces (GT RS) 

  • Four-piston Brembo brakes (GT RS) 

Mazda MX-5 Colours

The Mazda MX-5 range is available in a choice of colours, including Jet Black, Machine Grey, Deep Blue, Snowflake White, Platinum Quartz, Soul Red and Polymetal Grey, while GT variants can be optioned with a black roof. 

Is it Fun to Drive?

The Mazda MX-5 is an exercise in pure driving thrills, and a timely reminder in the face of stratospheric car prices that you don’t need to break the bank to get all the excitement you could ever want in a compact roadster package. 

Mazda is now utilising its 2.0-litre SkyActiv-G four-cylinder engine across the MX-5 range, meaning the base model receives the same power output as the range-topping GT variants, throwing 135kW of power and 205Nm of torque to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. 

This is a great update for the range and means all buyers can enjoy the full potential of the MX-5’s platform. 

On that note, the MX-5 rides on a sturdy short-wheelbase platform that makes it a heap of fun to drive in almost all conditions. While it might not have a huge amount of power on offer, the front axle is capable of handling a heap of pace through the bends and makes for one of the most engaging and accessible sports car platforms on the market. 

The MX-5’s suspension offers a precise and supportive ride quality that tests just how much pace you can translate through a corner, offering the driver a heap of feedback through the steering wheel.

The MX-5 feels like a go-kart at nearly all speeds, and means you can have more fun at 60km/h than you would driving a fully-fledged supercar at 160km/h. This is in part thanks to the limited-slip differential that adds to the fun, as well as Mazda’s Kinetic Posture Control system that can brake the inside wheel for more agile handling in the curves. 

As a complete package, the MX-5 is a refreshing reminder of pure driving thrills, and makes the driver feel like a crucial ingredient of the recipe, something that more computer-driven sophisticated sports cars have forgotten in recent years. 

On a more mundane drive around town, the MX-5 platform lends itself perfectly to commuting thanks to its lightweight steering rack and short wheelbase platform. The suspension can, however, feel quite firm on rough road surfaces, which is something to keep in mind for longer commuters on rough roads. 

Overall, the MX-5 is a fabulous and near-faultless car that makes every drive feel special, and positions the driver as a feature piece and integral part of the driving experience.

Is it Practical and Spacious?

As a two-seater roadster, it’s not hard to imagine that the MX-5 is limited when it comes to size and practicality. 

Having said that, though, Mazda’s clever interior designs maximises the space on offer in the cabin, and the quality of the cabin is impressive, especially for the often-forgotten base model. 

Just how suitable is a low-slung sports car package like the MX-5 for tall drivers? Well, surprisingly, drivers up to 185cm won’t have a problem squeezing into the cabin thanks to the seat position. Once you’re there, though, extremely tall drivers might feel a bit cramped under the roof, but all up, it’s a welcoming package for the majority of drivers. 

There’s also enough adjustment in the seating position for drivers to stretch their legs, while the fully-adjustable steering wheel makes for a nice, ergonomic and comfortable driving position.  

Obviously, as a two-seater sports car, this isn’t a family-friendly package, and is more positioned as a second car for those that might already have a SUV or wagon up their sleeve for family duties. 

In terms of storage, the Mazda has removed the traditional glove box in favour of a small lockable storage area atop the drive tunnel at the rear of the cabin, which is paired with some removable cupholders that move around the cabin. 

There’s also some storage in the compact folding arm rest, and a small storage area behind the gear lever for loose items. 

Moving to the boot, you’ll find 127L of cargo space in the rear of the hard-top MX-5, which extends to 130L in the soft-top. 

This is an extremely compact storage area that can be difficult to squeeze wide items into, but at the very least, there is a boot for school or shopping bags to add slightly to the versatility of the package.

Is it Safe?

The Mazda MX-5 has been awarded ANCAP’s maximum five-star safety rating, scoring 25.20 out of a possible 37. 

As standard, the MX-5 range comes packed with a number of active safety technologies, including forward and reverse autonomous emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alerts, blind-spot monitoring, a reversing camera with rear parking sensors, lane-departure warning, hill-start assist and driver attention monitoring.

This makes the MX-5 a great option in the context of safety, especially when you factor in prices for the entry-level variants that gain the full suite of safety equipment.

Is it Fuel Efficient?

While it might be a sports car, the MX-5 is powered by a relatively fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine that translates to some impressive economy figures thanks, in part, to its lightweight platform.

The base MX-5 Roadster manual is rated at 6.8L/100km, while the automatic is rated at 7.0L/100km on a combined cycle. Moving to the RF hard-top manual brings fuel economy to 6.9L/100km, while the RF automatic is rated at 7.2L/100km.

Our Verdict: Is the Mazda MX-5 Worth it?

While it might be one of the oldest names in the world of affordable two-seater sports car thrills, the latest MX-5 is arguably the best-ever thanks to the addition the 2.0-litre powertrain and Kinetic Posture Control across the range.

This means that the entry-level Roadster is a more competitive option than ever before, and reduces the need to move higher up into the lineup.

The MX-5 is a fabulous car that offers pure thrills for drivers in a user-friendly and fun package that makes each journey a litlte bit more special. As a result, we highly encourage you to add it to your shortlist.

On that note, if you’re in the market for a new car, you can get a free quote and see how much OnlineAuto can save you on your next car, or call us on 1300 719 925

Five Specs You Need to Know

  1. Five-year, unlimited KM warranty 

  2. 10,000km/12-month service intervals 

  3. Five-star ANCAP safety rating 

  4. 2.0-litre four-cylinder & Kinetic Posture Control now standard across the MX-5 range 

  5. Fuel economy between 6.8-7.2L/100km


  • Stacks of fun to drive 

  • Lightweight, agile and engaging handling 

  • 2.0-litre four-cylinder now standard in entry-level MX-5

  • Sublime engine and transmission combination 

  • Well-appointed cabin


  • Cosy fit for tall drivers 

  • Automatic detracts from the engagement 

  • Short service intervals

  • Basic infotainment unit 

OnlineAuto Rating: 9.5/10

Mazda MX-5 Competition

Mazda MX-5

Toyota GR86
Subaru BRZ
Toyota GR Yaris
Hyundai i30 N
Abarth 595
MINI Convertible


Alexi Falson

Alexi is an automotive journalist and road tester hailing from Byron Bay. He has an affection for both cars and motorbikes, a great admiration for the simplicity of old-school engineering, and a fascination of new technology making its way to modern cars. When he's not road testing, you'll find him surfing, hiking or helping people find their dream cars.

Have any questions? Call us on 1300 719 925

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