New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

Road test: Mazda MX-5 in pictures

2016-06-27 08:48

REASON FOR BEING: The Mazda MX-5 should not be considered for practical reasons, but rather for the enjoyment of the drive! Image: Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond

By: Charlen Raymond

Cape Town - The MX-5 is, for all intents and purposes, far from being a practical car and despite a lot of niggles, the MX-5 is not a bad car - it just requires some getting used to and lots of understanding.

Rand-for-rand this could very well be the best open-top car in our market today and the reason why anyone would consider this roadster would be to have fun.  

However, If I had to point out everything that is wrong with the Mazda MX-5, we’d all end up being depressed and demotivated. 

Some of the ergonomics are stupidly placed, the cup holders are awkwardly positioned, and if you want to use the volume knob you’d have to break your left wrist to do so.

What’s more, if you are having a midlife crisis or if you had a hip replacement at any stage of your life, best look away from the MX-5. Getting in and out of the car is a hassle beyond compare and my 1.86m frame is on the verge of snapping at the waist.

The struggle is real and I had empathy for my 80-year-old grandfather as he fell back into his seat when labouring out of the roadster.

Price: R425 400

But, here are all the reasons that make its one of the most-loved roadsters around... 

  • 1 It’s got the looks
    This little Mazda managed to attract onlookers wherever it went. From young petrolheads signalling for the car to be revved and looking at it with adoration, to cows who had never seen anything as sleek as this roadster before: the MX-5 is a magnet for attention no matter where it goes.
    1 It’s got the looks
  • 2 Great proportions

    The MX-5 is just under 4m long and 1.73m wide. Add to this a height of only 1.23m, and the roadster starts verging on being a toy. There is a balance to the car that makes you know where each wheel is placed and steering is crisp and precise, despite a brief moment’s lack of feel on initial turn-in. But, it all makes for a dynamic able car that's precise on the road.

    2 Great proportions
  • 3 Bite without the bark
    The Mazda MX-5 is equipped with a 2.0-litre engine and although its 118kW/200Nm is adequate to propel the roadster’s body, the car lacks when it comes to the acoustics. On start-up the car comes to life with a little growl (think Simba in Lion King ‘roaring’ in the gorge), but it all mums down after that. A roadster's sound should be a big talking point and it needs to accompany the thrills and spills.
    3 Bite without the bark
  • 4 Virtually no weight
    The Mazda MX-5 weighs 1259kg. There's almost no weight to slug around and the car feels lively as speed increases.
    4 Virtually no weight
  • 5 A nice, open road
    The roadster’s demeanour changes when the road opens up. The moment you hit a mountain pass or any twisty section of road, the MX-5’s reason for being comes to the fore.
    5 A nice, open road
  • 6 Mind the wet road
    Whether the ESC is engaged or not, the MX-5 requires its driver to concentrate 100% of the time. The rear-wheel drive configuration, coupled to a very light rear-end, makes the MX-5 a lively little bugger. In the rain it’s very easy to get the tail to step out and the driver who knows what he’s doing will enjoy this to great effect. But a novice driver could, potentially, be in for a big surprise. The MX-5 is a fun car: a bare-knuckle fighter that needs its driver to be fully focused.
    6 Mind the wet road
  • 7 Keeping warm
    As the wind slices through your face, at least there is the added luxury of having your seats heated. It's delightful and almost lets you forget about getting cold.
    7 Keeping warm
  • 8 Letting the top down
    Removing the roof is a very easy process. Release the latch above the rear-view mirror and push the roof into its storage bay. To put it back up, pull a leaver between the seats and clip the roof back on. The manual process is much faster than an electric-operated unit and can be done while in the driver’s seat. Even with the roof down the car loses none of its trademark characteristics
    8 Letting the top down
  • 9 Wind in your face
    With the top down, on a cold winter’s morning (as pictured), the wind can be a bit of an intrusion. But it adds to the MX-5’s roadster credentials and gives character to what will be - in most cases - a very memorable drive.
    9 Wind in your face


There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.