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Y

ou might not know it yet, but

a birthday bash, because it’s 20 years

If anything I reckon it’s actually better

But you’ll forget all of them on a cross-

there’s a reason why they call the

since the first examples of Mazda’s MX-5

than Britain’s own old sports cars, because

country blast, because even when it’s not

limestone cliffs that linger over

started arriving on our shores. Time flies

unlike them the MX-5 actually works and

its birthday the Mazda’s partying, and

when you’re having fun.

means you can spend your weekends in

you’re always invited.

Llandudno the Great Orme. The official website of the café complex

You have to remember what small

the countryside, rather than the garage.

That’s the feeling I got when I spotted

sitting at the top of this stunning piece

roadsters were like in 1990 to appreciate

Just make sure you share the driving

a group of MX-5 owners out on their own

of seaside geology recommends that you

the original MX-5’s impact - apart from

with whoever you take along for the ride,

adventures in one of Snowdonia’s more

reach it either by a Victorian tramway or

the front wheel drive Lotus Elan, there

otherwise they’ll forget it’s a driver’s car

remote valleys, because they all smiled the

Britain’s longest cable car ride, but both, I

weren’t any - and after years of no sports

and start going on about the interior

smile you get when you’ve got a sports car

reckon, sell the place short.

cars at all drivers were suddenly treated

being too cramped, the boot too small and

at your disposal. Even though they owned

If you want to enjoy the journey then

to a soft-top, rear wheel drive roadster

the ride too firm.

MX-5s from the model’s early days they all

you’ve got to head for the twists of turns

which reminded us of decades ago when

It’s also got the same problem most

agreed on that what they own is so much

of the access road instead. That’s what

everybody drove around in MGBs, Triumphs

convertibles have when it comes to roof-

more than a way of getting to work and

makes it great, and there’s no better way

and Austin-Healeys. It might have been a

up visibility, but I reckon the Mazda’s

back. It’s a go-kart with a CD player.

to enjoy it than in an open-top sports car.

shameless copy of the original Lotus Elan,

folding fabric roof is easier and faster

There are roomier, comfier cars out

St Tudno’s Drive is like a stretch of tarmac

but nobody cared because they loved it.

than the metal most of its rivals come

there but if you drive simply because you

that’s been stolen from a mountain pass

Two decades later and almost every

with. You can have metal origami as an

enjoy it you can’t go far wrong with an

in the Alps by people who love driving and

car company now offers its own sports

optional extra, if you insist, but while you

MX-5, particularly if you’re the sort of

then draped over a British backdrop for our

car, but even though the latest 2.0i

get added security it’s slower to shelter

person who deliberately takes the long

own enjoyment, so exciting are the series

Sport Tech version is a little flabbier than

you and it weighs the little lightweight

route just so they can go over the Llanberis

of crests and hairpins which catapult you

the lithe original it’s still an absolute

roadster down.

Pass on the way.

from sea level to an eatery almost 700

delight to drive. It’s something it actually

While it does have just the two seats

It might be 20 years old, but the Mazda

feet above. It’s places like these that make

seemed keen to show off on the way up

it’ll still do everything you’d expect a

MX-5 isn’t as good as the British sports cars

motoring exciting, and the whole of North

the Horseshoe Pass, an inviting road

£20,145 car to do, and although I wasn’t

of yesteryear. It’s much better than that.

Wales is awash with them.

heading between Ruthin and Llangollen.

expecting it in something so single-

Don’t think my trip to one of the most

By combining its flick-of-the-wrist gear

mindedly sporty it was great to have

captivating corners of the British Isles

change with inspiringly precise steering, it

toys like cruise control, a CD autochanger

was just for fun, though; I was here for

just goes where you want it to.

and a Bluetooth system at my fingertips.

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Drivers delight.indd 3-4

Photography by Cornelia Kaufmann

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27/07/2010 14:06

GR8Life, Mazda MX-5, July 2010  
GR8Life, Mazda MX-5, July 2010  

GR8Life review of the Mazda MX-5, July 2010

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