Monday, July 2, 2018

7 Thoughts on the 2018 Mazda MX-5 M/T


Serendipitous circumstances would mean that it’s only now that we get to sample the Mazda MX-5 in its purest form: the one equipped with a manual transmission. While some may say that the era of driving with three pedals is almost over, Mazda begs to differ. As great as the new “ND” is with the 6-speed automatic, it becomes alive when equipped with a manual. Spending a week driving around in this Snowflake White MX-5 MT, there are 7 random thoughts that popped into our heads.


#1. The design is still fresh.

It’s hard to imagine, but the current MX-5 has been around for about two years already. Yet, it still looks modern, fresh, and well, downright happy. I mean, just look at that front clip—that smiling grille is pretty much a preview of what you can expect when you drive this thing. The body-colored upper door panels, subtle high-gloss black aero kit, and slinky headlights all work as do the classic roadster proportions. Putting up the cloth top ruins the clean lines somewhat, but Mazda’s execution is way better than any other convertible in the market.


#2. It’s the ultimate Jinba-Ittai expression.

Designed to be as compact and light as possible, the MX-5 locks you in what Mazda designers consider to be the ideal driving position. With just millimeters to spare in every dimension—be it head, leg, or shoulder room, any amount of slacking will result in banged elbows or knees. Yes, there’s some adjustment to the steering wheel and seats, but these are for fine tuning purposes only. Oh, and the passenger will have to play along too. He or she will find the only passenger compartment to be cocooning which is good if you want to pay 100 percent attention to what the driver’s doing, but not when you plan to doze off during a long drive.


#3. Simpler is better.

Along with the row-it-yourself shifter, this MX-5 has a shorter list of standard equipment compared to the automatic transmission variant. Climate control? Nope. Leather seats? Nada. Bose sound system? MIA. All these omissions sound like a bummer if you’re buying to the roadster lifestyle hoping for some luxury, but for those who enjoy driving? They’re largely unimportant. In fact, the MT model’s fabric seats come with a pleasant side effect: they look better wearing than the leather ones. With more than 10,000 kilometers on the clock already, the seats on this particular MX-5 look more immaculate than the leather ones we tested before with half the mileage.


#4. Makes you fall in love driving a MT once more.

It’s hard to imagine, but driving a manual transmission becomes less of a chore when you’re behind the wheel of this MX-5. The clutch and gearbox action is done absolutely perfectly here. Not only is the clutch pedal light and easy to modulate, but the shifter action is crisp and precise. The instrument cluster indicates which gear you’re in (plus which gear the car recommends you’re should be in), but it’s completely unneeded. Shifting in the MX-5 is done by feel alone and it’s all natural. Even the ratios are perfectly tuned that you find yourself always in the engine’s power band.


#5. You can use it every day.

Normally, you never think of the MX-5 as an everyday car, but if you do decide to use one going to and from the office, it’s no big deal. The overall height is about a foot lower than a typical sedan, so overtaking SUVs and trucks may require extra care (they normally can’t see you in their rear-view mirror), but aside from that, it can handle any parking ramp or driveway with zero problems. With slight body roll dialed into the MX-5’s chassis, cornering, whatever the speed, is always fun. Plus, the ride is actually pretty pliant, absorbing much of what Manila throws at it. Luggage space is, admittedly small, but a quick trip to the grocery doesn’t pose a problem—just don’t take it to S&R.


#6. There’s a hidden charging port.

At first glance, the latest-generation MX-5 seems to omit the all-important power point (aka cigarette lighter) along with the glove box. Today’s gadget-crazed drivers need not fret though; Mazda engineers didn’t make this all-important plug disappear. The ND has one, you just have to know where to find it. Give up? It’s actually located by the passenger footwell. At first, the decision to put it there doesn’t make much sense until you remember that the MX-5 is designed to be driven with the top down. Imagine what happens when rain gets into contact with the exposed power point. Putting it by the foot well gives it and your devices an extra layer of protection until you’re able to put the top up.


#7. The cupholders need some work.

Admittedly, I never drink, much less eat in my car be it a personal or demo unit. With that, I’m part of the small minority that never gets to test the user-friendliness of the cupholders. In the case of the MX-5 though, I needed to get a drink and with that, I got to test the usability of the cup holders. And you know what? They need some work. Not only do they have difficulty in fitting larger drinks, but they barely kept them upright. Half the time, I ended up being a character in Initial D trying to make sure I don’t spill any precious Coke Zero as I made my way home. The cup actually toppled once; thankfully the lid was on tight.



32 comments:

  1. Uly does the base m/t model have the strut tower brace?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If it’s the X-shaped one there is. If it’s the traditional strut brace I think you can get it as aftermarket.

      Delete
  2. Understandable to not having curtain airbags, but no side airbag aswell? This car is a death trap.

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    Replies
    1. It’s got seat mounted side airbags. No curtain airbags though.

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    2. Death trap? Seriously? This is a convertible! If you want to be safe, just walk. Although i bet, more people die each year as a pedestrian than people who die in a convertible.

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  3. #5? LOL. Goodluck using this as your daily driver. When you return after parking, you'll see scratches on the body paint and tears on the soft top because of the attention it will get. Pagtitiripan at pagiinitan ka talaga.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is not meant for everyone and is targeted only for a very small specific market. Neither should it be a daily driver as the cabin is too cramped to be comfortable, the cloth top too thin to provide adequate noise and heat insulation. Nor should it be for introverts.

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    2. When will the new generation mx5 come out?

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    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    4. Don't worry about these critics, they don't know what they're missing out.

      Delete
  4. Give me a break.. I'd drive my Subaru WRX or get a Civic Type R (if I'm lucky!) than get this.. Whatever this is!?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The mx5 is still more fun to drive than those 2 cars you mentioned. Try to test drive it for a change. Even watching youtube videos of the mx5 makes me smile, unlike with the civic type r or the wrx sti.

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    2. So you're basically saying you haven't driven any of these cars yet. You just watched some youtube videos then you instantly became a "car expert". Stop daydreaming kid.

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    3. Miata buyers are confident and mature, you dont compare it to a 4 door sedan. If miata is your tuxedo, wrx or type-r is like a basketball jersey

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    4. miata is your tuxedo, wrx or type-r is like a basketball jersey

      -True. Pang refined taste ito. Naka-tux na nag-ba-basketball vs. Naka pambasketball sa formal ball - no arguing sino mas jologs (and frankly, astig ka kung kaya mo mag basketball in tux). Knock yourselves out sa mga rally cars nyo.

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    5. Elegant, sophisticated = mazda mx5? Wth??? Hahaha

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    6. That's true. Wag masyadong feeling, hindi luxury car itong mx5. At refined daw? Drive one, see how noisy and unrefined it is, even with the RF model with its hard top placed up.

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    7. The way that you're saying that this is a gay car shows how closed minded you are. Of course it is noisy, it's a sports car, it meant to have a throaty engine note. It gives the luxury feel without the overpriced price tag of those overpriced "premium brands". Try driving the rf with the nappa seats. It feels so much better than any price wise competitors brz/86. The only cars that you can have more fun is are cars that are worth more than 7m and above(Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, GTR, etc). Try finding a car that can give you an equal driving and ownership experience as the mx5 around the 2m pricepoint.

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    8. ^ Subaru WRX M/T will cream this gay car.

      Delete
  5. Uhmm.. Ford Mustang, Subaru BRZ and last but not the least Toyota 86.

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    Replies
    1. Ford mustang is 2.6-3m+ now plus while it is quick in a straight line, goodluck handling it in twisty mountain roads or in the track. Mx5 is still quicker in a straight line and more so in corners than a brz/86.
      The wrx is so old, not worth buying. For 2m? I would rather get the mx5 over than a rally car that you won't ever rally.

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    2. Lol, the mustang is a bulky and front heavy machine. Good luck cornering it quicker than an mx5. Try it for yourself. Only fools would buy those big fat muscle cars. The ford mustang ecoboost at 2.7m will do 5.3 secs to 100km/h while the mx5 can do it in 6 seconds. That 500kg of weight difference matters.

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    3. @anon 2:15AM

      Look at these lap times under Hockenheim Sport and Willow Springs tracks.

      http://fastestlaps.com/models/ford-mustang-ecoboost

      http://fastestlaps.com/models/mazda-mx-5-2015

      See? The mustang ecoboost is faster. Dami mo pa kasing satsat, feeling car expert nga naman. LOL. Stop spewing bullcrap out of your arse mate.

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    4. The Mustang is not a sports car nor is it a muscle car.

      It's a pony car; hell, the Mustang is the reason why pony cars are called pony cars.

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    5. Look at the spec sheet below. Its classified as a sportscar.

      https://www.carguide.ph/2017/12/review-2017-ford-mustang-23-ecoboost.html?m=1

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    6. Because we didn't want to keep on adding different sub-categories. We put everything with two doors as "sports car" on this site.

      Delete
  6. Mazda is a big company. Dont ever mess with there engineers.

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  7. Hi sir Uly, Im planning to buy the mx5 Rf m/t soon. Can you help me decide which color to choose. Soul red or ceramic white? Thanks and more power

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  8. I wonder what demographic buys this car.

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    Replies
    1. Hey Uly. It would be great if you could an article on the demographics of car purchasers in the Philippines.

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  9. I've been reading the comments above and its funny how each would debate what is and what is not. Bottom line here is to each his own. Don't insist your opinions..Respect.. Mazda wont be continuing the MX-5 if it hasnt been a success thru the years

    ReplyDelete

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