Monday, October 26, 2015

Used Car Review - Mazda MX-5 (2008-2014)

One of the celebrated names, Myk Belmonte delves more of its allure.

2008-2014 Mazda MX-5

Sports cars, when checked in the price lists of some manufacturers, are out of reach within the buyers pockets. Then thanks to Bob Hall, a journalist at Motor Trend, who conceived an idea of making an inexpensive roadster, the MX-5 was born. Now at its fourth generation model, it had made enthusiasts reminiscing the good old times (60s concept) with modern touches.

Under the codename NC, the third generation MX-5 made a debut in May 2005 with deliveries starting August for model year 2006. Unlike the previous models, no exterior components were shared from the other, making it built up from scratch. Another change that was implemented is the switch from a four wheel double wishbone setup towards a front wishbone and rear multink combination. With updates done in 2008 and 2013 plus numerous special edition models, this generation ran until 2015 with the ND model replacing it.

Our love story with the MX-5 started when Columbian Autocar Corporation imported some of the NA models back in 1996. We had to wait for another decade for the nameplate to return through Ford Group Philippines in the form of the facelifted model. The series ended with 25 units (out of 1,000 worldwide) of the 25th Anniversary Edition being brought for local consumption in 2014.

Value and Costs
Brand new prices for the MX-5 back then would linger in the P2M range when Ford marketed it from 2008 until 2013 then the 25th Anniversary Edition would had a price tag of P1,8M sold by Berjaya. Second hand units would range between P890,000 to P1,000,000. Do not expect some units of the 25th Anniversary Edition to pop the used car market by now, especially that deliveries started only early this year.

The MX-5 units that you will encounter are the ones that are well taken care of, because most owners are mature enthusiasts, and not the ones of the "ricer" variety. Units bought from January 1, 2013 would mostly carry Berjaya's Youjin3 coverage that gives owners free maintenance and roadside help for three years. Since this is a convertible, check out the suspension and underchassis, since it is a lowered vehicle. Another item of inspection is the top, look out for leaks when doing your pre-purchase inspection.

Exterior and Interior
Mimicking the vibe of 60s British roadsters, the MX-5's does not stray to that idea. It rides low to the ground, complemented by wide fenders and tight overhangs. Ordinary models came with silver finish alloy wheels, and body color top and side mirrors, while 25th Anniversary Ed units came with gunmetal rims and black top and side mirrors. Do take note all models released here came with the standard power retractable top which can fold in 11 seconds while retaining respectable cargo space. One notable fact is it weighs less than the Toyota 86/Subaru BR-Z twins.

Definitely, the cabin is one of the tightest around but ergonomics are suited for a human, not for a gorilla. Hard plastics come standard but this has something to do in keeping the vehicle's weight light. 25th Anniversary models came with almond leather seats, as opposed to the ordinary model's black.

A MZR 2.0 with 165hp at 7,000rpm and 190Nm at 5,000rpm may look conservative if compared to the 2.0 Boxer engine that displaces 197hp, but it can pull well (it does not aim for fast driving, unlike what most think) plus produces a fine sound. One thing to remember is pre-2008 models get a 6,500rpm redline, which Philippine market models don't.

Driving Impressions
If you plan to use this as your daily commute vehicle, better go elsewhere, especially that seeing those side mirrors are difficult, no thanks to those wide fenders. However, if driving pleasure is what you seek, look no further since it can deliver the goods. Updated models like we receive get a revised steering which makes the car more tactile and a stiffer suspension eliminates some slop, but the vehicle experiences some body roll. Despite these shortcomings, this vehicle keeps you planted on pure concrete.

While some rivals come and go, the MX-5 had stood the test of time for a reason. Driving fun does not need to be pricey nor spoiled with electronic nannies, just a plain platform with fun to drive genes and we have a winner. Jinba ittai (rider horse as one body when translated) was done well here, and top down experience can now cost you below a million bucks.

The Good:
  • Driving dynamics
  • Pure, unadulterated fun
  • Now cheap to buy
The Bad:
  • Not that practical (duh)
  • Not that much in the market
  • Not that perfect
The Pick: Anything that is well maintained

Engine: 1,999cc MZR I4 gasoline
Power: 165hp @ 7,000rpm
Torque: 190Nm @ 5,000rpm
Fuel Consumption: 6-8km/L (city), 11-13km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Suspension: Front double wishbone, rear multi link

Price (New): P2,000,000-P2,200,000 (ordinary models), P1,800,000 (25th Anniversary Edition)
Price (Now): P890,000-P1,000,000
Rivals: Honda CR-Z, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Subaru BR-Z, Toyota 86
On Sale: 2008-2014

Mazda Pasig - (02) 655-1005

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