The MX-5 is a fun, sharp little car that makes running errands a fun outing regardless of the destination.
We have now spent nearly 5,000km behind the wheel of our long-term tester, the 2019 Mazda MX-5 GS-P. Giving the car a week away from its autocross life, where it spent the season chasing a championship title, I took the keys for a week and spent the week on four wheels rather than two, a step out of my own comfort zone at DoubleClutch.ca. The two-seat, manual transmission roadster’s charm made it unavoidable for me to not seek out some time behind the wheel.
The new MX-5 is a fun, sharp little car that makes running errands less of a daunting chore, and more of a fun outing regardless of the destination. I found myself looking for reasons to run to the grocery store, whereas normally, I would be procrastinating throughout the week, avoiding this errand at all costs. Once you’re sitting in the MX-5, the Recaro seats (standard with the Sport Package) hug you just right; they’re firm for performance driving yet comfortable enough for the daily grind.
I must admit, the MX-5 is certainly a fair weather car enjoyed best in open-air mode. Driving with the top up seems to suck all the fun out of driving it, and the blind spots with the top up are quite significant. The blind-spot monitoring system equipped on our test vehicle is more of a necessity than a creature comfort. The GS model lacks the additional layer of insulation in the top offered in the GT model (reviewed here), so wind noise at highway speeds also makes for a very loud experience. The last MX-5 RF (reviewed here) I spent time with was noticeably better in this regard.
As the nights got cooler, I still found myself trying to spend as much time as I possibly could with the top down. Honestly speaking, you can remain quite comfortable in cooler weather with the top down if you keep the heat and heated seats on, and the windows kept rolled up. The wind traverses over the vehicle (a hat is recommended), and keeps occupants adequately warm and still able to enjoy the crispness of autumn. Opening the roof on the Mazda MX-5 is easy as pie; it can literally be done with one hand in less than five seconds. A latch above the rear-view mirror needs to be undone, and the top can be flicked back into the open position.
Hill stop assist is a welcomed feature that makes stalling the car less likely, without sacrificing the perfect manual transmission experience delivered by the slick-shifting six-speed in this model. The MX-5 GS-P isn’t going to wow you with bells and whistles, but you can bet your bottom dollar you’d be hard pressed to find a more fun to drive car for the same price. I don’t say that lightly; this is quite easily the most fun convertible you can buy for its price point.
The 2.0-liter engine updated for 2019 gives you the power bump the car has needed since 2016, and you get a great amount of road feedback. The stiff chassis and low ride height makes for a decent amount of road feedback, and while a bit light, the steering has decent feel. It’s worth noting that the fourth-generation MX-5’s one glaring weakness is a less engaging steering setup than its predecessors. Even still, the car makes it very obvious that it’s you who is in control and not the car or its nannies.
This car begs to be pushed harder, and even though it’s a firm ride, it still maintains composure over road imperfections and potholes. You don’t necessarily need to baby it in everyday driving as you would higher-end convertibles with tendencies to scrape over driveway entrances. In summation; the 2019 Mazda MX-5 is absolutely tons of fun at a decent price point. Bonus: You can fit a full set of golf clubs in the passenger seat, so technically it’s as practical as you might need it to be!