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In-depth reviews

Mazda MX-5 review – interior and tech

Taller drivers may find the cabin cramped, but for shorter drivers it’ll fit like a glove

Evo rating
Price
from £25,800
  • Sparkling 2-litre engine, fab transmission and great fun at road speeds
  • Chassis’ limitations aren’t hard to find, tight cabin

The MX-5’s interior has always been a squeeze for taller drivers, and the ND’s is no different. The cabin is both quite narrow and short, meaning drivers with generous proportions in either direction will find the MX-5 a little challenging.

This is only exacerbated by the seating position, which despite the generous drop on entry, still sits too high in relation to the rest of the cabin. It’s not likely helped by the compact dash and low windowline, but it still feels like the ideal hip point is probably an inch or so lower than the seat can go, making one feel almost perched atop the MX-5, rather than nestled within. The seats themselves are also disappointingly flat and unsupportive.

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Once inside though, the cabin design is a marvel of contemporary minimalism, essential controls are reduced to a bare minimum and those that remain are clear and easy to use. It does lack the opulence of Mazda’s newer cabins, such as in the Mazda 3, but remains a strong element of the MX-5’s overall package.

On the move, the experience inside is dominated by two elements. The first is the round, thin and firm steering wheel that feels great in the hands, even it it feels too big for the car and cuts into your view out of the windscreen. The other is the three clear and perfectly placed dials in front of you. The left-hand dial is one solid colour screen in high-specification models, and although it doesn’t have a huge amount of functionality, it re-emphasises the work Mazda has been putting into its detailing.

The infotainment system is also rather good – maybe not up to the standards of the very best German units, but perfectly intuitive and feature rich for a small sports car. CarPlay and Android Auto are standard if you want to bypass the standard interface, too. A higher-res screen in the dash would be welcome, but as the MX-5 is now one of the older models in its range, it’s not surprising to see it a generation behind Mazda’s latest electronic hard and software.

All MX-5's feel well finished and solidly screwed together, with the entry-level Prime-line model trimmed in black cloth which can be upgraded to leather in Exclusive-line trim. Both the Kizuna special edition and the top-spec Homura receive a rather tasteful cream nappa leather interior which looks and feels more upmarket, with the latter gaining stailess steel sill plates.

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