Mazda MX-5 review – MPG and running costs

The Mazda MX-5 is better than ever, a distillation of the sports car that has matured into a brilliant little roadster

Evo rating
Price
from £18,995
  • Sparkling new 2-litre engine, fab transmission and so much fun at road speeds
  • Chassis’ limitations aren’t hard to find, tight cabin

Mazda’s focus on reducing weight hasn’t just affected the performance and handling – it’s improved fuel efficiency too.

Naturally, some of that is down to the introduction of a 1.5-litre engine – the smallest yet in an MX-5, and itself a result of the lightweight body giving less mass for a smaller engine to push along. The upshot is combined economy of 47.1mpg and CO2 of 139g/km – the latter resulting in a first-year VED payment of £200 and £140 a year thereafter.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

A year or two ago evo had the opportunity to spend 800 miles behind the wheel of a 1.5, touring the ring of Iceland. While hills and more twisting sections sapped away at the car's frugality, the car's touring economy still proved very impressive. Even driven at higher pace we often saw 45mpg between stops, and our average over some sections of road was as high as 54mpg. Be in no doubt, the MX-5 is not a gas-guzzler.

The brawnier, heavier 2-litre model isn’t quite as frugal on paper, but opting for the speedier car won’t empty your wallet at an eye-watering rate either. Combined economy drops to only 40.9mpg, with a corresponding increase in CO2 to 161g/km (£500 for year one VED and £140 in subsequent years). However, as you don’t need to rev the 2-litre as much and you don’t use full throttle as often as in the 1.5, the gap in mpg is much smaller between the two cars in real life. Our recent long-term MX-5 RF regularly returned figures in the 40s.

In theory, that low weight should have lasting benefits in other areas. Experience with our long-term RF suggests the MX-5 is unlikely to chew through tyres and brakes too quickly – a set of front pads and discs lasted us four trackdays and 13,000 miles of road driving, while the tyres still had life left in them by the end of our year with the car.

Other consumable items should be devoured at a similarly modest rate. Insurance should also be relatively low, though not as low as it could be if the little Mazda was equipped with some of the electronic safety systems that grant a full five-star Euro NCAP rating. The MX-5 instead gets four stars.

 

Most Popular

Ariel Atom 4 review - Britain's exoskeletal track toy just got torquier...
Ariel Atom

Ariel Atom 4 review - Britain's exoskeletal track toy just got torquier...

Its looks may suggest otherwise, but this latest Atom is all‑new – and a huge leap forward, too
5 Nov 2020
G-Power G5M Hurricane RR takes BMW M5 to 888bhp
BMW M5 saloon

G-Power G5M Hurricane RR takes BMW M5 to 888bhp

German tuner G-Power reveals its new ultimate version of the F90 BMW M5
6 Nov 2020
Porsche unveils 911 Turbo S to match your £8m Embraer business jet
Porsche 911 Turbo

Porsche unveils 911 Turbo S to match your £8m Embraer business jet

The Porsche 911 Turbo S has been given the Exclusive Manufaktur treatment, this time, in collaboration with Embraer
6 Nov 2020
2021 Land Rover Discovery 5 updated with fresh tech and engines
Land Rover Discovery

2021 Land Rover Discovery 5 updated with fresh tech and engines

Updated Discovery receives latest JLR engines and re-emphasises its family focus
10 Nov 2020