Roadster of the Year 2019: Mazda MX-5

The Mazda MX-5 is the 2019 Auto Express Roadster of the Year, with the Audi TT and Porsche 718 Boxster commended

Whether you choose the standard roadster or the ‘Retractable Fastback’ RF version, you simply can’t go wrong with the brilliant Mazda MX-5.

It has all the ingredients you’d want from a car designed for fun, and yet it’s not so compromised that you couldn’t drive it every day. In fact, many owners use theirs all the time – and why not, if you’re having so much fun? That’s partly because Mazda avoided turbocharging and stuck with its naturally aspirated 1.5 and 2.0-litre petrol engines for the MX-5, so efficiency is good, but more importantly, they’re fun to rev and performance is strong: 0-62mph takes just 6.5 seconds with the 181bhp 2.0-litre unit.

Another highlight of the car is the sweet six-speed manual gearbox; it’s so good that it’s considered a benchmark for great shift feel regardless of price. There are much pricier sports cars that don’t change gear as well as this.

Because it’s so light, the Mazda is also very agile. The chassis is communicative and lively, with enough compliance that even rough roads can be taken on with confidence, and you can exploit the MX-5’s adjustability as much with the pointy steering as you can with the throttle.

Our choice 

Mazda MX-5 2.0 SE-L Nav+ (£22,795)

Both MX-5 engines are superb, but the new-for-2019 2.0-litre unit is worth the extra, now that it has more power and a higher rev limit. We’d stick with the roadster version because the soft top is so easy to raise and lower. SE-L Nav+ has all the kit you’d want, too. 

Commended

Audi TT Roadster

Audi TT Roadster - front

Audi updated the TT this year with more tech and a new look. It’s one of the easiest roadsters to live with every day, because it has a fair-sized boot and a spacious interior, while the barely tweaked interior design has certainly stood the test of time.

Porsche 718 Boxster

Porsche 718 Boxster S - front

The Boxster’s handling is astounding, with an incredible balance between sharp reflexes and ride comfort. Its four-cylinder turbo engine delivers amazing performance, if not a sonorous soundtrack, while the driving position is close to perfect.

Auto Express New Car Awards 2019

For complete, in-depth coverage of the 2019 New Car Awards, buy your collector's edition copy of the Auto Express magazine now or click here to subscribe...

Auto Express Issue 1,583
Continue Reading

Recommended

New Mazda MX-5 RF 2022 review
Mazda MX-5 RF - front
Mazda MX-5

New Mazda MX-5 RF 2022 review

The Mazda MX-5 RF folding hard-top roadster has been tweaked to keep it fresh, but is it now better than ever? We find out…
13 May 2022
Mazda MX-5 review
Mazda MX-5 1.5 2015 front
Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5 review

The Mazda MX-5 is a legendary small sports car that delivers driving thrills and everyday usability
21 Apr 2022
New Mazda MX-5 1.5 Sport 2022 review
Mazda MX-5 1.5 Sport - front
Mazda MX-5

New Mazda MX-5 1.5 Sport 2022 review

While the interior is starting to show its age, the updated Mazda MX-5 remains a great car to drive
31 Mar 2022
Best used convertibles 2022
Best used convertibles header
Best cars & vans

Best used convertibles 2022

If it’s open-top thrills that you’re after, the best used convertibles offer incredible value for money
10 Mar 2022

Most Popular

Citroen Ami on sale in the UK this summer from £7,695
Citroen Ami UK - front static
Citroen Ami

Citroen Ami on sale in the UK this summer from £7,695

The compact quadricycle is pricier than first thought, but the Citroen Ami will still be the UK’s cheapest ‘car’
24 May 2022
New Mercedes T-Class 2022 review
Mercedes T-Class - front
Mercedes T-Class

New Mercedes T-Class 2022 review

The Mercedes T-Class tempts van-based MPV buyers with the chance to take a step up in perceived quality - but will they take the bait?
24 May 2022
New Maxus T90EV is first electric pick-up truck on sale in the UK
Maxus T90EV - orange truck static
News

New Maxus T90EV is first electric pick-up truck on sale in the UK

Chinese firm Maxus introduces the T90EV, the UK's first electric pick-up truck, with a 198-mile WLTP city range
24 May 2022