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

Recommended

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
12 Jul 2021
New Mazda MX-5 Sport Venture 2021 review
Mazda MX-5 Sport Venture - front
Mazda MX-5

New Mazda MX-5 Sport Venture 2021 review

The new Mazda MX-5 Sport Venture is the latest in a long line of special editions of the world’s favourite roadster
8 Jul 2021
Best sports cars 2021
Best Sports cars - header
Mazda MX-5

Best sports cars 2021

From the McLaren 720S to Mazda MX-5, these are the 10 sports cars that we think are the best on sale
3 Jun 2021
New Mazda MX-5 R-Sport 2020 review
Mazda MX-5

New Mazda MX-5 R-Sport 2020 review

The latest Mazda MX-5 R-Sport limited edition model does nothing to upset the popular roadster’s charms
30 Jul 2020

Most Popular

Best electric cars to buy 2021
Best electric cars
Electric cars

Best electric cars to buy 2021

There are more electric cars than ever to choose from, so we've picked some of the best you can buy in the UK now
7 Jul 2021
New 2021 Audi RS 3: 395bhp mega hatch priced from £50,900
Audi RS 3 Sportback - front
Audi RS3

New 2021 Audi RS 3: 395bhp mega hatch priced from £50,900

Full exterior and interior reveal for Audi RS 3, with aggressive styling and racy cabin to match strong performance
19 Jul 2021
New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range
Kia EV6 - front
Kia EV6

New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range

Kia reveals more specs for its bespoke electric car, with the EV6 offering long range and an 18-minute 80 per cent rapid recharge time
21 Jul 2021