In-depth reviews

Mazda MX-5 review - Reliability and safety

Mazda’s reputation for reliability and suite of i-Activesense assistance systems boost MX-5's safety

The latest Mazda MX-5 hasn’t been on sale for long enough to identify any reliability issues, but with such a simple mechanical layout (there are no adaptive dampers, sport buttons or twin-clutch gearboxes here), as well as plenty of electronic kit shared with existing models, the car should provide trouble-free motoring. It’s worth noting, however, that if you plan to drive it hard – on road or track – then perishables such as brake discs, brake pads and tyres will need replacing more frequently.

The two-seat roadster finished in an encouraging 26th position out of 75 cars in our 2020 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, while Mazda itself achieved an excellent 4th place out of 30 manufacturers.

Euro NCAP gave the MX-5 four stars for safety when it was tested in 2015. It lost a star because active city stop isn't standard. Front and side airbags, Dynamic Stability Control and traction control are all available across the line-up. Only the range-topping 2.0i Sport Nav can be specified with the £350 Safety Pack option, which brings High-Beam Control and Blind-Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert. 

Mazda's suite of i-Activesense active safety systems is impressive, using radars and sensors to warn the driver of potential dangers, such as a static car in front or if you’re swerving out of your lane.


Mazda offers a standard three-year, 60,000-mile warranty on the MX-5. These days, with some companies offering four, five or seven years of cover, this is about average. Like many three-year policies, the roadster’s warranty can be extended for a variable cost, but this additional peace of mind is provided by a third party and a car will need to have less than 100,000 miles on the clock to qualify for an upgrade.


Prices are not yet fixed for the new MX-5’s servicing, but Mazda tends to operate a 12-month or 12,500-mile service interval, whichever comes sooner. It also pledges to match any service price quoted by an independent garage on a like-for-like service basis.

Costing as little as £499 – but likely to be more money for a specialist sports car like the MX-5 – a three-year/37,500-mile service inclusive package can be specified, which can be paid in a lump sum or monthly direct debit instalments. It covers parts and warranty costs for the first three services.

Mazda also has a neat system called Digital Servicing Record. This sees all Mazda main dealer servicing records held electronically, and means you’ll never have to hunt in vain for the service book again when the time comes to take your car for routine maintenance. 

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