The classic sports convertible for the masses, the lovable MX-5 and its stylish character! One of the most popular cars of its type, you should know what you want before diving in. So why not use this helpful guide? The most important thing to remember when going to buy a new car is to know exactly what you want from the car you are getting, especially when there are lots of them on the used market, like an MX-5!
The Mk3/Mk4's are the ones you want. You’ve a choice of 1.8 and 2.0-litre engines, the 2.0 with variable valve timing and a limited-slip diff. The 1.8 has a five-speed gearbox, the 2.0 a five-speed in standard trim and a six- speed in Sport. Petite dimensions mean there are only two seats and they’re snug enough that you’ll need to enjoy your passenger’s company. Once cocooned inside, the driving position is excellent and you can always put down the roof to make it feel far more light and airy.
When the original Mazda MX-5 first arrived in 1989, the motoring press and driving enthusiasts were bowled over by its fun handling and affordable price. Previous small convertible sports cars had often been poorly built, expensive, disappointing to drive or all of the above, but here was a well-engineered and fun model almost anyone could enjoy.
What to look out for?
ENGINE - Check the oil level is right, look for oil smoke and listen for a rumbling crankshaft. High-milers can suffer broken wires in the coil-on-plugs.
GEARBOX - Expect the action on five and six-speed gearboxes to be stiff from cold but to loosen up.
SUSPENSION AND BRAKES - Check the dampers. Listen for knocking from front and rear as their lives can sometimes have been quite rough.
The Mk3 is also highly sensitive to wheel alignment. On the test drive, check the car tracks precisely and feels pointy and alert.
A major facelift in 2009 brought retuned suspension, a hotter 2.0-litre engine and a stronger folding mechanism for the hard-top. Three years later, the model was facelifted again, this time gaining a radically reworked nose in line with Mazda’s new look.
Throttle response and brake pedal feel were improved, and the Sport Tech acquired an integrated TomTom sat-nav with a 5.8in touchscreen and alloy pedals. All versions got climate control.
Which model should I get?
The 2.0 Sport is the one to buy. I know from experience that the 1.8 is less popular, but don't be off-put by that. But realistically, you are buying a small sports car, splash that little extra and get the 2.0-litre! Here is a small guide for the prices you should be expecting:
£2150-£3400 - (2005-2007) Including a 07-reg Sport with 75k miles for £3400.
£3500-£4450 - Lots of mid-range mileage (around 75k) 2007 and 2008 Sports.
£5000-£7449 - Plenty of tidy 2007-2009 Sports, such as a 57-reg with 57k miles for £5495 and an 08-reg with 42k for £6995.
£7200-£8500 - Some 09-reg and 10-reg 2.0 Sport Techs with up to 50k miles for £8k or so.
£8,850-£11,800 - Take your pick of 11-reg and 12-reg cars.
£12,000-£16,000 - Late-plate to the last Mk3s (£15,998 for 15-reg 2.0 Anniversary, 7k miles).
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Posted 25/06/2021 Back to Blog