The all-new Mazda MX-5 is built from the ground up with the sole purpose of being a delight to drive, and that is exactly what is…it really does make you happy.
I was handed the keys to the top spec MX-5 GT Roadster, with the biggest engine – the 2.0 litre four cylinder mated to a fabulous six-speed manual gearbox.
With the roof down, the convertible in all its glory will have you thinking you can enter it Dukes of Hazzard style.
Trust me, don’t try it. Entering in a more adult fashion is much easier. You just slide into the MX-5.
Roof up however it’s a different story. Getting into the the MX-5 can, for those of us who carry a bit of extra girth, be a bit of a challenge.
A good Yoga class before attempting this can help to prepare you for some of the pointed toe, leg extension action required, you’re likely to end up contorting yourself into a position you last attempted in your early teens.
Once you’re in though, things get comfy fast – as long as you don’t have too much to take with you.
The fairest description of the available space is snug. The centre console has a little cubby hole big enough to fit…well, your keys.
Between the seats there’s a lockable storage bin that can hold a few bits and pieces. Accessing the storage bin though, like getting into the car, takes a bit of extra flexibility in the joints.
There’s no glovebox, no storage bins in the doors, the boot will hold the weekly shopping, but it fills fast and you’ll find the passenger seat footwell often comes into play getting the groceries home.
But who buys an MX-5 for space? Nobody.
It’s all about the drive experience, and what an experience that is.
The 2.0 litre four-cylinder engine is an absolute peach. Crisp and punchy, it loves to rev.
Plenty of gear changes are required to keep it in its sweet spot, which is all part of the fun.
The shift action is done with a flick of the wrist, the throws are short, the gates are perfectly positioned and there is a real mechanical feel to it.
Likewise, the steering is tactile and exact. The chunky little steering wheel gently tugs and squirms in your hand relaying everything that is going on underneath you.
For a convertible, it’s staggering how stiff the Mazda MX-5 is. It’s like a chassis on Viagra. There’s not a hint a flex, even under the most challenging conditions.
Equally staggering is how balanced this car is. You drive it with intuition because you always know exactly how it’s going to behave. It can be lairy if you let it, and you will.
You can because the MX-5 has a constant conversation with you like few other cars can.
In the top spec model there is plenty of standard inclusions: Sat Nav, heated leather seats, Bose audio and one of the best Bluetooth phone connections going (it even works with the top down).
The cabin is beautifully crafted, there’s real attention to detail and the build quality is first class. Roof down, visibility is excellent, roof up, not so much.
Like all convertibles, there’s a huge blind spot on either side of the car and the small rear window doesn’t do much for you while reversing – which was why I was disappointed not to find blind spot monitoring or a reverse camera even offered as an option.
It’s far from a deal breaker though.
At the end of the day, this is a car to be relished on a sunny day on a great road.
It’s back to basics motoring that doesn’t skimp on quality. And therein lies the secret to the fun.
The MX-5 is brilliantly engineered specifically to reward the driver.
So happiness can indeed be found, behind the wheel of the latest and greatest Mazda MX-5.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2017 Mazda MX-5 2.0 Roadster GT
Engine: 2.0 litre petrol developing 118kW and 200Nm
Transmission: Six-speed Manual
Warranty: Three years
Safety: Five stars
Price: from $39,550