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Owner Review

2004 Mazda MX-5 SE review

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This is my third MX-5, all NBs.

I bought the first one post retirement, and enjoyed it for five years. It was near new, owned by a couple for whom pending parenthood made the MX5 impractical.

You can't fit two people and a baby capsule into a two seater roadster.

Unfortunately, family commitments forced me to swap the MX-5 for a Commodore ute. My offspring were going through the sharehouse experience, and they seemed to be moving house with monotonous regularity. Anyway, I kidded myself by noting that the Commodore was front-engined and rear drive, had independent suspension all round, and handled well.

Once that was over, I traded the ute for a second, much older MX-5, and bought a hardtop for it. It served me well for two years, before I discovered the SE for sale when visiting Newcastle, and buying that. For a time, I had two MX-5s.

The SE is great fun, and my example, with an imported Jasper Conran (Connolly leather and Wilton carpets) is a collector's item.

It drives like a sophisticated go-kart, has enough torque (blower inspired) to allow one gear higher everywhere, and the gearshift is sublime.

It also looks a treat. It has been completely reliable, and does not drink fuel at an extraordinary rate unless you overuse the turbo. The hardtop also makes it a practical tourer.

I've taken it on some long road trips, where it has performed well, although it is difficult to keep below the legal limit, as the turbo kicks in at that speed. Maybe cruise control (a factory fit on this version in the USA) may be the way to go. The other problem on high speed long journeys is the noisy hardtop, which will howl above 90km/h unless you get the fit just right.

I'll dispose of it when I can no longer physically access the cockpit, although I may install an invalid hoist in my garage to extend that time somewhat.

Watching the market, and perhaps as a consequence of the pandemic, it seems to be an appreciating asset. That's good to know, especially as I regard myself as a custodian, rather than an owner.


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