The NC MX-5 had been my dream car since my dad had an RC. I had accidentally sold my Micra thinking I'd get into a cheap 1998-2003 CLK, but when I found that car was boring to drive and the Micra had already been sold, I panicked, doubled my budget and bought the cheapest MX-5 I could see online.
It took me five seconds of driving the MX-5 to make the decision. The model was the 2007 MX-5 with the weird purple and red LE, and with the wacko BBS wheels - although they grew on me quickly. With the roof down, the heater on, the stars above, and the rorty engine farting away and shifting every two seconds through the lovely short-throw lever that sits at palm level - it's a fantastic car.
It's a good commuter, with a decent boot. The roof goes up and down in five seconds. It was mainly parked outside and it never leaked. However, first gear was sometimes a bit hard to get, and I was lurking hard on a cheap auto car to help my partner get her L hours up. Apparently yelling "give it more beans" when using second gear for a hill start is not amazing tuition. As it was a little silly to own two cars when I also have a motorbike for lightweight, manual, twisty, rain-in-your-face thrills, I had to investigate swapping.
I tested a 2005 C180K on my day off (I had that Merc Bug). It was two minutes away, it drove nicely, and had a bunch of books. So, 45 minutes later Estelle was gone and it was Gunter time.
I only had the MX-5 for exactly five months, but I can confirm a 150,000km service and new fuel pump at City Mazda came in at about 700 bucks. The fuel economy (a mix of fanging and commuting) was bang on 10 litres per 100 kilometres. The MX-5 has ruined all other cars for me, as far as "being fun to drive" is concerned.
Pros - it replaced a Micra and if you treated it as an almost as practical small car that's easy to park and nip about in (which can also get you sunburnt and give you some pants fizz), it's great.
However the wind noise on country trips was really annoying (think of bombing down the Calder Highway etc) and the fact it rattled over bumps like a skeleton doing gravity racing in a shopping trolley, it got old quick. A GT it was not.
If I recall the roadster coupe was much better in this regard though I only drove that one occasionally.
NOTE: We have used a CarAdvice photo for this story.