More Magic from Mazda MX-5

September 20th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

The iconic Mazda MX-5 is being upgraded with a number of new stylish features and we’ve got one coming in December (which we’re quite excited about).

Mazda New Zealand Managing Director, Andrew Clearwater says, “The Mazda team have been careful not to change the cars’ DNA that has impressed so many kiwi motorists since the MX-5 was first launched in New Zealand 23 years ago.”

“Its popularity here and abroad has resulted in the MX-5 securing a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for becoming the best-selling two-seater sports car in the world.”

“The changes we have made will make the driving experience even more enjoyable. New Zealanders love to put the top down for the great kiwi road trip and there’s no better car to experience it in than the MX-5,” says Clearwater.

The soft-top, with glass rear windscreen, remains one of the easiest opening and closing convertible roofs. The electric folding hard-top on the coupe takes only 12 seconds to open or close and continues to be one of the fastest in the market. In addition, the roof retracts into a separate area so it does not encroach on any boot space.

From September the MX-5 will see some functional design alterations, which include the reshaping of the front bumper, changes to the fog lamps and bezel surrounds along with a redesigned front grill.

A new exterior colour is added to the range with Dolphin Grey replacing the Metropolitan Grey of the previous MX-5 models. The facelift continues through to the luxury interior which has had a glossy dark grey garnish applied to the dashboard decoration panel, steering wheel and shift lever.

Mechanical upgrades have also been made to the MX-5 six speed manual models which have been fitted with a sportier throttle tuning. The upgrade will deliver more power and smoother handling. Retractable hard top owners will see upgraded dark gun metallic wheels, black headlamp bezel and a glossy dark grey garnish applied to the roll bars.

The new look MX-5 will be available in New Zealand in October 2012.

London Calling?

December 12th, 2011 by Tim Grimley

Curmudgeonly English comedian Jack Dee once said that he disliked the term ‘Old Aged Pensioner’ because it was essentially telling them the same thing three times and it’s fair to say he had a point. Any single word from that terminology could accurately be used in isolation to describe a person of SuperGold Card holding vintage, which means that utilising either of the other two is essentially wasting your breath.

The same could also be said of KEA – Kiwi Expats Abroad – who for the sake of a snappier acronym decided it was necessary to point out that the place for ex-patriot New Zealanders to be found was beyond the shores of Aotearoa. But to dwell on such a point would be a case of extreme pedantry, particularly when KEA has just published the results of its five yearly ‘Every Kiwi Counts’ survey which has revealed a startling piece of information.

46% of Kiwi’s living and working overseas earn in excess of $100,000 per year.

Rather predictably – and it must be said, against the logic of the people at KEA who sagely regard our overseas-based populace as a valuable resource for both current investment and the future – the national media jumped on this as ‘evidence’ of the brain drain the nation is suffering from. Pictures of London’s skyline were emblazoned on the front of The NZ Herald, with the headline “Goodbye NZ, Hello $100,000” almost mocking those of us still slogging away in the Land of the Long White Cloud.

And I’m the first to admit that a $100,000 salary sounds like a lovely thing indeed, but before you start digging out the visa application forms let me add a dose of realism to the matter.

Would you like to take $100,000......

Firstly, as anyone who has tried to live a comfortable life in London will tell you $100,000 doesn’t really go that far. Not if you have aspirations of living in anything bigger than a shoe box, without the need to flat share with a group of alcoholic students with broken body clocks. Yes, there are lots of interesting old buildings to look at, but finding a day when the sky isn’t leaking so you can properly enjoy them can be a challenge.

And don’t even mention Australia. You’ll need all of $100,000 just to keep the air conditioning running in summer and the family dosed up on anti-venom when they bump into the local wildlife. And it’s full of bloody Australian’s anyway.

Although I’m not about to go all gooey and proclaim NZ the capital of all that is awesome, because I’m fully aware that for any given thing you care to mention someone, somewhere will do it better. The Italian’s have better food, the Swiss better scenery, the American’s better entertainment, the British a better health service; the list could go on for ever.

But crucially, there is absolutely nothing that we do badly. Our beaches are great, our cities cool, the mountains of the Southern Alps are stunning, the people are friendly and if we’re being brutally honest, the wages aren’t at sweat shop levels either. Sure there may be politicians and newspaper editors trying to cause ructions by playing to the financial avarice inherent in all of us, but take every last thing into consideration and you’ll realise that while the base salaries may not be the flashest, the whole package is nigh on unbeatable.

And the good news is that most people seem to realise it too – they must do, because the Mazda MX-5 continues to sell for Africa.

Much like Kiwi salaries, the figures associated with the MX-5 are not much to write home about. While the days of the asthmatic 1.6 variant have gone, there are still plenty of family cars that will make it look rather foolish in a straight line and there isn’t a neighbour in the world who will get badge envy over one of Fuchú’s finest.

......or consider an alternative package?

I’m not going to pretend that the styling overly excites me either. Yes, the MK 1’s Lotus Elan inspired looks had a certain olde worlde charm, but subsequent revisions certainly haven’t been what you would call head turners.

But crucially, neither of the above things are a let down. Performance is brisk and there’s certainly nothing offensive about the little Mazda from whichever angle you look at it. And the absolute best way to look at it is from behind the steering wheel, because when you get an MX-5 – any MX-5 – on a winding back road, it simply comes alive.

Encased in the snug cockpit, slung low to the ground and with the wind in your hair the sensation of speed belies the relatively tame numbers on the dials in front of you. Once into the bends the MX-5 clings to the tarmac more tightly than a Syrian President holds onto power; the thrill of hard driving in one of these little beauties can rightly be compared with ostensibly more sporting cars costing several times as much.

And best of all when the fun is over, the MX-5 becomes a normal car again. Unlike traditional roadsters the roof doesn’t leak, with the hard top up the boot offers ample room for shopping or travel bags and it has developed an enviable reputation for reliability and longevity.

It’s little wonder that with 20 years production and over 900,000 examples behind it, the MX-5 is the best-selling two-seat convertible sports car in history. For my money it could lay a claim to being one of the great cars of all time and I could go on for hours telling you over and over how wonderful it is.

But that would be a waste of words and I wouldn’t want to make Jack any grumpier.

Mazda releases MX-5 Miyako special editions

July 1st, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The Mazda MX-5 has attracted its fair share of special editions, and the latest is the ‘Miyako’. Borrowing its name from the Japanese holiday island the new edition will go on sale in Britain from today.

As part of the year-long celebrations of 20 years of MX-5 production, the “summer special edition” Miyako is available in two forms, the 126HP 1.8i Miyako soft-top and the more powerful 160HP 2.0i Miyako roadster coupe with a folding hardtop.

So what makes the Miyako so special? Well it gets larger 17-inch alloy wheels, standard fog lamps and a front suspension strut brace for improved steering response. Both versions of the MX-5 Miyako will be available in Aluminium Silver Metallic, while the soft-top is also being built in Velocity Red Mica.

It is the first special edition that you can have in both ragtop and folding tin-top forms, with only 500 units available they may go quick. Prices start at £18,385 ($40,000 NZ). Continue reading “Mazda releases MX-5 Miyako special editions” »

Rotary-power rumours for next-generation Mazda MX-5

June 18th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Some interesting rumors have started surfacing that the next-generation 2012 Mazda MX-5 could tip the scales at just 1,000kg and deliver an impressive 4.7l/100km economy without dropping any horsepower. Initial reports claimed that the MX-5 was achieving this feat by using Mazda’s forthcoming SKY-G engines, but now a very different story is coming out of Mazda HQ.

Apparently the 2012 MX-5 will receive a rotary powerplant with a displacement of either 1.2 or 1.3 litres, this will help the roadster drop off a few pounds in the process. However, the Wankel engine isn’t exactly known for its fuel efficiency so the rumored rotary would be of the hybrid variety. That sounds unbelievable, but the Wankel/hybrid pairing has already been achieved in the form of a Fiat 500 prototype built by FEV. The little Fiat contains a rotary engine that also acts as a generator for a Lithium-Ion battery pack.

While it’s an intriguing concept, this time round the MX-5 will most likely use a small, efficient four-cylinder with turbocharging. After all, one of the most attractive qualities of the MX-5 is it’s bargain price tag, and hybrids aren’t cheap, or that light either.

Mazda to sell 20th Anniversary edition MX-5

February 15th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Mazda will put a limited edition version of the MX-5 on sale next month to celebrate the roadster’s 20th anniversary. The car will only be available in the UK at this stage and will be sold for £16,850.

The anniversary model is based on the 1.8-litre SE trim level.  Despite 10 pieces of optional equipment, the special edition car sill cost just £55 more than the SE would normally.

Added equipment includes body-colored roll bars, and 17-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels painted in silver.  Along with chrome exterior trim, and fog lights, the car comes with a strut brace, body-coloured dashboard, aluminum pedals, and air conditioning. Unique “20th Anniversary” badging features on the scuff plates and floor mats.

Mazda plans to produce 1875 units for Europe of the Mazda MX-5 20th Anniversary edition, with 600 headed to UK.

Mazda hasn’t mentioned if the colourful graphics will be included as an option.