"I had a big smile on my face when I picked up the MX-5 GT as it brought back many happy memories for me. You see, I once owned one of the original Mazda Miata’s and I absolutely loved it. Ok, Ok, I’ll be honest, it was in fact my wife’s summer car, to which I would steal the keys whenever she wasn’t looking as it was so much fun to drive."
2006 Mazda MX-5 GT review
By Kevin “Crash” Corrigan
To give you a little idea how much fun these cars are, let me tell you a true story.
Before we (ok, she) purchased the Miata, we went to a classic car event to which the Miata club had been invited. Oh yes, not only is there a club, but this enthusiasts’ club was actually formed before the cars even arrived in the dealerships. Anyway, at this event there were loads of them. I spoke to one guy and told him that we were thinking about buying one. He asked what color. “Oh, a red one, my wife’s is red” he replied. A little while later a similar thing happened, then again. Before the end of the day, I had discovered four couples where each one had their very own Miata.
It’s not often that you find a husband and wife both driving exactly the same vehicle, so this had me somewhat puzzled. Until…my wife got hers.
I would steal the keys of that car at every opportunity, even though I had my own XJS Jag to drive. I would even volunteer to go and get the papers on the weekend just to drive it. It was that much fun.
With the Miata, which is now called the MX -5, they had created a vehicle with all the feel of a classic British roadster of the sixties, yet with a few clever differences. It was totally reliable, the oil remained in the engine, not on your driveway, and the electric’s actually worked. To say that this formula was a success is a bit like saying Tim Horton’s has managed to sell a few cups of coffee over the years.
This brings me nicely, to Mazda’s new MX-5 GT. Does it follow that tried and tested recipe which we all know and love, or has it become the motor world’s answer to a frothy flavored cappuccino?
Well, it certainly still has the looks, albeit a tad beefier, with maybe slightly less of the girlish charm. The roof now folds down completely flat, still one handed and appears much neater. The old pop-up Lotus looking lights that I loved have long since disappeared to be replaced by some stylish modern units which give the vehicle a very up to date look. Nice looking 17” aluminum rims also succeed in bringing the vehicle into this decade. The four brake calipers which show through the wheels also give a little indication that things have moved in the right direction over the years.
The interior has been dressed up dramatically and fitted with all the options that we have come to expect. It now even has A/C as standard. Things like that, I could personally do without, as in my mind, it should remain a simple roadster and more toys mean more weight. There were however a couple of things that I really did like. The cubby boxes hidden behind the seats are very useful in an open top car and the Bose stereo system is excellent.
The MX-5 GT is now powered by a 2.0L in-line four cylinder which produces 170hp. This is then coupled to a traditional short stick manual box, although now, it’s a six-speed. Nice! From this, power then goes exactly where it ought to, the rear wheels.
From its birth, this little roadster always seemed fast, even when it actually wasn’t. I guess that was because of its size and because it’s quite low to the ground. Because of this, it also cornered as if it was on rails and made the vehicle fun without risking your driving license. Well you can forget about that with the 2006 model. It’s still small, still low, corners a dream, but you need to keep a close eye on the speedometer or you’ll be staring at a fairly hefty speeding ticket.
It seems like the vehicle has now matured and grown up. The original model was in some ways a weekend fun car. The new one is a proper little sports car that can even play with some of the big boys. For the money, I think that it’s a good buy; the only problem that I can foresee is for those of you who are married, as “you will end up buying two”!