MX-5 Mk3

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  • MX-5 Mk3
    rheon   22 February 2020 - 11:21 AM

    [font=arial][size=2]I've recently had to drive a Vauxhall Mokka 1.4 for 12 weeks for work, with t...
  • MX-5 Mk3
    Motorman   03 July 2018 - 11:00 AM

    To me a logical move after a run of MG-TF's. The MX5 is everything the MG should have become sadl...
  • MX-5 Mk2
    Merlin   07 November 2016 - 11:57 AM

    My first 5 is the Mk2.5 and I absolutely love driving it.

    The car handles really well,...
  • MX-5 Mk3
    Viking70   15 November 2015 - 09:19 PM

    Bought as new, had paint treatment which has been well worth the money. Had side panels,front and...
  • MX-5 Mk3
    Tony M   08 December 2014 - 11:34 PM

    Just a brilliant car to drive, you don't realise how good it is until you drive something else, t...

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MX-5 Mk3 members rate this car:


  • rheon
    22 February 2020 - 11:21 AM

    Owned For: 2 years
    Engine Size: 1.8
    Good Points: Handling, gearbox
    Bad Points: Door cup holder

    I've recently had to drive a Vauxhall Mokka 1.4 for 12 weeks for work, with that experience in mind I felt compelled to review my own car.

    Damn I missed it… I simply grew used to how good it was until I had to drive something else, there’s nothing particularly wrong with a Mokka but I guess that’s the point.

    Here’s my experiences of 2 years of ownership, an absence and re-introduction

    Steering (once I had the geo sorted for £125.00):
    It’s fantastic, you’re never left doubting what it’s going to do. There are a few bends in my town I love, and the car behaves the same way every time.
    It’s bog standard, it’s comfy over bumps. Aesthetically I guess it’d look better lowered a bit, but I like my creature comforts too much, once the weight transfers it plants into the road and I get the choice if I want to slip the tyres a little or not. For my tastes it’s perfection.

    The drive train (5 speed manual, 1.8ltr, Non-LSD):
    This is one of the things I love most about the car, it’s just so good.

    Traffic work:
    In “dopey town mode” 25 MPH in 4th not bothering to change gears the car pulls enough without any silly stuttering or vibration. I can leave it in 4th in slow moving traffic and simply amble along. Then it’ll pull you to 70MPH with no further action required

    Maybe I’d like 6 gears, but I’ve always liked to cruise on long journeys at 80-85, I think a 6th gear may have me in trouble with the police, they never seem to bother me 80-85.

    B roads:
    Here’s where the MX5 scores big for me. You feel the whole package come together.
    An unexpected corner appears concern wells up, maybe you were looking at the scenery a little too much, maybe a dip hid it…bugger, are you going to fast? Drop a perfectly engineered gear and let it rail you into the bend… around a 3rd of the way in you realise it needs more throttle…
    The little engine picks up and sounds great. The tree you thought you might have visited in person a few seconds ago is again just part of the wonderful scenery deflecting your cars whooshing noise back into the open cabin. Not only did it not let go. it didn’t move an inch!
    A smile so large appears that your passenger is compelled to comment “you love this car don’t you” and you know it’s a statement not a question.

    Cabin space:
    I know the MK3 is bigger than the rest, and I know some people aren’t fans but it’s ideal for me and it allows me to drive it every day. Having been in a 2019 car a few days ago with Apple Car Play and all the mod cons I don’t feel outdated. I use a Bluetooth radio transmitter in my cig lighter tune the radio to 108 and remove the aerial and presto I have iTunes and hands free for £15. I’ve got room, I’ve got proper gauges that give me useful info (ever been in a car without a temp gauge? That’s just wrong).

    The boot is like the TARDIS 4-5 bags for life go in there, the glove box is ample. The centre cubby is also useful to hide my crisp habit.

    Roof choice:
    I love the electric hard top. It feels secure when parked, I use the car all year everyday and having the hard-top feels like the right choice.

    What don’t I like?
    I’m 5ft 11 and like to relax my arms while driving. 3 clicks on the seat brings me to my natural comfy position but this causes me to “manspread”. Here’s the rub, literally, at that point here’s the worst thing about my car.
    The cup holder is one of the stupid protruding ones, it digs into my knee and drives me bonkers I HATE it. I’ve been trying to get replacement door cards to rid my cabin of this scourge, but no luck so far.
    The petrol cap release position, it’s not the pure stupidity of the cup holder but it’s vaguely irritating

    What’s gone wrong in 2 years:
    The NSF brake calliper started to bind
    The NSR disc needs to be replaced
    Another calliper may be binding slightly after its 3-month car park holiday
    The interior light blew a few months back
    The cowl surrounding the roof release latch has started to vibrate at 70-75MPS
    I thought I had an overrun fault on the throttle but it’s spec and radically reduced with premium fuel to the point I don’t notice it anymore it may even be gone completely

    What’s it cost me:
    Geo set-up £125
    New (not reconditioned) Brake calliper £100
    Service items, including and diff oil less than £100

    What I’m going to do:
    3 more callipers £300 just to put that to bed for another 10 years
    New rear discs (Euro Car Parts 60% discount for the next 2 weeks) £60
    Find some door cards with flush cup holder, though I believe there’s an insert backing I need to change if I do this
    Replace the sticky pad in the rood latch cowl

    What might I do:
    I’ve been seriously considering a new head unit Apple Car Play / Android Auto
    Less likely but in contention because of the above, a rear parking camera though I feel that might just not be worth the effort I’ve got sensors and it’s easy to park anyway
    Replace with a late low mileage 2.0 Auto so the Mrs can enjoy all the above she’s got a MK1 TT but c’mon 😉
    Replace with an RF auto but this and the above I’d appreciate opinions on and will start another thread for

    After the 1st bend I gunned it through I knew no matter what I’d never feel buyer’s remorse.
    There might be prettier cars, there are faster cars, there are newer cars. But there’s never been a car that I thought was a better car.

    I used to race dirt bikes and any decent rider will tell you this….
    “It’s always better to be a pilot than a passenger, smooth is fast”.
    And that’s what my MX5 does so well, it makes me the pilot, it urges me to experience actual driving, there’s my fun, that’s their genius, that’s why my car is so good!
  • Motorman
    03 July 2018 - 11:00 AM

    Owned For: 3 months
    Engine Size: 1.8
    Good Points: Pretty much everything
    Bad Points: 6th gear & cruise control would be nice

    To me a logical move after a run of MG-TF's. The MX5 is everything the MG should have become sadly. My last (Chinese owner of company) TF was better screwed together than earlier Uk models but hadn't moved the benchmark on. I have a soft spot for MG's if you couldn't tell and had a TF as a company car when they first came out when I was at Rover.

    Getting into the MX5 was a revelation and whilst not an expensive car per se the fit and finish and quality of materials is really good for what it is and the price point.

    I'd looked at a few MX5's and preferred the soft-top to the metal folding hard-top. Think it is more 'rustic' and in keeping of the ethos of a small convertible or 'sports car'.

    Finding mine with black paintwork and the tobacco hood/interior was 'perfect' for me.

    It's a 2013 1.8 Venture Edition and had a bit too much aftermarket chrome bling added for my taste; rear light bezels, roll hoop covers, high stop lamp cover, seat belt turret covers and steering wheel spokes. That has all now been removed and I much prefer it that way.

    First impressions are the lack of rattles and better ergonomics of the switch gear and controls. Sit a bit lower than the MG's I think and its a nice place to sit and you feel 'in' the car.

    Power is adequate, similar to the MG and performance is similar. It's smart off the line and easy to carry speed into and out of a corner to maintain progress. Handles great, the grip into a corner and holding a tight line on a curve/island, etc. instils confidence. I drive it fairly enthusiastically, not silly speeds though, and am seeing a fairly consistent 37-38mpg showing which, whilst not a key issue for me, is not bad at all I reckon.

    Gearbox is a little bit 'notchy', especially 2nd to 3rd and 4th to 5th, think it may be my car specifically as have driven a friends 2.0 MX5 and that is much smoother. The 6th gear of the 2.0 would be nice to have as we do drive quite long distances and it would drop the revs a bit. Similarly cruise control is the thing I miss most, use it extensively in my other cars for speed control, relaxed driving and helps economy I find too.

    I'm right on limit of 'fitting' at just a tad under 6'2", seat another inch lower would be perfect (hood up or down) and I've seen a seat runner mod that steps the rear of seat down I may investigate but I can live with it 'as is'

    Hood takes a second to get down and I can lift it back up from the drivers seat in maybe 6-7 seconds if needs be (bit of an awkward process to pull release lever, fold wind-deflector and lift hood but you get a knack quickly).

    Car lives under cover all year round at home and is a fair-weather only third vehicle to me but I often use it for work if weather forecast is good as just enjoying driving it.

    I have some plans for a few things to do;

    Remove the aftermarket stainless steel front lower grille fitted and either paint it black or replace with OE or similar style black one

    Sort out the ICE system. The Venture has a double DIN Tom-Tom unit with bluetooth phone, CD, etc.and is fine but doesn't support later model iPhone/iPod for music streaming.

    May upgrade speakers at same time, are adequate but new head-unit likely to be more powerful too so will review at the time.

    May try and release a bit more power from the engine through 'simple' options such as air-filter kit and maybe better exhaust system - may be too cost prohibitive for the latter?

    The sales blurb of the period states my car should have 'piano black' interior trim but mine are 'satin aluminium' (seen plenty similar so think later models may have switched to satin?). Have considered doing these in an 'accent colour' along with exterior mirror caps, roll hoop covers, fog lamp bezels, rear number plate mount panel, etc.

    Need to find somewhere for servicing as out of warranty in a couple of months and Mazda dealer costs are way too much for 'simple' car, mostly through exaggerated consumable costs more than labour charges. My, low mileage, car has been serviced by mileage not annually in it's past (I'm happy with that) so technically isn't FSH anyway.

    Any work/expenditure is TBC as for not much more I can 'upgrade' to a very late model Mk3 with 2.0 litre, six speed box and few more whistles and bells for not a lot and even Mk4's now appearing at reasonable prices so I may hold fire 12 months or so yet.

    So as a summary, absolutely no regrets of getting an MX5, totally 'get it' as a fun, easy to drive and fun convertible car. Am expecting total reliability and running costs seem very reasonable so far. Would definitely get another and see this as an ideal sun/fun weekend car for us.
  • Viking70
    15 November 2015 - 09:19 PM

    Owned For: Six Years
    Engine Size: 2.0
    Good Points: Everything
    Bad Points: No spare wheel

    Bought as new, had paint treatment which has been well worth the money. Had side panels,front and read splitters fitted.lots of chrome which I like. Lowered suspension and boot spoiler with brake light. Footwell and scuff plate lights. As you can see I love my car. But the new mark four is very tempting.
  • Tony M
    08 December 2014 - 11:34 PM

    Owned For: 6 years
    Engine Size: 1.8
    Good Points: gear change, handling, performance.
    Bad Points: difficult to get the dog in (not really the cars fault)

    Just a brilliant car to drive, you don't realise how good it is until you drive something else, then it comes home to you how "connected" you feel with everything that's going on. I'm privileged to own a 2008 highland green mk3 with all the mod cons; just love the heated leather seats. Nothing has gone wrong to date, routine servicing and fuel have been my only expense. Still on my original, tyres, battery and exhaust at 34,000 miles. Can't wait to see the new nd next year, will definitely consider swopping if there's enough room for a small dog.
  • badman
    25 March 2013 - 08:44 PM

    Owned For: 53 days
    Engine Size: 2.0
    Good Points: see text
    Bad Points: see text

    Having owned a Mk1 for 7 years the Mk3 seems a lot bigger in size but is just as much fun to drive on straight and bendy bits.
    Since having it lowered 30mm and 4 wheel aligned to WIM settings the steering feels more precise and the roadholding is as if on rails.

    Comfort is first class with the seats holding you firmly with decent adjustment no matteer what height you are. Controls are all in easy reach with an adequate audio system.

    Not really done any maintenance as yet so unable to comment on this although the oil filter looks a tad difficult to get to.

    Annoying things.......... why 4 cup holders , surely 2 are plenty. Drivers seat belt does not retract completely.

    So for me a drivers car and a good purchase ( I may be biased)