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2022 Mazda MX-5 Review: Still Top Marks, But the Pressure’s On

2022 Mazda MX-5, three-quarters rear
Photo: D.Heyman
2022 Mazda MX-5, three-quarters rear

Auto123 reviews the 2022 Mazda MX-5.

For 2022, everybody’s favourite everyman’s sports car – the MX-5 – returns to the fold much the same as previous, but with a few tricks up its sleeve to make this historically enjoyable and exploitable little car just that much more so.

The first challenge
Of course, what hasn’t changed is the size of the car, and when it comes time to clamber down into one of these, you’ve got to be a little creative. And supple. The cockpit, while bigger than it was back in ’89 when this product line started, is a snug, snug place to be and you do have to thread your legs into it.

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2022 Mazda MX-5, profile
Photo: D.Heyman
2022 Mazda MX-5, profile
2022 Mazda MX-5, seat
Photo: D.Heyman
2022 Mazda MX-5, seat

One feature my tester didn’t have were the optional Recaro sports seats. They are fantastically supportive and good-looking, to be sure, but their high side bolsters make sinking down in them tougher for the wider-hipped among us. Having sat in them before, I’d actually found myself sitting ON them, or at least on top of their bolsters, further reducing headroom. The stock sets in my tester are plenty supportive and in my book, that’s all that’s needed.

It’s a matter of sliding that right leg in there, cocking it a little to the right to avoid the steering wheel (it’s not huge, but it’s not tiny, either) , dropping your butt into the seat and letting the left leg follow behind. It’s a bit of an art, but that kind of adds to the sense of occasion, right?

That’s with the top down, though. Top up – and this should come as little surprise – it’s a bit of a different story.

For starters, don’t even think of wearing a baseball cap. In fact, I would imagine that even a flat poorboy-style lid would cause some problems. Unless I was willing to drive with my head cocked to the right or left, the bill of my hat would be jammed up against the headliner, which is never fun.

Hat off, it’s serviceable. You can see from the side profile shots here that the roof isn’t completely flat, but a little rounded for a little extra headroom. Still, 950 mm really isn’t very much. Which is why I kept the top down pretty much for my entire test, thought the novelty of being able to easily flip the manual top up while sitting in the driver’s seat never gets old.

2022 Mazda MX-5, interior
Photo: D.Heyman
2022 Mazda MX-5, interior

Cozy and snug
Of course, once you get past all that, it’s easy to see the advantages of having such a cozy cockpit. The controls are all just right there, falling easily to your grasp. The steering wheel – which both tilts and telescopes – and the stubby gear lever and the pedals are all arranged so that they fall almost exactly where you’d expect them to.

As you really start to attack the twisty roads and tracks the MX-5 is made for, you see why it’s just so important that the controls sit where they do. With a chassis as responsive as this, you want to feel as much as possible that you’re one with the car, so your body can keep up with the ultra-athletic and reflexive chassis.

You aren’t going to get anything bigger than a small overnight bag in the trunk, but you don’t lose any trunk space once you stow the roof. It makes sense, because for one thing, you wouldn’t want anything bigger than a soft duffel upsetting the perfect weight balance of the car. And if you really want to hit the rink or the links, however, you can always use the passenger seat, right?

2022 Mazda MX-5, multimedia screen
Photo: D.Heyman
2022 Mazda MX-5, multimedia screen

The equipment
The GS is the second of three available trim levels (more if you include the RF model), and it comes standard with Mazda Connect infotainment and a 7-inch display with console-mounted scroll wheel, à la BMW iDrive. The MX-5 has not yet received the latest version of Mazda Connect, though, because unlike the CX-30 or Mazda3, it is still a previous-generation Mazda product. That’s too bad, but until we see an all-new MX-5, that’s how it is. What you do get, though, is wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which helps the situation inside.

Then again, part of me wants to see the screen disappear all together; I’m here to drive, and having a distraction like that display protruding somewhat inelegantly from atop the dash kind of ruins the “chi” a little bit, you know?

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