Mazda MX-5 lineup refreshed for 2023

Mazda rearranges some deck chairs; we're just thankful the ship is still afloat

By PH Staff / Tuesday, 25 October 2022 / Loading comments

Rear-drive sports cars of the lightweight, petrol-powered sort are in decline – we can all agree about that. But you’d hardly know it from the width and breadth of the latest MX-5 lineup. Were you plucked, Matrix-like, from 1996 and deposited in 2022 and handed a Mazda brochure, you’d assume the world was still buying these things like proverbial hotcakes. Not shunning them in favour of something much heavier and almost certainly more boring. 

So it’s with a sense of bemused satisfaction that we can report several changes to what is a ten-model range. (Yep – ten, in a world where Ford builds only one derivative of the Focus ST.) Granted, this is mostly about naming conventions, but it’s worth running a rule over it because a) knowing how they equate to what went before is important in a purchasing situation, and b) it’s important to be supportive of a manufacturer still building two conceptually different variants of the same sports car. 

On that score, probably the most important thing to note is that Mazda UK has finally opted to designate the convertible MX-5 (i.e. not the Retractable Fastback) as the Roadster. The firm has been doing this elsewhere for some time now, and has finally opted to bite the bullet over here. So if the local salesperson says ‘roadster’ don’t look around for something you’ve never seen before; he or she means the ragtop – which frankly is the one you should be buying. 

Precisely which one is harder to say. Where previously there was SE-L and Sport, there is now Prime-Line and Exclusive-Line. So far as the 1.5-litre Roadster is concerned, at least; for the 2.0-litre Roadster, the Sport Tech and GT Sport Tech have now become Exclusive-Line (again) and the new range-topping Homura grade. So there’s a simplification in there somewhere, alongside the exciting prospect of red Brembo front brake callipers for the flagship model, assuming you want the manual ‘box (which you do). 

It’s much the same story for the RF, which is now available as an entry-level Prime-Line model with the 1.5-litre motor, or can be had with either engine in Exclusive-Line trim, or as a 2.0-litre exclusively in Homura garb. The kicker is that you can have the RF as an automatic with either engine if you choose to spec it (which you shouldn’t). 

Elsewhere the differences between trim levels are much as they were before – a full rundown is already available on Mazda’s website – although it’s worth noting for the record that the MX-5 now starts at £25,800 for a Prime-Line 1.5-litre Roadster, runs to £32,460 for the 17-inch BBS-wearing 2.0-litre Homura (which let’s not forget also gets the limited-slip diff) and tops out at £36,000 for a top-spec, automatic RF. Mechanically speaking, the spec is unchanged throughout – although there is the addition of Zircon Sand to the colour choice for the first time. A pivotal change? No. But we’re just thankful the world’s best-selling two-seat convertible is with us for the foreseeable. Small mercies, eh…

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