Mazda MX-5 2.0 Homura 2024 Review | First Drive

Do Mazda keep the MX-5 current almost a decade on from the ND’s debut...?

01st July
Ethan Jupp


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Nothing less than the most successful two-seater roadster of all time, the Mazda MX-5, still in its fourth-generation ND form, gets the biggest refresh in its nine years on sale. Ever the contrarian and as many will have it, always the answer; the MX-5 continues to sell well as the volumes of other cars at all echelons in the sportscar space dwindle, while others bow out in the face of towering manufacturing costs and regulatory pressure. 

It remains an end-to-end masterclass in simplicity and an advertisement for its benefits across the board, from the driving experience to the car’s viability as a product. Is the MX-5 the bread and butter of Mazda’s bottom line? No. But, the marque insists it’s got a few years left in it yet. That’s not to mention Mazda’s insistent dedication to its beloved roadster as a statement car and its quality driving experience across its range.

With all that in mind and knowing that Japanese propensity for iterative development rather than upending change, the MX-5 in 2024 brings small but significant updates to the fore. But, do they keep it current almost a decade on from the ND’s debut?

We Like

  • Analogue driving experience
  • Evergreen design
  • Accessibility

We Don't Like

  • Cramped cabin
  • Engine not the most exciting
  • Gradually rising price


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Mazda’s designers really need to be commended for the initial job they did on the ND generation MX-5. For despite its reveal being almost a decade ago, it still looks fresh and modern today. Perhaps that’s in part thanks to the versatility of the evergreen front-engined two-seat roadster format, but certainly, what was an innovative and polarising design at its reveal has stood the test of time.

As such, the 2024 update brings, among other things, the first proper facelift of the MX-5. Even then, it’s pretty much just updated lights at the front and rear. They look good, too, with the new claw-like LED DRLs bringing the MX-5 in step with the rest of the lineup. At the rear we also get sharper LEDs. All in, no complaints. It didn’t need comprehensively updating and it hasn’t been. What they have done looks good.

Performance and Handling

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For a car far nearer the end of its service life than the beginning (the marque won’t be drawn on exactly how long the ND has left), Mazda has done a lot of tinkering under the skin, to make sure the ND is in better form than ever. Thanks largely to the new asymmetric limited-slip differential, this is a less spiky, more progressive development of the fourth-generation MX-5. In the top-level cars you also get a new intermediate ‘Track’ setting for the stability control that allows the car to move around under power without spinning.

The 2.0-litre engine with 184PS (135kW) still pulls well and revs freely. If it doesn’t quite have the upper-end enthusiasm of old naturally-aspirated Honda engines, it’s still a more willing mill than the flat-four in the now closer-priced Toyota GR86. The 2.0 is also now the preserve of the UK market. The 1.5 – now the only option on the continent, is of course also still available here, though it doesn’t come with the lower, stiffer suspension, BBS wheels, Brembo brakes or limited-slip diff. The 2.0 therefore, is the more serious car to drive, while the 1.5 is perhaps closer to the traditional back-to-basics MX-5 the o-so dedicated fanbase of the early cars knows and loves. Both happily share a satisfying, mechanical manual gearbox that falls beautifully to hand and is a joy to operate.

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Even with the revised suspension and the more serious setup of the 2.0, though, it’s still an MX-5. That’s to say there’s initial yaw on turn-in before the car settles into its stance for a corner. There’s still the sense of weight-transfer, of the car floating almost above its anti-roll bars – where to get the best or most out of it, you need to have a full understanding of how its mass moves around and deploy it accordingly. 

In short, it’s still the antithesis to most modern performance cars in almost every way, which by and large throw increasing power, spring rates, and tyre sections at ballooning kerb weights to keep the acceleration and lap times tumbling. In this climate, even at almost a decade old and following a decades-old formula, the MX-5 feels more refreshing than ever. It also remains the most comfortable, best-equipped, easiest MX-5 cruise around in. This is a car you can enjoy driving all the time, not just on abandoned mountain roads.


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The thing about MX-5s is they’ve always been compact. They are a car best-suited to people of average height and build. It’s still comfortable enough for the broader or taller driver but the former will feel a squeeze and the latter will get a ruffled toupee with the roof down. Not much has changed here over the nine years the ND has been out, with some nice Recaro seats joining the fray from the 30th Anniversary Edition, in addition this year to the improved infotainment screen.

Everything you touch still feels nice enough, without troubling Bentley for plushness, while the driving position is still good. A shame, though, that this generation never got a proper glovebox. Instead, trinkets and gadgets need to go in the compartment between the driver and passenger. The roof is relatively easy to operate, too. It’s still manual, which is a novelty these days and hems you in quite a bit when closed.

Technology and Features

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The ND MX-5 arguably combined the more focused approach of the first two generations with the more generous equipment appointment of the third-generation car and an obvious bump in material quality. The result is an MX-5 that’s in the ballpark of the original for weight, while still featuring heated seats, air conditioning, and a multi-feature infotainment system.

It’s the latter that’s received a major 8.8-inch update recently with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as more screen real estate, smaller bezels, and overall just a more modern look. In terms of software features, we see a new satellite navigation system that Mazda says is the ideal alternative to Apple and Android, which can sometimes falter when phone signal levels drop. New for the updated car, too are upgraded USB C charging slots. Overall, now as it was in 2015, the MX-5 is well equipped for what is such a back-to-basics, analogue roadster.


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The MX-5 still feels fresh in 2024, even with such minor revisions and for that it deserves enormous credit. It’s still quick enough, it still drives as an MX-5 should (an increasingly alien experience in the 2024 performance car landscape.) What the MX-5 hasn’t quite escaped over these last nine years is price rises, which affect all cars great and small. 

A top-spec MX-5 Homura, which is realistically the one you want with those seats, the diff, the brakes, and that 2.0 engine, will set you back no less than £34,000. That’s relatively sturdy next to the similarly-priced, stiffer, more spacious, and faster Toyota GR86. The flip side though is the MX-5’s engine and transmission are nicer and of course, Mazda is far more likely to actually sell you one. As far as we’re concerned, when it comes to the MX-5, if you’re thinking about it, just do it.



 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol  


  184PS (135kW)


 205Nm (151lb ft)


 Six-speed manual  

Kerb weight



 6.5 seconds

Top speed


Fuel economy


CO2 emissions