As you really start to attack the twisty roads and tracks that the MX-5 is made for, however, 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.
Our car featured the Sport Package, which adds special 17-inch wheels, red-painted Brembo brakes, leather and Alcantara upholstery and those Recaro seats that are also adjustable and heated. All that exterior stuff makes the car look great, and the stopping power of those Brembos can’t be denied. The interior additions, meanwhile, make for a much more luxurious-looking space and the seats are ultra-supportive. The problem for Big Guys, however, begins as you start to take longer drives. They are heavily bolstered, to the point where the side-bolsters were digging into the sides of my legs, forcing me to kind of shift my butt right and left in order to take some pressure off. I’d be happy sticking with the standard seats, which are plenty supportive themselves. Also, the thickness of the Recaros means you sit a little closer to the closed roof’s headliner, and if you want to slide the seat back further on its rails, you have to tilt the seatback up or else it simply won’t have the room to move.
The Hockey Bag Test
Yeah, so… no. You aren’t going to get anything bigger than a small overnight bag in the trunk, but as we mentioned before, it’s great that you don’t lose any trunk space once you stow the roof. It makes sense; you wouldn’t want anything bigger than a soft duffel upsetting the perfect weight balance of the car anyway. If you really want to hit the rink or the links, however, you can always use the passenger seat, right?
We talked before about how perfectly aligned the cockpit is, so I won’t bore you by going over all that again. There is a good helping of tech, however, that deserves some mention.
The GS is the second of three available trim levels, and it comes standard with Mazda Connect infotainment and a 7-inch touchscreen display that can also be navigated with a console-mounted scroll wheel, à la BMW iDrive. It’s actually the way I preferred to navigate the system; even though the cockpit is so snug it keeps the screen pretty close to your outstretched digits, I’m a big fan of buttons and knobs. After all, when you’re attacking your favorite b-road, you don’t want to be wasting too much time searching for the right part of the screen to prod.
Let’s hit the road
Big Guy or not, there’s no denying that the MX-5 remains one of the best driver’s cars available on the market today, and perhaps the best performance bargain you can find this side of surfing autoTRADER.ca or hitting the used car lots.
At 155 hp and 148 lb-ft, power is modest but when all you have to do is hustle along just over 1,050 kilos of mass plus the driver, of course, I wouldn’t worry too much about it affecting the bottom line in the performance sense. Even if said driver happens to be a Bigger Guy.
Even with me inside it (and once I got past the lumpy idle on start-up, a SkyActiv staple), the MX-5 will take off from the line not quite with its hair on fire, but at least with its eyebrows singed. Plus, when you’re sat this low to the ground, things seem to be moving a lot faster than they actually are anyway, so I really couldn’t care less if the stopwatch on this was a little slower than it would be in other cars. Having said that, I do wonder how the car would feel with a little turbocharging; guess I’ll have to wait until I try the MX-5’s Fiat 124 cousin to find out.