Love this article. These people know what they’re talking about and having owned a Caterham and now an MX5 I think they’ve got this spot on. The MX5 sits in good company here and you can use it as a daily driver without so many worries about where you leave it.
Yep, Totally agree
Couldnt agree more having gone from My MX5 based Westfield to an MX5
i just wish the MX5 went and handled as well as this did
The Caterham 620R looks like a barrel of laughs, absolutely love it, but I would need a spare pair of pants and plenty of money !
My last Seven had 220bhp and certainly focussed the attention…NIghtmare on very wet and /or bumpy roads , sublime on smoother and drier roads. Ballistic go - and remember that even 6th gear was only 18mph/1000 rpm and handles and corners at a different level to anything I’ve driven except other Sevens , a Westfield and a single seater . Staggeringly noisy , transmission shunt and whine , very tight fit and you get damp when it rains - so MX5 far better as a touring sports car ,
But the one thing I still miss , on every single journey is the sublime (non pas) steering on a Seven - especially compared to the simply awful steering on the MX5, which is far too light , the horrid , big , slippy and thin rimmed steering wheel , zero feel and zero feedback -the car’s one big shortcoming .
And I seem to recall that the peddles were closer together in the Caterham. Inevitable that there will be a few compromises I suppose to make it appeal to a broader market. Have to agree that Caterhams are hard to beat on the track. Awesome memories
The pedals are indeed very close together - great for heel 'n toeing (and if you don’t,. or can’t heel 'n toe you shouldn’t own a Seven) but it was very tricky on first acquaintance . When I bought my first I’d never driven one, just sat making brrrm brrm noises at the dealer . I found out , 100 yards into the 150 mile trip home , that the car was undriveable in my normal shoes, so I drove home barefoot and ordered some sexy Sparco pixie boots .
Come to think of it , I’d never even sat in an MX5 before driving mine home to Yorkshire from Wolverhampton . Entirely straightforward , but what most impressed me was that it was bigger than a Seven - but not by as much as I’d expected , and my inner Colin Chapman loathes any car that is bigger than it should be .
Heel and toe is an essential skill, even in normal motoring when the handbrake is inadequate, or, worse, non existent as with the automatic (huh!) electric parking brake I struggled with recently on two different hire cars in France!
I learned to drive in 1963 on a 1951 Morris Minor with the usual joke handbrake and no synchromesh on first.
When it came time to take my test in the Moggy, the hill start required heel and toe because the handbrake could not hold the car. Better still it was utterly gutless, so when the examiner said ‘you can change up now’ (I knew the car would not pull second) he was most impressed, and relieved, when I double-declutched to change back down to first again. It was very quiet going back to the test centre.
If I had failed in either exercise, it might have been a terminal fail because at the foot of the short steep hill was a hairpin bend, and if one missed the bend there was no safety barrier to prevent a tumble down an even steeper wooded rocky slope. The road was Skipper Hoste in Harare, the one and only proper hill in the city, trivial in a driving school 's modern Anglia, but significant with less than half the power in the Moggy.
That’s the place! I had a look on the google maps 3D but it doesn’t really show the steepness.
I guess this is drifting off topic.
Oh dear, Am I the only MX5 owner that doesn’t really like the Car ? I have had Sports cars as a second car since 1968. Since 1999 I have only had Caterhams. First one a K series 1.6 1999 built myself Sold in 2003 for 87.5% of original price with 14,000 miles. Built a 1.8 140 BHP 6 speed SV in 2003 and still have it with 58,000 miles. I have 30th Anniversary orange MX5 with 1331 miles only 69 REG. I find the engine a great disappointment due to the lack of torque at low revs and find it needs at least 5000 revs to get it awake. I admit it rushes up to 7500 very willing , but just miss the Caterhams pull from 1000 revs even in 6th. The boot is actually smaller than the SV Caterham and much less leg room. The Caterhams seats are better than the heavily bolstered Recarros and the 6 speed box just as good as the Madzas. The heavy weight of the Mazda does it no favours ( twice the Caterham’s ) and with almost the same tyres 205/45 16" Caterhams 205/45 17" Mazda the lack of front end grip is disappointing when you are really trying. The Mazdas ride seems brittle as if the Bilsteins are too hard with the Caterhams Bilsteins much softer. The hood in the Madza is however a triumph. The Caterham’s is well known for the time to put it up but it is excellent quality and when up has never leaked in any weather. The Madza is SORNed until Sept and if I can have a sensible offer is for sale as new condition on 1331 miles.
Oh dear Hugh. It sounds like you’ve really not bought into the whole MX5 thing. All I can say is that I’m very happy with mine. Only had it since November last year so the last few months have been frustrating. I never bought it as a Caterham replacement. Since the Caterham I’ve had a few different small cars alongside something bigger for the family, currently an FPace. From Honda S2000 to BMW M3 nothing compared to the Caterham and I never expected them to. I bought the 1.5 MX5 which suits me fine. Very happy with the engine response. I’d say similar to my 1.4 K Series in the Caterham and the basic suspension is better for the potholes around here. Good luck selling the AE. No doubt someone will snap it up with all this good weather
I too moved from Seven to MX5, and the only thing in common they have is two seats and four wheels , and I’d suggest it’s pointless even trying to compare them . MX 5s are good at doing the things which Sevens do badly and vice versa . An MX 5 is a fun sports tourer , nicely packaged and pleasant to drive . It is let down by an uncharismatic engine and awful steering but can do long trips which can be purgatory in a Seven . You wouldn’t accept the Seven’s shortcomings in any modern car , but unless you have driven one -and not just round the block - you will not realise that in terms of grip , go , handling, steering and excitement feel they occupy a different planet to an MX5.
But they aren’t rivals - I have enjoyed owning both ., but for different reasons