NC or ND what do you think?

Be gentle with me, I’m looking at either a late 2 litre NC roadster or very early ND, they seem to be roughly the same price for similar mileage,
Is the ND significantly better?
I only ask because I prefer the looks of the earlier car.
Thanks for any advice


Welcome to the club personally I like the mk3 or
NC better lines

If you want something close to the original lightweight pure driving experience of the NA go for the ND. I love mine. If you want more comfortable seats and a little more luggage space for cruising holidays go for the NC. I loved that one too.

Short answer to NC or ND is ‘Yes’.

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Hi Mike
I had the same problem of choice a couple of years ago. I had a 2010, 2.0 Sport tech which had given me endless trouble free enjoyment for 4 years. I fancied changing it for a Sport Venture as I didn’t like the look of the ND so much and didn’t fancy losing the folding hardtop facility especially as I definitely didn’t fancy the RF which was too new and out of my price range at the time anyway. I eventually found a 65 plate ND at NC money, so purely for financial reasons I went for it. Within 10 miles of driving the ND I knew that I had made the right decision. As far as the hard top goes, the roof of the ND is aluminium and solid to the tap. I have now upgraded to a later Sport Nav in Soul Red. Love it.
Which ever you choose I am sure you will be pleased. Every model of MX5 has its pluses and negatives over other MX5 options, but they all have more pluses than negatives over anything else.
Best wishes, what ever you choose.

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It took me a while to get used to the shape of the ND. It was completely different to the classic lines of my previous NB. However, over time I grew to like it and now I love it. I bought a 1.5 Sport Nav + last year. It is a second car used for fun only, so not used for the rigours of all weather commuting. The 1.5 suits my needs very well, plenty of performance and a characterful exhaust note. Handling is spot on too. The interior is a nice place to be and the seats are comfortable, if snug. Economy is excellent. So overall very pleased with my purchase. I have little experience of the NC, but have briefly driven an older 2 litre. The engine felt quite torquey. Looks are subjective but it didn’t really float my boat. A bit roomier, but an interior that felt outdated. Handling was ok, but felt heavy, so more of a cruiser. Notwithstanding these points the NC is still a nice car, which many people own and enjoy. Clearly, driving both is key to help you make up your mind.

Not sure where your based in the country, this MX5 specialist is worth a visit.

I’d have loved an ND, the engineering is superb, and the driving experience was excellent; quick, agile, grippy, with slick gearbox and lovely smooth and free revving engines, an absolute delight if you’re less than six foot tall.

BUT for me, it’s a fraction too small; I just don’t fit and I’ve test driven three different versions - in forlorn hope.

However my NC, with adjustable seat height, rake and reach, and adjustable steering column, is perfect, and I happily drive it for hours on end without backache or any other discomfort - unlike the ND where it’s ten minutes maximum before the backache.

In essence, try them all for at least a half hour test, and make up your own mind.

ND all the way for me. I have only test drove a couple of NC’s, which I felt were a bit old fashioned inside and I felt the engine didn’t have much go in it. I then drove a 1.5 ND which in lower revs felt a bit lethargic but then I drove the 2.0 ND and I just couldn’t stop grinning. I decided to buy a 2.0 ND in the end as it suited my driving style and I find it very comfortable, modern, I love the looks, very economical (late 40’s, early 50’s mpg on a run) and plenty quick enough for me. I would recommend the eibach lowering springs though!
As others have said test drive a couple of each as I did find there was a difference between the NC’s I drove, because at the end of the day it’s what matters to you and what your preference is.

Hi Mike,

We had exactly the same dilemma as you. We had a mk2.5 (from new) for 17 years. We were going to change it a few years ago for a mk3 / 3.5 but then the Mk4 came out and we preferred the looks so decided to wait a bit longer and wait for a 2nd hand mk 4 instead. We then had second thoughts as we really fancied the convenience of a powered hard top. We spent a few months procrastinating while looking at various 2nd hand Mk 3.5s. (Would only consider the 2.0ltr version).
However went for a test drive in a mk4, (both 1.5 and 2.0 ltr) and sort of fell in love.
Long story short we ended up with a new mk4 1.5 ltr (personally I preferred the drive of the 1.5 over the 2.0 ltr). Defo the right choice for us and no regrets so far. The mk 4 is more like the original (mk1), where as the mk 3 feels “heavier” and a bit more of a “cruiser”. Also as a minor point the Mk4 is cheaper to tax, and we are getting 50+mpg to date.
At the end of the day I guess it is down to personal taste and what you want / expect from an mx5?
For us it’s a second “fun” car. If you are doing daily commuting / long distance traveling then you may find the Mk 3 is a little more roomier / comfortable. (Cabin space is certainly at a premium in the mk4!)

I love my ND.
However… I also wanted to upgrade the seats to Recaro Sportsters.
Due to the ND being narrower than the NC, I am unable to do that. They will squeeze in but you lose use of cup holders and the center storage area. Not a fair trade in my opinion.
That said, I love everything else about my ND and wouldn’t swap her for an NC. Please allow me to sugest you read all our comments, ponder them and then spend some time with each car. You might find the layout of controls, where the storage is (or isn’t - lol), the entertainment system / sat nav, the comfort of the seats and so on makes the choice for you.
Good Luck.

Watching this with interest, love our NC and always though the next car would be the ND which i love in Soul red especially the Recaro Edition. We find the NC plenty room enough and comfortable but having a wife who has joint problems including her back i will be way in the dog house if change to an ND and she doesn’t get on with it which I’m reading some don’t, it’s a second car btw.

I changed from a NC MK3.5 to a ND 2ltr Sport, loved the car but unfortunately it gave me back problems. I could not get on with the seats or the slightly reduced leg room.

So in the end I reluctantly sold the ND and went back to a NC MK3.5. no back problems, and more leg room. Have driven many miles in the MK3.5 with no issues. I find the seats are more supportive and the leg room is more comfortable for me.

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Thanks, this is my worry, will have to try and get an extended test drive in an ND with the wife at some point.

This subject crops up on occasions, and I’m a little surprised that the replies so far have been quite good-natured and polite, because the looks of the ND often provoke polarized views - it’s a bit of a ‘Marmite’ car you see, that is you either love it or hate it.

Many people say that the driving experience of the ND is more akin to the original concept of the NA all those years ago, and that the NC by comparison is heavy and ponderous. Personally, I prefer both the traditional looks of the NC and the comfort of the ride. The cockpit is also very comfortable and traditional in feel. The fact that it is the heaviest of the MX-5 models doesn’t matter to me, as I’ve got a 2.0L model - quick enough for me, and being very torquey (if that is indeed a word!), makes it possible to be a lazy driver when the mood takes. I simply cannot take to the ‘Judge Dred’ looks of the ND, but that is a personal view.

In the end of course, you should try both, and make up your mind by using your own particular needs.

I’m sure you’ll be delighted in the end, provided you consider things carefully.

Good luck.

I love my NC for perhaps non conventional reasons, I know that the ND might be a better drive but I’m a bit of a practical person too and I much prefer the electric roof and it’s a long more long lasting than a fabric roof as I intend keeping the car for a very long time, and for similar reasons I love Apple CarPlay in my MX-5, I think a while ago, it was very difficult to get CarPlay into the ND but that may have changed recently.

Comments about back ache are very valid.
However… I’m busy prototyping a low cost solution to this.
I stripped a seat down to the frame to discover how it was constructed and how it differed from seats I’ve been way more comfortable driving. Adding to extra compoments has (on my “out of car” prototype) so far corrected the issues and been very comfortable. I’ve sat in it for approx 3hrs - which in UK is probably the longest you’d travel without pulling over for a comfort break or to grab refreshments.
Well worth sitting in though, I’ve tried the 2016 recaro, cloth, leather and 2019 recaro seats. The orange 30th edition were more comfortable than the 2016 recaro in my opinion. I’m guessing they’re using a slighlt softer leather/covering. But I’m aware recaro seats aren’t for everyone.

I have had Mk2 FB, Mk 3.5 PRH and now and ND RF.The Mk 3 certainly has more room and storage space in the cockpit.and the seats are more adjustable as than theND ones. The RF also feels smaller on the road.That said I much prefer the RF

I recently was taken round the block in my son’s 2016 ND 2.0 ‘Recaro special’… Very impressed but not ready to trade in my faithful 1.8 NA quite yet. Not unlike our 2018 Mazda 3 Sportnav, but given the much lower weight, more sporty, firmer ride and not quite so quiet.Could be tempted when ‘the old gal’ finally gets beyond sensible economic repair though.

If the price was the same I go for a nd better tec…I had a rf.launch addition suspension rubbish 1500 trip round Scotland proved it …changed springs the all OK biggest complaint was lack of leg room for passengers…the floor is taken up with a sub woofer or if that is not fitted a big lump of packing…plus had issues that mazda was not helpful with…SOLD it and brought a nc 2.0 sport first drive and the wife commented how comfortable it was and how easy to get in and out ( for a sports car ) the nc touring round Scotland was getting 40mpg don’t see the nc doing that .but for me and the wife the nc for us is the better car…