New and looking at buying an MK5 in the summer

Hi guys I’m new so please be kind? Looking to buy in the Summer then have along drive up North to Scotland to give the new car a trial. Two initial questions really, the 2 litre or 1.5 what do people suggest?
How easy is the car to live with on a day to day basis please?
And what does an annual service cost, I’ll be a 5000 a year man now I’m retired.
In the model I choose 2016/2017/2018 what should I stay clear of.
Do all the models have the Bose sound system please guys?
That will do for now. Richard.

Welcome from the south east! I can’t give advice as I’m a mk3 owner and never had an ND! Good luck


Mk 5? No such thing, yet. Only up to Mk4 so far.

Hi Richard and welcome… I have a 2018 ND2 2 Litre (184) Not sure it’s a big issue, but earlier (158) models have been known to have gearbox issues. If it’s a 2 litre I’d get the later model… I don’t think there are any issues with the 1.5… :slight_smile: My 2nd annual service was about £360 at Mazda - Would be less at a good independent, and I think Bose was optional on SE’s. More good advise will follow here and happy searching…! Rob

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Hi Richard and welcome to the forums.

I don’t own an ND either but it will probably come down to a couple of things.
Firstly, budget. If that’s no problem then see below. If it is a consideration then you’ll buy a newer or lower mileage 1.5 than the equivalent 2.0.
Secondly, performance. The 1.5 has plenty of zip for many folk. It’s quite a light car so power to weight is reasonable. The 1.5 is slightly more economical but neither is too juicy. Some have commented that the 1.5 is closer to the original ethos of the first generation MX-5. I’ve never understood whether that was a compliment or a criticism.
If you are looking for more performance then the latest 2.0 cars have ample go.
There’s plenty of aftermarket parts to customise and tweak your car so giving any MX-5 your chosen mods is easy.
The ND is a reliable car but not the roomiest.
Some taller drivers have commented that the windscreen surrounded can obscur forward visibility but that depends entirely on the individuals seating position I suspect.
There isn’t a huge amount of internal storage and the boot might only accommodate a couple of suitcases.
For longer adventures a boot rack might be necessary. (Depends how light you pack).
Good luck in your search. I hope you share pics of your new car when you get fixed up.
Stay safe,

Hi Richard welcome to the forum. Here are my personal thoughts. The 1.5l from any year is a joy to drive! I would only consider the later, 183bhp 2.0l as the original 2.0l 160bhp(?) engine was really only introduced because the US market thought the 1.5l was not “macho” enough. The car was designed around the 1.5l and it’s gearbox, putting the more powerful engine in put addition stresses and strains on the gearbox which resulted in it’s failure in some situations. The later 2.0l has a modified gearbox (version 4 I think) which seems to have sorted the problem. I have 2 Mk.4’s, one of the first 2015 1.5l and a 2019 2.0l and they are both great with different characteristics. Re service costs, if you can find a reliable independent that will be the best, most cost efficient option. I don’t know which area group you’re in but someone in your group should be able to help.

Welcome, you’re in good company here! Always wise to ask questions on a forum before buying.

Years ago I met with the local Hyundai Coupe Owners Club before buying one and the advice was great!


Thanks everyone, so generous and kind. I’ll be back with more, that for sure.

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I notice on a few later models that there is a hard top, are they any better. And does the hand pull over roof ever have any problems? i ask as my daughter sold her Audi soft top because it leaked even after repairs?

Are the 1.5 and 2 lite both single models, or do they do any with more spec, extras, if so how do you spot them. Like do they say Mazda MX5 S or similar? There seems a discrepancy in some of the prices, while looking most have the Bose 9 speaker, some don’t so they use have been standard in some cars, and not in other? Hope that makes sense? Nice to be able to ask, I’m grateful guys, thanks.
I’m in Lincolnshire Countryboy?

I test drove both the 1.5 and 2.0 and preferred the 1.5, but being 6 foot it is a bit of a squeeze. The MX-5 mk3 (NC) was definitely the most comfortable MX-5 I have owned regarding seating and cabin space.

Richard, it sounds like your mind is made upon an MX-5 ND, so I would test drive both and see how you feel after. Good luck…Theo

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I would agree - and there is a wide range of cars available with different specs, so it comes down to making a list of what you want and then trawling the internet and waiting for a car that ticks the boxes that you want ticking. The more you search, the more you will narrow your search to certain models. Good luck and as the weather warms up the more cars are likely to be available.

I have a mk4 ND1 soft top. The ND1 could suffer issues with the roof rubbing on the roll hoops and mine had a new roof and roll hoops under warrantee after developing damp patches internally where they rubbed. It had the later spec roof fitted as a replacement and there is now a visible difference in clearance between the roof and roll bars, the roll bars no longer get scuffed raising and lowering the roof.

The ND RF hard top isn’t a true convertible, it retains the rear pillars and a section of rear roof when down much like a targa top, looks ace with the roof up but IMHO looks poor with the roof down, it also suffers wind buffering with the roof down that makes my ears pop like driving a normal car with only the rear windows open.

Gear box issues are rare but I am on a few forums and you hear of the occasional one, they seem to be more common on cars that get driven hard but that’s to be expected. The later gearboxes seem to fail just as often as the earlier ones. The only solution if you want to run big power is a MK3 gear box transplant with bell housing adaptor and MK3 diff, update the clutch at the same time! BBR describe the ND gear box as ‘chocolate’ regardless of age.
I would have liked a soft top with auto box but they only seem to do them in the RF hard top.

Fuel economy of my 2.0ND is exceptional. 40mpg is standard and it does over 50mpg on a long run. Not bad for a 2L petrol engined car.

For a tall driver the rear mirror is pointless, depending where you set it you can see out of the front or rear window but not both. Cabin room is fine but lowered seats would be good, the ND2 has a telescopic steering column that makes a big improvement, without it you are overreaching for the wheel and it makes your shoulders ache. Shorter drivers have no such problems. I also have a black soft towel between the seat and bulk head to stop it squeaking because I have it fully back. Nothing is exactly bad about the car tho, no car is perfect.

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Hi Richard. Lincolnshire has it’s own area group, if you go to “Area Discussions” and click on the relevant box you should find some helpful info there. Good luck!

Hi Richard.
I have a 2020 GT RF. It’s my daily driver, it’s a great car perfect for lincolnshire roads, I live near cadwell.
Went for the RF as its Street parked and didn’t want the issue a soft top would end up with in that setting.
I’ve driven an auto and the manual is more engaging in my mind.
I get 30mpg most of the time but if I’m being really good 35mpg. ( it’s hard to be that good when the roads twist and turn so much)
I would like the car to have a bit more power and its very possible I’ll end up taking it to get the bbr 220 upgrade once the warrenty drops. I think for me the 1.5 just wouldn’t have enough zip to keep me satisfied.

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For more power, there is a separate thread talking about a superchips ND upgrade - from 184BHP to 198 - a lot cheaper, but not as thorough. Certainly would not consider it when the car is in warranty.