Refining the MX5 NC

I observe, from the passing scene, and from the OC forum, that a substantial minority of NC purchasers are ‘more mature’ citizens who wish to enjoy the delights of MX5 driving.  Some of us, having experience of other car brands, are disappointed  by MX5  ‘idiosyncracies’  eg road noise and clunky gear changes. As with the ‘Emperors new clothes’ there seems a general reluctance to acknowledge that MX5’s do  have their  faults, and some of these could have, and should have, been eliminated by better design, or quality control during manufacture (without great cost penalty)

I suggest that the OC  consider a sub forum to focus on the needs of owners who seek to maximise travelling comfort and drivability,( rather than hairy-chested performance), specifically in order to share knowledge of solutions found for such issues ?

Lest anyone think I am an effete dilettante - I cut my driving teeth in the era of the great British Leyland automotive horrors;the attendant freezing garages and  bleeding knuckles;  and still have oily- thumbed manuals to prove it !        

Can that not be done on this forum, why have a sub-forum?

This is pure OC gold

You have got to be kidding! An affordable sports car, with or without its inherent faults, is obviously not for you.; get an Audi TT or Porsche Boxster.

Is this a serious post?

All cars have their ‘faults’ The MX-5, I believe has less than most

It’s probably the most reliable car out there IMO

Road noise is not an issue at all and the clunky gear change is a characteristic that improves when warm

Its a car to have fun in, throw about a bit, get the roof off and feel the wind in your hair, re-live your younger years…etc…

May I respectfully suggest that you should sell your’s and buy another…

…A Nissan Micra or Honda Jazz perhaps?

I have fitted loud exhausts to two mature persons NC cars who should know better.

Do you have a 5 speed or a 6 speed car there are two things you can do to help with the gear change I must say my 2 ltr Sport has a sweet gear change.

Other cars can be notchy.

Although you do get a prize for the use of effete and dilitentate



I’m not usually described as being mature 

should probably know better though 

Seriously OP, no car is perfect and the idiosyncraces and faults of the 5 are well known and discussed here, no need for a separate area, we probably have too many sub forums here as it is…


Im what you would call a mature citzen but in my head Im still only 18 so that rules me out of your equation lol.

I had to read the OP a number of times and still don’t think I understand.
One of the main raseons I love the 5 is it’s character whether it be a mk 1, 2,or 3. It’s not just a metal can out of the factory, they are fun.
My feeling is if you don’t like the MX 5 go buy something else…

I’m thinking bus pass is one solution… 

I am a self-described middle aged geezer, so probably fit into the more mature age group, and I love my NC with all its quirks. Road noise is definitely not an issue for me as I am always listening to the rather nice exhaust note from my new exhaust. I have the six speed box, and it is a little notchy when cold but is as easy as pie when it warms up. Part of me suspects that this may be a deliberate feature by Mazda as a sort of homage to the sports cars of old which inspired the 5. It encourages you to take things just a little more carefully until everything reaches its optimum temperature.

I should add that the car I sold to buy the MX5 was a Westfield, and compared the that, the 5 is the very height of luxury and refinement!

Ok we own a MK2 (NB) not an NC. I am a bit disappointed by the clunky gear change, but wouldn’t consider it a reason to change cars. As for excessive road noise, there is none. I did have a serious road noise issue on another car that I own, which turned out to be the tyres not a car characteristic.
I too got down and dirty with some fine British Leyland products and look forward to doing the same on the MX5!


I want to thank all those who were stimulated/provoked into a response, and especially those who suggested alternative forms of transport which might suit me - my electric bathchair is on order now, even as we speak. Seriously, I love driving my MX5, and look for every excuse to take it for a spin. However, I would not love it any less if it had a slick gearchange!  I remain puzzled that such a key attribute of a performance sports car is so unrefined. I would gladly sacrifice heated seats, satnav and multiple remote boot lid controls in exchange for a decent gearchange.  

One of the best gearchanges I ever experienced was on a 1938 MG VA (partially restored) - so it ain’t rocket science. I don’t think a crunchy gearchange is an unavoidable aspect of  the MX5 - hence my wish to collate any and all wisdom on how it can be improved.   


At the risk of a tongue lashing I agree that we all view our cars through rose coloured glasses and they are far from perfect , I can live with most things on my car however the rate at which they rust ( sills , arches and chassis ends ) is unforgivable on relatively new cars , how Mazda escaped a VOSA safety recall is beyond me.
Mechanically the cars are superb however they are badly let down by their rapidly dissolving bodies !

Mine has the sweetest gear change of any car I have owned … and I have owned a lot! including Brand new “Premium” German brands over the years.

I suggest an Oil change (Castrol Syntrans seems to be the best) and if that doesn’t work there is something wrong with the Gearbox.


Ditto. Road noise… Mine is quiet for a Convertible. Certainly nowhere near as noisy as my TF was.




Well Mr Blue if you answer my question above we can get started, it is not rocket science.

Drumtochty et al

I have a 2013  6 speed 2.0 l Sport Venture Tech, where I recently had the gearbox oil changed to Castrol Syntrans GL4 (after 8 months of nursing it through the gear changes)  I then drove it for 1500 miles around Scotland and conclude that the replacement oil has improved the gear change overall; it becomes progressively better as things warm up.  However it is not the dramatic improvement I had hoped  The change from 1st to 2nd is still ludicrously baulky and feels like sloppy gate geometry.

I  am starting to think about clutch drag, and if the clutch action has enough oomph, early enough, to release the synchro cones and dogs to ensure a smooth change. I feel that an MX5 should be capable of a near racing gear change up thro the box without me wincing at the sensation of dogs and plungers reluctantly engaging under protest.

Further views /advice welcome