The cheapest new MX-5 is the £19,495 1.5 132 SE convertible, but why spend that when you can spear a four-year-old 2.0 SE-L Nav rag-top for £10,995? Why subject yourself to the curse of depreciation when there’s a perfectly good MX-5 down the road on which the leeches have done their worst?
Okay, it’s done 53,000 miles and, for all we know, it’s had a couple of owners. It’ll have a few scratches and maybe the brake calipers look a little tired. On the flipside, it’s a Mazda-approved car, which means it’s passed a multi-point inspection and has a 12-month, unlimited-mileage warranty and breakdown cover.
The Mk4 MX-5 launched in 2015. Even smaller, almost as light despite having more kit, just as pretty in an edgier way and with a lower centre of gravity, it drew favourable comparison with its Mk1 forebear. Purists preferred the slightly lighter and revvier 129bhp 1.5 over the 158bhp 2.0 but took the 2.0-litre home anyway because it’s usefully quicker.
And then there were the trims. Basic SE came with cloth seats and valve radio, SE-L got climate-controlled air-con, DAB radio and a colour touchscreen, while Sport added rain-sensing wipers, rear parking sensors, BOSE sound system and leather. Most buyers plumped for the full-fat 2.0 Sport (see above); better still, the Nav version.
Later in 2015, Mazda scratched its special-edition itch with the 2.0 Sport Recaro based on the 2.0 Sport Nav. Limited to 600 cars, it has the aero bodykit, special alloys, an Alcantara-trimmed dash and Recaro chairs. The 1.5 Arctic special, with silver body detailing, followed in 2016 and the 2.0 Z-Sport in 2017. Bear in mind that as the MX-5 Mk 4 ages, condition and originality will trump any special-edition premium.
Also in 2017, the hard-roofed RF (for ‘retractable fastback’) arrived. Its removable centre section leaves the rear buttresses intact. It’s more convenient and quieter at a cruise but it’s heavier, more expensive and, to these eyes, not as pretty.