A legend in its own lifetime, the iconic Mazda MX-5 roadster continues to deliver pure motoring thrills – as a new or used car – almost 20 years since its debut.  This week, MX-5 has overcome the challenge of numerous short-listed rivals to win its class in the ‘2008 Auto Express Used Car Honours' in the popular weekly publication's annual awards.  This latest success for the Mazda MX-5 follows last month's triumph, when Mazda's sportscar won ‘Best Convertible' in the 2008 Auto Express New Car Honours.

For the latest issue of Auto Express, an experienced panel of six judges, who know the used car market inside out, scrutinised the merits of the dozens of cars in 16 different categories.  After much deliberation, the Mazda MX-5 two-seater emerged as the clear winner of the ‘Best Roadster' – beating the significantly more expensive Porsche Boxster and Audi TT into the runners-up places.

Commenting on the Mazda MX-5's victory, Auto Express stated: "In 1989, Mazda took everything that made the British Lotus Elan great, then added superb reliability and a low price to the package.  Not only is the MX-5 the world's best-selling sportscar, it has also won over us loyal Brits.  It's poised to knock the classic MGB off the top spot for both popularity and parts supply in the UK.  The problem our judges faced come ‘decision time' was choosing between the current and previous generations of the MX-5 – the Mazda is a fantastic choice and a thrilling drive."

Mazda MX-5 'Best Roadster' Auto Express Used Car Homours

Highlighting the dilemma facing members of the judging panel, British Car Auctions general manager Ashley Feldman said: "My first thoughts were in favour of the present-shape MX-5 as it's more desirable.  But it is simply impossible to ignore the availability and value of the older model.  Both versions will fend off most sportscar rivals in every way, so we can recommend them as a pair."

Accepting the latest award for Mazda UK, Marketing Director Mark Cameron commented: "In the UK, the iconic two-seater, rear-wheel drive Mazda MX-5 sportscar continues to be hugely popular with both the public and media.  It delivers on the promise of thrilling open-air motoring, with everyday reliability and modest running costs.  Since its launch in the UK in 1990 we have sold more than 90,000 MX-5s so there is broad selection of used models available through our ‘Zoom-Zoom Plus' approved used car programme and of course through other outlets nationwide.

Mazda MX-5 'Best Roadster' Auto Express Used Car Homours

"The MX-5 soft-top can be opened and closed in just a few seconds, using only one hand and without getting out of the car.  The Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe features the world's fastest-folding hard-top – up or down in just 12 seconds.  And by a miracle of packaging ingenuity, this roof retracts into a compact space behind the seats so the boot space maintains its 150-litre volume as before – a unique innovation among modern sports cars," concludes Cameron.


Timelines of an icon

1983 Mazda begins feasibility study of lightweight sportscar production
1986 February Starts project aimed at volume production
1987 September Two-seater roadster design finalised
1989 February Mazda MX-5/Miata makes world debut at Chicago Auto Show
May Sales begin in USA
September Sales begin as ‘Eunos Roadster' in Japan
October Sales begin in Australia
1990 February Sales begin in Europe (UK and Holland)
1993 July Undergoes minor changes

Car improved by replacing previous 1.6 with 1.8-litre engine

1997 October 2nd generation MX-5/Miata unveiled at Tokyo Motor Show
1998 December Limited edition Mazda MX-5 released to commemorate 10 years in production. Special limited edition car with world-class specifications: total of 7,500 units manufactured for worldwide sale (500 units for Japan, 7,000 units for the three markets comprised of North America, Europe and Australia)
2000 May Mazda MX-5 Miata enters the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's best-selling two-seater open sportscar
July Second-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata undergoes minor changes. In addition to interior and exterior changes, the 1.8-litre engine gets a power boost, and body stiffness and other improvements add up to a greatly upgraded version
2005 March Third-generation Mazda MX-5 unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show
March Third-generation Mazda MX-5 debuts in commemorative limited edition format (Mazda MX-5 3rd Generation Limited) at the New York International Auto Show
April The Guinness Book of World Records updated the number of units produced to 700,000
2007 July World debut of Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe with the world's fastest folding metal roof at British International Motor Show