When Mazda first launched the MX-5 in 1989, it proved that tradition and technology could actually get along quite well.

In keeping with the affordable sports car tradition, it was inexpensive, had two seats only, a canvas roof  and a front engine with rear wheel drive.

By Alex Forrest

However, modern manufacturing, design and materials also meant the roof didn’t leak, the electrics worked and the chassis didn’t feel like al dente spaghetti.

Its size and price went up over the years but now, Mazda has gone and reinvented that blissful original NA model MX-5.

The new ND MX-5 is actually 90kg lighter than its immediate predecessor and even shorter than the original.

It’s also had a huge price cut, going from a retail price of $47,280 for the previous NC model, to $31,990 for this new ND MX-5.

In the new one, the driver and passenger sit lower and closer to the centre of the car, and importantly, there are now also two side airbags in addition to the two front airbags.

It hadn’t been rated by ANCAP at the time of writing.

The new MX-5 was initially launched in August 2015 with a 96kW/150Nm 1.5-litre engine, with the 118kW/200Nm 2.0-litre arriving in November.

The manually operated roof can be opened by the driver without having to leave their seat. It takes about three seconds to lower, using one arm and marginally more effort than that required to put on your sunglasses.

Immediately, there’s nothing between the top of your bonce and the universe and then when you drive it, the MX-5 feels like an extension of your own body.

Not a lifestyle extension or anything of that sort, but rather a machine that blurs the perceived line of where the driver’s body ends and the car begins.

Mazda uses the Japanese term “Jinba-Ittai”, but you may have also heard it expressed as “the horse and rider are one”.

To have a machine so willingly responsive to the driver’s whim is a rare pleasure in modern, affordable cars but in the MX-5, it appears Mazda have found a way to pipe dopamine directly into the brain.

Mazda MX-5 Specifications

Price from $35,620 drive away
Engine: 1.5-litre petrol
Power: 96kW @ 7,000rpm
Torque: 150Nm @ 4,800rpm
Claimed fuel economy: 6.1 litres/100km
ANCAP Rating: not rated
CO2 Emissions: N/A