Also new was the multi-link rear suspension design that was aimed at further enhancing the MX-5's famous handling balance. Many motoring journalists felt the NC had taken a backwards step in handling and steering response, though much of this was down to personal grousing rather than any fathomable, objective reason.
Roadster Coupe model. This replaced the usual fabric roof with a folding two-piece hard-top that retracted into the same space as the soft-top to retain the same boot capacity. Widely referred to as the RC, the Roadster Coupe tipped the scales at 40kg more than the 1,139kg soft-top models.
To answer those critics of the NC's handling and steering, a revised NC2 model pitched up in October 2008. The front roll centre was lowered to improve turn-in and cornering feel. It also has lightly reworked engines, which increases the rev limit from 6,750rpm in the 2.0 to 7,000rpm. Engine sound was also improved, while a new six-speed manual gearbox was also fitted. Restyled headlights are the obvious exterior clue to the NC2 over the original NC.
There have been a plethora of special editions based on the MX-5 NC models. For the UK, this has included the Special Edition Launch model, Icon, Niseko, 20th Anniversary Limited Edition with a production run of 2,000 cars, Miyako, Kendo, Venture, Kuro and Sport Venture.
We won't go into the equipment upgrades of each of the special editions, but will instead concentrate on the standard SE and Sport models that make up the bulk of used NC MX-5s for sale. With prices now dipping below £4,000 for early NCs, the Mazda continues to offer reliable sports car fun on a tight budget and they needn't cost much to run.
"I found my MX-5 to a fantastic car to use as a second car - having a blast cross-country was brilliant. Handled great and went pretty well too. It loved to be 'wound up'."