reviews of mk1 mx5 please

reviews of mk1 mx5 please

Author
Discussion

freerange7

Original Poster:

205 posts

130 months

Monday 3rd November 2008
quotequote all
Anyone have any reviews for the mk1 1.6 1990
Fuel consumption, top speed etc
Thanks phil

franv8

2,212 posts

180 months

Monday 3rd November 2008
quotequote all
Hmm, well I'll give you a quick one from me (figures from top of head, but as an owner)

1990 MX5/Eunos

Weight approx 950 kg

0-60 9 secs

Top speed 115 ish

Power 116 bhp

Fuel consumption - varies between high 20's to mid 30's, depending on car (there seems to be a fair amount of scatter in terms of what many get, it's a low geared car so not the best on Mways, and unfortunately due to it's character, if you're on B roads chances are you will be blatting it!) Personally I get 27 mpg in normal driving, up to 33 mpg in super econo mode

Handling is excellent, very chuckable. Grip levels will depend on what tyre/suspension set up - e.g. stock tyre sizes are really more for fun than outright grip. If a car you try does not have good road manners, then it will likely need it's alignment doing.

Insurance is pretty low on a UK car, however imports suffer a penalty (despite being virtually identical, in fact imports tend to have slightly higher equipment levels, including standard electric windows, power steering and AC), typically I would guesstimate this to be £100.

Areas to watch out for on a (now) 18 year old car:

Rot - particularly rear end of sills

Hood - wear/tear/damage - likely to be around £250 and up to replace

Alignment - as said before

Crash damage

Drivetrain very durable, engine is non interference so even a snapped cambelt is likely not to do any real damage*

  • But do not come to me if this happens and something else does break, no one wants to guarantee this!
It won't be the fastest car in a straight line, but does easily count in the one that will put the biggest smile on your face!

hcanning

3,947 posts

144 months

Monday 3rd November 2008
quotequote all
27MPG! I don't hang about and I get 33 odd! Mind you I'm not one to constantly keep it in a low enough gear so that it's always between 6 and 7krpm or whatnot, it's got enough grunt slightly lower down smile

HRG

71,256 posts

181 months

Monday 3rd November 2008
quotequote all
Passenger seat rattles if you're travelling solo. The official Mazda fix for this is to push it right back so it presses on the bulkhead. HTH biggrin

hcanning

3,947 posts

144 months

Monday 3rd November 2008
quotequote all
Los Angeles said:
I stand to be corrected: In US parlance, the "regular" 1.6 has 128 bhp but there is a base version at 116 bhp.
You what? That's the first time I've heard this!? Is it true?

I thought it was 116bhp until 1994 when it became 90

Edited by hcanning on Monday 3rd November 10:17

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franv8

2,212 posts

180 months

Monday 3rd November 2008
quotequote all
Great info LA - thanks for this!

I can agree with the single boot skin thing - it was a frozen turkey (during my Mum's ownership) that has caused the characteristic reverse dent on mine!

MPG figures, as a fellow American car owner, I'm well aware the US gallon is 20% smaller than the UK (Imperial) one - which one are you quoting?

As for the battery - they are the smallest things (I'm sure the old PP9 9V alkaline thing can be substituted) but I'd say that reliability on this is good, got a Halfords replacement one in mine. If you've got battery problems I'd look for a wiring problem somewhere.

Spare wheel fix is easy - leave it at home! Not necessarily the best advice, but for me, I'd have been better carrying things like a spare head gasket, set of hoses, bearing set, to deal with roadside issues I've had - the tyre would just be ballast. You can consider the foamy can things these days as an alternative.

Note that contrary to popular belief, there is no legal requirement to carry a spare wheel, the only legal requirement is that if you do, it must not be illegal (e.g. no tread etc.)

MX-5 Lazza

7,944 posts

161 months

Monday 3rd November 2008
quotequote all
The 1.6 from birth to 93 was 114bhp. It was then replaced with a 1.8 with 130bhp. During it's life the 1.8 varied from 128 to 133bhp due to emission control changes - I couldn't tell you which year had which bhp though. In 94 the 88bhp 1.6 was introduced in certain markets (not Japan).
The only 1.6 that had more power was the BBR Turbo (including Le Mans) which had about 150bhp (I think).

When it was introduced the 1.6 was indeed light by the standards of the day but not really by Lotus standards. At over 900Kg it's heavy compared to the Elan probably by about 200Kg and even compared to the much later S1 Elise. The latest S2 Toyota Elises are comparable in weight but have 189bhp! The main reason the 1.6 was replaced with the 1.8 was to compensate for the extra weight gained by adding additional safety features and also added chassis rigidity. Whether you consider the stiffer chassis and extra safety of the later cars a plus or minus is up to you. Personally I'd consider the earliest Mk1 1.8 to be the best MX-5 as it had the extra power but little extra weight.

The 1.8 IS a faster car than the 1.6, even the latest ones - in a straight traffic-lights blat and in day to day driving where the added mid-range torque makes itself felt. Again, whether this is important to you is a matter only you can decide.

JimSuperSix

2,835 posts

185 months

Monday 3rd November 2008
quotequote all
hcanning said:
27MPG! I don't hang about and I get 33 odd! Mind you I'm not one to constantly keep it in a low enough gear so that it's always between 6 and 7krpm or whatnot, it's got enough grunt slightly lower down smile
I'm getting 40mpg out of my 1.6, and that's commuting to work in heavy traffic on A and B roads.

Fruitcake

3,850 posts

168 months

Monday 3rd November 2008
quotequote all
hcanning said:
27MPG! I don't hang about and I get 33 odd! Mind you I'm not one to constantly keep it in a low enough gear so that it's always between 6 and 7krpm or whatnot, it's got enough grunt slightly lower down smile
Nope, mid 20s is all I manage.

ETA: I do have big fat hairy feet, though.

Edited by Fruitcake on Monday 3rd November 22:09

Fruitcake

3,850 posts

168 months

Monday 3rd November 2008
quotequote all
HRG said:
Passenger seat rattles if you're travelling solo. The official Mazda fix for this is to push it right back so it presses on the bulkhead. HTH biggrin
And always remember to put the seatbelt buckle into its little slot.

Otherwise, it'll end up driving you nuts

freerange7

Original Poster:

205 posts

130 months

Wednesday 5th November 2008
quotequote all
Thanks for all the advice.
I know have a MK1 1990 1.6 in red, good honest car with a little paintwork needed, so far the bits I have polished have come up well and I know I will have to keep doing this, sorted the passenger seat rattle.

hcanning

3,947 posts

144 months

Thursday 6th November 2008
quotequote all
freerange7 said:
Thanks for all the advice.
I know have a MK1 1990 1.6 in red, good honest car with a little paintwork needed, so far the bits I have polished have come up well and I know I will have to keep doing this, sorted the passenger seat rattle.
Nice, sounds identical to mine smile

biggbn

1,903 posts

162 months

Tuesday 18th November 2008
quotequote all
probably not the kinda review yer after..but my feelings when i had mine...

led zeppelin....behemoths of rock, possibly the greatest rock band of all time.....think of the pomp and splendour of achilles last stand or kashmir belting out...perfectly produced, note perfect, power riffs strained thru cut glass..a huge, overwhelming, overproduced wall of perfect noise.....but it wasnt always like this..go listen to led zeppelin's first, self titled album, enjoy the stripped down back to basics essential blues/rock sound those guys belted out in the late sixties... no room for error, no safety net..just pared to the bone perfection. four guys living the dream before the dream started living them. the urgency, the vitality, the spark..its all there on led zeppelin 1..the band became slowly more powerful, more ponderous, hell, maybe more perfect too some, over time..eventually they were derided as dinosaurs of rock and when the backbone of the band primal, thumping beat, jon bonham, died, the ride was over.....

....for me, an early mx5 is bare essentials motoring. nothing to dillute the intimate experience of driving the car. no power steering, no heavy air con units, no heavy power hood, no electric windows. this is led zeppelin before they became older, before they had multi million dollar recording facilities, this is the simple, raw, raucous enjoyment you get from listening to led zeppelin 1...and its all the better for it. this car may be perceived as a cheap japanese facsimilie of a trad brit sportscar...but its one of those rare occurences....this tribute band is better than the original!!

the rorty 1.8 twin cam engine is happy to lug you around in a higher gear when you just wanna loaf aimlessley around - think the lazy licks of ' i cant quit you baby' - as you cruise along with one hand on the wheel, sun on your face...laid back but with the feeling of raw, raunchy rock n roll excitment not to far below the surface...but its equally happy to make the rev counter needle race to the war paint in every gear as you conduct a high energy, high speed, note perfect gasoline fueled symphony ..think 'communication breakdown' here..ten tenths thrills with no extra padding.

the driving position is just about spot on. sure you sit close to the wheel, but you have to. the car is a surprisingly physical wee thing to drive, making a mockery of its 'hairdresser' image. the gearchange is gorgeous. short throw snickety snick, it has the feel of a perfectly engineered rifle bolt and none of the usual over engineered japlite feel. this isnt a car that drives you just like so many moderns, this is an old fashioned experience..you have to drive this car. ..you are an integral cog in this machine, not a computer chip..not a one driver fits all automonon, you are a mechanical piece of the car and you are essential to its progress.

find a road you know and put the foot down half and inch...and the car goes half an inch faster....turn the wheel a half turn and the car feels like its turned, well, a half turn..inch perfect..every time.....no slop, no unfaithfulness, but neither does it have the nervy feel of a mk1 civic type r or the like. the steering is meaty rather than heavy and conveys a feeling of economy of motion, it feels both lean and spare, yet substantial and implicitly trustworthy..a difficult trick to pull off..it turns in just so and communicates where the wheels are going and where they wanna go..the car rides very well on its standard suspension..sure, some might want lower, stiffer suspension, but, just like led zeppelin, im a wee bit older, and a wee bit wiser than i used to be, so il stick with the standard springs!!..the little mazda zips down the road with a raw, grity realism..this car feels like an old, well loved vinyl album...sure a cd might play better, an mp3 track might be more easily available in todays world , but give the wee roadster its head and you will remember that warm feeling of satisfaction as the needle hits the groove..its a live action experience in a cgi world...

it is a feel good car, and not just because its a soft top, though the sensation of driving is heightened by your close proximity to the elements with the top down..and its a sin NOT to put the top down, cos it takes, oh, about a minute to do so..and the same again to put it back up. power hoods..pah..cars like this make you realise its what you dont need in a car that puts a smile on your face, not what you think you do need..an overworked cliche here, but cars like this can prove that less can be more. you smile when you drive an mx5, and you dont feel that other road users are jealous of you in the same way they would be if you were driving a bmw convertible or the like. its a wee unthreatning car, it provokes smiles and warmth from other drivers, and its only other owners or real enthusiaists that know that beneath the carefully constructed imagery is a real, dedicated sportscar in the traditional sense of the word...

the secret of led zeppelin was that they were, in the words of jimmy page, tight but loose.....that description suits the mx5 perfectly. it feels tight, planted, everything feels like its gonna keep on keepin on....but it feels like when you wanna tie the dog loose, when you wanna let your hair down, its happy to indulge in the on the road equivelant of one of jimmy's fantastic solos, its happy to trip up and down the tarmac fretboard, happy to hit all the high notes and let you indulge in the big riffs anytime you want..tight, but loose....the mx5 is bare essentials, no frills rock n roll.....a true sportscar on a budget, and like listening to led zep turned up to eleven, it sometimes leaves me feeling deafened, but never short changed....

matt uk

13,142 posts

142 months

Tuesday 18th November 2008
quotequote all
biggbn said:
probably not the kinda review yer after..but my feelings when i had mine...

led zeppelin....behemoths of rock, possibly the greatest rock band of all time.....think of the pomp and splendour of achilles last stand or kashmir belting out...perfectly produced, note perfect, power riffs strained thru cut glass..a huge, overwhelming, overproduced wall of perfect noise.....but it wasnt always like this..go listen to led zeppelin's first, self titled album, enjoy the stripped down back to basics essential blues/rock sound those guys belted out in the late sixties... no room for error, no safety net..just pared to the bone perfection. four guys living the dream before the dream started living them. the urgency, the vitality, the spark..its all there on led zeppelin 1..the band became slowly more powerful, more ponderous, hell, maybe more perfect too some, over time..eventually they were derided as dinosaurs of rock and when the backbone of the band primal, thumping beat, jon bonham, died, the ride was over.....

....for me, an early mx5 is bare essentials motoring. nothing to dillute the intimate experience of driving the car. no power steering, no heavy air con units, no heavy power hood, no electric windows. this is led zeppelin before they became older, before they had multi million dollar recording facilities, this is the simple, raw, raucous enjoyment you get from listening to led zeppelin 1...and its all the better for it. this car may be perceived as a cheap japanese facsimilie of a trad brit sportscar...but its one of those rare occurences....this tribute band is better than the original!!

the rorty 1.8 twin cam engine is happy to lug you around in a higher gear when you just wanna loaf aimlessley around - think the lazy licks of ' i cant quit you baby' - as you cruise along with one hand on the wheel, sun on your face...laid back but with the feeling of raw, raunchy rock n roll excitment not to far below the surface...but its equally happy to make the rev counter needle race to the war paint in every gear as you conduct a high energy, high speed, note perfect gasoline fueled symphony ..think 'communication breakdown' here..ten tenths thrills with no extra padding.

the driving position is just about spot on. sure you sit close to the wheel, but you have to. the car is a surprisingly physical wee thing to drive, making a mockery of its 'hairdresser' image. the gearchange is gorgeous. short throw snickety snick, it has the feel of a perfectly engineered rifle bolt and none of the usual over engineered japlite feel. this isnt a car that drives you just like so many moderns, this is an old fashioned experience..you have to drive this car. ..you are an integral cog in this machine, not a computer chip..not a one driver fits all automonon, you are a mechanical piece of the car and you are essential to its progress.

find a road you know and put the foot down half and inch...and the car goes half an inch faster....turn the wheel a half turn and the car feels like its turned, well, a half turn..inch perfect..every time.....no slop, no unfaithfulness, but neither does it have the nervy feel of a mk1 civic type r or the like. the steering is meaty rather than heavy and conveys a feeling of economy of motion, it feels both lean and spare, yet substantial and implicitly trustworthy..a difficult trick to pull off..it turns in just so and communicates where the wheels are going and where they wanna go..the car rides very well on its standard suspension..sure, some might want lower, stiffer suspension, but, just like led zeppelin, im a wee bit older, and a wee bit wiser than i used to be, so il stick with the standard springs!!..the little mazda zips down the road with a raw, grity realism..this car feels like an old, well loved vinyl album...sure a cd might play better, an mp3 track might be more easily available in todays world , but give the wee roadster its head and you will remember that warm feeling of satisfaction as the needle hits the groove..its a live action experience in a cgi world...

it is a feel good car, and not just because its a soft top, though the sensation of driving is heightened by your close proximity to the elements with the top down..and its a sin NOT to put the top down, cos it takes, oh, about a minute to do so..and the same again to put it back up. power hoods..pah..cars like this make you realise its what you dont need in a car that puts a smile on your face, not what you think you do need..an overworked cliche here, but cars like this can prove that less can be more. you smile when you drive an mx5, and you dont feel that other road users are jealous of you in the same way they would be if you were driving a bmw convertible or the like. its a wee unthreatning car, it provokes smiles and warmth from other drivers, and its only other owners or real enthusiaists that know that beneath the carefully constructed imagery is a real, dedicated sportscar in the traditional sense of the word...

the secret of led zeppelin was that they were, in the words of jimmy page, tight but loose.....that description suits the mx5 perfectly. it feels tight, planted, everything feels like its gonna keep on keepin on....but it feels like when you wanna tie the dog loose, when you wanna let your hair down, its happy to indulge in the on the road equivelant of one of jimmy's fantastic solos, its happy to trip up and down the tarmac fretboard, happy to hit all the high notes and let you indulge in the big riffs anytime you want..tight, but loose....the mx5 is bare essentials, no frills rock n roll.....a true sportscar on a budget, and like listening to led zep turned up to eleven, it sometimes leaves me feeling deafened, but never short changed....
clap bloody good read, enjoyed that

phatmanace

558 posts

151 months

Monday 1st December 2008
quotequote all
I know I'm going to get flamed for this, but here goes:

I never *really* liked mine. wanted an open open sports car, was going to be a second car, didn't have that much to spend, so bought the best mk1 I could find. It was a second car to my golf GTI {'02 plate} 1.8T

..I'm afraid the slightly dirty reality {for me, at least} - is that it was never as much fun to drive as my golf.

At first, I thought that it just wasn't quick enough, I missed the turbo rush that the golf gave me. Even the peppy little 1.6 engine couldn't make up for it. So, I forked out about 3 grand to have it turbocharged. This definaltey made up for the performance issues, but still I felt it a bit "lacking" in something. I wanted to like it, I really did; but there was always that guilty smile when I got back into the golf.

Part of it was that I thought it was too twitchy - {pauses, while people roll their eyes!} I assumed that as this was my first RWD car, I just wasn't a very good driver. I went on a couple of walshy days - very good fun; taught me how to recognise when the car was about to let go, but still didn't make it much more fun when I was back on the road.

Since then, I've driven my mates' s2000 and a caterham, both on a track, and they were, IMHO, a lot more controllable in a gentle slide.

in the end, I sold the car, mostly as I'm now a dad, and the two seater wasn't getting used.

Appreciate that this reveiw flies in the face of convential wisdom about the '5, but it's just my opinion.

matt uk

13,142 posts

142 months

Tuesday 2nd December 2008
quotequote all
And a fair enough view it is - each to their own.

All I would say is that when test driving a few, I found out there is a country mile between a well set-up car and a poor set-up. These cars are quite sensitive to alignment and suspensions geometry and it doesn't take much to move away from the sweet spot. I tried one that had tired shocks and 3 different tyre brands with pressures ranging from 20psi to 33psi. I literally drove that car to the end of the guy's road before turning back and politely explaining that this was not the car for me..

Snoggledog

6,289 posts

159 months

Tuesday 2nd December 2008
quotequote all
phatmanace said:
I know I'm going to get flamed for this, but here goes:

I never *really* liked mine. wanted an open open sports car, was going to be a second car, didn't have that much to spend, so bought the best mk1 I could find. It was a second car to my golf GTI {'02 plate} 1.8T

..I'm afraid the slightly dirty reality {for me, at least} - is that it was never as much fun to drive as my golf.

At first, I thought that it just wasn't quick enough, I missed the turbo rush that the golf gave me. Even the peppy little 1.6 engine couldn't make up for it. So, I forked out about 3 grand to have it turbocharged. This definaltey made up for the performance issues, but still I felt it a bit "lacking" in something. I wanted to like it, I really did; but there was always that guilty smile when I got back into the golf.

Part of it was that I thought it was too twitchy - {pauses, while people roll their eyes!} I assumed that as this was my first RWD car, I just wasn't a very good driver. I went on a couple of walshy days - very good fun; taught me how to recognise when the car was about to let go, but still didn't make it much more fun when I was back on the road.

Since then, I've driven my mates' s2000 and a caterham, both on a track, and they were, IMHO, a lot more controllable in a gentle slide.

in the end, I sold the car, mostly as I'm now a dad, and the two seater wasn't getting used.

Appreciate that this reveiw flies in the face of convential wisdom about the '5, but it's just my opinion.
I came from a similar background (Cooper S rather than Golf GTI though) and found the 5 to be a lot more fun than the Cooper S. Downsides for me is the fuel economy (at the moment) is worse than the S was. I could get out of the Cooper after a 500+ mile drive and feel fresh whilst a 200 mile drive in the 5 is more tiring.. Oh and power... What power? There's just enough to have fun on wet roads but little else.

But it's brought more smiles to my face than the Fat Mini ever did. Odd that you mention it being twitchy. Mine was until it had a full suspension makeover and a wheel alignment. Now it handles beautifully.

MX-5 Lazza

7,944 posts

161 months

Tuesday 2nd December 2008
quotequote all
Mine isn't even a little bit twitchy despite the best part of 200lb/ft from low revs but I do have it set up perfectly with very good tyres. It can also be down to driving style - I always try to be as smooth as possible. You can get away with a lot more with fwd i.e. trying to get out of a corner too fast in fwd results in understeer scrubbing the speed off whereas an MX5 that isn't perfectly set up will see the tail hanging out.

That said, they aren't for everyone - it would be a boring life if we all liked the same things. Some people buy into the low-power, low-grip (relative), top-down-wind-in-the-hair (if you have any), neutral-handling, throttle-adjustable, thrash it everywhere mentality and others would rather have a car with more comfort, more grip, handling that rewards you for taking liberties and a tin-top.

I've driven the old Evo Magazines Evo FQ320 (actually with 340bhp) long-term test car on Anglesey and can honestly say that I found it boring. Yes it was very (very) quick and had miles of grip but it felt like I wasn't needed. All you needed to do to make sure you got out of a corner was to boot it. Go in too slow - boot it and it comes out fast and controlled. Go in fast - boot it and it comes out fast and controlled. Go in too fast and the electronic throttle/traction & stability control/diff's etc sort everything out for you so again just boot it and it comes out fast and controlled. We tried hard to get into trouble but just couldn't do it. We were taking corners at ridiculous speeds and it just did it without much drama it's just that I was just pointing it where I wanted to go and the ecu did the driving for me. For some people that would be the ideal car. I'd rather have a classic Mini Cooper biggrin

magic torch

5,778 posts

164 months

Tuesday 2nd December 2008
quotequote all
phatmanace said:
I've driven my mates' s2000 and a caterham, both on a track, and they were, IMHO, a lot more controllable in a gentle slide.
yikes

S2000 I had was lethal, should have come with a health warning. Certainly the worst handling car I've ever owned, or driven.

I've got a mk1 Eunos 1.6 '92, and it's the most fun I've ever had in a road car. Beating a variety of Porsches and Ferraris.

Whereas quicker cars just frustrate me, the performance of the Eunos is suited to where I live. It can be a bit tricky in the wet, but I like that too.

My 996 was just too competent and I sold it. The plan was to keep the Eunos for a couple of weeks and sell on, some two years later, it's a keeper.

phatmanace

558 posts

151 months

Tuesday 2nd December 2008
quotequote all
sorry, my bad - I think that I used the wrong term.

I said "twitchy" - I think what I really meant was a lack of grip.

I remember one particular time, I went round a damp roundabout - not a mini roundabout - quite a chunky one. I was going quickly-ish; but certainly not driving like a knob - amd came off the power long before I reached the roundabout., and being mindful of the conditions. Anyway, with brand new tyres on the car, it slid most of the way round the roundabout - I was grateful for the 2 walshy days I'd done, as I had some idea how to control the car, but it still shook me up. point is, I'm sure my golf would have done the same manouvuer at the same speed - with no drama.

Also, a lack of ABS always made me nervous - although in the caterham round the track I felt I could brake a lot harder and later in to corners, which probably meant I had the wrong tyres on my '5 {even if they were quite new ones}

overall, I just had one too many 'nearly got bitten' experiences in the '5, which made me always a little nervous. Having said all that, I think that perhaps it's more that I'm not suited to small, lght RWD sportscars, rather than the mx being a bad car.