Chris Harris video: the MX-5

A couple of years ago I blogged my feelings towards the Mazda MX-5. I have never before used 'blog' as a verb, and it doesn't sound right - does it? The piece was triggered by a press release announcing the 900,000th car to roll off the production line. I had never really warmed to the MX-5, and found it frustrating that the little Mazda had become so uninteresting to drive in its current form.

The only way we could get Harris in a Mazda
The only way we could get Harris in a Mazda
In this respect, I thought the general opinion that the MX-5 epitomised a kind of driving purity - something considered as sports car excellence - was misplaced and that, at the very least, new definitions of 'sports car' and 'roadster' were needed. I suggested that the MX-5 was the latter, not the former.

This did not go down well with many people. First of all, the PH massive tore me to shreds. Then Jalopnik got in on the act. Then the rest of the car-based internet put me on death row and, for many of them, I'm still incarcerated there.

This video is not an attempt at an apology - no sir. It's a chance to see if that opinion has changed or, more pertinently, it's an opportunity to drive an MX-5, or Miata, or Eunos, in perfect weather, over perfect roads providing it with the best possible opportunity to shine.

Through gritted teeth Chris gets to work...
Through gritted teeth Chris gets to work...
The car belongs to Neil who shoots the vids, so he had to balance encouraging me in the interests of exciting images and protecting his little pride and joy. A tough exercise. His affection for the car is disconcerting to me because it isn't fawning - you can tell he actually wants to dislike the little thing, but each time he drives it, or stands by it he grins. This is authentic car-love, the only type I could possibly allow to undermine my negative feelings towards these Mazda things.

Anyhow, I discovered some stuff during the day - perhaps even make some adjustments to those original sentiments.

At the very least, I did try and understand what it is the world, and the editor of this mighty edifice, and his fleet of brothers love about the MX-5.

Enjoy the vid.

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (338) Join the discussion on the forum

  • ringweekends 05 Sep 2012

    I don't care who he is.

    They're not for me.

  • hunt_the_fox 05 Sep 2012

    Good vid as always. I really enjoyed my brief time behind the wheel of an mx5, I thought it was a hoot. But then I am not as good a driver as Chris. They say 911s reward you the more you put in, but I think you have to be a very good driver to get that input. For the rest of us I suspect an mx5 may deliver a more rewarding experience on our roads.

  • martyspain 05 Sep 2012

    Had a mint mk1 V-Spec import a while ago. Did not like it at all, despite its reputation as a cheap fun car. Seemed very much like the done thing was to spend another couple of grand on chassis bracing, suspension mods etc, to get the car up to scratch, and I felt like I'd rather just spend the extra money on a better car to start with.

    That said, I appreciate I'm in the minority.

  • vrsmxtb 05 Sep 2012

    I think actually Chris is bang on the money with this review. The criticisms are fair, and the concessions he made to his original rather sweeping blog seem genuine and well thought out.

    I think many MX5 drivers, myself included, come to it from the world of bog-standard hatchbacks etc so it does seem a breath a fresh air - comparatively nice and sharp controls, a bit of movement from the RWD in the wet/on st tyres, hence the wild praise, especially considering the buying/running costs, aftermarket parts range and friendly fan community.

    Keener drivers, and those with experience and driving skill in "sports" cars (regardless of power output), will have a different perspective which Chris articulates well here.

    Personally, I took my standard car on track this year for the first time and was underwhelmed. It was wallowy, underpowered and was much grippier than I expected leading to very little oversteer challenges. Still great fun for the overall experience, but nowhere near a driving revelation. For regular track fun, it really needs coilovers, extra bracing and forced induction of some kind.

    However, stick it on a nice country road at brisk but legal speeds on a crisp, clear day and it really comes alive. I took mine round the Highlands this summer and it was marvellous.

    I don't think there should be much stick against Chris on this video, even as a fan and owner, I think he's summed up the car exceptionally well. They didn't call it the roadster for no reason... and if you want more from it, the mods are there waiting. Win win, surely.

    Edited by vrsmxtb on Wednesday 5th September 20:42

    Edited by vrsmxtb on Wednesday 5th September 20:45

  • Tankslider 05 Sep 2012

    In my considered opinion he should have manned the fk up and driven it faster whistle

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