Mazda blew driving enthusiasts' minds in 2016 with the introduction of a fourth-generation MX-5 roadster that combined the car's legendary fun driving nature with the most refinement this tiny two-seater has ever offered.
Following the addition of a folding hardtop model for the 2017 model year, 2018 brings a raft of smaller changes that seek to further boost refinement while enhancing driving feel, safety and convenience.
Mazda says it has reduced interior noise by adding sound insulation and improved ride comfort through suspension tweaks that simultaneously make for better control in enthusiastic cornering maneuvers.
Interior quality and user-friendliness get a bump too, thanks to a new upholstered sun visor, padding inside the rear console storage box and LED lighting to make it easier to see the gauges when the headlights are switched off.
There are also a few new features and others that have been shuffled between the car's GX, GS and GT trim levels.
Starting at the bottom, the GX now comes with blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, formerly limited to the upper trims. It also gains a new passive keyless entry system that is shared with those posher models.
The GS gets heated seats and side mirrors, features that last year were limited to the GT.
A limited-production 50th Anniversary Edition model boasts a Bose sound system with headrest speakers and a subwoofer, as well as a set of 17-inch BBS forged alloy wheels.
GT models can be had with a pretty dark cherry softtop in cars specified with the black leather interior, and last year's tan leather option is replaced with Nappa leather upholstery.
There are also a few new paint colours.
That's all fine and well, but what's more important to us is that this car remains one of the purest driving experiences you'll find at any price point. Its 2.0L engine may produce a modest 155 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque, but that means you can drive this car flat out without attracting the attention of law enforcement at every turn.
A six-speed manual transmission remains part of the standard package, and it's a sweet one: the stubby shifter has a pleasantly notchy feel and the clutch is nicely weighted and easy to modulate. For those less concerned with the ultimate level of driver involvement, the option is a six-speed automatic that suits the car just fine.
A small motor also means respectable fuel consumption, estimated at 8.9/7.1 L/100 km (city/highway) with the stickshift, or 9.1/6.8 automatic form.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed