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Mazda MX-5 1993 Review

The new Mazda MX-5 still lacks 'grunt', even with the upgrade to a 1.8L engine.

Their demand has now been satisfied with the cult car's engine having grown from 1.6 to 1.8 litres, giving a useful boost in torque and mid-range power. Other changes have also been made which ever-so-subtly change the car's character, without sacrificing the essence of the MX-5.

The Clubman model is the version for the purist sports-car driver and the model I tested. It has a Torsen limited slip differential and firmer suspension through Bilstein gas dampers. It takes a short time to adjust to the muscle power required to operate the manual steering: no wimpish power assistance in the Clubman! The only other clues to the bigger-engine are new alloy wheels and a brace bar behind the headrests.

Other improvements have also been made to the fashionable two-seat sports car including a stiffer chassis, bigger brakes, larger clutch and driveshaft, and a fuel tank which has grown from 45 to 48 litres. Mazda has refined the independent double-wishbone suspension layout, and further boosted the car's impressive body rigidity with the brace bar and "performance rods" to stiffen the rear lower control arms.

Other minor improvements include better shift quality for the manual, electric exterior mirrors, small pockets on the doors, a new seat fabric, and the attachment of the seatbelt buckle to the seat. Mazda's 1.8-litre engine gives a 14 per cent boost in power and an improvement of almost 20 per cent in torque over the 1.6-litre unit.

But on-road performance does not improve at a similar rate because the MX-5 Clubman is 25kg heavier. Response has definitely improved in the mid-range when you are rolling along in second, third and fourth gears, but its off-the-line performance is only marginally better. Fuel consumption suffers about 10 per cent with the bigger engine and greater weight. Under-the-skin changes bring subtle differences to handling, making it want to behave a tad more conservatively.

The saddest aspect of the Clubman is that its price, because of the strong yen, is now more than $40,000 once you pay on-road costs. Despite the price-tag, the MX-5 Clubman remains the pick of sports cars at the "affordable" end of the market.

Mazda MX-5 Clubman

ENGINE: 16-valve, double overhead-cam, 1.8-litre with electronic fuel-injection. A bigger engine has been the one demand of MX-5 owners.
POWER: 98kW/6500rpm
TORQUE: 155Nm/5000rpm. Extra power and torque are most useful in boosting mid-range acceleration.
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 10.8 litres/100km average on test. 48-litre tank.
STEERING: Rack-and-pinion. Manual steering requires good biceps, but you adjust quickly.
WHEELS: 6x14-inch alloy.
TYRES: 185/60 radials. The wheels look different, but rim and tyre sizes are unchanged.
PRICE: $39,455. Depth of pockets must match desire for wind-in-the-hair motoring.
WARRANTY: Three years/80,000km.

Pricing guides

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Range and Specs

(base) 1.6L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $3,500 – 5,610 1993 Mazda MX-5 1993 (base) Pricing and Specs
Clubman 1.8L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $3,600 – 5,830 1993 Mazda MX-5 1993 Clubman Pricing and Specs
Limited Edition 1.6L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $3,800 – 6,160 1993 Mazda MX-5 1993 Limited Edition Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide


Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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