Voices

New MX-5… do we really care how it looks?

Motoring writers in Australia have been quick to pass judgement on the looks of the new Mazda MX-5, but are they missing the point? I say, yes!

THERE’S BEEN PLENTY written about the new Mazda MX-5 and most of it seems to be about the way the thing looks, or at least that’s how the Australian media seem to have tackled the launch of the latest version of the world’s best-selling roadster. And why?

I mean, it’s not as if the MX-5 has ever actually been a particularly good-looking roadster, or do my eyes deceive me. Surely the success of the MX-5 has been its affordability and the way it drives. That said, the original NA MX-5 did look good, before getting bigger, heavier and more bulbous to look at as the years ground on – think Elvis as he moved into his ‘Vegas years.

But the NA MX-5 was based on the Lotus Elan, so, the design was never truly unique… I’m sure there’ll be a legion of MX-5 fans who will gang up on my bluster, but I don’t want to be misread, I’m not suggesting the new MX-5 is ugly, or that any MX-5 is ugly, just that it’s not the looks that have mattered most. Again, the MX-5 was always about the price and the drive experience. Am I wrong?

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So, for local fish and chip wrappers and whatever the electronic version of a soggy fish and chip wrapper is, to talk about the design of the new MX-5 as if that will make or break the thing is just, and let’s not beat around the bush here, stupid. And besides, looks are so subjective that it almost makes no point for a bunch of motoring journos who haven’t yet seen the thing in the metal to run it down.

Sure, I’m all for one having their say, and that’s precisely what I’m doing here, but as long as the new MX-5 drives with all the verve, intimacy and agility of the original then it could probably look like a melted plastic bottle on wheels. Am I right?

For what it’s worth, I think the new MX-5 actually looks pretty good, both inside and out, it certainly looks better than the bulging previous generation. Yes, the headlights might look a little too squinty in photographs, and there’s more than just a little bit of the Honda S2000 in the flanks of the thing, but I’ll reserve judgement on the looks until I can see it in the metal.

What do you think of the way it looks, and should looks be the first thing journalists jump to? See you in the comments and, yes, I’ll have my flak jacket on.


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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober was born in the shadow of Mount Panorama in Bathurst and, so, it was inevitable he’d fall into work as a motoring writer. He began his motoring career in 2000 reviewing commercial vehicles, before becoming editor of Caravan & Motorhome magazine. He then moved to MOTOR Magazine before going freelance and contributing to Overlander 4WD, 4×4 Australia, TopGear Australia, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, The Australian, CARSguide, and many more.