I’ve spent an awful lot of this month coming to terms with the MX-5 ‘wave’. It’s a phenomenon that I’ve been aware of ever since a former colleague bought himself an old MkII MX-5 and I remember something similar used to exist between Land Rover owners before they became ‘lifestyle’ vehicles, but I’ve never really experienced it before.
So, one sunny Sunday morning I was driving enjoying a lovely country road with the roof down and the wind in my hair, when a 58-plate MkIII came the other way. While I was busily wondering why the daft bat driving it still had the roof up on such a pleasant day, he flashed a wave at me.
Somehow – and I’m still not quite sure how I did this, because my brain didn’t process what was going on until a second or so after I moved – I managed to uphold the honour of MX-5 owners by lifting my fingers from the wheel.
And you know what? It felt good.
It’s a kind of road-user camaraderie that’s seldom seen in our grim world of congestion and rush hours – a world where the sheer pleasure and fun of driving seems to have been lost a bit. So, MX-5 owners of Britain, keep waving at each other. Don’t let the MX-5 wave die out, because it makes the road a happier place.
Sadly, though, the MX-5 hasn’t always been a happy place for me, mainly because I’ve been struggling to come to terms with its lack of practicality.
Though the MX-5 RF is supposed to be the more usable alternative to the standard convertible, I’ve discovered one or two issues with its interior space. I know I’ve been spoilt slightly by the fact my last long-termer was a relatively capacious Mini Clubman, but the RF’s lack of room has been an inconvenience.
I’m not too fussed about the fact I struggle to squeeze my 6ft 2in frame into the cabin – when the roof’s up my noggin keeps brushing the headlining – because (a) I drive it with the roof down whenever possible and (b) I realise that I’m somewhat larger than the average height.
But it’s not just me that can’t fit in. Because the MX-5 doesn’t have a proper hatchback, like, say, a Jaguar F-Type Coupe, there are thimbles that would consider the Mazda’s boot small. Certainly, sticking a cabin bag, a laptop bag and some shopping in there was about as much as it could cope with.
It’s a shame, because I really like the RF. I admit, for looning about on a track or a country road, I’d take the standard convertible any day, but I do prefer the security of the hard-top. I prefer the looks, too.
Model: Mazda MX-5 RF 160 Sport Nav
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol
Power: 158bhp, 200Nm
Max speed: 134mph
0-60mph: 7.2 seconds
MPG: 40.9 (combined)
HIGHLIGHT OF THE MONTH: Finding out that the MX-5 wave makes the road a happier place.