Project Description

Kioko – 2019 Mazda MX-5

The 2019 Mazda MX-5

The original idea – done better

The MX5 was born in 1989 from ‘Mazda Experiment, Project Number Five’. Over the past 30 years the MX5 has become a legend, a true icon for petrolheads.

Kioko, namely “who shares happiness” in Japanese, is the latest generation of Mazda’s legendary MX-5, with the biggest engine, the 184 PS 2.0L and all possible options

The geeky stuff

This is the smallest Mazda MX-5 ever built – it’s 100kgs lighter than the car it replaces. It has undergone extensive mechanical changes to make it the finest handling version yet. Mazda’s attention to detail (when it comes to weight) makes its presence felt both on the straights and in the corners. It means the MX-5 doesn’t need super-stiff suspension to contain its lean in corners.

The range-topping 2.0 has seen power climb by almost 30 horsepower to 184, which in a car that basically weighs a ton is big news indeed. The rev limit has also climbed by 700rpm, to 7,500rpm, so you should have a bit more fun working the engine hard via its sweet six-speed manual gearbox.

Extra performance hasn’t come about from a simple ECU remap, but from deeply nerdy mechanical things like shaving some weight from the pistons. Hard work, when the power climb that could have been doubled by simply sticking on a turbo. We’re glad Mazda took the tricky, technical route though. The MX-5’s always stood out for sticking resolutely to its simple mechanical layout.

Driving it

The MX-5 remains an exemplar of why pure, simple sports cars can be so much fun to drive. Its light weight immediately makes itself known, the car steering and accelerating with an alacrity that’d be dumbed down by more weight and complexity.

You will love the fantastic turn-in, the balance thanks to it’s perfect 50:50 weight distribution, the momentum you can carry around a small twisty road and the driving position thanks to its perfectly placed pedals and low-slung seat.

It’s a joy to drive, put simply, and a great advert for sticking with a good ol’ manual gearbox, rear-wheel drive and no turbocharging. You just get in and drive the knackers off it, not delayed by the need to prod through any confusing driving modes.


A great example for keeping a car’s mechanicals simple. The MX-5 provides fun at entirely legal speeds. The original idea – done better.

Base day: 60 points
Temporary collection
Engine: 2.0L inline-4
Power: 184 hp
Transmission: 6-speed manual short shift, rear-wheel drive
Weight: 1058 kgs
Seating: 2


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