Mazda’s iconic MX-5 two-seater sharpens its cornering characteristics, with new suspension technology headlining an update just in time for the New Zealand summer.

In past reviews of the MX-5, we’ve found the rear-wheel-drive MX-5 to be a brilliant-handling sports car, so adding better handling characteristics to the model can only make for an even more enjoyable drive.

The Mazda MX-5 is a pure driver’s car; well-balanced, lightweight, and has an outstanding power-to-weight ratio. The perfect blend of engaging performance and nimble handling help the driver feel every moment of driving enjoyment on just about any road. Whether driving on winding country roads or a leisurely trip around the neighbourhood, the MX-5 encourages drivers to keep driving.

All Mazda MX-5 models will be equipped with the newly developed Kinematic Posture Control (KPC) technology.

Mazda New Zealand Managing Director, David Hodge, said the changes strengthen appeal for drivers and deliver on Mazda’s strategy for continual improvement.

Mazda says it is continuously improving the MX-5 to further deepen the sense of connection between the driver and car. Kinematic Posture Control (KPC) is the next step in that constant evolution, offering an improvement in high-g cornering precision and confidence. KPC is an all-new technology developed by Mazda that manages different vehicle systems to help the MX-5 behave as a harmonious extension of the driver’s body without adding a single gram of weight.

For ride comfort and stability during everyday or spirited driving, the MX-5’s rear suspension is already designed to generate an “anti-lift” force that pulls the vehicle’s body down when the brakes are applied. KPC uses the MX-5’s suspension structure to provide a more integrated and stable turning posture at high speed, giving a greater sense of Jinba-ittai, without adding even a single gram to the weight of the vehicle.

KPC applies a very slight brake to the inner rear wheel during high-g cornering. This pulls down on that corner, suppressing body roll, and making steering response feel more linear through tight or rough corners. Slightly stronger braking is used when accelerating through a corner, enhancing the limited slip effect. Turning conditions are determined by KPC in real-time from the difference in speed between the left and right rear wheels and increase its activity linearly in response to this to produce an appropriate posture stabilization effect. This means there is no change to everyday driving situations, but the harder the drive becomes, the more the MX-5 sharpens its tail-end senses and which Mazda says cleverly adjusts its own turning posture.

The MX-5 maintains its engaging and nimble everyday driving and now, with KPC, it has more precise dynamics on more spirited roads. The result is more confidence and driving enjoyment.

All MX-5 models have a rear-wheel drive layout and come equipped with the Skyactiv-G 2.0-litre engine that delivers an inspiring 135 kW of power at 7,000 rpm and 205 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm.

As well as handling, safety is also a primary focus with all MX-5 models featuring dual front airbags, side-impact airbags, and side-impact door beams in addition to many i-Activsense safety features that include Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Smart City Brake Support, and Lane Departure Warning.

The exterior styling adds the newly available Platinum Quartz Metallic paint to the seven colour options for the MX-5. Other features include dual exhaust, Daytime running lights with adaptive LED (ALH) headlights. The interior features a seven-inch full-colour display with the Mazda Connect infotainment system, which can be controlled with the multi-function commander knob and integrated with Apple CarPlay (wireless) and Android Auto. The three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel has a tilt and telescoping function to help allow a wider range of owners find their ideal seating position. The Bose 9-speaker premium audio includes a subwoofer and headrest speakers for the driver and passenger seats to maintain the premium experience even with the top down. Mazda Advanced keyless entry, climate control air conditioning, complete the interior ambience.

The Mazda MX-5 RF can open or close the roof in 13 seconds, providing the MX-5 RF with the look and feel of both a sporty coupe and a stylish convertible.

The popular GT grade makes a welcome return in the Roadster body style – featuring a sports performance package with 17-inch Gunmetal BBS Forged Alloy Wheels with 205/45 low profile tyres, Bilstein Sports Suspension Dampers, Brembo Front Bakes with distinctive red front and callipers as well as a Front Suspension Tower Brace Bar and gloss black door mirrors

The MX-5 Roadster GT is paired with a slick six-speed manual transmission and MX-5 Limited RF has a choice of manual transmission or a quick-shifting six-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters. We’ve found the manual gearbox to be one of the best in the business, while Alistair tested out the automatic version last year.

Mazda will also be funding five native NZ trees for every new Mazda model sold in conjunction with Trees That Count. Native trees not only sequester CO2 from the atmosphere, but they also provide thriving habitats for native birds, improve water quality in water ways, and provide beautiful places for future generations to explore. Every native tree planted in NZ helps to restore and enhance our environment, for biodiversity and for climate change.

The new Mazda MX-5 range is available from Mazda dealerships nationwide. Pricing for the MX-5 starts at $57,590* for the Roadster GT model.

Drive Life will be carrying out one of our in-depth reviews on the new MX-5 GT very soon.

*Recommended Retail Price including GST, excluding On Road Costs. $700 (including GST) surcharge for Soul Red Crystal and Machine Grey Metallic Paint Colours.

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Fred Alvrez
How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm a driving instructor and an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.


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