Mazda Roadster Prototype

Mazda Roadster Prototype Review: “It feels comfortable rather than just power that is beyond control” by Tomoko Fujishima

The Mazda Roadster, having inherited the charm of lightweight sports in this modern era, gives pleasure with the vehicle feeling like the driver’s own hands and feet. It is a valuable model that easily pleases the driver with its sports car original charm.

Although the past models’ character garnered affection with their features, they made the driver the lead rather than having them being led by the vehicle’s potential. Such perfect balance has given the owners a sense of fulfillment. In that regard, the ND model to be introduce as the fourth generation transformed into a vehicle that quite fits the profile of older users. One example is its exterior, designed and concerned with the form when a person is aboard. Even for the interior, it has been given a dash panel with a leather tailoring and equipment that enhance its texture. Therefore, the vehicles was improved to look more modern.

The test drive vehicle I rode was a not a commercial model but rather a prototype. I imagined a running performance more powerful than ever as its features showed a sharp look. However, it did not mean that it would also strain the body when it was actually running; rather, it felt comfortable instead of feeling beyond one’s control. Its body became smaller than the previous generation’s and they were successful in reducing its weight by about 100 kg. Therefore, its dash start felt light even if it only had a 1.5-liter naturally aspirated engine, a small engine displacement from the 2.0-liter naturally aspirated engine in the previous generation.

It had an atmosphere that made whoever was riding it aware and perceptive of the vehicle’s movements. Regarding the acceleration operation, even while running at 40km/h up to 60km/h, the body’s posture slightly sank back to the rear when it accelerated; it would then sink to the front when braking. I easily felt the load moving between the front and rear. Therefore, It conveys the feel of the vehicle’s movements from the way it’s operated back to the driver through this simple phenomenon. The suspension equipped with 195/50R16 size tires allowed for great rolls as a sports car. It allows for one to change postures when running through corners in an easy-going rhythm. It gives a sense of security as if anyone can pass through a corner without danger.

On the other hand, it may be perceived as too relaxed for those who seek keener responses. It does not give a vivid running performance like the tire feeling directly connected to the accelerator. Therefore, it feels like the pleasure in setting the vehicle to one’s own choice after purchase is given to those who seek such a running performance. In that situation, since the grade structure has not yet been disclosed at present, I hope the manufacturers would develop another product in the near future.

â– Five Star Rating
Packaging: ★★★
Interior/Livability: ★★
Power Source: ★★★
Footwork: ★★★★
Recommendation Level: ★★★★

Tomoko Fujishima | Automotive Journalist
A car fanatic since her youth, she has been entering into one-make races since 2002. It doesn’t matter which genre, from normal cars to formula cars, she participates in various kinds of races. In 2007 she became the first female class champion at the Mazda Roadster Race. Currently she is spreading the joy of driving through contributions to auto magazines, print media, TV, and web. With perspectives as someone who loves driving and as a woman she supports car life from all fronts. Her criteria for COTY focuses on how much a vehicle can improve every day life.

(Translated by Natassia Jeronne D. Martinez)