Mazda Roadster prototype

Mazda Roadster Prototype Review: “She remained the same as before” by Yoichi Moroboshi

I have reserved a first generation NA Roadster before its release and I finally obtained it. The first time I saw the ND Roadster, I remembered first seeing its older model before about 10 years ago. It was impressive, like meeting your first love for the first time in a quarter of a century.

Above all, she maintained her style and proportion; she looks the same as before. Her width had stretched just a little, but since 25 years had pass, I shall forgive her for that. The impression at first glance is very important. Impressions such as “So, it became like this” when looking at the NB and NC and “So, you have this kind of form, right?” when looking at the ND.

I opened the door, boarded and took the driving position. I could really take a nice position. This position is the same position and seat that I was sitting on 25 years ago. Particularly, the position of the steering and shift lever are exactly alike.

Then, I began to drive. I pressed the ignition switch to start the engine. I lightly stepped on the clutch pedal. I entered into first gear just by cocking the wrist of my left hand. I returned the clutch and smoothly accelerated when I stepped on the accelerator pedal. Gear changing was also smooth and it quickly shifts up when I cock my wrist. The stroke on the accelerator pedal in the NA is long; I have been trying to achieve a subtle acceleration work with that long stroke. However, it is possible to have a subtle accelerator work in the ND with the organ-type accelerator pedal without using such a superficial technique.

The exhaust of the engine is 1.5-liters. Basically, it is the same as the Skyactiv 1.5 installed in the Axela. Its output is about 110 horsepower if their tuning were the same. However, I felt that it probably has slightly more power after I rode it. The up and down engine rotation towards the accelerator felt comfortable. Although its absolute power is low, it has an engine tune where I got to enjoy the ride.

The suspension moves well and shows a firm road holding. Overall, it seriously guaranteed a ride performance due to the low friction of the suspension . Moreover, its setting type conveys the vehicle’s movements to the driver. In conclusion, the bit where you can drive with the feeling that the vehicle is always under your control is the best part of the ND Roadster.

The ND Roadster proactively shifts the load; it should be able to sufficiently respond when you try to make an active run. However, when I had the test drive, it was under quite heavy rain; since this vehicle was a prototype model, making a mistake was not an option. Although I refrained from testing the vehicle proactively, I was still able to catch a glimpse of the ND Roadster as completed vehicle which one can enjoy by running (or driving) around.

â–  5 Star Rating
Packaging: ★★★★★
Interior/Comfort: ★★★★★
Power Source: ★★★★★
Footwork: ★★★★★
Recommendation: ★★★★★

Yoichi Moroboshi | Motor Journalist
“He became a freelance journalist at 23 years old after working as an editor for an automotive magazine. He has competed in races like the Fuji Freshman series in his late 20s for seven years. He does motorsports photography and works as a photojournalist. His hobby is cooking.”

(Translated by Natassia Jeronne D. Martinez)