New Mazda Roadster (Mass production trial vehicle)

Mazda Roadster Review: “A fully equipped special package complete with maneuverability” by Yoichi Moroboshi

There was a public test driving for the mass production 4th generation ND Roadster (mass production trial vehicles). The MT model comes in two types: the very simple S Grade and the S Special Package that comes equipped with many new features.

However, the S Special Package has more convenient equipment such as a 7-inch monitor, a fully automatic air-conditioning, and rain-sensing wipers. Aside from that, gear for enhancing its running such as a tunnel brace and Limited Slip Differentials (LSD) were also added. It can also be equipped with items for fuel efficiency improvement such as the i-ELOOP and i-STOP that the S does not have. The car used for the test drive was equipped with i-ELOOP and i-STOP, and its weight increased by 40kg compared to the standard S, thus it weighed 1,030kg.

I had to sink to the level of the lowly arranged seats as I boarded, then I started the engine by stepping on the clutch pedal and pressing the starter switch. The pedal force necessary for the clutch operation was moderate. This car is especially easy to handle even when it is heavy, one would think it would turn unruly when it is light. However, there is no such thing with this car. The clutch meet timing is also calculated well, with the clutch connecting in perfect timing.

When you lightly accelerate the car from as it starts, an indicator in the meter for the shift-up option will appear at right right time to reduce fuel consumption. Running accordingly with this indication while driving in town is good, but if you want to enjoy the Roadster, it is better to turn and shift the engine up to 7,500 rotations at the red line. Time is not measured thus it is not accurate but if what you are aiming for is speed, it is better to have a 7000 rotation shift. If you enjoy driving, you can turn it up until the red line.

The shift lever is located directly where your left hand goes if you lower it. The shift stroke is short, so by tilting your wrist, you will be able to shift gears comfortably. With the feeling of getting drawn in when shifting, the shift lever also responds smoothly when you slowly shift the gear up even after stopping.

The transmission of the ND Roadster that has a gear ratio of 6-speed per direct connection (1.000) has little rotation failures in shifting up; it can even achieve a smooth acceleration. ND Roadster is equipped with an organ-type accelerator pedal just like with other Mazda models; it is also easy to do heel and toe shifting. The fact that both hand and feet operations are smooth and stress-free will produce a more fun drive for the ND Roadster.

As for the special package equipped with tunnel brace and LSD, its maneuverability is also increased. I felt that there was a little delay in the reaction of the rear tires after cutting the steering in the standard type S, but as for the Special Package, there is a unity in the movement of both the front and rear tires. It moves tightly. I was not able to do a test drive of it in the winding roads, but you can surely feel that kind of fascination when you pass winding roads while driving it.

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

Yoichi Moroboshi | Automotive Journalist
He became a freelance journalist at age 23 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 Claire Marie Sausora)