Mazda MX-5 named best convertible of 2011

The same handling, fun drive and sporty styling that has made the roadster the best-selling UK sports car has been honoured in the 2011 awards, 21 years after it first went on sale.

The latest generation, available in hard-top and soft-top variations, was labelled the ‘ultimate drop top choice’ by judges, who praised the fun drive of the MX-5.

"Cars that are this much fun rarely make so much sense. The latest MX-5 has a racy new look to match the rest of the Mazda 2011 line-up and comes with attractive prices. Build quality is brilliant and reliability first rate, while the 1.8 and 2.0 engines provide just the right amount of performance," the judges explained. "Best of all, this sporty roadster is no bone-shaker, so it’s as comfortable as it is good to drive."

The Mazda MX-5 finished ahead of rivals from Peugeot and Volvo, as well as supercar manufacturers such as Porsche, to take the top award.

Based on running costs, safety, fuel economy, performance and owner satisfaction, the Mazda MX-5 scored an overall rating of 4.6 out of five to win its category.

Mazda was thrilled with the award, and Jeremy Thomson, Managing Director of Mazda UK, said: "Today, the Mazda MX-5 remains unrivalled as a rewarding sportscar that can also be used for everyday motoring all year round.

"It continues to evoke the spirit of open-top driving while the lightweight, agile and balanced driving dynamics offer the purest, fun-to-drive thrills."

In total, 12 versions of the Mazda MX-5 are available to UK buyers, including the recently released Kendo special edition models. These add premium touches to the interior and two new exterior colours to the MX-5 range.

Standard Mazda MX-5 models start from £17,975. The Kendo soft-top costs £19,255 and the hard-top adds £3,000 to the price.