MANUAL IS the way to go with Mazda’s new ND MX-5 – not least because the auto is an extra $2K – but if you must, the six-speed torque converter unit is more than up to the job. The 118kW, 2.0-litre ND is the pick for those who want more grip and more poke with all the throw-about fun of the 1.5. But in both cars the auto more than gets in the mood, upchanging quickly and rev-matching, smoothly, on the way back down. The paddles are a tad uneventful and there are absolutely no exhaust cracks, pops or braps to speak of, but it’s hardly a slusher and very well matched to the big-fun-ina- little-package vibe of the new ND. – DC SPECS 2.0L INLINE-4, 118KW/200NM, 7.1L/100KM, 1057KG PRICE $36,490