Freshened up Mazda Roadster (Mazda MX-5) goes on sale today in Japan. Most of the effects are cosmetic, with the interior and exterior being improved.

Today is a big day for fans of the Mazda Roadster (i.e. the Mazda MX-5), especially if you live in Japan. A facelifted version of the legendary convertible sports car goes on sale today in its home country from between 2.3 and 2.6 million yen, or roughly $25,000 to $29,000, tax inclusive. The low end of the price scale gives customers a rag-top, while more expensive versions come with the electric retractable hard top.

Mazda is again pusing the "Jinba Ittai" concept of "rider and horse as one" with this cleaned up model. Exterior enhancements include a five-point grille at the front, a lowered down edge on the side from front to back, and new alloys in two different sizes. A few new color choices are available, like Aluminum Metallic and Vivid Sunflower Yellow.

Inside the ride are updated gauges surrounded by a new silver panel. New customers get a choice of brown leather or Recaro bucket seats. The Recaros are upholstered with leather and Alcantara. Five-setting heated seats come with the leather option. Additional soundproofing has also been added.

Performance has been retuned as well. The manual transmission grinds up to 7,500 rpm out of the 2.0 litre DOHC engine, and a new suspension makes driving response feel "more natural." Also, automatic trans equipped vehicles receive Direct Mode and Active Adaptive Shift (AAS) functions for a sportier driving experience.

Still a fun ride, and still competitively priced, the Mazda Roadster would have us saying "Jinba Ittai," if we could pronounce it.

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