Preconceptions can be a wonderful thing. Essex, for example, is actually quite a nice place to live; TVRs don’t have to breakdown (much); and sometimes racing drivers can construct a sentence without even using the phrase ‘for sure’. Wherever we get preconceptions there are inevitably bargains to be had by those capable of seeing through them. And the ‘girlie’ end of the car market is no exception. The Mazda MX5, for example, may attract more than its fair share of hairdresser jibes, but once you’ve seen one slithering around a wet track the idea of dismissing it for its image is a bit like writing off Napoleon because he was 'a bit short'.