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Small But Deadly: Mazda Miata MX-5 RF

mazda mx 5 rf car reviews

It is said that all good things come in small packages. The Mazda Miata MX5 is no exception. The tiny roadster has been the center of attention of the automobile world for many years. The car has created a legacy of its own over the years and remains one of Mazda’s most successful projects to date. There is a good reason why every motorhead knows about the Mazda Miata and despite its compact size, the Miata, is counted among the greatest roadsters of our time.

Overview

Driving a roadster is great fun. The car lets you feel the wind on your face and enjoy the sound of an engine as the car punches its way through to faster speeds. The great thing about the Mazda Miata is that it is a roadster that can be bought in two specifications. You can get it with a soft top or hardtop. A roadster with a soft top has its advantages but personally, that is not something I would recommend. A soft top lets too much noise into the cabin so when and if you are looking for some quiet you can’t get it.

In comes the Mazda Miata MX-5 RF. The RF which stands for Retractable Fastback ditches the soft top in favor of a retractable roof panel that folds away nicely at the press of a button. Mazda has added a small window in the back as well to add stability to the area holding the roof panel. The MX-5 RF, in return, looks like a two-seat coupe with the middle part of the roof missing.

Exterior

The 2019 Miata MX5 RF adopts the latest design philosophy being used by Mazda. Although you can see hints of the earlier generation Miata there is a lot that has been changed. Fortunately, the change is remarkable and it even makes the roadster look more appealing than before. The front fascia has sleek headlights and day-time LED lights at a place where you would expect air vents. An unusual place for day lamps but if you thought that was awkward wait till you learn the position of the side indicators. Interestingly, the indicators are placed on the side panel just by the tires. I am not sure what Mazda was thinking but as long as the system works properly, we should not be complaining. The front grill is huge and looks like a fish has opened its mouth to eat, although others may not see it this way. According to some enthusiasts, the Miata looks like it is smiling all the time, a strange combination seeing how the Miata has a menacingly good power-to-weight.

The rear end does not look as handsome as the front. In short, it looks like everything has been crammed in place creating a controversial aesthetic. However, Mazda does like thinking out of the box and innovating the design of every new car.

Powertrain

The Miata MX-5 is a small car with a big hood to accommodate its big sporty powerplant. The MX-5 comes with a 2.0- liter SkyActiv inline-four engine that manages to purge out 181 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. You might think that the 181 horsepower does not justify the 2-liter displacement and I agree but this roadster is tiny and lightweight.

To help the car achieve thrilling speeds the engine is teamed up with a 6-speed manual gearbox. This setup has been done for the first time in 2019. The previous year Miata made 155 horsepower with its engine but that would seriously undermine the performance of the hardtop RF seeing as the RF is 110 pounds heavier than the soft top version. The 2019 MX-5 RF has been given justice thanks to its amped-up power output. The roadster is faster than ever and even reminiscent of the celebrated turbocharged Miata of the past.

Mazda MX-5 RF goes topless

Interior

The cabin of the Miata is cozy and specifically built for two people. There is enough legroom to fit a reasonably tall person but beware of the headroom. There should be no problem once the top is off but NBA centers could face some problems if the top is down. The RF version has made talking inside the car less of a chore, however, the buzz from the outside is still pretty audible. Things are better in terms of cabin noise but not ideal. But who am I kidding? Nobody buys a roadster to have a meaningful conversation. Instead, the idea behind a roadster is to enjoy the drive to its fullest.

The interior finishes and upholstery materials are far from impressive. However, good enough considering a car in this price range. The dashboard is pretty simplistic. There are those standard steering wheel buttons that you can use to navigate the radio and perform audio calls. A flip-up infotainment screen pops up for navigation and for you to enjoy your favorite tunes. Other than that, there is cruise control, air conditioning and power windows at your disposal. Nothing too fancy here, just enough amenities to meet your needs.

The RF Tag

There could be no talk about a convertible if there is no talk about its roof. There are plenty of things to consider such as the material being used and how quick the roof comes into place. The hardtop roof in the Miata is pretty robust and it takes only 16 seconds for it to come one but there is a big drawback to it. Imagine driving on the highway and rain suddenly hits you, if you are in the Miata MX-5 there is bad news for you. The top cannot be put on if the car is in motion, so you would have to find a place to stop, wait 16 seconds for the top to come on and then continue on your way. All the while, you and your interior is soaking in rain. Does not sound too exciting.

The soft top Miata was not bad, to begin with. So, what if there was more outside noise in the cabin? The soft top could come out in a jiffy and it could protect you from the rain. Why did the Japanese company go with the hard-top version? The answer lies in simple supply and demand. Mazda sold more RF models than the soft top which is why the company made the shift. Now even though there are drawbacks to the hardtop version it is the one best sold.

Performance

What would you expect from a small car with a potent engine?  Of course, exciting speeds and immaculate handling. The Mazda Miata MX-5 is a pure roadster. The car is specifically designed for such purposes. Which is why for 2019 there are new models. There is a Miata Sport, Grand Touring and Club. Sport is the cheapest and rightly so since it has all the raw details required to run a car. The Club model is one step up the ladder with extra features and then comes the Grand Touring model. The Grand Touring model is the best MX-5 out there with extra features to facilitate cross-country driving. Understandably the Grand Touring model is the most expensive but it performs the best as well.

The MX-5 drives like it has stuck to the road because the center of gravity for this car is extremely low. The handling in corners is remarkably good. The suspension system and the brakes complement each other brilliantly. The RF is a winner in all aspects except luxury, but hey who is looking for that anyway?

Conclusion  

The Mazda Miata MX-5 RF is a treat of a car which is perfect for driving around in the city and equally perfect for a trip to another city. There is enough luggage space for essential items or small bags, however, nothing too big. Seeing as there will only be two people traveling in such a small car, the trunk space is plenty. If you are looking to enjoy precision engineering and the class of Japanese automobiles in a small package, then there is no better car to experience it in than the Mazda Miata MX-5.  

Mazda MX-5 RF
Mazda MX-5 RF
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Mazda MX-5 RF
Mazda MX-5 RF


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