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The Mazda MX-5 RF: A Miata for people who hate convertibles

Jeff Glucker June 22, 2017 Featured 30 Comments

The ND Miata is good. There’s no denying that the current generation Mazda MX-5 is an excellent machine. Still, I’m a bit of weird who prefers coupes to convertibles. Some air would be nice… and that’s where the MX-5 RF comes into play. Say hello to the Retractable Fastback version of …The Answer to any question where it’s not already 42.

You start with the basic MX-5 goodness that is the front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. Add in a slick-shifting six-speed manual gearbox and you’re on the right path.

Now make it a Club version car, which gets beefier brakes, nice bits of blacked-out trim, and some sweet BBS wheels and you are doing even better. The MX-5 RF won’t please the Miata Purists but it will make a whole lot more people who might not’ve considered the car before start to take a closer look.

[Disclaimer: Mazda tossed us the keys to this car and included a tank of fuel. We spent more money on pomade over the next few days at our own expense.]

  • Alff

    If my cadre of longtime Miata street and track driving friends are any indication, Miata purists love this car. I don’t blame them. It is outstanding and is one of very few new cars that could have me reaching for my checkbook.

    • Jeff Glucker

      • Alff

        Just one guy’s opinion … and it’s pretty bold of him to assume that only “casual” Miata buyers will want one.

        • Jeff Glucker

          Agreed – Travis is an insane person when the topic is Miata

          • Must be nice to only have insane opinions on particular topics. I’m pretty much always there.

            • If it’s any comfort, I think you’re sane.

              • Alff

                Damned with faint praise, considering the source.

            • Especially when you are a populist journalist, in the age of either/or.

    • Alff

      One man’s opinion … and laughable that he assumes that only casual Miata buyers will want one.

  • Lokki

    This might be the ideal car for my wife – she wants a convertible, but she doesn’t really want a convertible, at least not here in Dallas where the temperature will reach 95 F today. Her BMW 3 Series is getting -very- old and we will have to find something to replace it. She’s spoiled by being used to cars that have power, handling, and brakes, and she doesn’t like crossovers. I don’t want to spring for another BMW or Mercedes as since retirement she really doesn’t drive a lot. This sounds like the ideal compromise. Of course, if she doesn’t like it, I suppose I could just drive it all the time, for her….

    I think we have a plan here!

  • My boss owns over 150 cars. He has is own private car museum and restoration shop and his collection includes four Ferraris. He told me his new RF is his favorite car, bar none. Let that sink in.

    And it’s not just that the Miata is good in general. He previously had an NC Miata, which he traded for a regular ND. Then, six months later, he traded that for an RF once they became available. He says that the comfort, noise suppression, and practicality of the RF roof takes the car to a whole ‘nuther level in comparison to the ragtop.

    • Jeff Glucker

      That’s pretty amazing considering the cars your boss has

    • I get it, a personal treat without showing off or being annoyed by the shortcomings of a “pure breed” or whatever.

  • Coupe Cake is a lie.

  • I have to admit to being a past Miata Weight Weeine ™. The RF has really piqued my interest though as it looks like a great sports car. Perhaps it’s because I race a different Miata now that doesn’t even had a windshield? And here I thought the 124 Abarth would be the ND to get me to jump into a new Miata.

  • Zentropy

    Personally, I dislike convertibles, so the RF is great in concept. My problem, though, is that amidst all the people raving about the new MX-5’s styling, I’m left shaking my head. It looks ok in profile, but at 3/4 or from front or rear, I don’t like it at all. I much prefer the look of the Fiat 124, and within the MX-5 designs, the NA and NC remain my favorites. I think the hardtop versions of those cars have odd proportions, though.

    • I think it’s as sexy as a car called Sexy McSexyCar.

        • Don’t mess with her, or the brother will pass by and make you change all eight of his tires.

          • boxdin

            Or all 6 of his tires.

  • neight428

    I like the RF quite a lot and in person, they look even better than in pictures/interwebs. I *think* I’d prefer the roadster, but would want to drive both. I’m watching the used market on the 2016’s to see what depreciation might do to bring them in to my garage.

    • Gianni Burrows

      From what I have seen on miata.net, there are deals to be had on the 2016’s that are still on the dealer’s lots. I think you can score an even better deal on the Fiata. I read somewhere that it has one of the largest days supply inventory number currently.

  • Living in middle Norway (few days suitable for roof down) and visiting AZ (they canceled flights because of the heat) I totally grasp the idea. Also, I had long hair once and have a 2″ beard now, and hence, prefer coupes for dignity reasons.
    +1 for the CS version, too.

    • hwyengr

      Hey, how was that AZ trip? What did you end up doing?

      • I’m typing this from my breakfast table with a view over Sedona Speedway Park! It’s a very hot week, and my colleagues warned me that the trip to the Grand Canyon would be boring and slightly tedious for a day trip, all by myself (just the trip). They recommend a two-night stay variant anyway, to get more of it.
        So I took A Jeep tour into Sedona’s trails, and will return to Phoenix later today.
        Thanks to my jetlag I’ll be at Pima’s aircraft museum the minute they will open tomorrow.
        Then a day of work, and back to the fjords I’m living at.

        • boxdin

          I’ve been going to Sedona for years, is there really a Sedona Speedway Park?
          I would be amazed…..

          • To be clear: no. There is a fantasy circuit in the Forza games called like this, which echoes the characteristic landmarks,that is all.

            The only cars going in circles there are Jeeps, loaded with tourists and often, painted pink.

            • boxdin

              See if I was up on driving games I’d know that.

  • wunno sev

    if anyone else has played the excellent Hotline Miami games: how certain were you, after the first ten seconds of this video, that Jeff was going to murder an entire house full of Russian gangsters? for me it was 300%


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