The Mazda MX-5 is one of the iconic vehicles in the US, and the fact that Japanese brand has managed to sell more than one million units since its introduction in 1989 speaks for itself. This model is even in the Guinness World Record book as the best-selling sports car ever made. Mazda could have just produced the fourth-generation MX-5 almost completely similar to the previous one, but they decided to make some changes. The new 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF is slightly heavier, and its price went up, but it is much better.
First of all, there is the metal folding roof that consists of four moving parts, and you can switch from a coupe to roadster in just 13 seconds. No matter which version you choose, they both look astounding. It is true that the 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF remains small and has only 127 liters of trunk space, but the new model is the most sophisticated MX-5 so far. It is also correct that it comes without glove compartment, but watching that roof moving is the most soothing thing you will see on a car.
This car weighs 1080 kg in total, but the roof construction itself is 45 kg, which is heavier than the regular cloth version that can be found on other MX-5 models. Perhaps the only vehicle that can be compared visually to the 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF is the Porsche 911 Targa. Speaking of driving experience, both RF and the regular MX-5 are fun and enjoyable to drive, so there is not much difference in that aspect.
There is no doubt that the look of this car is fascinating, and it is also interesting to say that you can operate the roof while cruising at no more than 10 km/h. The suspension of this vehicle is quite satisfactory, and it brings a stiffer anti-roll bar at the front, while the compression stroke on the front dampers is slightly longer. Just driving this vehicle is pure joy, but attacking the corners with it is so entertaining, and you would like to stay in this sports car forever. However, when you are going into corners at high speed there is some body roll, you don’t have to worry about that as the grip is good and you will not lose traction.
The 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF is equipped with a 2.0-liter four cylinder petrol engine that produces 118 kW and 200 Nm of torque, and most people believe that this unit lacks power. It is mated to the six-speed automatic gearbox, and it has pretty good fuel economy result as it needs 7.4 l per 100 km. The transmission is great in traffic, but it lacks the response and noise of the six-speed manual.
Mazda MX-5 VS Mazda MX-5 RF Equipment and Price
The starting price of the MX-5 RF and the regular Mazda MX-5 is $38,550 and $33,550 respectively. Although the regular MX-5 is less expensive, with the RF you get more features, more powerful powerplant and of course a good-looking roof. We have already mentioned the engine of the RF, while the engine of the MX-5 is the 1.5-liter that delivers 96 kW and 150 Nm, so we will give our vote to the more powerful option.
The RF comes with additional safety features such as rear cross-traffic alert and blind spot monitoring. Mazda also offers a reversing camera as an option, but it costs $485 whereas autonomous emergency braking is not available at all.
Furthermore, the 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF is equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, MZD Connect system that comes with satellite navigation and an infotainment system with a color screen. Among other features, we have LED headlights, a six-speaker stereo, and Bluetooth connectivity.
There is also the range-topping RF GT model that would set you back $43,890, and it contains all of the equipment mentioned above plus adaptive front headlights, black or tan leather upholstery and automatic climate control. If you opt for the top-spec trim, you will also get heated seats, a nine-speaker BOSE stereo with headrest speakers and power mirrors.
The best way to conclude this article is with the words of Masashi Nakayama, the designer of the MX-5 RF. He said: “The MX-5 is more than a tool to move from A to B. Our goal in engineering has always been about the idea of enjoying the car and feeling great. This is the inspiration since the first-generation and we have no intention to change it.”