Introduced for 2017, a year after the standard fourth-generation MX-5 Miata debuted, the Mazda MX-5 Miata RF is a slightly different take on the lovable little roadster. Rather than a traditional, manually folding soft top, this RF (Retractable Fastback) version features a partially retractable hardtop. Specifically, only the top panel and rear window retract, making this more of a retracting Targa top than a true convertible. Though it may not provide quite the full-blown al fresco experience of a fully retractable drop-top, the distinctly styled RF does provide power operation for the top as well as the greater security and quieter ride of a hardtop. The RF also has more sound insulation than the regular Miata and its top doesn?t take up anymore room when stowed. As such, it makes for a better road trip companion than its soft-top sibling.
Other than its roof and approximately 150-pound increase in curb weight (due to the heavier top and its attendant power mechanisms), the RF has all the charms you expect of a Miata. Fairly energetic acceleration, a satisfyingly slick manual gearbox, very athletic handling and a connection to the road that few other cars can match are all here, making the Mazda MX-5 Miata RF one of the most enjoyable cars on the road, regardless of price.
Current Mazda MX-5 Miata RF
The current Mazda Miata RF is a two-passenger, retractable top sports car. Rather than a fully retractable hardtop roof, the Miata RF has a power retractable top panel and rear window, making it more of a Targa than full convertible. Two trim levels are offered: Club and Grand Touring. Geared toward more serious driving enthusiasts, the Club features a more firmly tuned suspension with Bilstein dampers, a limited-slip differential and a shock tower brace. Highlights of the more comfort-oriented Grand Touring version include heated leather seats, a navigation system and automatic climate control.
A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 155 horsepower drives the rear wheels through a six-speed manual in both trim levels. A six-speed automatic is available on the Grand Touring. Despite the relatively meager power output, the Miata RF still provides fairly brisk performance thanks to its very light curb weight of less than 2,500 pounds and well-matched transmission gear ratios. Fuel economy stands at around 29 mpg in mixed driving.
Read the most recent 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF review.
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