The sun can kill you. It’ll also make you hot and sticky and smelly. It’s a real nasty thing despite, you know, making virtually all life on Earth possible. Now, seemingly, despite these risks, there are people who enjoy driving around in their car being slowly baked alive by our local star. It’s insanity, really, and that’s not even mentioning the indignities your hair suffers at the merciless force of the wind.
So convertibles, then, who needs ’em? simply take the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Fantastic little car, barrels of fun, however would not it be better off with 100% less sun? Besides keeping your dermatologist out of business, a solid roof would additionally lead to less wind noise, greater structural rigidity, and better safety for the vampire population. Nothing but Ws on the board.
Alas, the 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF isn’t the perfect solution to this absolutely sane line of reasoning. It’s not the BMW M coupe or Porsche Cayman of Miatas. It’s more like the 911 Targa of Miatas, though since its rear window lowers, the foremost accurate analogy would be the Honda Civic del Sol of Miatas. Feel free to put that on a billboard.
Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Description
It’s significantly impressive how Mazda’s designers managed to carefully reshape the Miata’s rear quarters to fit and conceal the buttresses’ cut line. From most angles, there is no indication that they are anything other than contiguous with the rest of the car. The little black panels that look like darkened windows at first glance are less successful, however they are also clearly necessary to create the desired buttress look and to conceal the roof mechanicals beyond.
All of this trademark can happen at up to six mph. Apparently, and completely seriously, it can be accomplished at higher speeds, however there was concern that anything higher than six mph would increase the probabilities of flowing hair being caught in the wind and snagging within the roof mechanisms. As if the sun wasn’t bad enough. However, if you permit me to remove tongue from cheek for a moment, retracting the roof does cause a legitimate and important drawback.
Wind noise and buffeting become tiresome at only around 45 mph, even with the side windows raised. Roll them down and you get more air, however the same amount of buffeting from the buttresses and crossbar remains. Needless to say, 45 is not exactly quick. The steering was also given a little additional effort and a bit of slack on center, however it is not such an obvious change that we noticed.
And really, unless you drive the snot out of both cars consecutive, it looks unlikely that you will be able to tell the RF and regular convertible Miata apart. That is a very smart thing. Both are blessed with the same divine throttle response and six-speed manual transmission, the little 2.0-liter engine that is equal parts energetic and efficient, and that quintessentially nimble and playful nature. It is a Miata through and through.
Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Price
However, it is also a more expensive one. For starters, it can only be had in Club and Grand touring trim levels – there is no base Sport. It additionally demands a $2,755 price premium over a similarly equipped Miata soft top, meaning the most affordable RF starts at $31,555 versus the foremost basic Miata at $24,915. The similar Miata Club soft top starts at $28,800.
There are not feature content differences apart from an upgraded instrument cluster display, the power-operated top, and exclusively optional Machine grey paint and tan leather. So, herein lies the problem with the RF. Although it has a better acronym than the PRHT, it is a worse convertible. At the same time, it does not benefit from the weight and structural benefits that a full Miata coupe would – a body style that the home office in Hiroshima has vehemently said will never happen.
Worst of both worlds? kind of. What you are thus left with is a unambiguously styled Miata that is quieter with the roof up, unpleasant with the roof down, and a bit more balanced at the limit. Sun haters everywhere can love it, however frankly, it looks like the sort of automotive oddity the rest of people will recollect fondly in 25 years for its distinctiveness instead of for its greatness.