Editor: Jason “The Bok” – Date: 18 Oct 2017
There is a Japanese term known as “Jinba Ittai,” or translated into English, “horse and rider in perfect unity. ” This term, which is fundamentally part of Mazda designing their latest generations of the MX-5, is the reason that the MX-5 remains one of the world’s most beloved roadsters.
When it comes to an engaging drive, few cars can compare to the essence of driving a Mazda MX-5. Simple go-kart inspired handling, with what is arguably the perfect amount of power and balance on the road.
The MX-5 RF(Retractable Fastback) offers a lower ride height and stiffer suspension. The folding hard-top roof adds a small amount of weight to the package, 56 kg, but with the added weight, comes improved refinement and structural rigidity.
In terms of power, the MX-5 RF is available with one motor, and one motor only. It is Mazda’s 2.0-litre petrol engine that delivers 118 kW and 200 Nm of torque. Figures may seem rather small, but when you factor its weight of a mere 1126 kg, the shove it delivers is plentiful.
The RF is only available with a 6-speed automatic gearbox, rather than the fun-loving 6-speed manual which comes with the cloth-top version. Despite this potentially taking some involvement out of the drive, what it does at the same time, is offer a more relaxed feel, in-line with the vehicles gorgeous Targa top design, perfect for boulevard crusing.
The MX-5 RF offers what is in my opinion, the most visually appealing design ever seen within the MX-5 range. Apart from attracting many on-lookers, and garnering many smiles, the RF represents a more sophisticated image to the fun roadster.
The sculpted gooding looking exterior continues onto the interior of the RF, which is much the same as the cloth top and most recent Mazda cars. A high-quality simple, yet elegant blend of impressive materials and a well ergonomically set-out cabin makes for a comfortable place to be seated, despite the small body size.
The clean and minimalistic dashline is enhanced by the implementation of Mazda’s MZD connect multimedia system, which offers a simple to navigate, precise and sophisticated 7-inch touch-screen or jog dial navigatable display and media through a multitude of sources including satellite-based radio stations, such as Aha radio.
The MX-5 RF is a compact roadster, as a result, the boot loading capacity is a mere 127-litres, which is 3-litres smaller than the soft top. Apart from the slightly smaller boot loading space, due to the Targa top design, the RF does suffer from increased wind noise in the cabin at higher travelling speeds. The lower stance also makes ingress and egress from the vehicle that bit more tricky as well.
The quirks in my opinion really are minor in comparison to many of the RF’s redeeming features, which includes its newer even more slick styling and the benefits of a more rigid body and full folding hard-top.
While the RF is perhaps more grown-up than its soft-top sibling, it manages to offer the true roadster enthusiast some of the best driving experiences in a body styled to ensure that it is the star of the show.
I have said for a long time that there is no better roadster which will allow you to experience the true essence of seat of the pants motoring than a Mazda MX-5. The RF adds a touch more sophistication to the MX-5, without losing any of its appeal.
SA Pricing & Warranty
With a 3-year/unlimited km warranty and a 3-year/unlimited km service plan. Service intervals at 15 000 km
Also be sure to watch see our review of the Mazda MX-5 with the soft-top roof: