Anyone opting for the RF version of the MX-5 over the standard car will expect a degree of extra comfort and it’s folding metal roof provides that, with less noise in the cabin at speed and less buffeting when the roof is folded.
Otherwise it’s business as usual, so although it requires a couple of compromises the RX-F is a perfectly usable and civilised everyday car. Tall drivers will certainly find the cabin snug, but there’s enough adjustment in the seat and steering wheel to satisfy most shapes and sizes.
The interior might not be a match for the Mini Convertible’s in terms of wow factor, but it’s stylish and well built nonetheless, and very easy to use.
Practicality – as you’d expect of a car as small as this – is limited. The boot
is large enough for little more than a couple of soft bags, but unlike some convertibles it has the same capacity whether the roof’s up or down. In-cabin storage is in short supply, but there are a set of handy removable cup holders and a lockable storage cubby. The electrically operated roof (Retractable Fastback in Mazda terminology, hence the name) performs some neat acrobatics as it is raised or lowered, as the various sections swivel and glide into place. It’s a piece of street theatre and takes place in 13 seconds, which is reasonably quick.
Ride quality is good for a sporty car, helped in no small part by the MX-5’s low weight (the RF only weighs a fraction more than the fabric-roof version). Cheaper versions with smaller wheels, in particular, glide over rough roads smoothly. The more powerful, sportier models have stiffer suspension and larger wheels that give a much firmer, but still surprisingly forgiving, ride.
The RF feels a bit different to drive compared with the standard MX-5 due to its small increase in weight and bespoke suspension settings, but it has a very similar character overall. That’s a good thing, because its rear-wheel drive layout and playful character are a keen driver’s dream. Few sportscars – even much more expensive ones – provide such a strong connection between road, driver and machine. When you’re not making the most of the MX-5’s great handling it’s a perfectly civilised everyday car that’s easy to park and happy pootling along in traffic.