2020 Mazda MX-5 RF – Do you like the British stations or not, there are four of them, each one different, and they keep going around without rest. And as they do, the same things happen: we regret that it is too cold or too hot, and regardless of whether we continue to buy open cars next to the cube load.
The 2020 Mazda MX-5 RF Convertible is always a popular option, but try to drive one at any distance along the highway, even with its roof up, and you will discover its hardly the quietest of cars, with a good degree of road noise and wind that rewinds that canvas roof being the culprit.
Therefore, to attract those who enjoy the open motorized indulgent emotion, but appreciate the option of laying the roof and relaxing when necessary, we now have this Mazda MX-5 RF. The initials are for Retractable Fastback and is the same as the regular convertible version, but it has a retractable and additional retractable sound insulation that is said to increase refinement and make it an everyday proposal.
Interior, Comfort and Cargo
The driving seat of the MX-5 is very low, with the legs placed directly in front of you in a kart-esque position, which can make entering and leaving an inelegant matter. The low-adjustment seat has an adjustable base in standard tilt, which is a welcome addition, but there is no height adjustment. The steering wheel adjusts for reach and rake, although taller drivers may wish to get a little closer to them. It is also worth mentioning that the pedals are slightly shifted to the right. That said, most drivers can feel comfortable in the comfortable seat, as long as they are not too high, so long trips will not be a task.
The high-configuration chubby gear lever of the MX-5 is in the right place, there is a well-padded central armrest, the seat offers plenty of side support at the corners and the dashboard design is sensible and easy to use.
The MX-5 RF is two-seater, so it really has no rear space at all. There isn’t even room for a bag hook, so you’ll have to fight even to tighten a bridge in the narrow space between the back wall and the backrests. The only concession to the storage space is a pair of removable cup holders that intersect between the two backrests.
The front passenger seat has the angle of the backrest controlled by lever, as well as the normal sliding movement back and forth. No height or lumbar adjustment is obtained in any adjustment or as an option. The electric seat adjustment is also not available.
Like the normal MX-5, the RF boot space is the same if the roof is up or down, the metal roof and its mechanism only steals an extra liter of space compared to the soft-top. It is not vast, but considering the size of the car, the fact that it will take two suitcases the size of a trip that makes it useful for a weekend away.
Infotainment and connectivity
For the 2020 MAzda MX-5 RF, the entry level model is the SE-L Nav + (unlike the normal MX-5, which starts with the most rudimentary SE setting) that comes with a 7.0-inch infotainment screen that Apple incorporates CarPlay, Android Auto, sat-nav, a DAB radio and Bluetooth.
In addition to being well specified, the infotainment system is easily controlled through a rotary dial and direct access buttons in front of the gear lever. The only irritation is that you cannot deactivate voice guidance completely; It can be muted, but still transference to the speakers when there would have been an orientation announcement.
Bluetooth connectivity is quite effective and it is relatively easy to have a hands-free telephone conversation with the roof on the highway. But you will have problems with the fallen ceiling. There are two USB ports at the base of the dashboard, next to a cubby, making it an ideal place to store and charge a mobile phone.
Engine, Transmission and Performance
Like the normal MX-5, the MX-5 RF offers a selection of two gasoline engines: a 1.5-liter with 130 bhp and a 2.0-liter with 181bhp. As it is a relatively light car, even the 1.5-liter version feels fast, if not exactly fast, and accelerating its engine to the limiter to access its rhythm is part of the fun.
The 181bhp 2.0 liters also needs to be accelerated, but it feels much stronger lower in its speed range. It also has a significantly more enthusiastic upper end. In fact, you often find yourself waiting until the red line ambush of 7500 rpm before changing a gear, such is the appetite of the engine for revolutions. Do this and the MX-5 gets in the way pretty fast.
Both engines come standard with a six-speed manual gearbox, but, unlike the regular model, you get the option of an automatic six-speed gearbox. It is surprisingly soft and sensitive, and does well to keep up with the revolutions. But, naturally, it takes away a lot of driving fun and doesn’t feel anywhere near as involved as manual setup.
Fuel economy and real-world MPG
Because the 2020 Mazda MX-5 RF is the only new two-seat sports car available at this price level, there is nothing to qualify for directly. However, we mentioned earlier in this review that the MX-5 RF is a little more expensive than the MX-5 soft-top, despite only providing a small gain in refinement. As such, we recommend continuing with the cheapest model unless the need for a hard-top is compelling.
You can also see the Subaru BRZ and the Toyota GT86. Both are more expensive than the MX-5 RF and the coupés, rather than drop-tops, but offer four seats.
Being a relatively light car with fairly efficient engines should make the MX-5 RF cheap to run. We have not yet been able to perform our fuel economy tests in the real world, but even the 2.0-liter version is claimed to average a decent 40.9mpg (combined) under WLTP tests.
Services must be paid every year or 12,500 miles, whichever comes first, and although Mazda’s fixed-price service plan is not the cheapest, it is a reasonable cost and can be paid in monthly installments.
Safety features and driver assistance
Euro NCAP has not tested the MX-5 RF, but the soft-top version gets a decent four-star rating. The MX-5 RF comes with stability control and four standard airbags, along with a bonnet that springs to help limit pedestrian injuries in an impact. There is also a seat mounting point for Isofix children.
The point of existence of the MX-5 RF is the hardtop and additional soundproofing that make it quieter inside than its soft brother. The thing is, however – we don’t believe that the smart roof of RF is the answer that is billed to be. Yes, the road noise is greatly improved, but the wind noise is still pronounced once you reach about 70 mph.
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