Two weeks spent with the brand-new 2018 Mazda MX-5 RF brings its share of excitement, driving pleasure and enjoyment of the open, early-summer air… just don’t be too tall.
The former Miata, now offering a beefed-up-go-kart kind of driving experience, will make an impression on you, of that you can be certain! To be sure, you have to know going in what the model’s weak points are, at least in terms of what it delivers as a daily transportation device. Getting in? The glove box? Cargo and storage space? Moving the seats back for a better position? Fuhget about it. Except that you’ll be finding excuses to leave work early and escape in your little funbox.
In terms of its looks, the new MX-5 RF (which stands for Retractable Fastback) gets 17-inch Bright Dark alloy wheels and body-coloured side-view mirrors. Mine was a classy Blue Reflex Mica colour. Specific to this version of the MX-5 is a hard top, which folds partially back; it does nothing so much as bring to mind Porsche’s Targa roofs. Anyways, drive with the top up and it feels like you’re in a conventional hard-top-roofed car.
The bucket seats provide excellent support, though they’re not as adjustable as I would have hoped. Throughout the interior, commands are easy to reach, and each of them is logically placed so you don’t have to think too hard to find them. The expected drive assist systems are all present in the new 2018 edition, and while Mazda’s various warning whistles and bells are known to be a little invasive, we never really felt like we were suffering from an aural or visual onslaught.
On the contrary, the blind spot monitor and other systems like it were highly appreciated, given the super low centre of gravity of this little roadster. Stopped at a light, I was even dwarfed (or almost) by a Yaris!
Under the hood sits a small 2.0L DOHC 4-cylinder engine producing 155 excitable horses! That may not be an impressive number, but this engine, working in conjunction with a very precise and pleasant-to-handle 6-speed manual transmission, transforms the go-kart into a very respectable roadster; it hugs the ground and comes fitted with Brembo brakes well able to calm the little beast when required.
Fuel consumption during our two weeks with the 2018 MX-5 RF never rose beyond 8.2L/100 km in combined driving, even when accelerating hard. But fuel economy is likely the last thing you’re thinking about as you enjoy the driving dynamics the car provides. With a smallish 45-litre tank at its disposal, the car has a single-tank range of around 500 km.
All that driving pleasure aside (assuming you’re able to do that), you’ll have to conjure up some logical reasons to fork over $42,200 for this wonderful toy. For most of us, that’s not chicken feed! You could list its cons and stack those up against the pros. But if price is not a deal-breaker for you, the 2018 Mazda MX-5 RF makes a heckuva second car to have around the house this summer.