2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Convertible

#17
in Midsize convertibles
2018 MODEL

$31,910 - $33,825

7.6

Overall Rating

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Overview

Back in the 90s, there was an increase in Japanese imports on American shores. Japan's offerings were fun, light, and reliable, compared to American cars, which were large, heavy, and built like a house of cards. One of the most iconic Japanese cars of the era was the MX-5, which Mazda has now updated for 2018.

This legendary two-seater has a 155-hp 2.0-liter four with a six-speed manual; although you can also opt for the six-speed automatic (but why would you want to?). The RF model offers a power-folding Targa top, but it's much more expensive than the cloth-topped Miata.

The car is extremely light because of aluminum in its construction to keep the weight down. The Miata works really hard to stay true to its roots, although there are no pop-up headlights. What it does offer though, is agility and telepathic handling.

See detailed review »

Pros

Extremely fun to drive

Brilliant handling

Drop-top

Decent fuel economy

Cons

Firm ride

No sound deadening

Poor storage space

What's New?

A 7.0-inch infotainment display with rotary controller

HD radio compatibility

Proximity key with push-button start

Four new paint options


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$31910

bodystyle

2dr Convertible

passenger capacity

2

top speed

131 mph

drivetrain

RWD

engine type

horsepower

155 hp @ 6000 rpm

torque

148 lb.-ft. @ 4600 rpm

transmission

6-speed manual

chassis

brake rotors (f/r)

11 in./11 in.

dimensions

wheelbase

90.9 in.

length

154.1 in.

width

68.3 in.

height

49 in.

curb weight

2445 lbs.

ground clearance

5.3 in.

capacity

towing capacity

10200 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

6.1 sec.

standing ¼-mile

14.8 sec.

braking (70-0 mph)

161 ft.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

26/30/33 mpg

highway range

404.6 mi.

warranty

roadside assistance

No



Styles

 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Convertible in Machine Gray color  2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Convertible in Jet Black Mica color  2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Convertible in Eternal Blue Mica color  2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Convertible in Ceramic Metallic color  2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Convertible in Arctic White color
Machine Gray

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

7.0

Engine

7.1

Fuel Economy

7.9

Interior

6.7

Exterior

7.1

Driving

9.8

7.6

OVERALL RATING

Variant Name

MSRP


 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Convertible Club

Club

Fuel: Premium unleaded (required), Transmission: Manual, Seats: 2

$31,910 - $32,510

Configurations
Club 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl 6M)
Seating: 2 HP: 155 -hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 148 ft-lbs. @ 4600 rpm MPG(City/Combined/Highway): MPG(26/30 (Est)/33)
Club 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
Seating: 2 HP: 155 -hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 148 ft-lbs. @ 4600 rpm MPG(City/Combined/Highway): MPG(26/30 (Est)/35)

 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Convertible Grand Touring

Grand Touring

Fuel: Premium unleaded (required), Transmission: Manual, Seats: 2

$32,750 - $33,825

Configurations
Grand Touring 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl 6M)
Seating: 2 HP: 155 -hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 148 ft-lbs. @ 4600 rpm MPG(City/Combined/Highway): MPG(26/30 (Est)/33)
Grand Touring 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
Seating: 2 HP: 155 -hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 148 ft-lbs. @ 4600 rpm MPG(City/Combined/Highway): MPG(26/30 (Est)/35)

Expert Review


carhp editor October 10, 2018

7.6

Overall Rating


7.0/10
Features

 

7.1/10
Engine

 

7.9/10
Fuel Economy

 

6.7/10
Interior

 

7.1/10
Exterior

 
 
 
 

Back in the 90s, there was an increase in Japanese imports on American shores. Japan's offerings were fun, light, and reliable, compared to American cars, which were large, heavy, and built like a house of cards. One of the most iconic Japanese cars of the era was the MX-5, which Mazda has now updated for 2018.

This legendary two-seater has a 155-hp 2.0-liter four with a six-speed manual; although you can also opt for the six-speed automatic (but why would you want to?). The RF model offers a power-folding Targa top, but it's much more expensive than the cloth-topped Miata.

The car is extremely light because of aluminum in its construction to keep the weight down. The Miata works really hard to stay true to its roots, although there are no pop-up headlights. What it does offer though, is agility and telepathic handling.

Features

7.0/10

The new Miata MX-5 comes with two options, the RF Club and the RF Grand Touring. The RF Club can be bought for $32,800 for the manual, and for $33,400 for the automatic variant.

The RF Grand Touring has a manual and an automatic variant too, which retail for $33,640 and $34,715 respectively. The Grand Touring trim has better equipment too, like engine immobilizer in case of a break-in and traffic monitoring systems. It is powered by a 2 Liter 16-Valve engine which churns out 155 horsepower.

Trims

RF Club

RF Grand Touring

MSRP (Manual)

$32,800

$33,640

MSRP (Automatic)

$33,400

$34,715

Features

  • 17-inch Dark Silver Aluminum Alloy wheels
  • 9-Speaker Bose Sound System
  • Blind Spot Monitoring
  • Variable-intermittent windshield wipers
  • Additional features to RF Club:
  • Engine Immobilizer
  • Rear-Cross Traffic alert
  • Black Rear Slip Spoiler
  • Auto-Dimming Driver Side Mirrors

We Recommend

The premium RF Grand Touring Trim is the one you should buy, and if possible, with the manual transmission. Manual Miata offers a very pure driving experience, and that is the best way to have it. The extra equipment also helps, but if you wish to have the lightest Miata to throw around the bends, the base RF trim would do just fine.

Engine

7.1/10

The Miata might not boast big power numbers, but it's small and light, so it always feels exceedingly nimble. You won't find many cars that put the driver more in touch with the driving experience or that are more entertaining to drive on public roads — especially the twisty ones. -edmunds

Miata's powertrain is not its strongest point; its 2.0 Liter engine is fun and free revving, but not the most powerful unit in this class. With only 155 horsepower, the Miata won't be burning any rubber, although its lightweight construction helps it not be too slow.

Model

Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Club

Toyota 86

Ford Mustang EcoBoost Fastback

Subaru BRZ Premium

MSRP

$32,800

$26,255

$25,680

$25,595

Engine

2.0L SKYACTIV-G DOHC 16-Valve I4

2.0L H-4 DOHC D-4S

2.3L EcoBoost

2.0L DOHC 16V 4-Cylinder

Transmission

6-Speed manual

6-Speed Manual

6-Speed Manual

6-Speed Manual

Power

155 hp

205 hp

310 hp

205 hp

Torque

148 lb-ft

156 lb-ft

350 lb-ft

156 lb-ft

There are two transmission options for the Miata, a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic. Both the transmissions do their best to put that power down to the road via the rear wheel drive system, although the manual is the way to go. The automatic is slow, but comfortable for people who don't want the hassle of a clutch pedal, whereas the manual is slick and fun to drive and the clutch is very well weighted too.

Acceleration

Engineers at Mazda worked really hard to make the MX-5 as light as possible, and this reflects in the way it accelerates. It goes from a standstill to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds and completes the quarter mile run in 14.5 seconds. The numbers aren't very fancy, but they aren't too slow either.

Model

Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Club

Toyota 86

Ford Mustang EcoBoost Fastback

Subaru BRZ Premium

0 to 60 mph

5.6 sec

6.2 sec

5.6 sec

6.2 sec

Quarter Mile

14.5 sec

15.0 sec

14.1 sec

15.0 sec

Engine

2.0L

2.0L

2.3L

2.0L

Emission (Tons/yr. of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year)

6.0

7.4

7.1

7.4

The turbocharged EcoBoost engine of the Ford Mustang offers the strongest acceleration of the bunch due to its better power and torque. The Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ have better power and torque but are a smidge slower than the Miata in acceleration runs.

Braking and Handling

The brakes are small on the convertible, only 11 inches both front and rear, although they should be enough for a car of this size. The 2,500-pound heavy Miata comes to a halt form 60 mph in 124 feet, which is a little lower than all the cars in this segment.

The Handling of the droptop is its strongest point, and also the most unadulterated fun driving experience in the current crop of cars. The chassis is extremely light and easy to throw around the corners and is the only reason a Miata would survive a racetrack. The steering is communicative, providing a lot of feel and feedback. The tires aren't the best though, and if you are the performance-oriented kind, changing the tires should be the first thing you would do with the MX-5.

Model

Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Club

Toyota 86

Ford Mustang EcoBoost Fastback

Subaru BRZ Premium

60 – 0 mph (ft.)

124

120

106

120

Curb Weight (lbs.)

2445

2774

3532

2789

Brake (Front)

11.0

11.6

12.6

11.6

Brake (Rear)

11.0

11.4

12.6

11.4

Fuel Economy

7.9/10

The MX-5 Miata has much less weight to lug around than the competition. The biggest advantage of lightweight is efficiency and it manages 26 mpg and 33 mpg in the city and highway respectively, bringing the overall figure to 29 miles per gallon.

Model

Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Club

Toyota 86

Ford Mustang EcoBoost Fastback

Subaru BRZ Premium

MPG (City)

26

21

21

21

MPG (Hwy)

33

28

31

29

MPG (Combined)

29

24

25

24

The EcoBoost Mustang with its turbocharged engine works wonders for it, helping the much heavier car boost similar efficiency figures as the 86 in the city, and more on the highway, managing 31 mpg overall. The 86 and the BRZ can manage to run for 21 miles in the city on one gallon of fuel. On the highway, it can manage 26 miles on a single gallon, which brings the average to 24 miles per gallon

Interior

6.7/10

he Miata's interior is well-crafted with a pleasing and relatively ergonomic design. But a small car like this comes with the typical drawbacks, such limited cabin space for bigger-than-average people. -edmunds

Seating and Comfort

Remember when we told you that the Miata MX-5 is the lightest in this segment? It's because it has no rear seats at all. It only seats two people, although those two people would be seated in comfort. The cabin includes only the bare essentials and even though practicality takes a hard hit, the car still feels quite cozy. The interiors aren't great quality, but they are functional and that's enough. You don't buy a Miata for the interiors; you buy it for the thrill.

Model

Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Club

Toyota 86

Ford Mustang EcoBoost Fastback

Subaru BRZ Premium

Passenger Capacity

2

4

4

4

Passenger Volume (Ft.3)

N/A

76.5

84.5

76.5

Headroom (Front/Rear) (in.)

36.8/NA

37.1/35.0

37.6/34.8

37.1/35.0

Legroom (Front/Rear) (in.)

43.1/NA

41.9/29.9

44.5/30.6

41.9/29.9

Shoulder Room (Front/Rear) (in.)

52.2/NA

54.5/51.7

56.3/52.2

54.5/51.7

All the other cars here have much better interiors, although they don't get fancy upmarket leather or wood either. The Mustang has the most space inside, while the 86 and BRZ have slightly less space in the cabin. None of these cars have enough space in the back for adults, which mean rear seats are only for the children.

Infotainment System

The Miata boasts a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment interface with a second rotary control knob on the center console. It comes standard with Bluetooth connectivity, but Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are still notably missing from its catalog. Other features on offer are:

  • HD radio compatibility
  • CD player
  • Navigation (Grand Touring trim only)

Cargo volume

The Miata disappoints in this regard, as it neither has a sufficient boot nor does it have rear seats which can be folded to carry more luggage. The trunk is merely 4.8 cubic feet, which might barely hold one bag.

Model

Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Club

Toyota 86

Ford Mustang EcoBoost Fastback

Subaru BRZ Premium

Trunk Vol. (Ft.3)

4.8

6.9

13.5

6.9

The cargo capacity of the Toyota 86, and consequently the Subaru BRZ, is extremely limited, with only 6.9 cubic feet of storage space in the trunk. The Mustang offers the most space in the boot in this class, although it still is quite inadequate for a proper airport run.

Exterior

7.1/10

The 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata’s sleek lines, especially in RF form, belie its reasonable sticker price. -thecarconnection

Dimensions and weight

Designed as a very compact car, the convertible has the smallest dimensions in its segment by far. The wheelbase is only 90 inches, and the length 154 inches. These tiny dimensions are responsible for the lightweight chassis and super responsive handling. The Miata also has the highest ground clearance here, at 5.3 inches, although off-road abilities are extremely limited due to lack of power and poor stock tires.

Model

Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Club

Toyota 86

Ford Mustang EcoBoost Fastback

Subaru BRZ Premium

Curb Weight (lbs.)

2445

2774

3532

2789

Wheelbase (in)

90.9

101.2

107.1

101.2

Length (in)

154.1

166.7

188.3

166.7

Width (in)

68.3

69.9

75.4

69.9

Height (in)

49.0

50.6

54.4

50.6

Ground Clearance (in)

5.3

4.9

5.1

4.9

Track Width Front (in)

58.9

59.8

62.3

59.8

Track Width Rear (in)

59.2

60.6

64.9

60.6

The Miata was never designed as an overly aggressive car with its previous generations, but this latest design is part aggressive and part seductive. The pop-up headlights are gone, but there are other exteriors details that grab your attention, such as:

  • Full-LED exterior lighting
  • 17-inch wheels,
  • Dual exhaust outlets
  • Front splitter
  • Rear spoiler

Safety

Safety Features

The convertible offers the most safety features amongst all its previous generations. The most important standard safety features are provided below -

  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • ABS And Driveline Traction Control
  • Side Impact Beams
  • Blind Spot Monitoring
  • Adaptive Front Lighting
  • Rear-Cross Traffic Alert
  • Low Tire Pressure Warning
  • Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Seat-Mounted Side Airbags
  • Curtain 1st And 2nd Row Airbags
  • Airbag Occupancy Sensor
  • Outboard Front Lap And Shoulder Safety Belts -inc: Pretensioners
  • Back-Up Camera

No IIHS and NHTSA ratings avaible for the Miata MX-5.

Competition

Toyota 86 Vs MX 5 Miata RF

The Toyota 86 is probably the best lightweight, affordable sports car out there, with its magical handling and a moderate amount of power. The rear seat is extremely cramped though, and the lack of power will become more evident once you start pushing the car and realize how much more capable the chassis is.

Ford Mustang EcoBoost Fastback Vs MX 5 Miata RF

The EcoBoost Mustang is a great car, but it isn't a great Mustang. As a budget performance car, it is fast, agile, and basically a near perfect package. But it will forever live in the shadow of the V8. If you are an enthusiast who knows even a little about cars, you probably aren't going to buy this.

Subaru BRZ Premium Vs MX 5 Miata RF

The Subaru BRZ is mechanically similar to the Toyota 86, as both are made on the same assembly line by Subaru. As such, this is also a fun, small, and agile car, which offers a great driving experience, and the lack of power will haunt you once you get used to the car.

Final Verdict

Think of the Miata not as a car, but as an experience. It is perfect if you already own a car and only want to expand your garage. It is the purest car among all the modern cars, with its tiny size and lightweight. The handling is really fun and driving around aimlessly will feel like second nature to you. On the other hand, if you need a car for any reason other than fun, then walk past the MX-5. It is not a car you should own for any reason other than pleasure.

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