2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Convertible

#6
in Midsize convertibles
2017 MODEL

$31,555 - $34,925

8.4

Overall Rating

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Overview

The Miata RF is powered by a 2.0 liter inline 4 engine that is good for 155 hp. The power output is unsurprisingly tamable and keeps you having fun without losing your license. Miata has been an engaging car, what works for this car is sizeable power combined to a slick 6-speed manual transmission.

The Miata RF faces competition from the likes ofMINI Convertible and Fiat 124 Spider. However, Miata RF doesn't fail to impress as an overall value proposition.

See detailed review »

Pros

A clean design that goes well with the power-folding hardtop

Great handling

More smiles per gallon

Cons

The power foldable hardtop can only be operated below 6 mph

Cabin noise at high speeds

What's New?

New variant- MX-5 RF

An exclusive "Machine Gray" paint scheme for the RF variant"


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$31555

bodystyle

2dr Convertible

passenger capacity

2

top speed

131 mph

drivetrain

RWD

engine type

displacement

122 cu. in.

horsepower

155 hp @ 6000 rpm

torque

148 lb.-ft. @ 4600 rpm

transmission

6-speed manual

chassis

suspension front

independent front double wishbone suspension

suspension rear

independent rear multi-link suspension

brake rotors (f/r)

11 in. ventilated front disc/11 in. solid disc brakes

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

cargo volume

4.5 cu ft.

performance

zero to 60 mph

6.1 sec.

zero to 100 mph

17.5 sec.

rolling start (5-60 mph)

6.8 sec.

standing ¼-mile

14.8 sec.

braking (70-0 mph)

161 ft.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

26/29/23 mpg

highway range

392.7 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

3 years/36000 miles

drivetrain warranty

5 years/60000 miles

corrosion warranty

5 years/unlimited

roadside assistance

No



Styles

 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Convertible in Soul Red Metallic color  2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Convertible in Machine Gray Metallic color  2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Convertible in Jet Black Mica color  2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Convertible in Arctic White color
Soul Red Metallic

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

9.7

Fuel Economy

7.9

Interior

7.5

Exterior

9.5

Driving

8.9

8.4

OVERALL RATING

Variant Name

MSRP


 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Convertible Club

Club

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

$31,555 - $32,285

Configurations
Club 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl 6M)
Seating: 2 HP: 155-hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 148 lbs.-ft. @ 4,600 rpm MPG(City/Combined/Highway): MPG (27//34)
Club 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
HP: 155 hp @ 6000 rpm

 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Convertible Grand Touring

Grand Touring

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

$32,620 - $33,825

Configurations
Grand Touring 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl 6M)
Seating: 2 HP: 155-hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 148 lbs.-ft. @ 4,600 rpm MPG(City/Combined/Highway): MPG (27//34)
Grand Touring 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
HP: 155 hp @ 6000 rpm

 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Convertible Launch Edition

Launch Edition

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

$33,720 - $34,925

Configurations
Launch Edition 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl 6M)
Seating: 2 HP: 155-hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 148 lbs.-ft. @ 4,600 rpm MPG(City/Combined/Highway): MPG (27//34)
Launch Edition 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
HP: 155 hp @ 6000 rpm

Expert Review


carhp editor October 12, 2018

8.4

Overall Rating


7.0/10
Features

 

9.7/10
Engine

 

7.9/10
Fuel Economy

 

7.5/10
Interior

 

9.5/10
Exterior

 
 
 
 

The Miata MX-5 goes down in the books as the best-selling roadster in the history. The MX-5 offers the 2 seater rear wheel drive- fun formula at a competitive price. In 2017, Mazda offers a new power foldable retractable hardtop variant called the Miata MX-5 RF.

The Miata RF is powered by a 2.0 liter inline 4 engine that is good for 155 hp which is unsurprisingly tamable and keeps you having fun without losing your license. Miata has been an engaging car and what works for this car is sizeable power combined to a slick 6-speed manual transmission.

The Miata RF holds it turf easily against the MINI Convertible and Fiat 124 Spider but on the practical side, there isn't much to expect. Its cargo space can barely hold a single golf bag. The cabin is a tight fit for two, where it even lacks clever commodity spaces to tuck in essentials like wallet and smartphone. The glove box is placed awkwardly, so accessing it while driving can be challenging.

Features

7.0/10

The Miata RF is available in two trims- Club and Grand Touring. The Club offers more sport-tuned hardware. If you seek more comfort and convenience of your Miata RF then Grand Touring trim offers a better list of features. Both these trims share identical engines and are offered with two transmission choices- manual or automatic transmission.

Trim Club 2dr Convertible Grand Touring 2dr Convertible
MSRP $31,555 $32,620
Key Features
  • Limited Slip Differential
  • Bose Premium Brand Stereo System
  • Speed Sensitive Volume Control
  • 9 Total Speakers
  • Keyless Ignition
  • Interior Lighting Kit
  • Painted Alloy Wheels
  • Four-Wheel Independent Suspension
  • Audio And Cruise Controls On Steering Wheel
  • Climate Control
  • Multi-Level Heating Driver/Passenger Seat
  • Leather
  • Alloy Wheels

The Club variant is the sportiest with a manual transmission. It is offered with Limited Slip Differential, independent suspension and optional Brembo brakes and BBS wheels. The GT trim offers more creature comforts like heated leather seats, automatic climate control and safety features like - Lane Departure Monitoring and Blind Spot Monitoring System.

Engine

9.7/10

The usual Miata cues [including a] superb shifter, weak lower rpm torque, great seats, and terrific steering - Motor Trend

The competition follows a different methodology with their engines. While the hardtop is all in with the naturally aspirated engines, most competitors prefer turbocharged engines. Similarly, MINI and FIAT use turbochargers to get more power from their smaller engines. Turbochargers provide much needed low-end torque for regular driving scenarios.

Models Mazda Miata MX-5 RF MINI 2dr Convertible FIAT 124 Spider
MSRP $31,555 $26,800 $25,990
Engine 2.0 Liter I-4 SKYACTIV-G 1.5 Liter Intercooled Turbo I-3 1.4 Liter Intercooled Turbo I-4
Transmission 6-Speed Manual 6-Speed Manual 6-Speed Manual
Horsepower 155 hp @ 6000 rpm 134 @ 4500 160 @ 5500
Torque 148 ft-lbs. @ 4600 rpm 162 @ 1250 184 @ 2500

When it comes to horsepower, Fiat's turbocharged engine manages to extract most out of its 1.4 Liter displacement with its 160 hp output. While Mini's turbocharged engine extracts its peak torque of 162 lb-ft at a mere 1250 rpm.

Acceleration

One thing is sure, in daily driving scenarios, there aren't many chances to keep the engine revving around redline. In this case, the Miata RF hits redline at 6800 rpm. There are few experiences that come close to one of revving a naturally aspirated engine to its redline.

Now, when these engines are becoming rarer, there are a lot of hopes pinned on Mazda's SKYACTIV engines. The Miata RF accelerates to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds. If you are only looking for straight-line acceleration, there are many cars that would do better while costing you lesser than the Miata RF.

The competition with their boost from turbochargers manages to come off the line faster than the Mazda hardtop. The base variant of the MINI convertible performs so horribly due to its 3 cylinder engine, going up the trim ladder brings in a 4 cylinder engine that does a lot better.

FIAT 124 shares its underpinnings with the Miata but the cars couldn't have been more different in character. Both MINI and FIAT score well on the emission regulations due to their smaller engine displacement and use of turbochargers to utilize exhaust gases.

Models Mazda Miata MX-5 RF MINI 2dr Convertible FIAT 124 Spider
0-60 MPH 6.4 seconds 7.5 seconds 6.3 seconds
Quarter mile 14.9 seconds 16.0 seconds 14.9 seconds
Engine 2.0 Liter I-4 1.5 Liter Intercooled Turbo I-3 1.4 Liter Intercooled Turbo I-4
Emission

 

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

6.0 5.5 5.9

Ride and Handling

We are in the sports car "terrain", and Miata RF is the original, meaning around the corners. It holds its line, provides exemplary feedback to the driver by the virtue of its connectedness with the road. And for those of who love a drift-happy car- the Miata awaits you. Miata is competent enough to keep experienced drivers engaged while not being too much for new drivers who want to enjoy a sports car.

Handling is crisp and there are no all wheel or 4-wheel drive gimmicks. The experience is raw rear wheel drive sports car. The power to weight ratio is healthy and flooring the gas pedal at the apex of the turn will see you all the way grinning to another curve.

The experience is something that bets more on sporty character instead of a plush and compliant ride. When you hit the higher revs, there is a significant noise that creeps into the cabin (even with the hardtop down). The suspension is tuned on the stiffer side and longer rides can be uncomfortable. The exhaust sound at higher revs in enjoyable but it can easily become monotonous after spending a lot of time inside the cabin.

Braking

After the redesign in 2016, the entire Miata lineup has shed weight. Although, the new RF has a retractable hardtop. It still inspires confident braking times. The hardtop omes to a halt from 60 mph within 109 ft. That is a respectable figure. The brakes have a predictable response, they closely match the input given by the driver's foot. If you want to take braking performance a notch higher, then optional Brembo brakes are available for your satisfaction.

When compared to the Miata RF, the Spider scores a comparable braking distance while the MINI veers a bit with its longer stopping distance.

Model Mazda Miata MX-5 RF MINI 2dr Convertible FIAT 124 Spider
Brake Front (in.) 11 11 11
Brake Rear (in.) 11 10.2 11
Curb Weight (lbs.) 2445 2855 2436
60-0 MPH (ft.) 109 128 113

Fuel Economy

7.9/10

The SKYACTIV-G makes this hardtop a frugal sports car. It is surprisingly less of gas guzzler when compared to its brethren of cars. The Miata RF offers a combined mpg of 30. Mazda claims that the current engine is 15 percent more efficient than the competition. Even with their turbochargers the MINI and FIAT manage to score MPG ratings which are similar to the Mazda.

Model Mazda Miata MX-5 RF MINI 2dr Convertible FIAT 124 Spider
MPG (city) 27 32 35
MPG (highway) 34 37 26
MPG (combined) 30 28 30

Interior

7.5/10
There's a good balance between support and comfort. The seat bolsters do not intrude, yet they hold you in place reasonably well. - Edmunds

Seating and Comfort

The Miata has always been a really tight fit for two people. And for people with tall proportions, there are some serious issues with accommodation. The Miata might entice you but fitting yourself into one can be a serious problem.

Its cabin at its best is minimalistic. It does it best to avoid any gimmicks and provide an ambiance that makes driving only a solace. The lack of utilitarian spaces means you really have to sit on your smartphone.

Seats are a good place to be. The MX-5's seats are inviting and feel more like you are they are hugging you. They keep you tightly bolted as you zip across the corners. The bolstering on the seats is a rather good feature and once you get used to it you will feel more connected to the car.

When stacked against the competition, the Miata RF doesn't fare well with the MINI Convertible in cabin proportions. Owing to a larger wheelbase the latter is more spacious and can somehow accommodate four persons. Fiat 124 is a distant cousin to the Miata. So, apart from some fancy Italian leather interior, both cars do have a lot in common.

Model Mazda Miata MX-5 RF MINI 2dr Convertible FIAT 124 Spider
Passenger capacity 2 4 2
Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.) 37.4/52.2/43.1 39.8/51/41.4 37.4/52.1/43.1

Infotainment System

The Infotainment system is another part of this car that simply fails to get attention. Its touchscreen works only when the hardtop is stationary, otherwise only the dials near the shifters can control the car.

In its defense, when you are on the move you would hardly have the time fiddle with the infotainment system. The short gearing means you would be through gears pretty soon and would be more engaged with shifter rather than peeking on your infotainment system.

Interior Features

  • All-Weather Floor Mats
  • 6 -Way Manual Driver Seat Adjustments
  • 4 -Way Manual Passenger Seat Adjustment
  • Premium Bose Audio

Cargo Capacity

Every sports car is a trade-off when it comes to practicality. Then again, when was buying a sports car a vividly practical decision. So, even the Miata can't help it when it comes to cargo space. With a modest 4.6 cubic feet of storage. You can hardly manage to slip in a single golf bag.

Model Mazda Miata MX-5 RF MINI 2dr Convertible FIAT 124 Spider
Cargo Volume (ft.3) 4.6 5.7 4.9

Exterior

9.5/10
But after driving it,..It feels like an improvement in every way; the same performance but quieter inside and much better looking. - Cars.com

Dimensions and Weight

Since 2010, Mazda has taken in a new design philosophy called 'KODO'. Instead of attributing distinct identity to a particular car model. Mazda goes with an approach where certain design elements are evident across the entire lineup. In its current form, this design can be explained as Mazda's effort to depict the capacity for instantaneous motion in living creatures.

The design which is feeble at the front bulks up substantially at the rear. The Miata RF doesn't adhere to an edgy design where different elements are added to make the car more appealing. Instead, the Miata stays true to a single curve that is reminiscent of prancing animal.

Weighing at 2445 lbs., the hardtop is on the lighter side of the scales. The overall length, weight, and height are in accordance with the segment norms. You need to be careful with that ground clearance of 4.9 inches.

The MINI Convertible is significantly higher and heavier than the Miata and 124 Spider and its wheelbase is also wider by a margin of 7.3 reaches. This translates to more cabin room and that is the reason MINI convertible can accommodate 4 people.

Model Mazda Miata MX-5 RF MINI 2dr Convertible FIAT 124 Spider
Curb weight (lbs.) 2445 2855 2436
Length(in) 154.1 151.1 159.6
Width(in) 68.3 68 68.5
Height(in) 48.6 55.7 49
Ground clearance (in) 4.9 NA NA
Wheelbase (in) 90.9 98.2 90.9
Track width (in) F/R 58.9/59.2 59.1/59.1 58.9/59.1

Safety

The Miata RF is yet to be tested by either of the safety agencies. But Mazda has equipped the Miata RF with a host of active safety features like antilock brakes, stability and traction control. The Blind Spot Warning and Avoidance system is also a standard feature on the Miata.

Safety Features

  • Tire Pressure Monitoring
  • Blind Spot Warning Accident Avoidance System
  • Emergency Braking Assist
  • Stability Control
  • Post-Collision Safety System
  • 4-Wheel ABS
  • Traction Control

No IIHS and NHTSA ratings available for the hardtop.

Competition

MINI Convertible vs Mazda Miata MX-5 RF

Sorry MINI, you don't stand a chance with your harsh inline-3 engine. This engine cannot hold its ground against the Mazda's 2.0-liter SKYACTIV unit. The former engine is associated with a lot of vibrations at idle speeds and redline. The MINI in its base trim isn't a very engaging car to drive. Going up the trim ladder is an option but the prices climb up pretty quickly as well.

Priced at $26,800, the MINI is a more viable option if you are looking for a sports car that can accommodate four people, somehow. Even the cargo space is better by a couple of cubic feet. Although, MINI is renowned for its go-kart like handling. You would be dismayed by its lackluster engine.

Fiat 124 Spider vs Mazda Miata MX-5 RF

The Fiat 124 and Miata MX-5 are essentially different sides of the same coin. They share a lot of things in common. They are built on the same assembly line in Mazda's Hiroshima plant but the final assembly takes place in Fiat's plant in Turin, Italy.

But these cars couldn't have been more different fundamentally. The Mazda goes blazing with a normally aspirated engine while Fiat plays the 1.4-liter turbocharged card. So, these two cars are hardly comparable when it comes to driving them. Priced significantly lower than Miata RF, the Fiat 124 is a good option if you are on tight budget.

Final Verdict

Miata has been there since 1990 and that too as one of the top performers of its segment. It has appealed to people for its raw sports car ride and a very generous sticker price. Miata combines two elements that really hard to come by - the dynamics of the classic British roadster to the holy grail of Toyota like reliability.

The 2.0-liter engine is a jolly good unit to drive. Sadly, most manufacturers have taken different methods of plumbing. Very few cars can match the Miata's driving experience at this price point. With normally aspirated engines on the brink of their extinction. A lot of hopes are pinned on Mazda's and Nissan.

The 2017 Miata RF is a car for average sized people. The car wasn't designed around taller people and ergonomics are more suited to the former. Even, if you can't resist it then drive it without the top all day.

 

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