The 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF builds on the Miata's formula with a new targa-style retractable fastback roof.

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With its top up, the RF is one of the best-looking cars the Japanese automaker has ever built.

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It's still a gorgeous ride with its roof panel retracted, but I think I prefer the pure open air of the Miata's soft top.

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The new hard top trades a few millimeters of headroom for a significantly quieter cabin at freeway speeds.

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The RF is also about 113 pounds heavier than the ragtop Miata thanks to its roof mechanism and improved sound-dampening materials.

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However, you don't really feel the weight difference on the road. The RF is just as tossable and fun to drive as its sibling.

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Under the hood is the same 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G engine with the choice between six-speed automatic or manual transmissions.

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Cabin technology has never been the MX-5's strong point, but what's there is functional and easy to use.

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Like the MX-5 Miata, the MX-5 RF boasts some of the best driving ergonomics on the road. The seating position and control placement are simply perfect.

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If I've one complaint about the MX-5, it's that the driver-focused cabin has no places to stow things like phones, wallets or purses.

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I particularly enjoyed the Bose Audio system's headrest speakers, which allowed me to enjoy music at reasonable volume with the top down.

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The RF's motorized roof stows or deploys in just around 13 seconds.

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2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF: Ravishing in red