Mazda's tin top Miata RF flips its lidWant all the fun a Mazda MX-5 Miata can offer but hate the idea of owning a convertible? The new RF might be the car you're looking for.
[BLANK_AUDIO] I like the concept of a purer sports car. Something with no weight no frills like [UNKNOWN] nothing to get in the way of the pure drive. The [UNKNOWN] MX-5 is a fantastic car in its own right, light, quick and fun. So why change the formula? There was a folding metal hardtop version of the Mark 3 MX-5, and it was pretty good. But now it's the turn of the Mark 4. Meet the RF or retractable fastback for naming fans. And guess what its party piece is. It's got a folding metal roof. But will that folding metal roof ruin the purity of the MX-5? On paper there's evidence to suggest it might because there's a bit more weight on board, 40 to 45 kilos depending on spec. The 2 liters 158 break horse power and 148 pound foot have more to Move. As such, the [UNKNOWN] is a brisk 7.4 seconds, and it goes up to 134 miles an hour. Now that folding metal roof does mean the car has a higher center of gravity, which is not ideal for the drive physics people will know. However, [UNKNOWN] fiddled with the suspension and the dampers and even the [UNKNOWN] to make sure that it drives as close to the soft top as possible. Other than that, everything's the same apart from the switch in here, which raises and lowers the roof. More weight fiddled with springs and no more power than before. It kinda sounds like the right direction. But what about this Purity stuff. This is Roadster cut with Coupe and I hear people don't like their [UNKNOWN] things cut with anything that'll water it down. With the roof up, this thing looks good actually started with the roof down as well. This MX5 looks good. I mean sod purity for a minute and all that nonsense. This thing is actually really good looking. [LAUGH] I really like the look of it. There is one teeny, tiny problem with With it though. The roof doesn't take long to go up and down, about 13 seconds, and it's quite balletic it does so. However, you can only do it at speeds up to six miles an hour. Dizzying speeds for the Victorian era perhaps, but not so much for say, 2017, that we're in now. I mean, other cars can do it at 30 miles an hour. Why can't this? I don't understand. It's a car park trick at best. Anyway, it's heavier, has a pretty but awkward roof, and no more ower than the cheaper ragtop. It doesn't get any more or less boot space either, so you're best off traveling light And probably being naked a lot. There are [UNKNOWN] like air con and heated seats and sat nav should you want them. And you can have leather seats, ooh, how exciting. Even though pretty much everything nowadays gets leather seats. But when you think about the MG's and the triumphs and other rose tinted Roadsters from way back when They did without things like that. They were lightweight, and had fun handling characteristics and tiny little engines. But when you think about them a little harder, they were almost constantly broken, they were about as safe in a crash as floating a ceiling fan, and they were really slow because they had tiny engines. So, you know what? The good old days weren't actually that good at all. Were they? And the MX5 is an homage to the British roadster of old. It's designed to bring back members of motors that your dad used to fiddle in the garage on a Saturday afternoon. That, for some, is pure motoring. So all this talk of purity and what have you is the retractable fastback which, by the way, is Stupid name. Any good to drive? Well, let's start with the bad. Now hopefully producer Charlie will cut to the many moments of me screaming at the sat nav. Shut the [BLEEP] up. Why are you telling me to stay in a straight line? I [BLEEP] hate you. I hate you. I hate you so much. Why wont it stop? It's so frustrating. Everytime you need it to tell you something, for example, which exit takes a round a bout or whether to take a left or right, it remains stoic, silent. Yet everytime it wants you to drive in a straight line It will tell you to drive in a straight line. I don't understand it. The UI that the rest of it, the resolution of the screen isn't very good, but it works. It's a bit kind of own brand, but it works. But this Sat Nav is so infuriating. So what else is bad about this? Well, it's an MX5, which means it's tiny inside. There's not room for much at all. The boot space, though, is the same in this as it is in the soft top. They've managed to origami that roof into something pretty special, a very tight space. However, there's two of us in here at the moment and there's not too much room to breathe. I think you feel like there's a bit more space in the soft top, which is fine but you buy one of these because you don't want something big. You want something small and light and nifty and exciting and what have you. So, you get exactly what you pay for. But what's good Well, it basically drives like an MX5. That's what good. It's still a little bit wallowy. Which is good fun because you can feel the weight shifts in the car. You can play with the balance of the car. And if you want to get a bit of the skid on, you can. The steering is beautiful. The throttle response that too needs a wrench in it, instant. It doesn't sound amazing, but it Sound terrible either. [SOUND] This is a car that you can have fun in at pretty much any speed. 30 miles an hour it still feel great. I mean, yeah, it's not pushing the limits of grip or anything like that. But, the controls are very tactile. Brakes on this Pretty good, though I wouldn't want to track them. And that manual [UNKNOWN] gearbox is always good fun. The clutch is light, the gear movement itself, it's short, it's sharp, it's direct, but it still feels rewarding It's just fantastic fun. More than anything else, this is about fun. You can use it every day. You know it's not gonna break because Mazdas just don't. They're Japanese and well made. To be frank with you, it doesn't seem like there's a penalty for. Having a hard top. I mean, on the motorway, it's quiet, whereas the soft top would be horribly noisy. With the roof down, yeah, it's not as good. There's lots of buffeting and wind noise and not quite as nice as the soft top. But handling-wise, without driving them back to back, this still feels like a [UNKNOWN] MX5. It's fantastic fun. They're brilliant. They always Have been. I adore it. Essentially if you want a hard top from the sports car, this is your motor, and if you don't you can buy the soft top. In all the RF, silly name and all, isn't a bad car at all, but is it a decent enough successor to the MX5's of old? Well, it feels like an MX5. It likes to rev. It handles beautifully, and you know what? It's just [BLEEP] good fun at not very high speed, which is fantastic. On the motorway, the soft top is way too nosy and loud. You couldn't live with it, whereas this is a more capable, long distance muncher. It just sounds better. However if you take the roof off for a cruise in the countryside, The wind is a little bit more unbearable, but, this is the MX-5 for people that don't like convertibles, who like the security, and forsee extra safety, the hardtop gives them. If I was going to go for a new MX-5, I'd probably go for this one. [MUSIC]