2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Targa Drive Review

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Targa Drive Review
- Mazda has never built a true Miata coupe, the closest examples being a couple of Japan-market fixed-hardtop conversions and the Power Retractable Hardtop (PRHT) introduced on the previous, NC generation, the RF, is closest current analogue just might be the far pricier Porsche 911 Targa, being a demi-convertible with a similarly functioning top mechanism

- the plastic hoop behind the driver, the pair of sail panels behind lift up and back, twiddle the console-mounted roof button

- the rear glass and two roof panels (the forward panel is aluminum, the rear one is steel) scissor back into a cubby behind the seats

-.nearly the same, albeit sized to fit the slightly smaller fourth-generation ND Miata

- the sail panels are a new stylistic flourish, a coupelike appearance from most angles even with the roof stowed

- the RF will justify its $2755 price premium over the least expensive comparable Miata softtop

- RF isn’t available in the base Sport trim, coming only in sporty Club and luxury-minded Grand Touring spec

- RF is notably quieter inside than the cacophonous roadster

- the rear window and roof panels stowed, air swirls, tornado-like, into the cabin

- the RF benefit from a spring-loaded wind deflector that pops up from the windshield or aerodynamic tweaks to the side mirrors to alleviate these traits at higher speeds

- the RF looks incredible, the company believes the RF will garner about half of all Miata sales

- roof mechanism adds a claimed 113 pounds to the manual-transmission MX-5’s waifish curb weight

- Mazda retuned the suspension to account for the roof’s extra weight, calibrated the electrically assisted steering for a little more heft, drilled holes in an underbody brace to offset some of the roof’s weight

- manual transmission to reduce gear whine

- RF’s two trim levels, the Club has a firmer suspension tune, plus a limited-slip differential on manual models

- the GT spoils with heated leather seats, adaptive headlights, and automatic climate control

- 155-hp 2.0-liter inline-four, 4.6-inch digital driver-information display switches to a full-color format

- shape of the trunk doesn’t change, the opening is the same size, and volume there shrinks by a paltry 0.1 cubic foot

- cockpit still is tight for anyone over six feet tall

- targa-like hoop does create considerable blind spots, similar to those in the roadster with the top raised

- rely more heavily on the standard blind-spot monitoring system

- possibly lighter fixed-roof model would have put the Miata more directly toe-to-toe with the Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86

Starting Price Club($32,430), Grand Touring($33,495)
Vehicle Type 2 door targa, front engine, rear wheel drive
Engine DOHC 16-valve Atkinson-capable inline-4, direct fuel injection
Transmission -- 6-speed manual -- 6-speed automatic, manual shifting mode
Horsepower 155 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque 148 lb-ft @ 4600 rpm
Displacement 122 cu in, 1998 cc
Wheelbase 90.9 in
Length 154.1 in
Width 68.3 in
Height 49.0 in
Curb weight 2450-2500 lb
Passenger volume 48 cu ft
Cargo volume 4 cu ft
0-60 mph 6.3-6.5 sec
0-100 mph 18.2-18.5 sec
Top speed 135 mph
Fuel economy (city/highway) 26/33-35 mpg
Pros quieter than the roadster, looks, cargo capacity unaffected
Cons headroom reduces due to roof