2017 Mazda MX-5 RF

According to me, retractable hardtops are an unnecessary burden
to roadsters due to their heavier weight compared to soft
rooftops. The previous Mazda MX-5 Miata offered a similar roof
as an option and though the roof top brought about a different
appeal to the Miata, I thought it was the last time I would be
see the feature, I was wrong.

For the 2017 model year, Mazda is in fact offering a
full-fledged vehicle with a retractable roof. The automaker
seems to have struck a good formula for the roof that gives the
new vehicle dubbed the 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF an attractive look,
unlike many convertibles which don’t look attractive with their
tops up.  The RF suffix on the name tag refers to its
retractable Fastback roof. Read along to find out more:

2017-Mazda-MX-5-RF-NCI-1

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF Exterior

The exterior profile of the standard Miata and the MX-5-RF are
almost identical except for its new fastback configurations.
When the rooftop is up, the new model resembles a coupe. This
is different from most hard-top models which look like their
soft-top versions when their roofs are up. What’s more
captivating about this model is the fact that its flying
buttresses have stretched the cabin towards the rear which
gives the targa a sporty look and highlights its muscular rear
haunches.

2017-Mazda-MX-5-RF-NCI-13

Its roof transformation mechanism is awesome. In fact, many
people will not believe it’s a convertible if they see it with
its roof top up as it looks like a fully-fledged coupe. 
The roof-op system operates by first allowing the flying
buttresses to lift up, the roof panel and the rear window then
slide behind the rear seats. The system is operated via the
touch of a button and the retraction and deployment process
takes only 12 seconds. However, it’s rather disappointing to
learn that the roof can only be operated at speeds not
exceeding 6.2 mph.

Other exterior features are similar to those of the standard
Miata roadster. In fact, the MX-5-RF and the standard Miata
roadster feature similar body panels. The targa though adds a
new exclusive exterior color dubbed Machine Gray.

2017-Mazda-MX-5-RF-NCI-2

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF Interior

Inside, the cabin is as stylish as that of the standard Miata
roadster. Actually, both are identical except for the
adjustments made to accommodate the metal top. The cabin layout
is centered on the driver. The cabin can be termed as simple
but sporty. It features an upgraded dash with an uncluttered
center stack.  The seats which feature enhanced supports
are mounted much lower on the floor.

2017-Mazda-MX-5-RF-NCI-10

The cabin also features a color touch-screen which displays
important information on the vehicle. The screen is mounted on
top of the center stack.  The targa roof does not
compromise on its trunk space. The vehicle’s unique flying
buttresses remain tucked behind the rear seats which together
with the metal top give the cabin a different feel compared to
the roadster. Bluetooth connectivity, Smartphone integration
and a host of driving aids are also offered as standard.

The vehicle also features an automatic climate control system
which keeps things cool in the cabin when it is not conducive
to lower the metal rooftop.

2017-Mazda-MX-5-RF-NCI-12

Engine Specs and Performance

Under the hood, the 2017 Miata MX-5 RF sports the same
drive-trains as the standard Miata. We understand that the US
models will be offered with a single engine choice.  The
unit is a 2.0 L 4-cylinder SkyActiv-G engine which pumps out
155 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque.

The engine is paired with either a 6-speed manual gearbox or a
6-speed automatic transmission system. The automaker has not
released details on its performance. However, due to the
addition of the hard roof-top, expect the vehicle to be a
little slower than its standard roadster sister. The roadster
runs from standstill to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds. The RF will
probably need 2-3 more seconds to complete the same run.

In other markets, buyers will have an option for a 1.5 L
SkyActiv-G engine. This 4-cylinder engine produces 129 hp and
111 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the 2.0 L engine, this engine is
only combined with a 6-speed manual transmission system. Models
with this engine will be slower and will take around 8.5
seconds to accelerate from 0-60 mph.

2017-Mazda-MX-5-RF-NCI-5

Price and release date

Unfortunately, the automaker didn’t announce the MX-RF’s prices
during its public debut at the New York Auto Show. However, the
vehicle will most certainly cost much more than the standard
Miata roadster which starts at $ 24,915. I believe a starting
price of around $ 29,000 is likely. Mazda will start taking
order for the vehicle in the summer with deliveries following
later this year.

Competition

When the 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF hits the streets, it will face
rivalry from other excellent models with targa configurations.

They will include the Lotus Elise Sport and the queen of targa
configurations herself, the Porsche
911 Targa which is almost as twice powerful than the Miata
and around four times more expensive.  The Fiat 124 Spider
though it misses a targa roof is a considerable alternative as
the roadster features the same underpinnings as the Miata RF.