Sure, the top mechanism is cool, but I’d prefer one that stowed away completely, like Mazda offered for the last-generation (NC) Miata. I’d rather not pay more for a power hardtop that takes away from the top-down driving experience. And Mazda didn’t need to exacerbate the issue by not offering the base model for the RF.
My test vehicle was an RF Grand Touring with a base price of $32,620. Add in the $300 special paint fee for the Soul Red Metallic paint, $130 for keyless ignition, and the $835 delivery fee and the total came to $33,885. That’s not astronomical, but it’s starting to move away from the bargain pricing that the Miata is known for.
Good news otherwise
As far as the rest of the driving experience goes, the Miata RF is a virtual clone of the fantastic Miata roadster. Sure it adds 113 pounds to the weight, but without driving them back to back, I detect very little difference. Perhaps the ride is a bit more prone to pounding over bumps, but this car is still a flyweight at 2,445 pounds. It still handles like a dream. It still provides excellent steering feedback. It still leans a little bit more than you might expect, then takes a set and carves a tight line through curves. The 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine still revs easily and gets this pocket joymobile going quicker than it seems it should. The tidy little gear lever still shifts with snick-snick precision. Bottom line, this car still brings a smile to your face every time you get behind the wheel.
An emotional choice
The choice to buy an RF over a standard Miata roadster will be purely emotional. If you prefer the top-up coupe-like look of the RF over the roadster, and can live with the rear vision issue, the extra expense, and the somewhat odd top-down look, I say go for it. And I can’t blame you. The sleek lines can be too alluring to resist, and the foul weather protection has its appeal, too. Plus, the driving experience is a blast no matter which version you choose. Just like the Miata roadster, the Miata RF is a warm muffin basket made just for you and delivered by happy little woodland creatures.