The sun can kill you. It'll also make you hot and sticky and smelly. It's a real nasty thing despite, you know, making virtually all life on Earth possible. Now, apparently, despite these risks, there are those who enjoy driving around in their car being slowly baked alive by our local star. It's insanity, really, and that's not even mentioning the indignities your hair suffers at the merciless force of the wind. So convertibles, then, who needs 'em? Just take the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Wonderful little car, barrels of fun, but wouldn't it be better off with 100 percent less sun? Besides keeping your dermatologist out of business, a solid roof would also lead to less wind noise, greater structural rigidity, and better safety for the vampire population. Nothing but Ws on the board. Alas, the 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF is not the ideal solution to this perfectly sane line of reasoning. It is not the BMW M Coupe or Porsche Cayman of Miatas. It's more like the 911 Targa of Miatas, although since its rear window lowers, the most accurate analogy would be the Honda Civic del Sol of Miatas. Feel free to put that on a billboard. Admittedly, it's a pretty neat bit of engineering and design, and despite the incredibly flattering comparison above, it is accurate to describe its overall look and concept as unique. RF stands for "Retractable Fastback," which is an on-the-nose description. With the entire roof mechanism in place, it does indeed resemble a fastback in profile. From a rear-three-quarter view, that fastback is revealed instead to be buttress panels with a longer deck and a verticalish window placed between them. The Ferrari 575M Superamerica would be another point of reference, but the Miata RF is far better realized. It's particularly impressive how Mazda's designers managed to carefully reshape the Miata's rear quarters to fit and conceal the buttresses' cut line. From most angles, there's no indication that they're anything other than contiguous with the rest of the car. The little black panels that look like darkened windows at first glance are less successful, but they're also clearly necessary to create the desired buttress look and to conceal the roof mechanicals beyond. Ah yes, the compact mechanicals that make the fastback retractable and subject you to the sun's wrath. In 13 seconds, the buttresses lift up and back, followed by the main aluminum roof panel, steel middle section and glass rear window sandwiching together where the Miata's soft top would normally go. The buttresses then return to their upright and locked position bridged together by a flat, glossy black crossbar. All of this origami can take place at up to 6 mph. Apparently, and completely seriously, it could be accomplished at higher speeds, but there was concern that anything higher than 6 mph would increase the chances of flowing hair being caught in the wind and snagging within the roof mechanisms. As if the sun wasn't bad enough. However, if you allow me …
Hide Full Review
Smart Buy Price
|MPG||27 City / 34 Hwy|
|Power||155 @ 6000 rpm|
Savings without having to haggle for it.
Switch to State Farm and save an average of $536* on your car insurance.