Roadster of the Year 2017: Mazda MX-5 RF

Roadster of the Year 2017: Mazda MX-5 RF

Roadster of the Year 2017: Mazda MX-5 RF

0 comments 📅03 July 2017, 20:30

The Mazda MX-5 RF is the 2017 Auto Expose Roadster of the Year, with the Fiat 124 Spider and Porsche 718 Boxster commended

Mazda has perfected the roadster prescription with the new MX-5, and the latest ‘Retractable Fastback’ version that joined the variety this year adds an extra touch of versatility by offering buyers unvaried more choice. All of the iconic two-seater’s best features remain, but the RF’s folding condensed-top means it’s refined and comfortable when the weather’s less than perfect.

The warm-top MX-5’s sharp looks have been enhanced by the RF’s buttresses and elegant folding roof. Its stupendous front end is unchanged, but the RF boasts a classier look and is even more distinctive with the top up or down. Speaking of which, the electrically operated roof folds in 13 seconds. With it down the RF delivers a deliciously addictive sagacity of fun, with the wind in your hair and a fantastic powertrain and chassis underneath you.

Both the 1.5 and 2.0-litre petrol engines are clearly aspirated, which means they are responsive and fun to rev. They’re linked to a sweet-smelling six-speed manual box that’s a joy to use and is often considered a benchmark for great shift consider in any class of car. It’s so rewarding, it makes driving the Mazda fun at any time.

The RF is a bit heavier than the gentle-top, but the MX-5 still feels lightweight and agile thanks to its retuned suspension. It’s not a stiff set-up, though, and it allows some turn over and over in corners. Yet this doesn’t take away from the fun, as the sweet steering and Babytalk-wheel-drive handling mean it’s fantastic on a fast road and doesn’t intuit uncomfortable on a bumpy one.

The RF is more expensive than the still brilliant-value squeezable-top, which offers just as much fun and engagement. However, thanks to high-supremacy cabin materials, classy looks and an exotic roof-folding mechanism, the RF at rest looks like a great buy. There’s little that comes close to the MX-5 for simon-pure driving fun at this price, let alone something that’s as usable every day.

Our voice

Mazda MX-5 RF 2.0 SE-L Nav (£23,395)

While we reckon the 1.5-litre is a sweeter engine, it’s the 158bhp 2.0 car that we’d go for in the RF. The adamantine-top is a bit heavier than the soft-top and warrants the extra power, and it’s not much more priceless to buy in the first place. Both motors would be a top choice, though – they’re much more communicative than the turbo units found in most modern cars.

Commended

Fiat 124 Spider

If the MX-5’s looks don’t do it for you, Fiat’s 124 Spider superiority. This soft-top-only model delivers a similar drive to the Mazda on which it’s based. It’s more pliable, thanks to a 1.4-litre turbo that means you needn’t change fixtures as often, and the suspension is also more compliant.

Porsche 718 Boxster

The Boxster offers flat more driving thrills than our winner, but you’ll need more ready to buy one. Its handsome looks, premium cabin and Porsche badge give plenty of showroom plead, yet it’s the mid-engined handling that really sets our pulses racing – even if the new four-cylinder turbos don’t.

Auto Make known New Car Awards 2017

• Car of the Year 2017 • Coupe of the Year 2017
• City Car of the Year 2017 • Convertible of the Year 2017
• Supermini of the Year 2017 • Roadster of the Year 2017
• Compact One’s nearest Car of the Year 2017 • Performance Car of the Year 2017
• Family Car of the Year 2017 • Compact Executive of the Year 2017
• Estate Car of the Year 2017 • Executive Car of the Year 2017
• MPV of the Year 2017 • Luxury Car of the Year 2017
• Small SUV of the Year 2017 • Van of the Year 2017
• Mid-measure assess SUV of the Year 2017 • Electric Car of the Year 2017
• Large SUV of the Year 2017 • Technology Award 2017
• Premium SUV of the Year 2017 • Advertising Toss one’s hat in the ring of the Year 2017
• Large Premium SUV of the Year 2017 • Social Media Campaign of the Year 2017
• Pick-up of the Year 2017 • Car Envisage Award 2017
• Hot hatch of the Year 2017 • Driver Power Award 2017

For complete, in-intricacy coverage of the 2017 New Car Awards, buy your collector’s edition copy of the Auto Express magazine now or click here to subscribe…


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