Mazda MX-5 RF review

Category: Convertible

Section: Costs & verdict

Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 interior infotainment
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 front right tracking
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 rear cornering
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 interior dashboard
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 interior front seats
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 interior infotainment
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 right tracking
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 front static
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 rear static
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 front cornering
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 roof detail
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 rear light detail
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 alloy wheel detail
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 interior driver display
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 interior detail
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 boot open
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 front right tracking
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 rear cornering
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 interior dashboard
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 interior front seats
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 interior infotainment
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 right tracking
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 front static
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 rear static
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 front cornering
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 roof detail
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 rear light detail
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 alloy wheel detail
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 interior driver display
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 interior detail
  • Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 boot open
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In this section:
  • Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
  • Equipment, options and extras
  • Reliability
  • Safety and security

Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

The Mazda MX-5 is the only new two-seat sports car available at this price level, so there’s nothing to directly rate it against. However, the MX-5 RF is quite a bit more expensive than the soft-top version, despite only providing a small gain in refinement. As such, we’d recommend sticking with the cheaper model unless the need for a hard-top is compelling.

As a relatively lightweight car with pretty efficient engines, the MX-5 RF should be cheap to run. We haven’t been able to put it through our True MPG economy tests yet, but even the 2.0-litre version officially averages 40.9mpg (combined) under WLTP testing. Also encouraging is that the 2.0-litre soft-top beat its official fuel economy during our testing, managing an impressive 45.1mpg

Next up is Sport Tech, the first trim to benefit from the 2.0-litre engine, stiffer suspension and a limited-slip differential, along with a rear camera and better headlights. At the top of the range is GT Sport Tech, which adds snazzy BBS wheels, Nappa leather seats and piano black mirrors, but it's too pricey to recommend unless you really want those styling upgrades.

Mazda MX-5 RF 2021 interior infotainment

Reliability

The regular MX-5 performed averagely in the 2021 What Car? Reliability Survey, finishing just below mid-table in the sports, convertible and coupé class (below the Audi TT but above the Porsche 718 Boxster). 

Overview

The Mazda MX-5 RF is as fun to drive as its Convertible sibling while handling is actually an improvement over the soft-top. Boot space isn't hindered, either. But the step up in refinement isn’t enough to justify its extra cost, and rivals such as the Toyota GT86 offer a bigger, faster package, even if they don't have a convertible option.

  • Outstanding ride and handling
  • Performance suited to UK roads
  • Low running costs
  • Expensive next to soft-top model
  • Not much improvement to refinement
  • Driving position lacks adjustment
New car deals
Save up to £1,724
Target Price from £27,010
Save up to £1,724
or from £271pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Nearly new deals
From £24,499
Leasing deals
From £334pm