Cost & verdict

Mazda MX-5 RF review

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Mazda MX-5 RF cornering
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25 Jan 2017 10:25 | Last updated: 4 Oct 2018 11:03

In this review

Cost & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Mazda MX-5 coupe running costs

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

You could also look at the Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT86. Both are more expensive than the MX-5 RF and coupés, rather than drop-tops, but they do offer four seats.

Being a relatively lightweight car with pretty efficient engines should make the MX-5 RF cheap to run. We haven’t been able to run our real-world fuel economy tests on it yet, but even the 2.0-litre version is claimed to average a decent 40.9mpg.

PCP finance costs are likely to be tempting, too, if the soft-top version is anything to go by; it's with routinely offered with enticing deals.

Services are due every year or 12,500 miles, whichever comes first, and while Mazda’s fixed-price service plan isn’t the cheapest around, it’s a reasonable cost and can be paid in monthly instalments.

Mazda MX-5 coupe equipment

The entry-level trim in the RF is SE-L Nav+, and it’s the one we’d stick with. You get goodies such as climate and cruise control, LED daytime running lights and 16in alloy wheels. A comprehensive infotainment package includes a six-speaker stereo, sat-nav, Bluetooth and a DAB radio, all operated through a 7.0in screen. Go for the more powerful 2.0-litre version and you also get bigger 17in alloy wheels and a limited-slip differential.

Sport Nav+ throws in extras such as heated leather seats, rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers and an upgraded stereo. Again, the 2.0-litre model gets even more, including larger 17in alloy wheels, sports suspension and a limited-slip differential. Yet being quite a bit more expensive than the SE-L Nav+ model, this wouldn’t be our primary choice unless you really want the sharper handling the suspension tweaks bring.

At the top of the range is GT Sport Nav+. This adds a boot spoiler, nappa leather seats, blindspot monitoring, adaptive LED lights and a rear-view camera. It's certainly well equipped, but it's far too pricey to recommend.

Mazda MX-5 RF infotainment

Mazda MX-5 coupe reliability

The MX-5 performed averagely in the latest What Car? Reliability Survey, scoring three out of a total of five stars. Mazda as a brand did far better, however, coming 12th out of 31 manufacturers.

The MX-5 gets a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, with three years of European roadside assistance included.

Mazda MX-5 coupe safety and security

Euro NCAP hasn’t crash tested the MX-5 RF, but the soft-top version gets a decent four-star rating. The MX-5 RF comes with stability control and four airbags as standard, along with a bonnet that springs up to help limit pedestrian injuries in an impact. There’s also an Isofix child seat-mounting point.

Thanks in part to a standard alarm and engine immobiliser, Thatcham awarded the MX-5 RF its maximum five-star rating for resisting being stolen and four stars for resisting being broken into.

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Verdict

The Mazda MX-5 RF is as fun to drive as its Convertible sibling, but the step up in refinement isn’t enough to justify its extra cost

  • Outstanding ride and handling
  • Performance suited to UK roads
  • Low running costs
  • Expensive next to soft-top model
  • Wind noise at speed
  • Driving position lacks adjustment
There are 3 trims available for the MX-5 coupe. Click to see details.See all versions
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SE-L Nav+
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Sport Nav+
Sport Nav+ trim throws in extras such as heated leather seats, automatic emergency braking, rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers and an upgraded stereo. Again, a model with the bigger...View trim
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GT Sport Nav+
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