The 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata carries the classic characteristics of the sports car design with its light weight and small size. Even with just 155 horsepower, it’s one of the most attractive cars on the road at any price, and having your head in the open air is always a part of the experience.
The MX-5 Miata RF or Retractable Fastback, replace the convertible roof cloth with folding roof panels and rear windows, making something like a wide roll bar supported on long buttresses behind the passenger compartment. The metal roof makes the car a little more quiet with top ups and gives the Miata a unique coupe-like look. The trunk size remains the same between the hard and the top soft, so you do not lose the practicality that the Miata RF offers.
The main difference is that you don’t get the full open-air experience, and the metal roof with its complex folding mechanism increases the car weight about 100 pounds and higher price. But the Miata RF is still fast to drive. If you’re planning on shopping for an affordable sports car, the 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF with its unique blend of coupe and convertible attributes could be a great choice.
Trim and Features
The 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF is a two-seat retractable top sports car available in two trim levels: Club and Grand Touring. The Club is sport-oriented driving, while the Grand Touring trim focuses on providing technology, convenience and comfort.
Standard equipment for the Miata RF Club includes LED headlights, keyless entry, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, push-button start, cloth upholstery, a 7-inch infotainment screen with a console-mounted rotary control knob and a nine-speaker Bose stereo with headrest speakers.
Manual-equipped Club models get Bilstein dampers, a retuned suspension, shock tower brace and limited-slip differential. Option for manual Club models includes BBS wheels, upgraded Brembo front brakes and heated Recaro sport seats.
The 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Grand Touring adds lane departure warning, adaptive headlights, automatic climate control, a cloth-lined top, heated leather seats and navigation system. This is a nice features to have but contradictory to the Miata elemental nature. Then again, a power-folding top isn’t exactly simple either. Still, at least there’s a choice between sport-oriented and comfort-tuned versions rather than some middling compromise.
The rear-wheel-drive 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF is powered by a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 155 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. It comes standard with a slick six-speed manual transmission, and a six-speed automatic with steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles is optional on all trims.
In performance testing, the 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Club with the manual transmission accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, which is quicker than the previous-generation car. EPA estimated fuel economy is 29 mpg combined (26 city/33 highway) with the manual transmission and 30 mpg combined (27 city/36 highway) with the automatic.
Despite its small size, the 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF surprisingly accommodating for tall drivers, offering good headroom. In and out is not difficult, and the seat is very comfortable, assisted by a nifty mesh-suspension design that forgoes traditional seat springs to save weight. Cabin materials have improved significantly for this generation, with enhanced trim panels on the doors, consoles and dashboards.
The 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF controls are well positioned around the driver, and the gauges are easy to read. The touchscreen interface is excellent with intuitive menus and sharp graphics. The only disappointing is a handy redundant control button on the console that can get in the way if you shift gears.
Unfortunately, the trunk space is very small, measuring only 4.6 cubic feet. It small even for a standard roadster. For comparison, a typical family sedan cargo is about three times that size.
Release Dates and Price
The 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF is on sale and arriving now at dealers nationwide. Key competitors include the Ford Mustang Convertible, Chevrolet Camaro and Subaru BRZ Coupe.
Mazda has announced pricing for the 2018 MX-5 Miata RF. It will start from $32,800 for the Club trim, which is $355 more than last year. Those looking for more luxury can opt for the Grand Touring trim, which starts at $33,640 or $145 more expensive than last year.