Already very familiar with the MX-5 two-seat sports car soft-top model, we recently had a chance to spend a week in the new 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF equipped with the new retractable hard convertible top.  The RF joins the MX-5 soft top version for 2017 – both offering a lighter and more nimble Mazda interpretation of their classic open-top drive experience – reasonably priced and fun-to-drive vehicle that is sure to please nearly everyone in search of ‘wind in the hair’ driving adventure.

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF

Our test MX-5 RF was the Grand Touring trim level with the exclusive Machine Gray exterior and a Black/Gray interior with red accent stitching, piano black trim and carbon fiber accents.

There are a many ‘road trips’ worth of reasons to like the new rear-wheel drive Miata RF including its slightly lower and sleeker ‘fastback’ silhouette, the iconic Boxer four-cylinder engine producing 155 horsepower with 148 lb.-ft. of torque and the very slick and quick six-speed short-throw manual transmission that very effectively puts the power to the road.  Running on 17-inch dark silver alloy wheels mounted with Bridgestone 205/45 R17 high performance tires, the manual gear box gets fuel economy of 33 mpg highway.  (The available six-speed automatic is rated at 35 mpg highway).

The key feature of the RF is the ‘one touch’ – exceptionally fast – retractable hardtop that stows in just 13 seconds enabling quick open-top getaways.  Other attributes of note include LED headlights, LED daytime running lights and LED taillights, standard Bluetooth hands free phone and audio, BOSE audio system with 9-speakers (including in the headrests), Mazda Connect infotainment with Navigation and satellite radio and a 7-inch color touch screen.  Seating is sport type with durable cloth cover, contrasting accent stitching and three-level heating.

Underneath, the MX-5 RF features a double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension with monotube gas shocks, stabilizer bars and uses double pinion electric power-assisted steering and equipped with stability and traction control.  Brakes are 11-inch vented disc-single piston caliper front and 11-inch solid disc-single piston aluminum calipers rear.

Mazda is known for its safety features and the MX-5 RF Grand Touring has got them including, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Front Lighting with High Beam Control and Rain Sensing Wipers.

Our test 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF Grand Touring – delivered – had a sticker price of $33,885.

A Test ‘Drive for Good’ Extra

As part of our test drive arrangement with Mazda, they granted us the privilege of participating in their industry leading Drive for Good charitable giving program by giving us a “giving card” that we could use to make a donation to a 501c3 charitable organization of our choice.

We selected the Air Warrior Courage Foundation – a Four Star top-rated (by Charity Navigator) 501C3 we work with through the Lake Travis Christmas Hope organization.  Our charity provides direct financial assistance (not available from the government) to wounded warrior families going through rehabilitation at the San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC) in Texas.