Mazda MX-5 RF 2.0

184ps Sport Tech

Mazda MX-5 RF, 2022, front
Mazda MX-5 RF, 2022, nose
Mazda MX-5 RF, 2022, side
Mazda MX-5 RF, 2022, side
Mazda MX-5 RF, 2022, interior
Mazda MX-5 RF, 2022, tail
Mazda MX-5 RF, 2022, rear
Mazda MX-5 RF, 2022, cockpit

MAZDA'S stylish two-seater sports car - the MX-5 - has been gracing our roads for more than three decades now and yet it still offers a uniqueness that has never been matched.

Boasting thrilling performance ability, it's a proper compact sports car that is very big on character and ticks every box in the fun department too.

Over the years, the car has sold more than a million models globally and, despite enhancements and modifications along the way, it maintains its very own dna and charm.

There is a soft or hard-top model and we tried the latter called the MX-5 RF, which stands for Retractable Fastback.

It was powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine delivering 184ps and 205Nm of torque. That power helps this car complete the 0-62mph sprint in 6.8 seconds and onto a top speed of 137mph, while achieving a combined 40.9mpg with carbon emissions of 155g/km.

Admittedly at £32,260 (£33,070 with options) it's not exactly cheap but it is most definitely a driver's car, delivering on every count when faced with twisting country lanes.

The acceleration through the six-speed manual gearbox is sharp and constant with plenty of power to overtake slower moving vehicles. It's beautifully balanced with perfectly weighted steering offering good levels of driver feedback and tight bends can be attacked with confidence.

Mazda also has its own innovative i-ELOOP set-up that works like a regenerative braking system to capture energy that would otherwise be lost. It converts this into electricity to power the climate control, audio and other on-board systems that require electricity. Clever stuff.

With such a low seating position, you can feel a little vulnerable on motorways, especially in the wet with lots of juggernauts around you, but it still does the job very competently.

And with the roof raised, the insulation and refinement levels are impressive with the car feeling like a coupe. Then at the first sign of sunshine, the roof can be lowered for pure wind-in-the-hair driving enjoyment.

The MX-5 is nice and agile in busy town centres, although the all-round visibility is not great. The rearview camera is a really handy feature though when reversing into tight parking spaces.

And it's a car that always grabs the attention of bystanders thanks to its sleek, dynamic styling. Eye-catching features include the body-coloured retractable hard-top roof with a heated rear window, adaptive LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, a dual exhaust system, and smart 17-inch alloy wheels.

Apart from being 5mm taller than the standard MX-5, the hard-top model keeps all the striking design cues that helped the vehicle scoop World Car Design of the Year back in 2016.

The three-piece fully automated roof can be raised or lowered at the touch of a button and remains one of the fastest on offer right now. It takes just 13 seconds to complete the operation at speeds of up to 6mph.

The interior is compact and driver focused with heated leather seats, a seven-inch infotainment screen with wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto, a DAB radio, a premium Bose sound system with nine speakers (including four in the headrests), sat nav, a reversing camera and plenty more besides.

As you would expect, the boot is compact in size but, with a 127-litre capacity, is just fine for a couple of soft overnight bags and there is a small cubby box, a lockable compartment between the seats and cup holders for convenience. There is no glovebox though.

FAST FACTS

Mazda MX-5 RF 2.0 184ps Sport Tech

Price:£32,260

Mechanical: 184ps, 1,998cc, 4-cylinder, petrol-driven engine driving rear wheels via 6-speed manual transmission

Max Speed: 137mph

0-62mph: 6.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 40.9

Insurance Group: 28

C02 emissions: 155g/km

Bik rating: 36%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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