By on October 5, 2016

The Mazda MX-5 RF, Image: PRNewsFoto/Mazda Motor Corporation

Mazda has kicked off presale orders for its 2017 MX-5 RF, the “retractable fastback” that gives would-be convertible buyers an extra feature to help win their spouse’s support.

Introduced to salivating journalists at the New York Auto Show, the model starts at $32,390 (including a $835 destination charge) in Club trim — a $2,955 increase over a 2016 MX-5 Club.

The model blends elements of the convertible and the defunct coupe, employing a targa-style retractable roof for partial al fresco motoring. Powertrain components are borrowed, unchanged, from the raved-about MX-5. Because this is a Pure Sports Car, a six-speed manual transmission comes standard; opting for the six-speed automatic tacks an extra $730 to the entry price.

The first orders are devoted to the high-end Launch Edition variant, with first dibs on the 1,000 unit allotment reserved for Miata loyalists. That model retails for $34,685 with a manual, or $35,760 with an automatic. Surprisingly, Mazda claims there’s still some available.

Buyers looking for a less exclusive ride will have to wait until the full range of RFs arrive in early 2017. The model stands apart from its cloth-topped siblings with a 4.6-inch TFT gauge, blind spot monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (which shows up on all 2017 MX-5 Club models), and seven-inch Mazda Connect touchscreen infotainment system. A Bose nine-speaker stereo incorporates speakers built into the vehicle’s headrests, meaning your retro iPod mix won’t disappear into the slipstream.

MX-5 RF Club models equipped with a manual transmission can be optioned with a Brembo/BBS Package. That loot bag, which includes side sill body extensions, a front shock-tower brace, grippier brakes and lightweight 17-inch wheels, brings the vehicle’s price to $35,790.

Uplevel Grand Touring-spec MX-5 RFs start at $33,455, with automatic models retailing for $34,660.

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43 Comments on “2017 Mazda MX-5 RF: Folding Fastback Fun Starts at $32,390...”


  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Overcomplicated and overpriced.
    PRHT was far superior to this.
    Just make it a removable panel that stows in the truck.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      The regular softtop is superior to both. I can have the top up or down in a couple seconds. I bought my NC used because I couldn’t find a new black Club with the softtop.

      • 0 avatar
        ...m...

        …i think we managed to slam ours closed in less than two seconds one evening when we realised traffic had stopped beneath a treeful of birds, and just in time to hear their droppings patter the canvas rather than inside the cockpit, too…

  • avatar
    multicam

    I think it looks great, but does anyone know how well a tall (6’3″) lanky (175 lbs) person would fit? Last time I sat in a Miata it was actually called Miata- an NB if I recall- and my eyes were level with the windshield frame.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I really don’t think the dimensions have changed much since then.

    • 0 avatar
      thatoneguy247

      Depends on where your height is, but I’m 6’2″, mostly legs, and I could drive the convertible ND fine. I tried driving an NA and it’s a different story; I couldn’t turn the steering wheel because my knees were in the way.

    • 0 avatar
      FBS

      I’m 6’3″, more torso than legs, and I didn’t have enough headroom in either the NC PRHT or the ND soft tops I’ve tried out.

      It’s heartbreaking.

    • 0 avatar
      Funky

      At 5’11” I am unable to safely fit into the 2016 MX-5. In a crash I believe (based on sitting in and testing at the local dealership) my head would hit the windshield frame. I was registered and prepared to buy one of these hard top things, but could not since I do not believe I can safely fit.

      • 0 avatar
        multicam

        Funky, hopefully you wouldn’t get in an accident and if you did, hopefully the airbag would prevent what you described, but I understand your hesitance at purchasing one. That’s a shame.

        Thanks for the replies, all. I’m going to have to sit in one of these but sounds like they’re off the table for me.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    I’d still like to see a fixed roof coupe version along the lines of the original RX-7. Not everyone wants an open car, and that hatchback GT style of car is more practical than the roadsters are.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    I like it. Looks way better than the convertible with the top up.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Mazda,
    PLEASE bring us some color! This is one thing that Mustang and Challenger get right – several real colors. Grey and Red are insufficient.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I don’t get it. Why would you want this over a proper convertible for $3000 less? They should just make a Miata coupe already.

    And very much agree that the Miata and Fiata are desperately in need of a color infusion. Inside and out.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      I’m in the northeast and a hard top makes the Miata half way practical for the cold weather. Heated seats and winter tires will take me the rest of the way.

      I also like the looks of this car. Maybe one of these days…

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      Definitely more secure, probably quieter, arguably better looking, and maybe better rear visibility for starters.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        I’m with you on all but the rear visibility part – the way the RF is, the rear window is basically vertical, the slanty part going back are just glorified view-blocking support pillars. It should be just as bad as the soft top in that regard.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Yes to the coupe. Actually I want a Miata Shooting brake / hatchback configuration. This way you get some easy access storage which takes the Miata from weekend toy to weekend get-a-way with someone special toy. Big difference there.

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      That’s the beauty of this design. In standard configuration, it basically IS a coupe. With the roof panel stowed, it’s basically a targa top, giving as much open air driving as you can expect in anything less than a true convertible. Personally, if I owned this car, I’d probably have the top in place 99% of the time because I’m a coupe guy. So yeah, I’d treat it like a coupe almost all the time.

  • avatar
    ...m...

    …the launch edition RF is already sold out: we tried pulling the trigger on our invitation and were put on a waiting list instead, in case one of the thousand spoken-for preorders comes back available…

  • avatar
    Der_Kommissar

    In this price range, you could get a stripper BMW 230i, or be in shouting distance of the ‘vert. I think the Miata looses some of its charm above $30k.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      Also, the BR-S86 already exists, costs less, and is faster. If I wanted open air driving, I’d just buy the soft top. I’m still trying to figure out who this is catering to.

      • 0 avatar
        JuniperBug

        Where do you get that the Toyobaru is faster?

        Per Car and Driver:

        2016 Miata (soft top)
        0-60: 5.9
        1/4 Mile: 14.6 @ 95 MPH
        Skidpad: 0.90g

        2016 Scion FR-S
        0-60: 7.1
        1/4 Mile: 15.4 @ 93 MPH
        Skidpad: 0.86g

        They also got 32 MPG in the Miata vs. 26 in the FR-S.

  • avatar
    319583076

    I bought an NC PRHT because it was a four-season daily driver and I also liked the look of the PRHT with the top retracted more than the soft top. This thing, however, would motivate me to deal with the soft top. Prior to the NC, I had an NB LS with the additional hardtop which was probably better than the PRHT solution IMO.

    Sort of a moot point for me now, considering we traded our roadsters for sensible family vehicles prior to junior hamburger’s arrival. I’ll be back in this market someday…

  • avatar
    Funky

    Three times at the local Mazda dealer I sat in the 2016 MX-5 to check whether I would fit safely into the vehicle. I am approximately 5’11”. I could not safely fit (i.e. my head would hit the frame of the windshield in a crash). I was very disappointed. I was registered and prepared to buy one of the special edition vehicles. But I just couldn’t fit properly. I am envious of those who can safely fit into the thing. Although it’s not the same thing, I am still awaiting my ordered 2017 Mazda 6 (Mazda apparently is too small to stock enough of a variety of colors around the nation since none are supposedly available in my color choice which apparently means I need to wait like three months for my car to arrive). My spouse assures me that I will enjoy the Mazda 6 as much as I would have the MX-5 since it will have a manual transmission (and that I should be patient and wait three months for Mazda to build my car) but somehow I don’t believe the difference between the two vehicles is understood.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “…but somehow I don’t believe the difference between the two vehicles is understood.”

      That misunderstanding happens often. Peruse the comments when a sports car post is published on the site and plenty of people will argue that a sports sedan or sports coupe feels enough like a sports car.

      I can’t gauge what someone else is feeling but for me, a sports car delivers a different, and in my humble opinion, better experience than a hot hatch, sports sedan or sports coupe.

      Not that I don’t enjoy the others, but a sports car, particularly a roadster is a better choice for me.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Stop pouting and get yourself a used S2000.

      • 0 avatar
        Funky

        Hi stuki, I understand what you’re saying and appreciate the advice. As a Mazda customer I want to see things improve for the sake of Mazda. If Mazda begins to stock enough vehicles of a variety of colors and when Mazda makes it easy for their customers’ dealers to swap incoming new inventory to fulfill customer orders to match the needed color/configuration, customers like me will no longer have a story to tell. And, how many sales are lost because folks cannot properly fit into their roadster? Many of the reviews I read and watched stated that there is more room for even taller drivers in this latest version of the MX-5. But, those reviews were apparently incorrect. I owned a hardtop 2009 MX-5. I have the same issue with the 2016 as in the 2009. I was hoping (and, my hope was not unfounded based on the reviews) a change would have been made. For example, if the driver seat could be lowered by a couple inches I believe the problem would be solved. But unfortunately the driver seat so-called up/down height adjustment only adjusts the front portion of the seat rather than actually move the entire seat up/down (the rear of the seat seems to be set at a fixed height which cannot be lowered).

        • 0 avatar
          Kato

          Funky, stuki is right, the S2000 windshield is taller and more upright than a Miata’s. I’m 5’11” too and also find the Miata’s windshield frame too low and close. I fit perfectly in an S2000. Sounds like it may be too late though, as you pulled the trigger on a 6 (nice choice though).

          • 0 avatar
            Funky

            Thanks, to both of you, for the advice on the S2000. Since the hardtop MX-5 was to be in addition to the Mazda 6 (sorry, I didn’t point that out in my above comment) I will be looking into the S2000 as well as a few other possibilities.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    You missed the important part: how much weight does this add compared to the soft top?

  • avatar
    slap

    One thing I like about my PRHT is when it is down, it is out of sight. This RF leaves noticeable blind spots when open. If I were to buy an ND, I’d probably skip the RF and get the soft top. And I’m a big fan of my PHRT in my NC.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    This is just a dumb car and a terrible waste of development money. It should never have made it past the concept and auto show stage.

    A regular Miata Convertible is so much better. The old retractable hardtop convertible bodystyle was better. A regular coupe or a hatchback coupe could have been so much nicer and more practical.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    For those longing for a Solstice coupe but missed out because of the very low, end-of-run production eight years ago, your car is ready.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    While visiting the Mazda HQ in Hiroshima they put you on a bus to take you to the assembly line. During the bus trip I got to see a few of these running around the campus. I’m not a huge Miata guy, but they look really good. The people with us who don’t hang on every word of the latest auto news were asking me what they were – they didn’t recognize them as a Miata.

    I still don’t love that it has those buttresses instead of a real coupe-like roof, but maybe if enough people take it they’ll consider making a proper coupe…. Probably not.

  • avatar
    duffman13

    Personally, I thought the RF Miata offered a benefit over the soft-top: The abilty to do a track day without the requirement to gut the rear plastics and install an aftermarket rollbar. I know I’m in the minority with that opinion, but take it for what it is.

    Seeing this pricing, it just doesn’t make sense to me, particularly at $35k for the Brembo/BBS option. For The same money you could buy a BRZ with the new Brembo/sachs/wheels package at sticker price and have money left over to get yourself a decent condition NA or NB for some top-down fun.

  • avatar
    Kato

    I too fail to see the point of this thing. I predict it will have limited appeal and low sales. They should build a Miata coupe ala MGBGT or Z3 coupe. It would have most of the appeal of a Miata and be way more practical.

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