DROP-TOP FOR ALL SEA­SONS

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - MAZDA MX-5 RF -

model with MX-5 buy­ers and was likely to lure across from cars such as the Toy­ota 86.

Since then head of lat­est project has changed jobs, is now in charge of a spe­cial di­vi­sion Ja­pan that do­ing born-again MX-5 restora­tion work. It’s a full fac­tory project to refet­tle MX-5s are as good as new.

ON THE ROAD

The RF landed in Aus­tralia in Jan­uary and since then — as Ya­mamoto pre­dicted it has been the pop­u­lar choice with MX-5 buy­ers, ac­count­ing for nearly 60 per cent of de­liv­er­ies. In a far big­ger sur­prise, about

those have the op­tional six-speed auto gear­box.

Sports car fans don’t mind pay­ing about $4000 ex­tra over the con­vert­ible MX-5 for se­cure roof, and more again auto, RF’s lead reg­u­lar can only in­crease as we roll through win­ter.

My favourite thing about the RF is the se­cu­rity and quiet­ness that comes with new roof.

It’s not like slightly rip­pling sound feel of reg­u­lar MX-5 top up, or

un­fin­ished look drum­ming the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion hard­top.

It’s gen­uinely like an coupe and sev­eral peo­ple asked me what I was driv­ing dur­ing my time with RF.

The roof works very well and the de­sign and fin­ish­ing are very im­pres­sive. It’s slightly com­plex but nothing like the wor­ry­ingly over-com­pli­cated work­ings of now de­parted Volk­swa­gen Eos.

The whole rear sec­tion lifts, the roof panel slides back and down, and job is done in 13 sec­onds in a won­der­ful piece of mo­tor­ing the­atre.

It would be bet­ter if it could hap­pen at more than 10km/h, with many other con­vert­ibles now do­ing this 40 or more.

The RF is just as sharp as the MX-5 road­ster, which means it’s a great drive. Every touch on the con­trols brings an in­stant re­sponse and that’s been over­whelm­ing ap­peal of

since its launch in 1989. I’m dis­ap­pointed that the RF con­ver­sion does not bring any ex­tra boot space but at least none has been lost.

It per­forms as I re­mem­ber from the 2.0-litre road­ster, al­though I’m not driv­ing the au­to­matic that is so pop­u­lar with buy­ers and which worked well enough when I tried it dur­ing the Ja­panese preview. MAZDA MX-5 RF PRICE From $38,550 WARRANTY 3 years/100,000km CAPPED SERVICING $1369 over 3 years (4 ser­vices) SER­VICE INTERVAL 12 months/10,000km SAFETY 5 stars EN­GINE 2.0-litre 4-cyl, 118kW/200Nm TRANS­MIS­SION 6-speed man/auto; RWD THIRST 6.9L-7.1L/100km (est) DIMENSIONS 3915mm (L), 1735mm (W), 1245mm (H), 2310mm (WB) WEIGHT From 1078kg

SPARE None; in­fla­tion kit 0-100KM/H 7.4 secs (auto 8.3 secs)

The RF comes only with the “big bore” 2.0 rather than slightly sweeter 1.6 in price­lead­ing vari­ant, but it’s still a well-bal­anced pack­age.

VER­DICT

A drive in an MX-5 is al­ways good, even with things get­ting cooler now.

The RF main­tains all the good­ness of lat­est and adds a level practicality it has never had in past.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.