Mazda MX-5 RF

A stint off the road up­sets the RF’S del­i­cate elec­tronic sen­si­bil­i­ties

Evo - - FAST FLEET - Antony In­gram (@evoantony)

WE’VE ALL PER­HAPS BE­COME A BIT com­pla­cent about the re­li­a­bil­ity of new cars. I’m old enough to re­mem­ber walk­ing to school every time my mum’s old Cit­roën Visa failed to pro­ceed in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and neigh­bours’ cars had sim­i­lar prob­lems, yet I’m also young enough that it’s never been a real con­cern with any of the cars I’ve owned my­self.

The only thing that’s hob­bled me on oc­ca­sion is let­ting a bat­tery run down. In the past this was through inat­ten­tive­ness – it’s amaz­ing how easy it is to leave your lights on if the dash­board light­ing is dim and there’s no buzzer to warn you. More re­cently, long pe­ri­ods of in­ac­tiv­ity for my Eunos, thanks largely to driv­ing long-ter­m­ers such as the MX-5 RF in­stead, have meant I’ve twisted the key to the sound of si­lence on more than one oc­ca­sion, so I now keep a bat­tery ten­der in the boot ready for such oc­ca­sions.

Still, it came as a bit of a sur­prise when re­cently I walked up to the RF, pushed the key­less en­try but­ton and found no re­ac­tion what­so­ever. The Mazda’s fob con­tains an ac­tual, phys­i­cal key, which opened the door – with a lit­tle more ef­fort than usual, since the auto-drop­ping win­dow didn’t auto-drop – but pre­dictably, there wasn’t a peep upon press­ing the starter but­ton.

Thank­fully, Matthew Hay­ward from evo’s sis­ter ti­tle Oc­tane came to the res­cue with one of those tiny but mighty jump packs and the RF quickly fired back into life. It wasn’t par­tic­u­larly happy about it, though, throw­ing up all man­ner of warn­ing lights for the first few min­utes and, more wor­ry­ingly, in­ter­mit­tently los­ing power as­sis­tance to the steer­ing and il­lu­mi­nat­ing an ABS light on an ex­ploratory drive around the car park.

Both fixed them­selves quickly, but clearly even some modern cars aren’t pre­dis­posed to sit­ting still for long pe­ri­ods, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing a cold snap like the one the RF had en­dured. I felt rather guilty, as a suc­ces­sion of test cars had di­verted my at­ten­tion from the other­wise like­able RF, and with­out re­ally notic­ing it, it had lan­guished in the car park for around a month, with only the oc­ca­sional run out in the hands of col­leagues.

I’ve made up for that in­dis­cre­tion by tak­ing it on a few longer runs since, and it’s now re­turned to its old, fault­less self. Well, apart from the handbrake light glow­ing at ran­dom in­ter­vals and an ir­ri­tat­ing squeak em­a­nat­ing from the re­tractable roof. The RF will have been for its first an­nual ser­vice by the time you read this, so I’ll see if the deal­er­ship can find an­swers to ei­ther is­sue.

Dateac­quired Fe­bru­ary 2017 To­talmileage 12,474 Mileageth­is­month 774 Cost­sthis­month £0 mpgth­is­month 45.7

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