BY H. THROTTLE
The Mazda MX-5 RF Grand Touring convertible was the test car of the week. The sleek designed sports car is spectacular in appearance and performance. The MX-5 can reach 60 mph in 5.6 seconds and is available in either a six-speed manual or an automatic transmission. This vehicle featured the six-speed, a very efficient transmission. Great speed efficiency driving on the E-470 freeway in fifth and sixth gears and powerful acceleration. Manual transmission is awkward in city traffic with continual shifting in crowded traffic lanes. I would opt for the automatic transmission for city driving demands.
The Mazda “Miata” is very compact in size with a small trunk and tight bucket seats. The door jockey box is tiny and barely large enough for a garage door opener. Likewise, the center arm rest has very minute storage between the two compact leather covered bucket seats. The center console is located behind the manual transmission, very close to the radio and home page controls that is awkward with occasional elbow hitting buttons while shifting gears. The cabin is very compact and designed for petite drivers.
This is a very flashy convertible with a mechanical retracting top that adds to the pleasure of this affordable sports car at an attractive price of $36,265. The Miata carries a three-year/30,000-mile powertrain warranty. Final assembly is in Hiroshima, Japan with all major components being Japanese.
The MX-5 has rear wheel drive and superb steering and corning ability with Bilstein shock absorbers and finely-tuned suspension. The steering is very precise, and the car holds the road extremely well on 17” alloy wheels and high-performance tires.
The 4-cylinder engine produces 181 horsepower without any turbo boosting and delivers 29 mpg overall in city and highway fuel economy.
This is an exciting, very attractive sports car, with powerful performance and excellent road handling with smooth transmission.
Road noise is rather loud from the convertible features. Overall this is a car to be driven and enjoyed by sports car enthusiasts who like the thrill of enjoying a smaller vehicle with powerful performance and exquisite design.