There are few affordable roadsters these days, we were thrilled to have a chance to get behind the wheel of one of the best on the road, the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF. It’s a car that punches well above its weight class and features a design few automakers can match.
For the 2019 model year, Mazda took its ND MX-5 that most people find hard to dislike and decided to make it better. How? By giving the engine a good once over and getting it to make more power.
More Power, More Fun
The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata makes a full 26 horsepower more than last year. Mazda did this by completely revising the 2.0-liter inline-four-cylinder engine. The company added a larger throttle body, intake and exhaust valves, and a variety of other components. They also made most engine parts lighter and stiffer.
This resulted in 26 more horsepower, a subtle 3-pound-foot bump in torque, and a raucous 7,500 rpm redline. All of this makes the car a little faster. The new exhaust note is more pronounced and sounds the way you want your sports car exhaust to sound.
You can really wring the little engine out, and it responds. Twenty-six horsepower may not seem like much, but the car weighs only around 2,400 pounds. You can hold gears longer and use the full rev-range. Power is linear, predictable, and downright lovely. The excellently tuned suspension and steering haven’t changed from the previous year’s model, and that’s fine by us. The car still feels light and flickable, just like we want it to.
Retractable Fastback Refines the Package
Mazda created the RF version of the MX-5 back in 2017. RF stands for Retractable Fastback. It’s the sleekest version of the car the company has ever put together. Its styling puts to shame the old Power Retractable Hardtop (PRHT) version of the last generation model.
The unique hardtop has a beautiful tear-drop shape when up. Flip the switch to retract the roof, and 13 seconds later you have a Targa-esque look that is just as handsome. The whole top doesn’t go down, and we like it better that way. Unfortunately, wind buffeting leaves a bit to be desired, but otherwise Mazda nailed the hardtop convertible MX-5 with this model.
If you’ve always been tempted by Mazda’s little roadster but couldn’t imagine going with a soft top, then the RF is for you. It takes what everyone loves about the sleek little car and just adds a bit to it. With the significant power bump for 2019, there’s little not to love about this car.