What Makes the Mazda Miata RF Special?

August 9th, 2023 by

The Mazda Miata is an iconic two-door, two-seater sports car providing exciting driving experiences since its 1989 debut. The current model is the MX-5 Miata, a peppy convertible in two body styles: a cloth top and a hardtop called the RF. The main differences between the traditional Miata and the RF, or retractable fastback, are the roof, trim levels, and price. If you’re looking for a compact sports car that’s both classy and fun to drive around San Juan Capistrano, California, you might prefer the RF. Here’s what makes the Mazda Miata RF so special.


A Reliable Hardtop

The roof is the most distinctive difference between the Mazda Miata and the Miata RF. The Miata has a soft top, while the RF has a hard top. It comes down to personal preference when choosing between the two. However, here are three benefits of opting for the Miata RF.

It’s Easy To Use

A traditional soft top must be lowered and raised manually, requiring extra time and effort. You have to reach back around your seat to pull the top up or down. This can be a hassle if you’re in a hurry or battling poor weather conditions. A fastback roof, such as the Miata RF’s, is rigid and retracts quickly and easily (in just 13 seconds) with the push of a power assist button. You can even view a graphic of it raising and lowering on the driver’s display screen. 

The RF is also highly durable and reliable. That doesn’t mean the soft-top Miata underperforms, however. Its rugged textile material stands up to regular wear and use if you care for it properly.

It’s More Secure Than a Soft Top

One thing you can’t argue about when comparing the Miata RF to the soft-top Miata is that it’s more resistant to vandalism and break-ins. When parking in public places or leaving your Miata on the street at night, you can rest assured that no one will tamper with a hardtop. This can be a significant priority depending on where you live and park.

It Looks Unique

With the top closed, the Miata RF appears cool, sleek, and modern compared to the more classic-looking Miata. It almost resembles a sporty coupe. With the roof retracted, the RF has distinctive metal pillars that mark its silhouette, while the regular Miata’s top folds directly into the back of the vehicle with no pillars. Which look you prefer depends on your taste.

Two Stunning Trims

The new MX-5 Miata comes in three trims: the base Sport, midrange Club, and top-of-the-line Grand Touring. The RF is unique because it’s only available in the Club and Grand Touring trims. Here are the features you can expect from each.

The Club

The Club trim boasts sporty exterior accents such as a black front lip and rear spoiler, black side mirrors, and LED headlights and taillights. Interior conveniences include a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, a leather-wrapped shift knob, heated cloth seats, and keyless entry with a push-button start. Must-have technology features include a 7-inch touch screen, a nine-speaker Bose stereo, satellite radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and two USB ports.

The Club is known for its handling and performance. It has a sport-tuned suspension, Bilstein shock absorbers, a shock tower brace, and a limited-slip differential to improve traction, comfort, and precision. This trim also comes with Mazda’s Brembo BBS Recaro package, which adds 17-inch gunmetal gray wheels with performance tires, black heated sport seats, Brembo brakes with red calipers, and an aero body kit.

Supporting the Club trim’s performance features are standard safety technologies such as lane departure warning, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and forward collision mitigation.

The Grand Touring

The Grand Touring swaps out some of the Club’s sporty performance elements for higher-end amenities. While it doesn’t have the Brembo BBS Recaro package, the rear spoiler, or the black front lip, the Grand Touring does have additional perks, such as the following:

  • Body-colored and heated side mirrors.
  • 17-inch dark silver alloy wheels.
  • Automatic wipers and headlights.
  • Automatic high-beam assist.
  • Adaptive, swiveling headlights.
  • An auto-dimming rearview mirror.
  • Black or Nappa leather seating.
  • Automatic climate control.
  • Traffic sign recognition.
  • Navigation.

In the Grand Touring’s interior, you gain silver finishes instead of the Club’s dark accents.

A Slight Price Difference

The Miata RF is a higher-end vehicle because of its more expensive hardtop and because it doesn’t offer the budget-friendly base trim. Here are the MSRPs for each MX-5 Miata:

  • MX-5 Miata Sport: $28,050.
  • MX-5 Miata Club: $31,550.
  • MX-5 Miata Grand Touring: $33,050.
  • MX-5 Miata RF Club: $38,950.
  • MX-5 Miata RF Grand Touring: $35,750.

Either option is affordable as far as sports convertibles go. The Miata RF offers a bit more value because of its sophisticated features.

Impressive Performance

The Miata RF’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive to produce 181 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to the vehicle’s lightweight and efficient construction, this is more than enough power to propel the Miata from zero to 60 mph in just over 6 seconds. The RF’s Grand Touring trim is also available with a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters, but you’ll lose just a bit of zippiness with this powertrain compared to the manual.

The Miata’s small stature has another benefit: good fuel efficiency. The EPA estimates put its fuel economy at 26 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, with the RF getting an extra mile or two per gallon, on average, over the soft-top Miata.

Ready To Test-Drive a Miata RF?

The Mazda MX-5 Miata and Miata RF share many of the same specs and features. The RF’s hardtop, however, gives it a modern touch and sets it apart from traditional models. You can’t go wrong with either vehicle. If you want to check out their features for yourself, contact our team at Capistrano Mazda. We can show you our latest inventory and set you up with a test drive.


Posted in Uncategorized