Mazda revives Targa look in new MX-5 RF

RF stands for retractable fastback, harkening back to Civic del Sol

Published: March 23, 2016, 1:50 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 3:28 PM

Mazda MX-5 RF roof stowing

After years of staging auto show Miata coupe concepts that got fans and critics all in a tizzy, Mazda has finally transformed its diminutive roadster into a full roof model … sort of.

The “RF” in the new Mazda MX-5 RF stands for retractable fastback, which resurrects the Targa profile and with a power-down back window makes the car a neat mix of coupe and convertible, although not a unique one. Now before you start with the comparisons to the Civic Del Sol, bear in mind that in the days before the hardtop convertible, the removable roof was a way to make any sporty coupe into an open-air cruiser.

Meant to replace the previous generation’s retractable hardtop version, the MX-5 RF does have a profile that sort of looks like that of the long defunct del Sol (1992-1998). That may be a bad thing, but the good part is that it helps maintain trunk space equal to that of the full

As with many of today’s convertibles, the MX-5’s roof opens and closes at the push of a button but only at speeds up to 10 km/h, whereas many of its competitors and non-competitors can do it at up to city speeds and some even at near highway speeds. So that makes you wonder why not just make another retractable hard-top model instead of keeping the flying buttress look?

The new car comes in a choice of exterior body colours including a new, premium Machine Grey that reportedly works with the KODO Soul of Motion design to make it seem as if the car is carved out of a block of steel. The finish is applied in three coats — a colour coat, a reflective coat and a clear-coat — and will be available on a number of new vehicles.

Power is provided by a choice of SkyActiv engines of 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre displacements, though North American versions are expected to continue with the 155-hp 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine, linked to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic.