Always perfect for the brighter days ahead, the magnificent Mazda MX-5 RF Sport Black.
Jonathan Humphrey drives one of his favourites, the excellent Mazda MX-5 RF
Perfect car, location, weather, roads, are all that's necessary. A Mazda MX-5 everyone should drive one at least once. The pleasure of in-expensive open-top motoring has to be sampled and there's no better than an MX-5. With thousands of cars sold since 1996, these popular, reliable roadsters are available at some remarkable prices these days and from new are still the best for everyday open-air motoring.
But this is one of the latest MX-5 models, the RF is my pick of the bunch, with the curvy looks of a baby 'Ferrari Dino'.
The 'RF' stands for retractable fastback, that's 13 seconds to get the origami styled roof down, at any speed up to 6mph. The slick operation requires just the press of a switch no clunky unlatching, easy as pie and it transfoms into excellent looking open-top sportscar.
On driving the RF on events in the past, quite cocooned in the car we chose to keep the roof down on the first leg of our 100-mile tour around the South Devon countryside. At 6 degrees the heater coped well, possibly a hat for the top of your head but the car felt warm at all speeds up to the national speed limit. The best thing about the MX-5 is the car just feels so much bigger with the roof open and thousands of miles of fresh air above your head.
Yes, OK, luggage is as with other models a bit of a squash, and the cabin for anyone over six foot may feel a bit cramped, but squash the bags and anything else in the boot and hit the road, it's all about fun and open-air freedom. Anything unnecessary just leave at home, the lightness of the car translates to more fun.
Pricing for this the latest piece of MX-5 Sportscar fun starts at £25695 for this special edition MX-5 R Sport Black. It's loaded up with all the gadgets and gizmos you would expect. Coated in a delicious Eternal Blue Mica paint finish with black rear-spoiler, piano black door-mirrors, gunmetal alloys, it really looks the dogs.
There is a simple purity to the basic model, still a fine car, but this special version with the extras of leather seats, alloys and shiny black bits make the car altogether quite special.
The only thing you may struggle with is the choice of engine; the range starts with the 1.5-litre with 131PS which is a sweetheart of an engine with just adequate power for the car, it makes a docile back lane sportscar, with fun stamped all over it. In this Special Edition RF Sport Black SE-L Nav I prefer the slightly louder 160PS 2.0-litre which gives the car just a bit more oomph; maybe the sound isn't quite as sweet. But on some roads, the increase in power can bring a tad more driving pleasure.
Mazda calls it 'Jinba Ittai'. The feeling of oneness that makes for a driving experience like no other.
I prefer the looks of the RF, roof up or down and the extra security the hard top offers in towns. The Mazda MX-5 pound for pound brings the freedom of convertible driving to many, long may it run.
Car reviewed: Mazda MX-5 RF Sport Black 2.0 SE-L Nav - Base Price On the road £25,695 0-62mph 7.3 secs Top speed 133mph Fuel Economy combined 40.9mpg CO2 emissions 161g/km Engine 1998cc 4-cylinder unleaded EU6 Max Power 160bhp@6000rpm Torque 200Nm@4600rpm Transmission 6-speed manual
The best open-top sportscar
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