The One To Have? The 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring RF

Front/side view of 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF
The 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF.
Our fondness for the Mazda MX-5 Miata is well documented throughout the nine-year archives of TireKicker.  You'll find it firmly ensconced at number two on the list of TireKicker's Best Cars on the right-hand side of this page.

So what could make it even better?  Well, how about a hardtop that keeps out the noise and the rain that also goes away without the problems of where to store the roof or clunky styling (a problem with the previous-gen MX-5 Miata PRHT)?

That is exactly what the new MX-5 Miata RF delivers.

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF front 3/4 view
2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF.
What Mazda has done here is to follow Porsche (never a bad thing in sporting machines) and adopt the Targa philosophy to now-there's-a-roof-now-there's not motoring.  Porsche's Targa starts at $110,300.  The Mazda MX-5 Miata RF starts at $31,555.  And the entertainment value of showing your neighbors how the RF goes from enclosed to open air is part of the tab:

Slick, isn't it?  And because it slides into a space between the cabin and the trunk, the roof panel, when stowed, eats exactly zero luggage space.

Interior view of 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring RF
2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring RF interior.
Beyond that, it's a Mazda MX-5 Miata.  Which is to say, it's a ball to drive.  Mrs. TireKicker and I took it on back roads in Northern California down into the historic Gold Country along Highway 49...a 150-mile roundtrip.  My only complaint?  Sunburn.  Entirely my fault.

Our tester was the top-of-the-line Grand Touring.  Base price $32,620 and the only add-ons were four the Soul Red Metallic paint ($300) and keyless entry ($130).  With $845 delivery, processing and handling fee, the bottom line was $33,885...$2,550 more than the 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata we reviewed back in February.

Is there $2,550 worth of added flexibility in having the RT?  Absolutely. And, apart from that fairly small amount of money (in new car terms) and one mile per gallon in fuel economy (27/34 becomes 26/33), you give up nothing.

I'm not saying I wouldn't buy the soft-top MX-5 Miata.   But I suspect Mazda would get my extra $2,550 and I'd go home with the RF.