2017 Mazda Miata RF – Driven
Needing no introduction, the Mazda Miata RF is well into its first year of production. This retractable fastback version of Mazda’s insanely popular two-seat sports car not only adds a level of interior comfort with lower noise levels and better insulation against extreme temperatures, but also adds some beautiful aesthetics to the MX-5’s Kodo Design language. Coated in the gorgeous Machine Gray metallic paint, out recent test car proved the Miata RF is more than a mere replacement for the last-generation power-retractable hardtop.
The Miata RF is a looker. Its styling flows with more grace and elegance than the ragtop convertible. Crisp edges meet with curved fenders and voluptuous haunches. Mazda’s attention to detail moves the Miata further up-market, while its price and fun-loving nature remain firmly planted in the obtainable sports car category. Aside from the roof, the Miata RF changes little from its roadster counterpart. An extra 113 pounds, a slightly revised steering calibration, and modestly retuned suspension comprise the most notable differences. But how does this affect the drive? To find out, I spent a week with the Miata RF, flogging it over familiar roads around Central Florida, all the while enjoying the springtime air flowing through the open cockpit.
Continue reading for the full driven review.
With a history that began in 1989, the Mazda MX-5 is one of the hottest-selling convertibles on the market. In its 21 years of history, the MX-5 saw three different generations, numerous design updates, and even more engine changes. However, the most impressive upgrade has been announced for the fourth-generation that debuted on September 3rd, 2014.
The Mazda MX-5 remains a rear-wheel-drive, compact sports roadster with an exterior design inspired by the Shinari Concept unveiled in 2010. With the new generation, the ND, Mazda focused on reducing the total weight to less than 2,400 pounds and implementing the SkyActiv technology that’s already available across the rest of its lineup.
Slightly shorter and lighter than its predecessor, the new Miata also received a new exterior design, which makes it unique among other Mazda nameplates despite featuring various cues from the company’s current KODO language.
Updated 03/25/2016: The new Mazda MX-5 was named 2016 World Car and World Car Design of the Year at the 2016 New York Auto Show. Masahiro Moro, the President and CEO of Mazda North America said it was a "Wonderful Honor" when receiving both awards for the company.
Continue reading to learn more about the fourth generation Mazda MX-5.
Flyin’ Miata has this incredible ability to create unique and wonderful cars from the Miata. Nancy the supercharged NC is a sprightly car that is set for rally racing, Atomic Betty is a world class GT car and the Exocet is a track-day phenom. These are all shop cars, however, and are set up to portray a certain style and characteristic.
But what would an employee of Flyin’ Miata do to their own car. With no need to highlight a certain part or feature, and no need to cater to the desires of a customer, what would they create. If you are Keith Tanner, you create the Turbo Smurf.
This 1990 Miata has been fettled, upgraded and altered in essentially every manner to become what is Keith’s ideal daily driver. From the drivetrain and suspension to the interior and even the sound insulation, there is almost no part of this roadster that has been left untouched.
Are the results a carefully created car that coddles as well as it excites? Or did Keith just create a Frankenstein of speed and noise that only just manages to ferry him to the shop without killing him? I spent some time behind the driver seat to figure it out.
Read on to discover more about the Flyin’ Miata Turbo Smurf Miata
What happens when you take the stiffest and most refined Miata ever built, and then have Flyin’ Miata cram a fire-breathing small block V-8 under the hood? You get one of the best cars I have ever driven. Period.
This is Atomic Betty and she has stolen my heart.
With more than 400 horsepower and an equal measure of torque, Atomic Betty takes the power and thrust of a Corvette, and cuts a few hundred pounds. The results are staggering to say the least. Despite the insertion of the large engine, very little of Betty has been altered, and from the exterior she looks like a stock NC Miata to 99-percent of onlookers. If you prefer the idea of a “sleeper,” Betty is about the best you can get.
Best of all, the weight balance has barely been changed and overall weight gain from the new engine is less than putting a full-size male in the passenger seat. That means that same handling and crispness of the Miata remains, there just happens to be almost three-times as much power at the call of your right foot.
Continue to read more about Flyin’ Miata’s V-8 powered NC Miata Atomic Betty.
What happens when Flyin’ Miata gets a hold of an old Mazda press loaner and the supercharger kit that was designed for the Super20 concept? It creates an all-out targa rally car, of course. Meet "Nancy," the supercharged and rally-prepped 2006 Mazda Miata MX-5.
Nancy started life as a test bed for NC-generation parts, but after the application of the supercharger kit and a full suspension upgrade, she got wrapped in a racing livery vinyl and Flyin’ Miata took her racing across Canada in the 2011 Targa Newfoundland.
I got to spend several days, a few hundred miles and some track time with this incredible machine. Did Flyin’ Miata ruin the balance and fun of the Miata with all of its racing upgrades, or is Nancy merely a better version of an already great car? Read on to find out.
Continue reading to find out what I thought about Flyin’ Miata’s Nancy.
The Mazda Miata is regarded as one of the greatest driver’s cars in the world. Not only is it the best-selling roadster of all-time, but the Miata is one of the most raced cars ever created as well. If you want a cheap and enjoyable driving experience, the Miata can’t be beat. At least that used to be the case, anyways. Now the current generation car is nearly a decade old, and new challengers like the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ have arrived promising the same type of fun.
Mazda will be replacing the current NC-generation Miata with an all-new, fourth-generation car next year, but does the current car still deserve your attention? Mazda dropped one off in my driveway and I spent 8 days and drove more than 2,000 miles in the search for driving nirvana and some pie. In that time I learned a lot about this little roadster. Some of my thoughts are expected, but some other ones were quite surprising.
Is the Miata still the best cheap sports car in the world? Read on to find out.
The Mazda MX-5 Miata is really one of the more polarizing roadsters available today. Those who are fans of it — myself included — rave about its handling, power-to-weight ratio, analog feel and balance on the track. Those who hate it argue that it looks like a "chick’s car," isn’t fast enough, too loud and never has all of the cool features found in modern cars.
Well, Mazda has — for the most part — ignored all of the MX-5 haters and focused on what the MX-5 lovers desire from the Japanese roadster. When Mazda redesigned the MX-5 in 2006, it listened to enthusiasts by adding in a Club Spec model that eliminated all of the higher-end features and replaced them with performance goodies, like Billstein struts, a strut tower brace and upgraded tires. Well, Mazda was gracious enough to bestow upon me a 2014 MX-5 Club for a week, and as a Miataphile, I was more than thrilled to get a crack at a new model.
I personally own a modified 2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5 that pumps out about 225 to 250 horsepower, so I had a good base to go off of for this review. Some of you may think that since my daily driver is a modded MX-5 that I may not find the new Club model all that thrilling, but you would be absolutely incorrect.
Click past the jump to read our Driven review of the 2014 Mazda Miata Club.
If you haven’t heard anything about the MX-5 in the past few months it’s only because Mazda is quietly preparing to unleash the new generation soon. Still, in order to keep our attention focused on the model, Mazda announced today the MX-5 Sport Graphite. This release comes as no big surprise, as the MX-5 remains the world’s best-selling two-seat sports car with almost 1,000,000 units sold around the globe.
The model was initially unveiled in 1989 and it is currently in its third generation. All the three generations were built with the "Jinba ittai" credo in mind, which can be translated as "rider and horse should be one body."
What makes the MX-5 so cool is the fact that it managed to keep its origins during all the three generations, and each one was an evolution of the previous one.
Click past the jump to read more about the Mazda MX-5 Sport Graphite.
The Mazda MX-5 is already a fine piece of machinery. It is balanced, nimble and is capable of making for quick laps on the most twisty of track. While the MX-5 is fun to drive, one thing that nobody will say is that it is powerful.
Flyin’ Miata, a top MX-5 Miata tuner, decided to change all of this with their Habu conversion kit. The Habu upgrade works on any 1990-2009 MX-5 with a big difference under the hood. They swap out the small four-cylinder engine for a fire breathing V-8.
If this sounds familiar it is because Carroll Shelby made it popular by putting a large V-8 engine into the small AC Ace. The result of this was the Shelby Cobra, a small roadster capable of scary performance back in the ’60s.
With an eight-cylinder engine in the small Japanese roadster, you get a high-powered performance car that can keep up with many of the high-priced supercars built today for a fraction of the cost.
The performance comes dangerously close to the 2014 SRT Viper and it is because of this swipe at the Viper that the kit is called the Habu, which is Japanese for a small venomous snake.
Hit the jump for more information about the Mazda MX-5 Habu by Flyin’ Miata
Mazda UK is adding four new special editions to its lineup, one of them being a MX-5 Venture Edition. The new special edition is on sale now with prices starting £18,895 (about $28,800 at the current exchange rates) for the 126-horsepower, 1.8-liter-powered Venture Edition soft-top version and up to £22,295 (about $34,000 at the current exchange rates) for the 160-horsepower, 2.0-liter-powered Venture Edition Roadster Coupe with powered folding roof.
The new MX-5 Venture Edition will be distinguished by a new set of 17-inch Bright Finish alloy wheels on the outside. On the inside, Mazda is offering heated tan leather sports seats and tan leather door inserts.
The new Venture Edition will be offered in four exterior colors: Brilliant Black, Copper Red Mica, Meteor Grey Mica and Stormy Blue Mica. Each color will be combined with a set of “Venture Edition" badges, while the soft-top models will be offered with a tan fabric roof.
The SEMA Auto Show is a time for tuning companies to show what they are made of and this year’s event will be anything but boring. We’ve already seen a few of the vehicles that will be headed to Las Vegas this year, but we’ve gotten word of another vehicle scheduled to appear: the Catfish Speedster developed by Bauer Limited Production.
The Catfish is based on a Mazda MX-5 Miata, but shares none of its components. All of the Mazda’s original parts have been replaced by new ones, including a new hood, trunk, doors, bumpers, and a top and convertible frame. The interior was slightly modified to make it possible for the driver to put in stock Miata seats or racing seats of their choice.
The Catfish Speedster will be offered with a standard 1.6 engine or a 1.8 NB Rotrex with over 260hp, but for customers who want a little more push, Bauer will also be offering an LS2 V8 engine. With the Speedster coming in at only 1,500lbs, we can only imagine its performance figures.
The official debut of the new Catfish Speedster will be at the 2012 SEMA Show, with a racing version set to be unveiled in 2013.
The Mazda MX-5 Miata is already undergoing a complete overhaul to enter its new generation, but the company has apparently realized the dire need for the Miata to be refreshed before it becomes completely obsolete ahead of the new generation’s debut.
Launched in 2005, the third generation MX-5 (NC) received its first major update in 2008. It’s barely been touched since then, but 2013 will come with a second round of updates before the car gets canned for the new generation. The new MX-5 (known as the Roadster in Japan) has already made its officially debut and is already on sale at all Mazda dealerships throughout Japan.
The exterior has been redesigned to offer a more aggressive look, while the interior has received a new luxury tan color finish for the genuine leather seats. The model has also received revised characteristics of the throttle and brake booster that help improve control of the accelerator in the manual transmission models and the brakes in all models.
UPDATE 07/05/2012: This review has been updated with the official details and images for the 2013 Mazda MX-5.
Hit the jump to read more on the 2013 Mazda MX5 Miata.
Despite having more special edition versions than any model in recent history, the Mazda MX-5’s popularity doesn’t appear to be waning any time soon.
Over in the UK, the Japanese sports roadster is still a hot ticket, so much so in fact that Mazda has decided to give the UK market yet another special edition model of the MX-5.
Say hello to the MX-5 Kuro Special Edition.
Available in two variants - one for the soft-top and one for the folding hard top - the MX-5 Kuro Special Edition distinguishes itself from the rest of its MX-5 peers with a host of aesthetic alterations, including a race car-inspired exterior graphics, black detailing around the front grille and front fog lights, ‘Kuro Edition’ badging all over the exterior, and a new set of 17" alloy wheels. The special edition model also gets a new rear sports bumper, a larger sports exhaust, and a choice of three different color options: Velocity Red Mica, Crystal White Pearlescent, and Brilliant Black.
Inside, the MX-5 Kuro Special Edition gets treated to Stone and Black heated leather seats, Stone leather door inserts, red stitching, a silver interior panel with red accents, alloy pedals, and floor mats with a race-inspired logo.
The soft-top variant of the Kuro Special Edition will come with a 1.8 liter engine that nets 126 horsepower and 123 lb/ft of torque while the hard-top model will be powered by a 2.0-liter four cylinder engine that produces 167 horsepower and 158 lb/ft of torque.
200 units of the soft-top model will be available in the UK at a price of £18,495 ($28,890), while 400 of the hard-top variant will be available at a price of £21,995 ($34,350).
Mazda will be attending the Goodwood Festival of Speed with a very cool Mazda MX-5 GT Concept which may head to production depending on customers’ reactions at the festival. The concept was developed by Jota Sport and looks a lot like the MX-5 Super20 unveiled last year at the SEMA Auto Show.
The GT Concept is powered by a normally aspirated 2.0-litre Mazda petrol engine that delivers a total of 205 HP and is mated to a standard manual gearbox. Mazda is also offering an updated suspension, as well as an impressive aerodynamic package that includes a carbon front splitter, a rear diffuser, and a boot spoiler. The final piece of the exterior is a sports exhaust system with a central tailpipe.
For the interior, the concept gets Recaro seats and plenty of carbon fiber to suits any sports car enthusiast. Road slicks and body-colored roll hoops behind the seats were also added for customers who want to run the car on the race track.
"This year at the Goodwood Festival of Speed we have a number of significant cars on the stand and contesting the hillclimb," said Jeremy Thomson, Managing Director, Mazda UK. "The MX-5 has been our best known car for 22 years and with the GT4 and GT Concept on show, we are demonstrating that this car can compete with the more expensive race and performance cars but still remain true to its roots of affordable motoring with a strong focus on the driving experience."
Another auto show, another special edition MX-5 Miata. Leave it to Mazda to do something like that, and quite frankly, you won’t see any complaints from us.
It wasn’t that long ago - last week at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show, to be exact - when Mazda treated all of us with a new special edition model of the legendary MX-5 Miata Roadster.
Not content with just one of these bad boys being showcased at a major auto event, the Japanese automaker decided to bring ANOTHER special edition MX-5 Miata to the NEXT auto event on the calendar: the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.
This particular model is called the "MX-5 Special Edition Spring 2012", a car that will be offered exclusively to the European market - America, we had our turn last week! - and distinguishing itself with a choice of four exterior paint finishes, including Radiant Ebony, Crystal White Pearl, Metropolitan Grey and Brilliant Black.
In addition to the four interesting color ways, the MX-5 Special Edition Spring 2012 will also carry grille surrounds, chrome headlamp inserts, and fog lamp bezels as part of the exterior enhancements. As for the interior, Mazda dressed up the special edition MX-5 with a pretty unique “Havana Brown” leather upholstery, as well as fitting the same model with an integrated navigation system, a first for the Mazda MX-5.
Japanese automaker, Mazda, will troop to the Windy City to debut another special edition model of their most popular vehicle, the MX-5 Miata.
Based on the MX-5 Miata Grand Touring model, the car will be limited to only 450 models, distinguishing itself with a number of unique additions that include two new exterior colors, a black-only power retractable hard top, blah exterior accents, a new set of 17" gunmetal wheels, heated black leather seats, and interior finishes dressed in piano black.
Performance specs will remain the same, which means that the car will sport a 2.0-liter four cylinder engine that produces 167 horsepower and 158 lb/ft of torque and will be mated to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed sport automatic transmission.
The MX-5 Miata Special Edition’s participation at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show was done as a tribute to Mazda’s debut on the global stage back in 1989. Since then, the Miata has become one of the most popular roadsters in the world, selling over a million models since it made its debut 23 years ago.
UPDATE 02/08/2012: The special edition Mazda MX-5 has made its debut at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show. Limited to only 450 units, the model will go on sale at the end of February 2012 at a starting price of $31,225 for the manual transmission and $31,675 when equipped with the six-speed automatic transmission. The model is equipped with both the Premium and Suspension packages as standard.
The 2012 Tokyo Auto Salon will begin right after the Detroit Auto Show in January and many automakers are releasing all kinds of information on their lineup for the show floor in Japan. For example, Mazda will be bringing plenty of specially customized MX-5 models, including the MX-5 NR-A Jinba Ittai and the MX-5 Black Tuned edition.
The Black Tuned Edition is based on the special edition MX-5 Sport Black model announced earlier this year, but going on sale in the spring of 2012. The model adopts black-based special features for both the interior and exterior, and offers a full range of exclusive specifications including BBS lightweight alloy wheels, Bilstein height adjustable dampers, a Brembo brake system (painted in gold for the front), and Recaro seats.
The list of standard equipment for the Mazda MX-5 Black Tuned Edition includes climate control air-conditioning, a premium Bose audio system, an integrated hands-free Bluetooth system, cruise control, and front fog lights.
Mazda is going full force at the 2012 Tokyo Auto Salon, presenting a grand total of 10 vehicles at their home auto show. We’re not surprised that one of the vehicles they’re bringing to Tokyo is yet another special edition model of their iconic MX-5 Miata line.
Called the MX-5 NR-A ’Jinbai-Ittai’ - translate, Jinbai-Ittai means "horse and rider becoming one" - this special race-spec Miata is a lightweight, two-seater, open-top sports car that has been finished with unique exterior graphics to go with a grocery list of new equipment, including TAKAT four-point seat belts, new Bilstein dampers, Endless brake pads, and a new set of 16" alloy wheels from ENKEI that have been wrapped in Bridgestone tires.
Mazda has been tight-lipped on all the other modifications and enhancements given to the MX-5 NR-A ’Jimba Ittai’. Nevertheless, you can expect more details about this special edition, race-spec Miata to be released leading up to the 2012 Tokyo Auto Salon before the event opens its doors this coming January.
Here’s a vehicle that may be sporting an orange and black combination, but has nothing to do with the spooky and wicked Halloween season. This is the Mazda MX-5 Super20, a vehicle whose name may sound a bit familiar due to Mazda’s entry into SEMA last year. The 2010 Super20 was created to celebrate the MX-5’s 20th anniversary, but this year, Mazda decided to bring a 2.0 version of that same vehicle with a killer paint job and a load of accessories.
The 2011 Mazda MX-5 Super20 features a Hyper Orange Mica exterior paint finish with black stripes to soften the bright blow. The paint job is topped off with a stationary, glossy black hardtop to replace the vehicle’s standard soft-top. The interior has also been modified and now features a color-matched roll bar and black leather seats with suede seat inserts and channel and orange contrast stitching.
The Super20 was also privy to a few performance modifications, such as a DPTune reflashed ECU, a Racing Beat 304-stainless steel header and exhaust, and Racing Beat hollow front and rear anti-roll bars. These features were joined by an ACT organic street clutch, MazdaSpeed coil overs and a shock tower brace, Power Slot slotted brake rotors, StopTech stainless steel brake lines and street performance brake pads, and SpeedSource front brake ducts. The MX-5 Super20 was finished with black 16-inch Enkei RPF1 twin-spoke racing wheels, Toyo Proxes RA-1 245/45ZR16 high-performance tires, and 20mm H&R Track+ bolt-on wheel spacers in the rear and 15mm Sparco wheel spacers in the front.
From the looks of things, we think Mazda threw together the Super20 last year and decided to really work hard this year to present a Super20 worthy of being called a celebratory vehicle.
UPDATE 11/07/2011: We have added new images of the MX-5 Super20 from the SEMA Auto Show. Check them out in the gallery provided!
Mazda is squeezing in as many MX-5 special editions as it possibly can before releasing the next generation of the small sports car, and today another one is getting added to the list. The latest special edition MX5 is called the Black Limited Edition and was inspired by this year’s highly successful MX-5 GT race car. It will be limited to only 500 units and, on the British market, will be priced from £22,995 - or about $37,500 at the current exchange rates.
The new special edition will be distinguished by three unique paint finishes - Spirited Green Metallic, Crystal White Pearlescent, and Velocity Red Mica - and a Brilliant Black powered retractable hard-top. These exterior colors will be contrasted by dark "gun metal" 17-inch alloy wheels.
On the interior, the MX5 will get black leather with contrasting "sand" color stitching, a Piano Black steering wheel and deco panel, and Limited Edition floor mats. Model recognition will come from unique ‘Black Limited Edition’ exterior badging and uniquely numbered interior plaques.
Aside from the distinguishing features, the Mazda MX5 Black Limited Edition will also get a slew of standard equipment, including climate control air-conditioning, a premium Bose audio system, an integrated hands-free Bluetooth system, cruise control, and front fog lights.
UPDATE 09/01/11: The Mazda MX-5 Sport Black Limited Edition is getting ready for orders and to commemorate the occasion, we’ve uploaded more photos of the special edition Miata in the photo gallery. Check the new pictures out and maybe you’ll just end up scoring one of the 500 available pieces of the Japanese sports car.
There’s not much arguing the fact that the MX-5 Miata is one of Mazda’s most popular models of all time. So if there was any other car in the Japanese automaker’s lineup that has earned the right to spawn special edition models left and right, it’s their iconic sports roadster.
With that thought in mind, Mazda has once again given fans of the MX-5 Miata another special edition model for their consumption.
This one, called the Karai, comes from the automaker’s European division and has been given plenty of new digs that will most definitely give it plenty of attention from die-hard Miata fans in Europe.
You can make a case that the all these special edition Miatas have become one too many, even for its popularity. But that’s the thing with this venerable roadster; somehow, people just can’t get enough of it, no matter what their tastes and preferences are.
The Karai, which means ’sharp’ in Japanese, certainly fits the name it was given. Sharply dressed with plenty of aesthetic upgrades, the MX-5 Miata Karai is one that’s going to be a hit to European die-hards of the legendary model.
Details after the jump
Mazda is celebrating their entrance into the Guinness Book of World Records with the launch of the special edition Record Series MX-5. This special edition will be offered in two versions: black (limited to only 120 units) and white (produced exclusively by the Italian branch of the house of Hiroshima).
The Black Record Series model will be powered by a 1.8-liter engine that delivers 126 HP and is paired with five-speed manual gearbox. It will be painted in Sparkling Black combined with a glossy finish for the wheels, chrome handles for the doors and frames, and silver and chrome-ringed fog lamps for the front grille. The interior will get light gray leather and will offer a radio with a CD player and MP3 player, Aux jack, six speakers, and Bluetooth connectivity.
The White Record Series model will get a 2.0 liter engine with 160 HP, paired with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Its exterior will be painted in a Chrystal White Pearl color which contrasts with the black Recaro leather interior. This version will be focused on sport, so it will add a sport suspension and limited slip rear differential, while the inside offers a premium Bose audio system with 6 CD charger, seven speakers, and Bluetooth connectivity.