2018 Mazda MX-5 Grand Touring RF

1234 Mazda MX 5 Front Side

2018 Mazda MX-5 Grand Touring RF

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia


This is the 2018 Mazda MX-5 Grand Touring RF (retractable fastback). Of course, the first thing you’ll notice in this model is the automatic power hard top feature. Remember the days when it was a major task to get the top up or down. In fact, the British had a way of making a car that required you to be a mechanic with a complete set of tools just to start the car. I think their concept of a car owner was as enthusiastic about the car as the designers were. Cars of the 1950s and 1960s like MGB and Austin Healey immediately come to mind and of course we can’t forget the Jaguar XKE. Hey, I’ve owned them and loved ‘em too but, in retrospect, I could have used a lot less wrench turning and knuckle busting and more driving.

Well the joy continues with the driving experience you get from driving a sport car like this Mazda. It is the top selling sport car in the world, and for good reason, it is simple and easy to drive. Japanese manufacturer Mazda in 1989 was passionate about a sport car and got his inspiration from the classics mentioned above from the early years. He achieved his goal in my opinion.

BUT, they aren’t for everyone and are more fun than practical. It’s kinda like you need a real car or truck for the real world and for fun and giggles and the sheer joy of driving you get a sport car. It also demands a little flexibility of body just getting in and out.

General Information:

It is assembled in- Hiroshima, Japan; Parts-US/Canadian 0%, Japan 90% Engine and transmission – Japan; Classification is- Two Seater. Cars from Mazda- CX-3, CX-5, CX-9, Mazda 3, Mazda 5, Mazda 6, MX-5 Miata, MX-5 Miata RF.

Handling & Performance:

6-speed manual transmission is nearly an appendix that has little use in today’s automotive landscape. Some research disclosed that only 3% of cars sold are so equipped. No surprise, since it is rare to find anyone who knows how to drive what was referred to as a “standard transmission” up until about 40 years ago. Do you think we should now refer to an automatic transmission as “Standard”?

But for those few drivers who are comfortable with a ‘manual’ transmission it is as ‘automatic’ to their driving style. Me – I’m ok with a manual transmission but only as a novelty because the newest and best automatics are unbeatable for performance.


Classic Miata styling, and over time it has matured from its early years when, by any measure, it was rather ‘tinny’ sounding when you closed the doors and trunk. That is not the case in recent years. What’s more, the body is broader and more stable looking and feeling. Nice.

Fit and Finish:

Very good assembly especially considering the fact it is affordable, which explains why it is the world’s best-selling sport car.


It is well priced and right with its most close competitor, the Fiat 124.

Conveniences and comfort:

Far more features than I expected with all the new technology but if you need a good size trunk you are in the wrong market. I’m reminded of a trip my wife and I took to Lake Tahoe in Northern California to visit my daughter and her family. It was the end of 1990s or early 2000s and we had to pack for a week. Me – I took a toothbrush since that’s all the room that was left after she loaded her stuff. Really, why do women need so much stuff?

Consumer Recommendations:

For me it would be a toss-up between Miata and the Fiat Spider in this class. I’ve owned a 124 Fiat and liked it a lot.

Recognised Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled
Mazda MX-5 RF 34,000 29 2 2 Japan Japan
Fiat 124 Spider 30,000 30 2 2 Italy Japan
Audi A3 48,000 28 4 4 Germany Germany

Good News:

Looks great, fair pricing, fun to drive, fantastic hard top convertible.

Bad News:

Small trunk and storage spaces and difficult entry and exit.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 4-cylinder 155 HP engine, 6-speed manual transmission, rear wheel drive, ABS 4-Wheel power Disc brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, 17” allow wheels, power retractable hard top, auto on/off headlights, heated power mirrors, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio, cruise, Bluetooth controls and leather shift knob and hand brake, power windows and locks, leather trimmed upholstery, keyless entry, with push button start, Bluetooth phone / audio, tire pressure monitor, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, anti-theft alarm, front and rear stabilizer bars, front dbl wishbone suspension, rear multi-link suspension, rain-sensing wipers, Bose AM/FM/CDS, 9 speaker audio, aux jack, 2-USB inputs, Sirius XM radio, Navigation system, 7” color touch screen display, cruise control, trip computer with color display, climate control, heated front seats, stability control, traction control, front and side airbags, anti-theft engine immobilizer, auto high beam control and lane departure warning system.

Gas Stats:

$3.45/ Gal avg. April 9, 2018

for more information.

26 City and 33 Highway MPG


MSRP $32,750.

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