2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club RF Test Drive

The 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club RF is A Targa Type Hardtop Roadster.

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club RF

The popular diminutive two-seat, rear-wheel-drive Mazda MX-5 Miata roadster first bowed with a secure full power retractable hardtop (PRHT) and has followed with a Targa type (RF) power-retractable hardtop.

2020 MAZDA MX-5 MIATA CLUB RF OVERVIEW

The 2020 MX-5 Miata is available in four levels of trim and two top configurations – soft and a power-retractable hardtop. The soft-top version comes in Sport, Club and Grand Touring. The retractable top version is available in all but sport trim.
All MX-5 Miatas continue to feature Mazda’s full suite of SKYACTIV technology along with their KODO “Soul of Motion” design philosophy.

Visual changes over the past several years have been subtle at best with themed editions, special paint, and trims until 2016 when it became stunningly beautiful presenting an exceptionally appealing face. “RF” by the way and its power top stow to display a Targa-like open-air cruiser rather than a complete droptop.

With the top in the up position, the overall form is not unlike that of a mini-Vette Coupe. Top operation takes roughly 13 seconds in either direction.

PROPULSION

Power is generated by a longitudinally-mounted 2.0-liter SKYACTIV-G DOHC, 16-valve, inline four-cylinder engine with Gasoline Direct Fuel Injection that has been perfected, with 181horsepower at 7,000 rpm while developing 151 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. The redline is 7,500 rpm.

Gearing the engine’s energy to the rear wheels, one may choose either a standard SKYACTIV six-speed manual short-throw gearbox or Mazda’s SKYACTIV Drive 6-speed Sport automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

2020 MAZDA MX-5 MIATA SLEEK AERO DESIGN

A roadster by definition is a convertible or open-top vehicle, traditionally with a soft cloth top. Mazda has offered a Power Retractable Hard Top, now referred to simply as RF, which stands for Retractable Fastback, for both Club and Grand Touring models. The basic “Jinba Ittai” mission statement for the Miata, which translates as “the rider and horse as one” continues.

The Miata’s overall design statement is a breath of fresh air, featuring a long hood, abbreviated overhangs, a cropped cabin space that’s moved far back on the body and large wheels moved as far forward and aft as is practical toward all four corners. The styling cues display a European influence – Jaguar’s F-Type comes to mind.

The design team’s goal was to move forward, through modernization, but without sacrificing the car’s purity and heritage. The profile is low and fluid, with all of the exterior panels except the windshield frame and doors constructed of aluminum. Seats are thinner than pre-2016 models, thanks to a net and urethane seat material that replaces traditional springs.

2020 MAZDA MX-5 INTERIOR AMBIENCE

The two-seat cockpit showcases a human-centric driving position, focused around the driver, with things like the pedal position optimized to fall in-line with the driver’s natural foot movement. The hood is low and the windshield A-pillars are positioned aft and are upright for enhanced visibility. Exterior paint colors now appear on the door panels. Passengers are positioned more inboard to feel in-line with the center of the vehicle, but passenger space can seem tight for those 6’4” or more.

COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE

A 4.6-inch, full-color TFT display adopts the available Traffic Sign Recognition and additional features include a tilt and telescoping steering column, a standard rearview camera and an optional – Club i-ACTIVSENSE with Smart City Brake Support, and Lane Departure Warning. Technology highlights include: Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry, BOSE® 9-speaker audio system with headrest speakers and Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming, as well as an Adaptive Front-lighting System.

AS TESTED

My most recent test Mazda MX-5 Miata was a 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club RF model with the six-speed Sport automatic transmission. The exterior wore a Soul Red Crystal finish and came with a Black interior. The base sticker price was set at $33,645., with the tally ringing up to $35,185. after factoring in optional fare and the delivery, processing, and handling fee.

PERFORMANCE

The new 2020 Mazda MX-5 CLUB Miata RF is a huge success as an affordable, fun-to-drive, pure open-air roadster thanks to its Kansei engineering, which focuses on understanding how the car feels through the driver’s sense of touch, how it sounds at speed, and how it looks in open-air form, rather than focusing on zero-to-60-mph acceleration figures.

The 2020 MX-5 Miata lineup has lost absolutely none of its original appeal, regardless of the trim level or the top configuration was chosen. This latest iteration open-air sports car ranks high in every respect. Acceleration is more than adequate. It may not seem blistering to some but is certainly quick enough to provide a heightened level of driving fun. When prodded with spirit, the engine’s growl is pleasing enough and doesn’t register as offensive at all. but now also features a more pleasing, throatier note from the exhaust, which is sure to generate wide smiles and perhaps even some LOL. Handling is crisp and precise with pleasing throttle steer properties, and the car exhibits an excellent front to rear balance.

When riding as a passenger the co-pilot’s space was tight for my 6’4” frame. The driver’s side seems roomier and poses no real problem when driving. Wind noise around the driver’s outside mirror might seem excessive to some at speed, and trunk space is basically limited to one rollaboard, but a good-sized one – enough for a weekend getaway for two.

THE FINAL TAKE on the MX-5 MIATA

The MX-5 Miata remains a true sports car with heart, in keeping with Mazda’s “Zoom-Zoom” spirit. In my mind, it remains a Miata, (MX-5 or not). Kudos for the genuine sports car feels and looks as well as the easy single switch operation of the retractable hardtop. The bottom line, the 2020 MX-5 Miata Club RF roadster is ready to roll off the showroom floor and onto the track after adding a roll bar and five-point harness to meet sanctioned racing requirements. Long live the Miata. Oops, I meant MX-5.

SPECIFICATIONS: 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club RF

Base Price: $32,945.
Price as Tested: $34,265.

Engine Type and Size: SKYACTIV 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve four-cylinder with gasoline direct injection.

Horsepower (bhp): 181 @ 7,000 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 151 @ 4,000 rpm

Transmission: SKYACTIV six-speed Sport automatic with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front midship engine / Rear-wheel drive.

Suspension: Front – Double wishbone with gas-filled monotube shock absorbers and stabilizer bar.
Rear – Multilink. with gas-filled monotube shock absorbers and stabilizer bar.

Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front), four-wheel, four-channel with ABS, EBD, and BA.

Tires: Bridgestone 205/45 R17 84W high-performance summer tires mounted on 8-spoke Black painted alloy wheels.

Wheelbase: 90.9 inches
Length Overall: 154.1 inches – without license plate holder
Width: 68.3 inches
Height: 48.0 inches
Curb Weight: 2,453 lbs.
Turning Circle: 30.8 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 11.89 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 26 mpg city / 35 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed
0 – 60 mph: Not tested

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