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2020 Mazda MX-5 RF still means a lot of fun and some summer sun

Scott Sturgis, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Automotive News

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club RF: As fun with a hardtop?

Price: $34,565 as tested. No options on test vehicle. (The Club is the midlevel MX-5, between Sports and Grand Touring.)

Conventional wisdom: Motor Trend likes the "pure driving joy, distilled, super-simple soft top operation, good fuel economy," but not that it's "nervous at the limit, teeny tiny trunk capacity."

Marketer's pitch: "Give in to the temptation."

Reality: All the other marketing departments can go home; Mazda just won marketer's pitches.

Summer fun: Test-driving this car was like coming down to earth -- literally riding near the road and enjoying the open air.

 

What's new: The little two-seater gets some new features available at lower trim levels and standard sport-tuned suspension on Grand Touring.

Summer fun: I always forget that the RF comes with a retractable roof (RF = retractable fastback, smart guy). It's not quite the same as a convertible, with the rear window and pillars still in place, but it's pretty close.

On the road: There's nothing quite like riding around at eye level with the tiger lilies on a summer drive. Especially when the MX-5 makes all the right moves. Zipping around the countryside remains a blast.

Shifty: An automatic in a two-seater should be against the law. Even a shiftable one. Especially a shiftable one like this one, which won't let me shift exactly when I want to. It forever decided I was headed to second too soon, and then I'd not realize it and hear the engine whining pitifully at high revs, thinking, "Gosh if this were my car, I'd need a new transmission at 50,000 miles."

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