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August 8, 2017

Review: 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF

A few weeks back, I happened to experience what I thought was one of the best balanced sportscars in the world: the Porsche 718 Boxster. At the time, I thought Stuttgart’s effort would be hard to beat. That was, until I snuggled into the driver’s seat of a 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF. Now, I can unequivocally say that if I were in the market for an open-top two-seater sportscar (and had all the budget in the world), I would choose the Mazda.

That sounds like heresy given the 718 Boxster is no boulevard cruiser: 300 horsepower, a 0-100 km/h time of 4.9 seconds, and a top speed of 275 km/h. Yet, those numbers don’t mean a thing in the real world. Try driving it on EDSA (where you’ll be stuck 99 percent of the time anyway), and it’s like taming a wild beast. If the jumpy throttle won’t inadvertently launch you into a motorcycle’s backend, the continuous ruckus from the engine will deafen you. That or the choppy ride will cause you or your hot date to lose your lunch after an all-you-can-eat buffet. It’s tough and tiring.

In comparison, relatively no effort is needed to adjust to the MX-5 RF. Sure, the low seat height (lower than even the Porsche) means your view is limited to other cars’ bumpers. But overall, driving traffic is no different from driving a sporty compact.

The modestly-sized motor packs a rightly powered, balancing grunt with controllability, smoothness and a hint of throatiness. It’s all about linearity and being able to precisely control all of the available 160 horses every time. It’s more about the satisfying mechanical note that permeates the cabin, the volume knob of which is your right foot.

Packing a tweaked chassis compared to its soft top sibling, it’s relaxed and refined. The added insulation also adds a tad more quietness too. It’s surprisingly pliant over poor road surfaces and can absorb ruts *gasp* just as well as a Mazda3. It’s controllable, attainable, and forgiving. It’s a sportscar that’s not just for the Sunday fun run but for the daily commute as well. And oh, as an added bonus, chicks seem to dig this over the more expensive Porsche for some reason.

At times when you do get to sample these two roadsters on the few remaining great driving roads that the Philippines has to offer (in other words, the remaining 1 percent of the total driving experience), the Porsche will make you wet in your pants. It gets straight A’s in going fast, cornering, and braking. But it’s also an uncalculating, unblinking machine. And “machine” is the operative word here because that’s largely how it feels. It’s cold and unengaging—like a piece of appliance designed to go fast and corner even faster. It gives the same warm and fuzzy feeling as a fancy espresso machine. It delivers the intended results: a jolt of caffeine, but without the intricacies.

The MX-5 RF couldn’t be more different. It’s not going to get you to your destination any faster nor will it give you an instant jolt of adrenaline, but it’ll keep you satisfied longer. As you roll and lean it through corners, it’s like having your caffeine fix via a cafetière. It’s like having a slow-cooked meal next to the Boxster’s fast food fare. As you throw it into a corner, using only the kink of the front fenders as your guide, it becomes all about the foreplay than the orgasm. In fact, in everything it does, the MX-5 is about satisfying the senses. It’s always going to be about the journey. It’s about being able to drive the same familiar piece of road and yet getting a wholly different experience. It’s about making you feel every curve, every corner, every nuisance of the road. And even when you think you’ve known that road quite well, at the flick of a switch, you drop the top and start all over. It’s all about listening to the story of the road and you, not the car, becomes the center of attention.

As such, the MX-5 RF doesn’t reward slackers. It doesn’t offer Cliff Notes or an abridged version to people who aren’t interested in what stories the road has to tell. Yes, it does come replete with all sorts of features, some of them designed to drown out the hustle of the outside world, but each and every time you enter the cabin, you have to allow yourself to be molded into the intimate interior. It certainly isn’t for the tall, the wide, or the claustrophobic, but the limited adjustments reward you with a seating position like no other. This limits its appeal, but for the driver in all of us, you shouldn’t care.

Without a doubt, the Porsche 718 Boxster will wipe out the Mazda MX-5 RF on the racetrack. It’ll lap any circuit faster with its eyes closed and its hands tied behind its back. And yet, all things considered, it’s the MX-5 RF that delivers the more satisfying performance. Whether you’re in stop-and-go traffic or blasting on the open road, it’s the Mazda that offers food for the driving soul. It delivers an analog driving experience in an increasingly digital and detached world. In this day and age of instant gratification, that may seem like a surprise, but it mustn’t be forgotten that in the 25 years and four generations of the famous roadster, it’s always been like that. As the original one did, the 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF rewards with emotional sensations as opposed to cold, hard numbers. Countless other sportscars may offer better outright performance, but there’s only one that can give a truly personal bond. Only one can deliver the feeling of oneness between the car and driver, and that one is the Mazda MX-5.

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF
Ownership 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF
Year Introduced 2017
Vehicle Classification Sportscar
The Basics
Body Type 2-door Convertible (Retractable Fastback)
Seating 2
Engine / Drive F/R
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.0
Aspiration Normally Aspirated
Fuel Delivery Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 160 @ 6,000
Nm @ rpm 200 @ 4,600
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 95~
Transmission 6 AT
Cruise Control No
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 8.11 km/L @ 13 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 3,915
Width (mm) 1,735
Height (mm) 1,230
Wheelbase (mm) 2,310
Curb Weight (kg) 1,133
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-link
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Tires Bridgestone Potenza S001 205/45 R 17 W (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 4
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Rear
Other Safety Features Hill Hold Assist
Exterior Features
Headlights LED, Active
Fog Lamps No
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Manual
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat No
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes
Climate Control Yes
Audio System Stereo
# of Speakers 9, Bose
Steering Controls Yes


  1. Replies
    1. If you want a manly macho image get the mustang but if you dig the feminine or gay image get the mx5

    2. Is the mx5 really gay? I think the really gay cars are the mirage, wigo, swift, juke, eon, picanto and etc...

      When I imagine a gay car, the mx5 just doesn't seem to come into mind.

    3. Miata has always been known as a gay car around motorheads esp if you compare it to those muscle cars

    4. Ahhh that old age belief. I remember that back in the 90s to early 2000s the miata was branded as an effeminate car because it was every woman's dream car.

      Anyway that was a really long time ago and is only applicable in America. Let's move on people. 2017 na tayo. There are many gayer cars that already came out (no pun intended).

    5. mas gay ang automatic na mustang kesa sa manual na mx5. Try getting a stick muscle car.

    6. Having even more powerful cars (500+ hp) and a "lowly" 4-cylinder MX5, if a friend asks me for a bang for the buck sports cars (Mustang vs 86 vs MX5), I'll probably recommend the MX5.

      With the Mustang or let's say big V8's, yes, its fast, effortless power, and sounds really good. Kaso lang the problem with very fast cars is you won't get to push it much unless which makes it somewhat boring after a while.

      The MX5 feels very small so you will need to adjust. Also comfortable enough to use even as a daily car. Not fast but it's quick and very tossable which is more fun. It's not perfect as some interior finish seems a little cheap (e.g. lack of interior illumination which is typical Mazda). But as it's inexpensive, you won't really worry much driving it around.

  2. Will Mazda Ph release a manual version soon?

  3. A gay car that lacks some crucial safety features. The absence of foglamps and LSD should be enough to make you think twice, considering that this is a RWD.

  4. Everything is perfect, from the color to the interior and everything. My suggestions for improvement are: Thicker leather in the seats and the steering wheel, update the interior similar to the 2017 Mazda 3, CX-5 and CX9. Don't mind these bashers, they haven't driven an MX-5 and yet they bash it and surprisingly in the looks department. It is a looker and would get a lot more stares than a mustang, BRZ/86, Camaro, etc. One thing I observe from "men" who owns a muscle car and pickups is that they tend to cover up their lack of masculinity with their car.

    1. This car is perfect for those who have come out of their closet. If you haven't yet, get those muscle cars so as not to blow your cover.

  5. So what I get from this article... if you want to get laid, this is the car you should get? Right?

    1. If you want to have fun while driving, you get an MX-5.

      If you want to get laid, you should get out more often. Maybe hit the gym too.

    2. oh the burn... lololololol

  6. The RF is not a true convertible. In Porches terminology this is a Targa. The true ones are the 718 Boxter, MB SLK and BMW Z4. The rag top looks better.

  7. Hi sir Uly, Just want to ask your opinion because I'm planning to buy a MX5 before the excise tax starts this coming Jan 2018. If you already have a mazda 3 speed 2017 A/t as a daily driver. Will you still choose the RF A/T or go with the MX5 M/T? Thanks in advance

    1. I would pick the MT if you don't mind the more basic spec. The MT provides the best driving entertainment. If you're getting the AT, splurge and go for the RF.

  8. Sir uly, all new cx5 diesel or the all new crv diesel?

    1. Langhiya... MX5 yung pinaguusapan, napunta sa SUV. Wtf dude.

    2. I can't comment as to how both of these cars drive since no demo unit is available yet.

      But I would look at it this way: Mazda CX-5 if you love driving and the Honda CR-V if you're after practicality.

  9. That's why i put sir uly in the start of my question dumb, kung si sir uly nga di nagreact kw pa?

  10. Thx for the answer sir uly


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