Week in and week out, we at AutoDeal.com.ph get to review different types of cars that quite frankly takes out the joy in driving. But this time it’s different. It’s not because we had the ever-so-popular Mazda MX-5, nor is it about driving the world’s best-selling roadster. It’s about bringing back the pleasure we all should feel behind the wheel – something that Mazda promises with the Miata.
Now, you pretty much know what to expect from the Mazda MX-5 by now, but here’s a full review of the 2019 MX-5 RF in itstop-of-the-line Club Edition trim – something you may want to show to your significant other before buying one. It won’t hurt to give them a heads up, right?
Long hood, short rear, wide body, sultry curves – there’s no better way to describe the Miata other than sensual, and I’ll stop at that. Let’s move on to what makes it different from the rest of the MX-5 range.
The media unit came in Soul Red Crystal color, which was introduced with the all-new CX-5 from two years back. It has a deeper hue than the normal Soul Red and yet, a closer inspection reveals a tad sparkling finish. Another deviation from the other MX-5s are the black 16-spoke BBS wheels that come standard with the Club Edition. It somehow employs a classic feel to a rather modern, LED-filled styling, which is good in our books.
While I absolutely adore how the MX-5 looks, I’m a bit on the fence with the black roof of this RF model. It kind of breaks the appeal of the car when viewed from behind. Well, if that bothers you too, just retract the roof, which is the best way to go in this roadster.
The MX-5’s interior is pretty much what you’ll expect from a two-seater sports car. Space is limited, to the point that it’s an intimate affair between you and your passenger. Headroom’s pretty minimal, too. But of note, Nico, a 6-footer, was able to fit inside this carin his MX-5 soft-top review before.
As the car’s seats and floor are positioned low on the ground, those who have large body frames will have a hard time getting in and out of the vehicle. In contrast to most mainstream cars, however, it’s a different world behind the steering wheel of the MX-5. The tight-hugging gray Recaro sports seats give you a motivation to go fast and attack corners without hesitation, plus the combination of leather and suede is easy on the senses. You’ll also feel connected to the car and adjustments, albeit limited, would allow you to maximize the sensation. All the comfort and driving controls are within reach as well, and they don’t deviate too much from other Mazdas or any Japanese car, for that matter – except for the trunk opener, which isn’t found in the cabin. You will need to get out of the car and find the button on the righthand side of the rear bumper to open the trunk.
Of course, as a two-seater sports car, the MX-5 isn’t without peculiarities. There are only a few storage spaces. The glove compartment is oddly positioned between the backrests and behind the removable cupholders. There’s also a hump on the right-hand floor, which limits the foot-room of your passenger.
Nevertheless, you must remember that you’re buying a sports car – not an extension of your bedroom – so you should expect that practicality isn’t its best suit.
Considering its price point, in-car technology isn’t the MX-5 RF’s primary selling point, too, but that doesn’t mean that it lacks on the essentials. You’ve got speed-sensing door locks, automatic LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, automatic climate control, and a 7-inch floating infotainment system with offline navigation and rear camera.
For its size, the MX-5 RF Club Edition is equipped with a number of Bose speakers that sound just as good when the roof is up as it is when down. Smartphone connection’s seamless, too, but you might miss having Apple Carplay and Android Auto. If you do, you can have them added through the dealer for a price. Also, the windows aren’t auto up/down – a bit surprising but not hard to turn a blind eye to. Cruise control’s not included as well, but since this is a car that you should drive, I’ll give that a pass.
For a car that seats two, the 2019 MX-5 RF complies with safety features that it needs. Four airbags are ready to engage anytime, plus there’s a dynamic stability control that takes care of your tail-happy roadster.
Other standard safety and security features include ABS with EBD, lane departure warning, immobilizer, and seatbelt reminders.
Driving & Handling
For this year, the MX-5 gets an engine update that would put a smile on every enthusiasts’ faces. The 2.0L SkyActiv engine now produces 184 metric horsepower and 205 Nm of torque – up by 23 hp and 7 Nm from before. While the additional power output seems shorthanded, the beauty of the new engine tuning lies on the early torque delivery at 4,000 RPM (as opposed to 4,600 RPM from before).
With the SkyActiv-Drive gearing designed to reach high RPMs as early as possible, peak torque is easily attainable even within the confines of the city. You’ll pretty much use the suede headrests most of the time, especially when you’re in Sport mode. Short translation? Maximum fun on every drive.
The short wheelbase, low center of gravity, and rear-wheel driverecipe put the MX-5 RF on a pedestal in terms of handling. It handled corners like it’s on rails and you'll definitely feel the balance in whatever maneuver you're trying to do. Tackling tight city streets was a cinch, as well, with its wide forward driving visibility and relatively small overall size. Rear visibility’s a bit hampered, though, and it’s really hard to trust the roundish side mirrors. Guess that would be the trade-off for a car that’s as fun-to-drive as a Miata.
For a sports car, the MX-5’s ride comfort wasn’t too sporty and was quite compliant with dismal Metro Manila roads. The suspension setup was able to absorb road imperfections, albeit, not without instance of jolts. Speed bumps weren’t really an issue so long as you go through them slowly. NVH insulation, as expected, was way better than what its ragtop brother could deliver.
I usually take fuel consumption reading in different traffic types but this time around, I decided not to do so for one reason: I’m pretty sure those who could afford to buy this car isn’t too much worried about fuel efficiency.
But in case you need to know, the MX-5 RF returned a combined fuel-efficiency reading of 11.2 km/L after a week of driving daily. This includes the usual plight within heavy city traffic, a bit of fun on open roads, and an hour of highway stint. I was also in Sport mode half of the time.
For a car that could make your friends drool, that’s already an impressive number.
When Mazda Philippines launched the 30th Anniversary Edition MX-5 RF, the company pretty much gave us the ultimate Miata and the best one that money could buy. However, it’s only limited to just 30 units in the country, making it a rare commodity that would be hard to achieve. Well, apart from its near-P3-million price tag.
But just in case you’re like most people who didn’t have the chance to buy one, the 2019 Mazda MX-5 RF Club Edition is the next best thing. It may not be as exclusive as its orange counterpart, but it still conforms to Mazda’s promise of loving every bit of the drive.
Even better, it comes in at P2,680,000 (add P22,400 for the Soul Red Crystal). A bit hefty, you might say, but considering all the upgrades included like the Recaro seats and BBS wheels, you pretty much get what you’re paying for.
184 hp @ 7,000 rpm
Mazda MX-5 RF 2.0 Club Edition AT
Number of Cylinders
Number of Valves
Max Output (HP)
184 hp @ 7,000 rpm
Max Torque (nm)
205 Nm @ 4,000 rpm
Economy & Environment
Number of Doors
Number of Seats
Safety & Security
Front Passenger's Airbag
Auto Brake System
Electronic Brake Distribution
Anti-lock Brake System (ABS)
with Electronic Brake Distribution
Electronic Door Locks
Speed Sensing Door Locks
Lane Departure Warning System
Blind-Spot Detection System
Front Parking Sensors
Rear Parking Sensors
Push Start Button
Wheels Metal Type
Rotary Dial Automatic
7-inch touchscreen, CD/DVD, MP3, Aux, USB, Bluetooth and 4.6-inch full-color TFT LCD multi-info display