WE all love a healthy dose of attention, and if you’re like us, driving a car that turns heads can be a great way to boost your ego. Mazda’s 2020 MX-5 RF GT does just that. This 4-cylinder, 6-speed manual is the perfect balance between class and power.
When it comes to feeling special, it ticks all the boxes. But this author has a confession. Before being given a chance to drive what Mazda calls “the ultimate driver’s car”, eyes were set on anything sporty and red.
We’re blaming the iconic movie National Lampoon’s Vacation, and the scene where the girl in the Ferrari pulls up next to Clark Griswold. It’s a sporty red convertible. That was the dream.
Well, after five minutes in the MX 5, not only did that dream come true, it got an upgrade. Instead of red, the two-door RF GT came in its most popular colour, Machine Grey Metallic. We were not disappointed. It is one sexy car.
Whether the retractable hardtop roof is on or off, the body is beautifully balanced and striking. The LED daytime running lights, 17-inch alloy wheels and stainless-steel exhaust make it look sleek and ready for action. Surely it should be in a Bond movie.
Small and compact, the contour lines on the bonnet create the illusion that it is larger than it is. In reality though, it’s only 1,735mm wide and 150mm off the ground, which means you do have to crouch down a little lower than your regular squat to get into it.
Don’t worry though, as Shakespeare said, “Though she be but little, she is fierce!”
For a small car, the 1,998cc engine has a lot of pick up at higher revs. With the petrol engine pumping out 135kW of power and 205Nm of torque, we reach 100km/h pretty easily.
Mazda’s new Skyactiv technology also means eco-friendly driving is possible, and a handy alert on the dashboard tells you what gears you can comfortably be in, depending on your driving style. It’s reasonably fuel-efficient too, sitting at around 6.9-litres/100km.
One thing that is noticeable by its lack of presence is the exhaust system. Unfortunately it doesn’t do the engine much justice and sounds a little weak under acceleration. Nothing an aftermarket alteration won’t fix.
The brand prides itself on the rear-wheel-drive MX-5 having 50:50 weight distribution too, delivering incredible control when cornering. Its lightweight frame, high-tech chassis, and suspension help make steering smooth.
You can almost picture yourself driving along the winding roads of the French Alps, gliding around those tight corners with ease.
Inside the RF GT’s cabin, it is cosy and comfortable. Two heated lounge chair style seats hug your body, making long drives easy, in a space that can be quite snug when the roof is on.
Even though the seats are adjustable, those dials are there for looks, because there’s not much room to adjust anything. Put simply, if the ‘girl in the Ferrari’ had been in this car, Clark Griswold certainly would not be getting lucky in an MX-5 RF GT.
The capacity of the cabin pretty much only holds two people, two large coffees and a pack of gum. There is not really much room for anything else.
The technology in the MX-5’s retractable roof is what sets it apart from the soft-top version. Opened in under 10 seconds, it makes the space in the interior feel a lot more roomy.
The way the convertible roof is designed means you are not disturbed by an excessive amount of wind in your face and the audio stays crisp and clear, even on the freeway.
There is a handy storage compartment behind the centre console which can hold essentials such as a wallet and drink bottle. However, if you have anything more substantial than a handbag, the 127-litre boot is probably your best option.
In saying that, it is a sports car, they are not designed to be spacious. The more compact, the more control you have on the road. A good trade-off, in our opinion.
Our test vehicle came with a tan leather interior, a personal favourite. The 7-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system has all your essentials; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, navigation, Bluetooth and access to safety features.
We were pleased to find out the MX-5 is equipped with a much-needed blind spot monitoring system, which scans up to 50-metres behind the car, and can praise the traffic sign recognition warning, that picked up a school zone we nearly missed.
The reverse cameras, adaptive LED headlights, smart city brake support and lane departure warnings are also very useful for your everyday driving.
Mazda offers no shortage of personal customisation, with the option to choose between a range of different exterior and interior colours. You also can add scuff plates, welcome illumination or opt for the RF Kuroi Sports Pack.
Priced from $52,787 drive away, we believe you certainly get what you paid for with the 2020 MX-5 RF GT. And as for head-turner value let us just say, just like the ‘girl in the Ferrari’, we think you will be noticed.
Our test vehicle was provided by Mazda Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Mazda MX-5 RF GT, contact your local Mazda dealer.