2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring RF Review

Photos and video by @2018 Toni Avery

Two years since my last MX-5 review, the current generation ND hasn’t changed really. The car still sports the aggressive modern exterior design we’ve mostly gotten accustomed too, with the exception of those hardcore Miata purists. The 2018 model brings something new to the appearance and functionality of the ND, a retractable hardtop. Much like the one on the NC that I owned. Before this review I had only really seen a few on the road and more in photos. It was time to see what this version was all about.

This Miata is equipped with a 2-liter Skyactiv 4-cylinder engine producing 155 HP and 148 lb-ft of torque mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. This generation MX-5 utilizes Skyactiv technology for the first time. While it produces less horsepower than the last generation, the overall curb-weight decrease more than makes up for it. It’s all around quicker, faster and much more satisfying to drive than the last generation NC. While some would argue that the ND might feel more delicate than the NC, its lightness really benefits the car overall.

The exterior is the biggest change from the 2016 to the 2018 cars I reviewed. The hardtop gives the car a completely different look. I didn’t object to it too harshly, while others gave more critical reviews. It definitely gives the new buyer market another option when looking at the current MX-5.

Inside this particular press car was a really well done interior in a gorgeous tan. The exterior accents on the doors in Soul Red really pop against the tan leather. As much as I don’t opt for leather when purchasing a car, the interior of this Miata gave it a more “grown up” feel than your standard cloth.

I really couldn’t find a comfortable way to sit in the seats. I felt too high, like I was in a tiny truck and too smushed into the dash, and I’m not even that tall. Throw some Recaro’s in there and you’re set.

And finally, the moment you’ve all been reading this for. Does the hardtop lessen the overall cabin noise in the car? I believe it does. That being a complaint for me on the last car, it is mostly resolved with this one. I do feel, though, that the blind spots might be worse with this top.

Top operation is pretty easy (watch the below video) with a cool digital progress graph to show where the top is currently in the closing or opening phase. It’s a little more high-tech than the NC hardtop operation but doesn’t seem to take that much less time. Even with the hardtop insulating the cabin from more road noise, you do still need to crank up the radio at freeway cruising speeds.

Overall the ND MX-5 RF is a nice car with a little more comfort inside, with the exception of the standard seats. Should you get one over a soft-top or even an older Miata? That’s for you to decide.

2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring RF:

Base Price: $32,750

Options:

Special paint charge ($595), interior package for manual transmission (alloy pedals and oil cap, $425)

Destination Charge: $890

Total Price: $34,660

Fuel Economy: 26 City, 33 Highway, 29 Combined 

 GirlsDriveFastToo gives the 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring RF an overall rating of (out of 5 total):

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