Evocative exterior. The MX-5 Miata delivers a stunning and masterful design. Its small size doesn’t allow a square inch to go to waste, with every singular body panel interconnecting to form a beautiful, sublime expression of a roadster.

Even in hardtop RF form, the look loses no appeal, with the same dipping hood connecting with a gaping maw topped with accent lighting. Crease lines, bustles, and curves run from the front to the back with standard aluminum-alloy wheels offering a fitting contrast to the body and black roof. The rear is marked by circular taillights that complement the headlights’ design.

Cramped interior. Small on the outside, the MX-5 Miata features a compressed interior. There are two seats available, but choose wisely if you’re on the tall size and think that you can easily squeeze in. Indeed, few people above 6-feet-tall will find the cockpit satisfying as the amount of space available to maneuver is extremely limited.

For a person of short stature, the Miata is comfortable, although all controls are perhaps a bit too close for comfort. Although measuring just 4.6 cubic feet, the trunk can hold two grocery bags and a small getaway bag.

MAzda MX-5 Miata

Excellent performance relative to size. This Mazda’s engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. That’s not a lot of power for the average car, but the Miata’s diminutive footprint, lightweight, rear-wheel-drive architecture, and near-perfect 50-50 weight distribution balance are factors that make this Mazda fun to drive.

As such, the Miata has a 0-60 mph time of 6 seconds, engaging steering for optimum rear-end control, and the nimblest of handling anywhere. The effortless-shifting 6-speed manual gearbox is a real joy, perfectly matched with the engine, and entirely capable of maintaining a silly grin on your face.

Mixed score on creature comforts. If you like black, then the seats and soft-touch upholstery will appeal to you. No other choices are available. The chrome-like trim is plastic but blends well with the other materials. The 7-inch touchscreen display is ideally matched with the Mazda, but its functionality leaves something to be desired as the menu icons are partially obscured.

While parked, the screen is challenging enough to operate but nearly impossible to manage when driving. The small control dial in the console is equally disappointing. Props to Mazda for including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone compatibility as this duo covers a multitude of infotainment sins. While the interior isn’t especially cosseting, the placement of the audio system with the speakers in the headrests successfully envelopes the passengers in a melodious blend of rapturous delight.

Final thoughts. The MX-5 Miata RF’s roof is hard, but it folds down in just 13 seconds. It gives the Miata a more sophisticated look and does a better job of insulating and quieting the cabin than the cloth top.

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