Reminding ourselves just why we love our Mazda MX-5 RF

By Simon Davis

Our little Mazda MX-5 RF has been in the wars recently.

A rogue bolt that fell off the back of a lorry ended up smashing into the sports car’s windscreen, leaving behind a rather nasty crack and an understandably shocked driver.

Following this unfortunate encounter of the metallic kind, the MX-5 had to be shipped off to the workshop so the necessary repair work could be carried out.

(Blackball Media/PA)

Thankfully, it was completed quickly and a couple of days later the Mazda was ready for a long drive up to north Wales for a video shoot.

We were heading to the countryside surrounding the town of Bala, which is a good 250-mile trip from our base on the south coast, and to be perfectly honest, I was in two minds about completing the day-long, 500-mile round trip in the MX-5.

On the one hand, colleagues have complained about it being incredibly cramped with the folding metal roof in place. They haven’t been too impressed with the large blind spots created by the targa roof, either

On the other hand, though, it’s an MX-5, and we were heading to Wales – home to some of the UK’s best driving roads – so a bit of discomfort on the journey would be worthwhile in the end.

(Blackball Media/PA)

To my surprise, however, I found that my concerns over being uncomfortable were soon dissipated.

Even with the roof in place (I’m not a big fan of long-distance, open-top driving) I found that I had more than enough headroom in the MX-5’s cabin, and certainly didn’t feel cramped. I’d like to say that this is because I’m quite a tolerant person, but in reality it’s probably down to me being ever so slightly vertically challenged in comparison to some of my loftier colleagues.

Anyway, the long journey to north Wales passed without any hiccups, and once the video shoot had wrapped I had the chance to go for a quick drive on some excellent Welsh B-roads before the last of the day’s sun slipped behind the hills.

(Blackball Media/PA)

I’d been looking forward to this all day, and the MX-5 didn’t disappoint.

You really can see why the little Japanese sports car has developed such a cult following. With the roof down, on a slightly damp Welsh road on a sunny evening, it’s just about as much fun as you can have on four wheels.

It’s by no means the fastest car in the world, and the myriad Caterhams that had been tearing up and down the road we’d been shooting on would leave it for dead, but if you work the slick six-speed manual gearbox to keep the revs up there is more than enough pull to shoot you from corner to corner.

(Blackball Media/PA)

Yes, the steering is on the light side and there is a bit of body roll through the corners, but rather than taking away from the car’s driving experience it only serves to make it that much more characterful.

If it were up to me, I could have kept driving up and down the stunning road into the night, but I was anxious to get home before midnight, and if I’d have carried on, there would have been no chance of that happening.

So, with the roof back in place, I set the sat nav for home and set off on the five-hour return leg of the journey.

By the time I got back, I’d been out of the house for around 17 hours, and most of that time had been spent at the wheel of either the MX-5 or the car we’d been shooting. I was absolutely exhausted, but the 30 minutes I got to spend blasting up and down those amazing Welsh roads in the Mazda made the incredibly long day totally worth it.


Driving the Mazda MX-5 in its natural habitat – a winding Welsh B-road

MODEL: Mazda MX-5 RF 160PS Sport Nav
PRICE: £27,065
ENGINE: 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol
POWER: 158bhp
MAX SPEED: 134mph
0-60MPH: 7.4 seconds
EMISSIONS: 161g/km

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