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Why Lease The MX-5 RF?

Photo of Fergus Gray by: Fergus Gray

Fergus is a talented automotive writer specialising in automotive and sports content. He has a Level 3 qualification in content creation and previously worked for Boxxer and The Best of Bolton.

Mazda MX-5 RF Review 2023

The Mazda MX-5 RF is a striking and sporty convertible featuring a folding metal roof instead of a cloth roof. With its retractable fastback design, it combines the thrill of a convertible with the practicality of a hardtop.

Rivals to the Mazda MX-5 RF include the Audi TT and BMW Z4

Our Mazda MX-5 RF review covers:

Mazda MX-5 RF Key Features

  • Sleek and contemporary design with a retractable hardtop roof
  • Well-designed interior with intuitive controls and a clean layout
  • 127-litre boot space
  • Choice of two engines: 1.5-litre or 2.0-litre
  • Three trim levels are available: Prime-Line, Exclusive-Line and Homura

Mazda MX-5 RF Pros and Cons:


  • Sporty Handling
  • Comfortable Interior
  • Retractable Fastback Design


  • Road Noise
  • Limited Interior Space
  • Rough Ride on Bumpy Roads

Design, Practicality and Boot Space

The Mazda MX-5 RF is renowned for its stylish and contemporary design. The RF variant stands out with its retractable hardtop, giving it a distinct appearance and allowing for a seamless transition between a coupe and a convertible. When the roof is closed, it resembles a sleek coupe, and with the roof retracted, it transforms into an attractive open-top roadster.

The exterior design maintains the classic MX-5 silhouette with well-defined lines and curves, exuding a sporty and dynamic look. The folding hardtop is a remarkable engineering feat, smoothly retracting or closing in about 13 seconds, adding a touch of sophistication to the overall aesthetic.

Mazda MX-5 RF Exterior

In terms of practicality, the Mazda MX-5 RF offers a balance between a sports car's agility and everyday usability. While it is a compact sports car, it manages to provide a comfortable driving experience, especially for the driver and front-seat passenger. The driver-centric cockpit design ensures that all controls and displays are easily accessible and intuitive to use. However, it's important to note that the MX-5 RF is a two-seater sports car, so it may not be the most practical choice for those needing to transport more passengers or cargo regularly.

The boot space in the Mazda MX-5 RF is 127 litres which is relatively compact due to its convertible design. The retractable hardtop mechanism occupies a portion of the boot, affecting the available space for storage. As a result, the MX-5 RF has a smaller boot compared to a traditional coupe. The boot can typically accommodate a few small bags or items, making it suitable for short trips or daily errands.

Interior and Trims

The interior of the Mazda MX-5 RF is designed with a focus on the driver and a sporty aesthetic. It reflects a minimalist yet functional approach, ensuring that essential controls and features are easily accessible and intuitive to use. The materials used are of good quality, and the overall fit and finish contribute to a premium feel within the cabin.

The cockpit features a driver-centric design with a well-positioned steering wheel and a clear, easy-to-read instrument cluster. The seats are designed to provide excellent support and comfort during spirited driving. Depending on the trim and options, the seats may come with premium upholstery and adjustable features.

Technology is seamlessly integrated into the interior, with a central infotainment display that typically supports features like navigation, smartphone connectivity, and audio controls. The MX-5 RF often includes modern amenities such as air conditioning, keyless entry, and push-button start for added convenience.

Three trim levels are available: Prime-Line, Exclusive-Line and Homura.

The most basic iteration of the MX-5 RF features 16-inch black alloys, piano black door mirrors, LED headlights, and a hard-top roof in a colour matching the body. Inside, you'll find cloth upholstery, climate control, a 7.0-inch touchscreen with smartphone integration, a leather steering wheel, and a six-speaker audio setup.

In the Exclusive Line variant, the MX-5 RF includes air conditioning, a leather steering wheel, a 7.0-inch colour touchscreen with smartphone integration, and a Bose sound system. It's also equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, a retractable hard-top roof matching the body colour, and body-coloured wing mirrors.

For the sporty rendition of the MX-5 RF, expect upgraded sports suspension, front strut bracing, a limited-slip differential, a two-tone retractable roof, 17-inch grey BBS alloys, and adaptive LED headlights. Inside, there's a 7.0-inch touchscreen, light leather upholstery, climate control, a leather steering wheel, and a Bose speaker setup.

Power and Performance

You're presented with a choice between two engines for the MX-5 RF. One is a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder unit producing 132 horsepower, while the other is a 2.0-liter engine with 184 horsepower, typically found in the top-tier models. The 1.5-litre engine's power might seem modest for a contemporary sports car, but given the MX-5 RF's lightweight design, it still delivers lively performance.

The 2.0-litre engine, on the other hand, offers noticeable additional power and torque while on the road. It accelerates nearly two seconds faster to 62 mph compared to the 1.5-liter engine. This power upgrade translates to improved responsiveness, especially when accelerating from slower corners in higher gears, and it exhibits considerable strength at high revs, demonstrating its versatility.

Mazda MX-5 RF Interior

Regardless of the chosen engine, the manual gearshift of the Mazda MX-5 RF is exceptional, providing quick, easy, and precise shifts. While a six-speed automatic gearbox is an option, it's usually not the preferred choice, as the manual gearbox offers an engaging driving experience that you'll likely want to embrace to the fullest.

Overall, the Mazda MX-5 RF combines style, performance, and practicality in a way that few cars can match. If you're seeking a convertible sports car that offers a balance of excitement and everyday usability, the MX-5 RF should definitely be on your list to consider.

Leasing vs Buying

The Mazda MX-5 RF is now available for purchase at a starting on-the-road price of £29,590.00*, or it can be leased with monthly payments starting from £349.78.

If you're considering leasing a Mazda MX-5 RF, we proudly offer excellent car leasing services in the UK. Our leasing deals include a manufacturer's warranty, road tax, breakdown insurance, and free delivery to most areas of the UK mainland (excluding specific regions).

Leasing a Mazda MX-5 RF can often be a more financially advantageous option compared to purchasing outright, thanks to the fixed monthly payments, variable mileage options, low initial rental, and flexible contract durations.

It's important to note that the 'on-the-road' price mentioned includes a year's road fund license, DVLA first registration fee, and a number plate fee. Please be aware that this price is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change. To get the most up-to-date information, we recommend contacting your nearest retailer. 

Customer Reviews

Mazda MX-5 RF
Average Rating Based on 3 reviews
3.5 out of 5

  • Practicality
  • Performance
  • Running Costs
  • Comfort
  • Value For Money
2.3 out of 5
Justine Mazda MX-5 RF 2.0 (184) Sport Nav+

Great to drive but impractical - should have got a 4-seater

  • Practicality
  • Performance
  • Running Costs
  • Comfort
  • Value For Money
4.0 out of 5
Kevin Mazda MX-5 RF 2.0 Sport Nav

Leased it as a fun car and that’s what it is.

  • Practicality
  • Performance
  • Running Costs
  • Comfort
  • Value For Money
4.3 out of 5
Bobbie Mazda MX-5 RF 1.5 SE-L Nav

Love it! A bit cramped but only what you would expect for a 2 seater convertible sports car!

  • Practicality
  • Performance
  • Running Costs
  • Comfort
  • Value For Money