While base soft-top model gets more safety, tech, and a price hike

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The Mazda MX-5 RF hardtop has received the same five-star ANCAP rating as its soft-top sibling, reaffirming its status as one of the best-performing sports cars in crash tests.

Mazda has also made the range safer than before by making blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert to base variants in both body-styles, alongside the GT's adaptive LED headlights that swivel into corners.

According to ANCAP, the Mazda MX-5 offers more pedestrian protection than any vehicle tested (33.72 points out of 36) thanks partly to an active bonnet that pops up when an accident is detected, and energy-absorbing foam in the front bumper beam combined with the lower stiffener to prevent a pedestrian’s legs from sliding under the car.

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The other factor, of course, is that the MX-5 weighs about as much as a piece of foolscap paper.

Overall, the two-seater received a total score of 35.20 out of 37, managing 16 out of 16 and 2 out of 2 for the respective occupant protection side impact and pole tests, and 14.2 out of 16 for the frontal offset test.

The MX-5 range's five-star ANCAP score comes with a 2016 date stamp, because the RF's score is derived from the soft-top's test that was conducted in late 2015, whereas the two-star Ford Mustang test revealed a few weeks ago was date stamped 2017.

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In other news, the soft-top Mazda MX-5 range now kicks off at $33,340 plus on-road cost for the 1.5, compared to the launch price of $31,990, because Mazda has made the MZD Connect touchscreen with sat-nav standard rather than an optional extra, citing high take-up rates.

The MX-5 1.5 GT remains $37,990, the 2.0 is $34,490 and the 2.0 GT is $39,550. As we reported here, the 2.0-litre-only RF model kicks off at $38,500, climbing to $43,890 for the RF GT. All prices listed are for versions with a six-speed manual gearbox, with a six-speed automatic a $2000 option.