Mazda MX-5 2019 rf

2019 Mazda MX-5 RF long-term review: Cabin comfort and practicality

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How much stuff can you fit into an MX-5? We find out!
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In this update, we test out the cabin in our long-termer 2019 Mazda MX-5 RF, which we have affectionately called 'Max'.

The MX-5 has always been a simple and fun sports car, with Mazda putting its driving pleasure in the spotlight. The interior is also simple. Red stitching is present on the dash, door trim, steering wheel, handbrake, gearstick, and seats.

You can’t name too many cars that have the exterior colour on the top part of the door trim. It’s something you would see in a classic car, and it’s a cool touch.

Apart from soft padded door trims and centre armrest, the lower part of the dash is hard rubber, with the upper dash a sturdy plastic. The same can’t be said for the plastic atop the instrument cluster; it’s thin and flimsy.

The electric retractable roof can be folded in 12 seconds at speeds of up to 10km/h. It will never be as quick as the manual soft-top (done in seconds), but it looks impressive in action.

On a sunny day with the top down, you’re going to want to lather yourself in suncream.

Be careful with rubbing your arms on the upholstery as it will leave white marks everywhere...

Amongst the 2019 update, the MX-5 finally gets bigger sun visors and a telescopic steering wheel, which is a giant welcome. Our long-termer has black cloth-trimmed seats, which you fall into yet are comfortable.

If you do like to sit close to the steering wheel, like this driver, you’ll find yourself curling your legs up to get in or out.

The driving position is low, which you want for a sports car, and there is no seat height adjustment, but the seat base can be tilted.

Headroom would be a struggle for taller folk. This driver is 173cm tall, and there is a 9cm gap from the head to the roof. Being a two-seater, it naturally appears small inside, but intimate, and you feel at one with the car.

There is a 7.0-inch MZD Connect infotainment screen that is operated via a dial or as a touchscreen when the car is stationary.

The air conditioning is simple with three large dials for temperature, fan speed, and fan direction.

There are no door pockets or a glovebox, although the latter has moved to a large lockable bin in between the seats, which is hard to reach. It’s large enough to fit two 600ml bottles, but nothing bigger.

In front of this are two removable cup holders that are also a struggle to access. However, one of them can be inserted into a slot near the passenger's legs.

Underneath the armrest is a place large enough for your keys and maybe some spare change. There’s only one accessible spot for your phone, and that is behind the gearstick.

It is out in the open, though, so beware of that hot sun belting down if you’re driving topless. (The car topless, that is...)

Two USB and one auxiliary connection are present, but the cords may get entangled while changing gears, so a rubber band might come in handy to tie them up.

A small car brings a small boot. At 127L, it’s capable of a weekend away for two provided the right luggage is picked. The boot is deep, but the issue is the small opening.

Say goodbye to a large hard suitcase – two smaller soft bags are the way to go.

However, it is surprising what you can fit in an MX-5. As seen in the photo, two luggage bags, two cushions, a bathroom bag, and a large bag fitted into the boot, with a soup maker, food bag and handbag on the passenger side. In no time at all, you’ll be a pro at car Tetris.

As you may have guessed, there is no room for a space-saver wheel. A temporary puncture tyre repair kit, the car's manual and toolkit are literally strapped into a box in the boot.

Oh, and to open the boot, there’s a button on the key, or it’s more fun to watch your friends try to find the neat little button near the registration plate.

The MX-5 RF isn’t incredibly practical, but since when is a small sports car practical?

It is a comfortable place to be, however, and if you are spending too much time critiquing its cabin, you’ve missed the point of the MX-5 entirely.

2019 Mazda MX-5 RF

  • Odometer reading: 2643km
  • Travel since previous update: 766km
  • Fuel consumption since previous update: 6.9L/100km

MORE: Long-term report one: Introduction
MORE: Long-term report two: Infotainment
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