4 February 2022 ·
Mazda MX-5 RF: Practicality And Performance
Zoom-Zoom leaves town to go paddleboarding in the restorative seclusion of Scotland’s Hebrides archipelago and discovers how the Mazda MX-5 offers the perfect blend of power, performance and practicality.
Words Jenni Doggett / Images Jack Harding
Incredibly light on its feet, the MX-5 handles the winding, windswept terrain with ease thanks to the front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout and 50:50 weight distribution. Immediate and instinctive handling allows me to swoop through the landscape, darting into passing spots with precision and confidence. Safely navigating blind hilltops and vertiginous mountain roads is no problem in the sure-footed MX-5. Across all types of terrain, from cattle grids to immaculate tarmac, the car sticks to the road, exquisitely responsive and a pleasure to drive. I spend much longer than I need to searching for the perfect spot to launch the paddleboard, because I’m enjoying myself too much to stop.
Historically, being in a convertible with the top down has meant sacrificing audio experience from the car’s sound system for the rush of fresh air. But thanks to a 30-year collaboration between Mazda and audio equipment manufacturer Bose (see video, right), I can enjoy both having the top down and impeccable sound quality. The audio is clarion crisp and rich even in the open air. Bose Audiopilot adjusts the volume, compensating for wind and road interference so I can keep my hands on the wheel, free to focus on the drive. Artful positioning of the speakers in the headrest and the development of an innovative lightweight aluminium grille in the door panels, to counteract vibrations, mean there’s no compromise on acoustics.
I have never wanted to relinquish the fun of driving a convertible for the practicality of a larger car. Fortunately, with the MX-5 I don’t have to. The car‘s boot easily caters for the inflatable stand-up paddleboard (SUP), and there’s even space to spare for a wetsuit and flask of hot coffee. I’m trying out the SIPA board, an innovative self-inflating electric SUP which uses the same motor to inflate and propel the board, thereby extending its range. Unlike in many other convertibles, the car’s boot space remains the same whether the top is up or down, and the retractable fastback mechanism is a delight to deploy, particularly useful in fickle climates. After a dip in the Atlantic I nestle down to watch the swift roof mechanism in action from my heated seat.