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Mazda MX-5 RF interior, tech and comfort

2017 onwards (change model)
Comfort rating: 3.7 out of 53.7

Written by Murray Scullion Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 29 March 2023

  • Virtually identical to soft-top MX-5’s cabin
  • Well-positioned pedals a highlight
  • Clearly-displayed instruments and rev-counter

How is the quality and layout?

The cabin is essentially identical to the soft-top Mazda MX-5’s, with the addition of the switch for the roof mechanism next to the air-con controls being the only real change.

The steering wheel is relatively large, like that of a classic car, and the pedals are nicely positioned, with a floor-mounted accelerator pedal for more precise throttle control.

A large rev counter sits centre stage in the clear, neatly designed instrument panel, flanked by a clearly legible speedo and a separate digital dial with trip computer data.

Infotainment and tech

A 7.0-inch colour infotainment screen sits on top of the centre of the dashboard. The freestanding tablet-style fitment means there’s nothing to shield it from sunlight when the roof is down, however, meaning it can be difficult to read at times.

When the car’s stationary it can be used as a touchscreen, while on the move that function is sensibly disabled and the screen’s displays are controlled by a transmission tunnel-mounted rotary dial, making it easier to concentrate on the road.

Mazda MX-5 infotainment
Apple CarPlay/Android Auto comes as standard, which is useful as the inbuilt software looks ancient.

The screen is beginning to look a little small and outdated nowadays, not helped by the graphics which look like they’ve been lifted from an Eighties games console. It’s perfectly functional, but the infotainment setups in the Audi TT and BMW Z4 are slicker and feel much more up-to-date.


  • Taller drivers may struggle to get comfortable
  • More refined than soft-top MX-5 with the roof up
  • Lots of wind noise with the roof down

How comfortable you find the Mazda MX-5 RF probably depends partly upon how tall you are. If you’re 5ft10in or under, it’s an easy car to get comfy in, with a classic sports car straight-legged driving position. Taller drivers will find headroom tight, and the transmission tunnel steals a bit of space in the footwell, too.

The MX-5’s steering column adjusts for rake (height) and reach as well, which makes a big difference. The seats are a little flat and thinly-padded, so long-distance journeys may take their toll after a while.

Mazda MX-5 front seats
RF seats are quite thinly padded. Thick Recaro bucket seats that are both more supportive and generously padded are available on some used models.

An auto-dimming rear view mirror may not seem like a great deal on a regular hatchback, but with the low-slung MX-5, you’ll find that most headlights behind you will beam directly onto it. This will be worthwhile especially in the winter months when you drive a higher proportion of time in darker conditions.

With the roof closed, the MX-5 RF is noticeably quieter on the motorway than the soft-top version, although with the roof open there’s a great deal of wind noise to put up with above 55mph or so, more so with than the soft-top, in fact (despite its wind deflector in place). There’s still plenty of road noise, which is expected in this type of car, and while the sound system does struggle to drown it all out, the headrests do have neatly built-in tweeters to help overcome this.