Noisy soft top / Noisy hard top?

Hi Everyone, I have posted this before but did not get many replies!?. I am in the market for a mx5 and looking at the prices i can just about get a hard top, My question is are the hard top,s quieter than the soft top,s , I did have a soft top a few years ago and found that on the motorway for a couple off hours my ears where drumming !, Also would i get the drain channels filling up the same?. hope that makes sense. THANKS. Steve

Unfortunately I can’t answer re an MX5 hard top, but generally I would expect any hard top to be quieter than a soft top.

I have owned a VW Eos and VW Cabrio and the Eos was noticeably quieter.

That said, later triple lined soft tops such as fitted to the VW Cabrio do tend to be pretty good as deadening sound.

Hi Steve,
Cannot really comment on the hard top either, but I faced a similar dilemma a few years ago when choosing my 5.

I would think the hard top will be noticeably quieter, but that the impact when weighing up hard top versus soft top will depend on the kind of roads/driving/modifications you have planned during your ownership.

The soft top will be more sensitive to anything externally that is loud - in my case, self-inflicted (aftermarket exhaust!). However, this does not really bother me as only for short trips and as a weekend car. Daily driving on a motorway would be a completely different story however, even without the exhaust.

Have you taken both for a test drive? If you find a garage that has both options in stock, hopefully a test drive across mixed roads will help you in the decision making. Either way, you can look forward to happy motoring!

Hi Steve,
Im selling a 2008 sport tech with a soft and hardtop in black. £3.5K It has a full Mazda warranty parts and labour [8 months left]

The car I test-drove before buying mine (Mk3.5 with the folding hard top - PRHT) was a soft top & I found that a little bit noisy at speed with the roof up. Didn’t matter because I’d already decided that I wanted the PRHT model. Long distance motorway trips make up a sizeable proportion of my driving & I’ve been very pleased with the additional refinement provided by the folding hard top - it’s almost as quiet as a fixed-roof car & certainly much quieter than the soft top version I test-drove.

While my roof’s down at every reasonable opportunity of course, things do get a bit manic in terms of wind buffeting & noise with the roof down at motorway speeds so I do all motorway work with the roof up - it’s great.

Thanks for the reply, Steve

Hi thanks to everyone that replied, I think I have made my mind up and going for the tin top, I know I can get a hard top for the soft top but not going down that road because of the inconvenience, I am got a couple to see this week. Hopefully I will be a owner soon, thanks again, Steve p.s. looking at cherry red if any one has one for sale!

I’ve never been in a soft top. Mine is a retractable hard top (RHT).

I don’t like it at all with the roof up because of all the road noise. Consequently I only use it when it’s dry(ish) and I can have the roof down. The RHT is brilliant for when it’s parked up and not having any of the ripping/cleaning issues with the soft top.

If you do a lot of motorway miles I’d consider another car. To explain that; I do a 315 mile (each way) trip once or twice a month. The MX-5 is only the vehicle of choice if I’m doing some ‘nice running about’ at the other end. After 5 hours at the wheel you’re pretty glad to get out of it. In its defence, that’s not what I bought it for and definitely not what it’s made for.

After 6 months of ownership I’d say they are a lovely second car and so pleased I got the RHT for when it’s parked up.


I’ve done lots of long trips in my PRHT - regular 250 mile day trips from Sheffield to Whitby then over to Scarborough & back to Sheffield.

Also many runs from Sheffield down to south west Cornwall - 350 miles in a day - & the same back a week later.

Also took it from Sheffield up to Oban on the west coast of Scotland a few years ago - did that in a day, another 350 miles.

Plus visits to see family in Salisbury - 200 miles each way.

For me, it’s a great motorway car - very relaxed, composed & capable. It’s my only car though so it’s the MX-5 or nothing! :grinning:

However I do understand Shaun’s point of view of course - I guess it’s all relative to the driver’s expectations etc.

Best thing you can do Steve is to test-drive one & see how you get on with it, i.e. whether it’s right for you. Never regretted buying mine, 8 years’ ownership now & still really pleased with it & continuing to find long journeys easy.

+1 what Shaun says about longer journeys!

I got an RF as it’s a daily driver. With the top up it’s reasonably civilised for long motorway trips, but if I’d been looking for a weekend toy I’d have considered a soft top.

To be honest the MX-5 is not as quiet as any “normal” car, if you imagine you effectively pay Mercedes money for Fiesta comfort! Actually that’s being rude…to the Fiesta!

From experience I can tell you that being inside an RF in a cataclysmic rainstorm is a lot quieter than in a ND soft top. But the ST was very easy to put up in a hurry…

Years ago I had a couple of Spitfires. The bolt on hardtop was great in the winter. The steel one actually made it into a civilised (ish) coupe, however i sold it for enough to spend half on a glass fibre one which was a lot more convenient to store and put on and remove. Where to store a hardtop is always the issue.

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BIG THANKS, To everyone who replied , I have since been out in both hard top & soft top to check for my self, I have now decide to go for another soft top [had one a few years back] , the reason is i like the look better with the soft top , I know it is very slightly noisier but has i only go on the motorway a couple off times a year i have decided to forgo the hard top, Now i am on the hunt for a red/burgundy soft top [ around the £4500 mark, could go higher for the right vehicle] thanks again for the input, Steve