RF Auto test drive

I had a test drive in the new mk 4 RF Auto last week.

Leaving aside any pointless debate about manual vs auto - I was disappointed by the lack of any induction sound feedback.

I think in the manual Sport Nav - there is an ISE (Induction Sound Enhancer) duct which pipes some induction sound to the cabin.

Madza have once again left this out of the auto (as happened in the mk3 powershift) and ruined the experience.

What’s the point of a MX5 without the Vroom - Vroom?

Otherwise it’s perfectly good and the paddles are proper ones (one each side) not the silly ones on the powershift.

Just one more thing - the price is far too high. Maybe I will pick up a used one in about 5 years time… :wink:

Thanks for that report Zpat. Apart from the better paddles, did you find any difference in efficiency/smoothness between the auto system in the RF and that in your Powershift? Thanks 

The salesman said it was a “new” gearbox design - but was unable to answer the question of whether it had a “lock up clutch”.

The advertised MPG is only 28 but then the manual 2.0 is not much better.

I would say it’s at least as good as the powershift but I would need to drive it on familiar roads (I wasn’t near home) to say if it’s better.

The presence of a salesman in the car always puts me off driving it to the max, but it seemed very smooth.

Had a look for an ISE on my 2.0l but can not see anything. Does it have one? Can’t say I have noticed any induction noise either. Just curious.

I blocked off my ISE, annoying and pointless. 

ifs it’s anything like the cx5 auto I would stay well clear.

My wife had a 2011 NC 2.0L Powershift coupe for over four years as her company car - we both thought it was fabulous, and cannot understand why people dislike the system so much.

Unless it’s the simple prejudice against a sports car with an automatic transmission, it just doesn’t make sense to me.  At the time, my wife had problems changing gears manually, because of a bad left leg.  The Powershift worked extremely well, and never faltered once, and playing with the ‘flappy paddles’ on occasions was great fun, otherwise we just let it do its own thing.  OK, so I’m an old goat, and my racy driving days are over, so perhaps I am not the right kind of person to really have an MX-5, but it is my prerogative to have whatever car / transmission combination that I want after all.

When we were looking to buy another Powershift MX-5 last year, we were sadly disappointed, because they are as rare as rocking-horse droppings, so a manual change car it has to be.  It is of course great fun, but personally, I would rather have the ‘lazy old git’ option if I could.

An automatic RF would be lovely, and we’ll be keeping our eyes open for one in a few years time, when hopefully they will be appearing on the used-car market at much-reduced prices.

Chris Phillips.  

I’m with you on that one .

I can understand that the manual gear changes on the NC and ND are so good that people want to enjoy them but, for people like me with a defect in the left leg department , the automatic option isn’t as inferior as many people believe. I recognise the satisfaction that can be had from good manual gear changes and I miss that sometimes, and it can be frustrating when an automatic box changes up before I can enjoy the zing of a free-revving engine, but even on my NA I can compensate for that to some extent by subtle application of throttle pressure and use of the overdrive-off button and ,of course, with the NC and ND, there are the paddles.

So, we might be chasing those uber rare used RF autos at about the same time Chris. 



Well Parker, you’re in Warwick and I’m in Frome, so our scanning areas for automatic RFs could well overlap a bit couldn’t they.  If they turn out to be as rare as Powershift NCs, we could very likely have to look quite a bit further afield than we would normally do to get what we want !

In the meantime, we’ll just have to have fun with what we’ve got.

Yes, that’s right Chris.

I see that there’s a used one on Autotrader already - snag is, it’s more than list price !    (But, to be fair, it does have all bells and whistles).

Just had another look at the RF-Auto - and it still impresses at normal speeds (salesman on board).

However, popping the bonnet revealed something very disappointing. NO STRUT BRACE.

The manual RF has the usual firewall to strut brace that most MX5s have. The auto RF is missing this.

What are Mazda thinking? Don’t they realise that we want the same car (just without a clutch).

The NC-FL Powershift does have the brace, so this is a step backwards for the ND.

Oh dear; it would appear then that Mazda have decided to target sales of the Auto at those who would prefer a ‘soft-option’, which I suppose is fair enough.

Mind you, a strut brace wouldn’t be a ruinously expensive modification, and the addition of a rortier exhaust would deal with the lack of ‘vroom vroom’ which you describe earlier Zpat. Trouble is, the Auto RF is an expensive item in the first place!