RF or not RF?

Hi, I’m tempted by the RF, but concerned it might be hard to reverse park. Do any mk4 owners wish they’d bought the RF/non-RF?

…can you get a reversing camera?

1 Like

Mine has the reverse camera so no issues reversing and the visibility via rear view and side mirrors is good also.

You do get blind spots in the RF, again mine has the blind spot monitoring which is very handy on the motorway etc.

I came from a 2016 Audi S3, 310 bhp, would never go back to it after buying the RF. Had mine a year in September, never regretted it.


You can fit a reversing camera easy fit plug and play if you join the club there is a guy selling them for around the 60 pounds complete or mx5 parts around 130 both the same…takes around 2 hours depending on your skill level …think just over 1 hour for me these cars are just clicked together …plenty videos showing how to …Worth doing


Last year I fitted a reversing camera kit from @Roadie to my 2017 RF. It works well :blush:


Back in 2018 I was trying to decide between soft top and RF, the decision to go soft top was based on 2 aspects:

1: Soft top roof down in 2 secs, get in, start up and go, versus get in, start up, wait 13 seconds while the mechanism does its stuff then go. Similar wait when putting it all back up. I read you can’t go above 6mph while the roof is cycling.

2: Owner reviews saying there is considerable buffeting noise at motorway speeds due to all the framework surrounding the cockpit.

1 Like

It was a terrible shame Mazda didn’t make the ND with a proper retracting hard top like the NC. I had to go and by a Mercedes SLC instead!

1 Like

If you get the Smart Top module, it doesn’t matter about 13 seconds, it can be done on the hop and you don’t hold your finger on the button and there is no latch to release.

Coming from 3 NC’s I thought I might have made a mistake with the RF, but quite honestly travelling along the M6 on Friday at about 75mph, I thought there was less wind disturbance than my NC’s when driving on the same stretch of road.

To my mind the only advantage of the RF over the soft top is a degree of extra security. The extra complication and costs should it go wrong would put me off. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder of course, but the lines of the soft top are far nicer to my eyes. I would imagine the open top experience is also somewhat diluted with the RF. Each to his own, but to me the soft top is the better choice by some margin.


Motorway road noise was the RF selling point for me, the soft top isn’t refined enough at 70+ for my commute.

I think both are great looking cars, the RF better looking top up and the soft top better looking top down.

You do get a lot of turbulence 60+ in the RF with the roof down, especially if also have the windows fully lowered.

Personally I think the RF is one of the best looking cars on the road.

Before we got ours I test drove both the RF (with 1.5) and the soft top (2.0). I really liked the RF and the performance with the 1.5 was more than adequate for me and although I only managed to get up to 60, (no local motorway) I did not notice any undue buffeting. I would not be concerned about roof reliability given the good record of the mk3.

However as most of our journeys are in “roof down” mode, (don’t bother using it if the weather is not suitable to have the roof down), I just found the rear structure a little bit obtrusive and felt that it detracted too much from the “open top” experience so we settled for the soft top. But I may consider one next time, assuming they are still making them!

I have a N.D soft top,which i think is amazing certainly the simplicity of the roof,i also prefer the look of the full convertable which the R.F is most certainly not,i borrowed an R.F for a day why they serviced mine as i wanted to see what it was like,i did not like it at all,basically it is really more like a targa top,but the worse thing i felt was the buffeting at any speed over 60 with the roof open,i tried at 80 and the buffeting noise was unbelieveable,i prefer the full convertable and when open even at high speed is far quieter than the R.F,i think with the roof up the R.F is obvioisly quieter ,but on average my roof is down nearly all the time.
I think the mark 3 folding roof in lots of ways was better,you had proper convertable and also lovely proper fixed roof when needed.
All best simon


The RF framework generates an unacceptable amount of wind buffeting noise above 60MPH with the roof down. The head room with the roof up is also 10mm less in the RF.
I did some work with one of the vehicle test instructors who launched the RF in the UK and he advised me to go for the roadster with the 1.5L engine. This was the preferred option of the engineers from Japan who he worked with.
After test driving 1.5L and 2.0L in both Rf and roadster form, i agree the 1.5L roadster is the best option in my opinion and this is what I bought.
3 years later I still enjoy every minute in the car.
I Have worked in the motor industry for 50 years as a vehicle development engineer and later as as driving experience instructor and I have to say the 1.L ND Roadster is one of the best vehicles for the money that I have experienced.


My BIG worry with any powered lid would be when all that mechanism is whirring away I’d be thinking “What’s gonna break and when’s it gonna break?”. Anything that complicated is bound to break at the most inconvenient time in the most inconvenient part of it’s cycle!

I had a RF and I did 1500 miles in the first week of owning it touring Scotland and I had convertibles since the 80s so things have moved on…nothing bothered me or the wife if if we doing over 60 then we would be on the motor way with roof up and I never liked driving on a motor way in any car with the roof down…not for long distance anyway most off my driving was down country roads I tend to keep off main roads and enjoy our country side …so we’re can you do 60mph safe and under them speeds nothing between the 2 cars if you like wind in your hair take the wind blocker out and you get a good air flow and it less buffeting that the full convertable…interesting how people say its not a true convetable…so they buy a true convertable and fit a wind blocker on it …I now sold the RF launch edition that cost 29 grand new as my wife found it to cramped in the passenger side could not stretch her legs and we are not giants…why did I sell it… it was losing money faster than it was using petrol… But I guess all new cars are the same. now got a mk3 sport… soft top and doth me and the wife agree the nd is not 26 grand more car…but that’s what you have to pay to say you have a new car…


I’ve just recently driven the RF and have to say how disappointed I was with it. The noise and buffeting was terrible and it doesn’t have that glorious roof off feel of a Roadster…it’s really just a car with a biggish sunroof.


My RF must be special as I have done Warrington to Southampton north of 60mph with the roof down and no compliants of buffeting…the stereo might have been turned up a bit but that is it!

And my head just about brushes the roof when it is up so I doubt it is my head position.


I love the looks of my RF, I think it’s stunning with the targa roof on or tucked away.
If I’m doing nuch distance at motorway speed I tend to have the roof on but then I think convertibles steaming past topless can look a bit… :joy:

1 Like

The bottom line is buy the one you like. You will never get a consensus among owners, many of whom have very entrenched views.
I have owned an NC coupe and now have an RF. The RF is definitely a superior car to the NC but I loved my NC and now I love my RF. The roof down experience in the RF is just as good as the NC, no significant difference. I do like the wind in the hair and usually drive with the windows down. On a long motorway run I either put the roof up or wear ear plugs (being an ex-biker I’m used to ear plugs and value what remains of my hearing).
In terms of driving the only real difference with the RF is when you look over your shoulder and you are faced with a considerable blind-spot caused by the buttresses. Annoying but not a deal breaker. As far as headroom is concerned, I am 6’ 2" (1.88m) and don’t have a problem.
My advice is to follow your heart, you will enjoy both cars.


I’ve been following all of these with interest, Maccy, and your response is excellent. Trouble is I can’t decide. I’m just about going RF…