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blog large image - Mazda MX-5: Soft Top or Hard-Top RF?

Mazda MX-5: Soft Top or Hard-Top RF?

So you've decided to purchase a new Mazda MX-5. And why wouldn't you? Being repeatedly voted as the World's favourite sports car, this beautiful car has taken the world by storm. With the new forth generation, Mazda MX-5 2017 continues to impress.

But do you choose the soft top with its folding fabric roof that you raise and lower manually, or do you opt for the RF with its automatically operated hard roof constructed of steel, aluminium and plastic? Here we compare the pros and cons of both roof styles to help you decide.

How the roof style affects the drive

The short answer here is: it doesn't. Both cars feel equally as quick along a straight line and round bends. In particular, the Mazda MX-5 excels with its cornering ability, with both the RF and soft top rolling into corners giving you the confidence to enjoy driving down tight, winding roads. If there are any differences between the two, they are so minor it's almost negligible. That being said, your preference may depend on whether you choose to drive with the roof open or closed.

With the top up:

With the roof closed, the RF tends to have an edge on the soft top due to a more pleasant cabin ambience. That being said, there was no difference in noise levels between the RF and soft top with the roof shut.

With the top down:

Top down, the soft top is more in-keeping with the character of the traditional MX-5 and better delivers the wind-through-your-hair experience that the Mazda MX-5 is famous for.

Operating the roof

Unlike the soft top which does not offer an electric roof, the RF has a handy roof switch which is much more convenient than having to operate it yourself. That being said, it does have its limitations. The auto roof operation in the RF takes approximately 15 seconds to open and only works at up to 10km/h, and not at all if the car is in reverse. This can be frustrating if you want to put the roof down as you back out of the driveway, or if you need to maintain traffic speed yet are trying to operate the roof. The soft top on the other hand has no real speed restrictions, being limited only be how quick you are at operating it safely.


There's no doubt that both options are beautiful cars. Looking nearly identical from the front, only when admiring them from the rear or side on do you appreciate the difference. Which style of roof top you prefer is entirely up to you. Inside, both the RF and the soft top are near identical. The RF does offer slightly different seats which are aimed at providing more comfort for larger people. In addition, the hard top of the RF provides a more intimate interior feel with the added bonus of feeling more protected when leaving your car unattended.

Whichever roof style you choose, here at Melville Mazda we have a range of used and new Mazda MX-5 for sale, and would be delighted to offer you a test drive. Our dedicated sales team is on hand to help get you on the road in your new car today.