Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Last week the Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring RF answered that age old question for me.
What’s Old is New
At this point in my life, I have been driving for 25 years. Yikes! That’s three years less than the age of the Mazda MX-5 Miata. But, I had a secret and it was really starting to get to me.
I couldn’t drive stick. Nope, only automatics for me. I had tried to learn years ago when I first got married but deployments got in the way and we never owned another manual car again after that desert stint. I write about cars and I couldn’t drive stick. How sad is that? How embarrassing!
When the 2017 Mazda MX-5 also known to most as the Miata drove up to my driveway I knew things had to change. I was going to use this car (with its not too sensitive clutch) to be my guinea pig. What better way to put the newly refreshed model to the test?
And you know what? It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I had a patient and fun teacher who knew all my hang ups and how to work around them. In an hour I was driving the streets of my neighborhood with the top down. Who doesn’t want to learn to drive that way? Mission accomplished and proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks. It doesn’t hurt when the trick is done with a very stylish car like the Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring RF.
Afterwards, I felt re-energized. I realized that it wasn’t such an ordeal or that learning something new doesn’t have to be daunting. It can be fun and bring you a joy that you didn’t know you were missing. It turned out to be the stepping stone to feeling more creative and refreshed than I had in a long time.
Just the Facts
The 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata model tested is the Grand Touring RF. The RF stands ‘retractable fastback’ which is the hard top on this convertible. While it is available in the soft top version, I prefer the look of the hard top.
So what’s new this year? There’s better gas mileage for one. We drove through the back roads of Northern Virginia for hours on end with the MX-5. Twisty turns and through various residential and downtown areas and then onto 95 as well. The car averaged about 26 mpg city and 33 mpg on the highway. The new MX-5 is lighter too and with the new retractable hard top roof not taking away trunk space it makes the model more enticing to buyers.
I appreciated the blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and lane departure warning system (though the sound the car makes during the departure is a bit loud and disconcerting) this is available in the Grand Touring model and not the lower trim packages. Rain-sensing wipers are a Mazda special that I always love.
What I didn’t love was the road noise. With the top down, I get it. With the top up? Not so much. When the radio was playing and the speed was high enough for highway driving I found it hard to converse with my co-pilot. I also found that there was very little space in the way of storage up front. I don’t ask for much but a place to maybe slip a notebook in the door or my phone would have been nice.
Check out my walk around video of the Mazda MX-5 Miata here. See more on my channel and subscribe to it too.
Other than that the car is fun. It’s incredibly stylish and good looking. When driving down one country road a pack of pre-teen boys on bikes came to a skidding stop and all exclaimed with mouths hanging open a series of cries and “Whoa! Look at that!”. I found that happened every time I drove it. People love Miatas because they are fun and good looking. They are not meant to be practical and that’s where the joy is found when driving it. That and how the flick of a switch can bring the top down and turn an ordinary day into an extraordinary one. It’s the little things, right?
The Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring RF model tested has an MSRP of $34,310. It came in Soul Red Metallic with tan leather interior. Bose audio system with 9 speakers and a 7″ color touchscreen display are included in the Grand Touring trim package.
*Disclosure: TMC was not paid for this post. Car provided by Mazda and Driveshop. Opinions are 100% my own.