2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

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It’s always been one of the best handling cars on the planet. Now, the Mazda Miata has an optional retractable hardtop again – at least part of it is retractable.

Hit a button and the center roof section of the Miata RF – meaning retractable fastback – disappears behind the seats. Opening or closing takes only 13 seconds.

The base Miata is a regular soft top convertible. Our review RF is the loaded Grand Touring model.

This is a tiny car. Drivers taller than six feet probably won’t fit. The base transmission is one of the best six-speed manuals on the market. An automatic is available.

Not only is legroom tight, but the seats are narrow. Removable cup holders are right at your elbow.

Electronic driver aids like lane departure warning and blindspot detection are included in the Grand Touring.

The retractable roof panel does not cut into trunk space. There’s more cargo room here than expected.

There’s also more horsepower this year, up to 181 from the 2.0-liter four.

The lightweight Miata is an absolute blast to drive, a classic sports car.

So, for the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF, I say thumbs up to great handling, great gas mileage, and open-air fun; thumbs down to the tight cockpit – and it can get pricey. The as-reviewed sticker is $36,005.

I averaged about 29 miles per gallon.

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