Mazda pulled the wraps off a retractable fastback Miata on the eve of the 2016 New York International Auto Show.

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF intro

2017 Mazda MX-5 RF

The power retractable hard top version of the current Mazda Miata isn't what we would necessarily call aesthetically pleasing, but it does accomplish what it was designed to do – transform the brand's iconic roadster into a vehicle that, even in colder climes, can be driven in comfort in at least three of the four seasons. Towards the end of the current generation's model run and despite a premium of $1,115 over the cost of a comparative soft top, it also accounted for more than half of MX-5 sales.

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

The new Mazda MX-5 RF, unveiled last night in New York, is so good-looking, that it should, nay, will, attract buyers who don't even need a hardtop for their Miata.

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF side view

According to Mazda, in developing the RF (for "Retractable Fastback"), the decision was made to ditch the idea of stowing an entire roof and make styling a priority. The result is a stunning fastback sports coupe that converts to a targa-style convertible with the simple flip of a switch and at speeds of up to 6 mph.

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF top actuation

The RF also addresses two very important issues with the current hardtop. For one it looks at least as good as the soft top – one might say even better, although this is subjective. Secondly, and something that is not subjective, at 4.6 cubic feet, trunk capacity in the RF is the same as the soft-top model, even when the roof is stowed behind the seats (that, for anyone who has experienced one, is something that cannot be said of the third-gen model).

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF top stowage

The notchback design of the B-pillar, in addition to its design aesthetic, also allowed Mazda to engineer a back window glass that retracts when the top is stowed for a true open-air driving experience.

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF top-down mode

Other unique features include:

  • RF-specific suspension and Electric Power Assist Steering system tuning
  • A sound-absorbing headliner on the inside of the front and middle roof panels and sound insulation around the rear wheel housings results in a significantly quieter ride with the roof closed.

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF model introduction

Depending upon the market, the RF will be offered with two engine choices. Chances are the U.S. will only see the current 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G inline-4, while other markets will either see that engine or a 1.5-liter Skyactiv-G inline-4. Both can be paired to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission.

Masahira Moro, president and CEO of Mazda North America

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF pricing and availability

The vehicle show in New York may have been a prototype, but Mazda stated that it will begin taking orders for the 2017 MX-5 RF later in the summer, with deliveries taking place shortly thereafter. Pricing will be announced closer to its on-sale date.

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF