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Ride of the Week: The sleek little ride that embraces Malibu’s curves

Mazda’s new 2017 Miata MX-5 RF Edition fits Malibu like a glove, says Fireball Tim Lawrence. Photo Submitted
Fireball Tim Lawrence
9:52 am PDT August 11, 2017

Malibu is made up of one really long straight away and thousands of little curves. 

So it makes sense that what you want in a new car will handle just that. Remember, driving is supposed to be enjoyable and not a chore. And this little car I’m about to introduce you to will carry four bags of groceries easy. So there.

SUVs are fine for the straights and can certainly go up and down canyons, but as far as having fun, it’s not an end game car. But when Mazda sent me the new 2017 Miata MX-5 RF Edition the other day, I knew that the curves of Malibu stood no chance. It was a fun wrapped in a Japanese package.

Now you may know that my friend (and Malibuite) Derek Jenkins designed this car or the initial version of it, and at $35K, it’s a steal at having fun. But as a summertime ride with an electric push button top, this car scoots PCH looking for fun and will give you a tan like you’ve never had before.

The RF Edition comes with Brembo Brakes, cool skirts and a host of additions, plus 155 horses under this bonnet making it as tight as a drum. But the design really turns heads even in this metallic bright primer color. By the time this article comes out, I will have carved Malibu into thin slices of cool. 

But you realize that driving in Malibu can be a blast when you have the right car, right? Well, let’s discuss this for a moment.

Some people might think that a Ferrari, Lambo or McLaren would be perfect, but high horsepower cars in the canyons are not necessarily the way to go. And you see what happens to them sometimes on PCH at warp drive speeds. What you want is a car that fits our town like a glove. Small and agile — like a greyhound. You can park it anywhere and get smiles without an ego. It’s just a good feeling car without having to show off.

The RF gets 29 miles per gallon, which is pretty snappy for a two-seat roadster. And the only thing that would make it more perfect is to do an electric version, sans the six-speed. Yeah, I know what you’re saying: “How can you get rid of the six-speed?” Well, you obviously haven’t lived in Malibu long enough to know what’s it’s like to be in a convertible, in traffic, in summer.

And fun is where it’s at, people! I’m grateful to Mazda for sending me this tiny ride. We’ll be featuring it on my show all this week, so be sure to wave. For those looking for a car with spirit, comfort, cutting-edge tech and a super great design, I’d consider this little beast. It’s fully modifiable for those who want more, but stock out of the Matchbox package, it’s sweet enough to plaster a smile on anyone’s face. 

Want to be featured in Ride of the Week? Send Fireball an email at askfireball@fireballtim.com.