2017 Mazda MX-5 Retractable Fastback: 4 little annoyances I discovered in a week

2017 Mazda MX-5 Retractable Fastback (Sinclair Broadcast Group / Jill Ciminillo)

Let me start by saying I love the new Mazda MX-5 Retractable Fastback. In addition to a beautiful design, this little two-seater is fun, fast and affordable.

In terms of how it drives, I have no complaints. And during my first-look test drive, I found very few flaws– other than the fact that taller drivers and passengers might feel scrunched.

A week with the car gave me a bit more perspective. I’m not sure any of these are deal breakers – at least not for me – but they are little annoyances that you should be aware of before you buy.

No back-up camera

I thought this was particularly odd since a back-up camera will be federally mandated for the 2018 model year and the RF is all-new for 2017. The test vehicle had navigation, rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring, but no back-up camera.

When I pointed this out on Instagram, one of my followers bluntly stated: “Folks who need a backup camera in a Miata shouldn’t have a license.” I might agree if this were the soft top, but there are plenty of blind spots with the beautiful but big rear flying buttress pillars. Rear cross-traffic alert helps, but it doesn’t solve all blind-spot issues.

Key needed for trunk

While the doors have passive entry, the trunk does not. So you may tuck your key away in your purse or pocket, but as soon as you need to access the trunk, you have to fish it out again.

For dudes, this might not be that big of a deal. But for a woman with a bottomless purse, finding the key once it’s tucked away is like finding a needle in a haystack.

This would bother me less if there were a trunk release inside the car.

But there wasn’t. At least I couldn’t find one.

No auto-up windows

Now, I feel like I’m picking knits. But I drove with the top down a lot during the test week, and I really appreciated that when the top was down, I could easily tap the auto down window buttons to get the open-air experience I wanted quickly and effortlessly.

But when it was time to close up, the top mechanism put the top in place but left the windows down. And rather than auto-up windows, you had to hold the buttons until the windows went up. I know, #FirstWorldProblems.

Slow charge USB ports

Yes, another First World problem, but if you habitually charge your phone while driving, it could be a big deal.

I had my phone plugged in while I was using the Waze app during an hour-long drive, and my phone actually lost battery life rather than charging. I suppose I would have lost more if I hadn’t been wired in, but still.

On the way home my battery life was below 10 percent, so I wired in again, closed all apps and put my phone on airplane mode. When I parked the car, my phone battery was only up to 40 percent after an hour and a half of charging. In contrast, when I plug in at home or while using a battery pack, I’m usually back up to around 80 percent in the same time frame.

This wouldn’t be such a big deal if there were a 12-volt slot to plug in an alternative charger.

So, the upshot of all this is, if you’re a driver looking for a fun car to drive, the MX-5 has your back. And, for the base price of $32,430, you can’t beat the experience. Just be sure to bring a portable battery charger for your phone.

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