Paint it Red

There isn’t a car that’s had more content on our page than the MX-5.

Granted, there are several variations available locally, and because we are the most thorough outfit in the country, it is our job to bombard you with as much information on it so that you can make the right choice. What I just said is a load of crap. We are the least thorough, and if I’m honest, the main reason that so much has been written about the MX-5 is because it is categorically lovely. 

There are very few cars in this world that fit in perfectly in one’s garage irregardless of whatever is in it. It could be your only car or it could be one out of fifteen alongside a McLaren Senna, and no serious petrolhead is ever going to look at you strangely. You see, it is impossible to get it wrong with a Miata for the simple reason that its very core of existence is based solely on the absolute joy of driving.

The Miata has never been about figures and lap times. Sure, there are many that modify their cars beyond recognition, but l prefer to leave perfection untouched.
— Enzo Teodoro

Surely, it isn’t perfect. For instance, I can only drive the car, but I can never be a passenger. I simply cannot fit. I’m not even exaggerating, lest I attempt to raise on leg up and look like I had just gotten circumcised. Then again, the rest of the world might not understand because most of them aren’t. The Miata, as I’ve mentioned before is an extremely powerful happy pill. You can never be depressed driving one even if you tried.

It’s like asking someone to sing Pharrell’s hit, ‘Happy’, with a sad face on. Not all Miatas are perfect. I happen to think that the sweetest spot in the range is a roadster with a manual gearbox. Many will disagree with me because they think that the automatic gearbox appeals to a larger group of people, and they are right once you factor in things like traffic or their daily commute — which I never do because I’m an idiot and you really should be listening to someone else.

Al fresco, darling.

I would ditch the RF, simply because the folding roof adds extra weight to a car that has had all the unnecessary glass panels on its windows shaved off so that the engineers could save a gram here and there. Adding the roof to the mix is like going on a liquid diet by having a Baskin Robbins milkshake. Also, in as much as the RF has an Aston Martin thing going on, I very much prefer the look of the roadster. Granted, the RF is the better car to daily — by miles. The insulation is night and day compared to the rag top, but oh my God, the roadster is proportionally gorgeous. 

So what about this newer model that supposedly comes with an extra 20 odd horses that push the red line a thousand revs more? This particular one that they’ve sent me comes in RF form, which means it has the stupid roof. It also as a fancier version of the Japanese carmaker’s signature Soul Red, which now has Crystal attached to it — with 20 percent more saturation and 50 percent more depth. More importantly, it is called the Club Edition, which means its equipped with more aggressive BBS wheels and Recaro® seats with fat bolsters.

Club edition bling.

With all these tweaks, you’d expect this to be the most exciting MX-5, in RF form at least. Well, not quite. I’m afraid there are some issues, and most of it are completely personal. The fact of the matter is, the Miata, regardless of what trim or form you get it in, is a sensational automobile. It truly is. The last RF I drove with standard seats was the absolute limit for my height. I had a choice to either recline the seat until it humped the rear parcel area creating an annoying squeak or I could move it a notch forward and spread my legs like a teenage hoe so I could drive in peace.

With this rubbish Recaro® seat, I can’t do either of that because I can only drive the car properly with the roof down. The extra inch of bolstering or padding has made it impossible for me to drive it with a roof unless I tilt my head sideways, which makes me look like the village idiot. I’ve noticed too, that this country is so hot and humid, that when after you’ve gone for a drive with the roof down, you hop out of the car looking like you’ve showered in extra virgin olive oil. It’s utterly useless on most days. 

The real roadster.

Except, there will come a day when everything falls into place. The weather is cool and you find yourself in a misty and twisty road up in the mountains, and in your hands — a piece of motoring folklore. On that day, nothing else other than a Miata will do. When you step on the throttle and let the engine stretch its legs, you feel how much better this revised engine is. It’s probably how those who have quit smoking after years of abuse feel.

The increase in power will not blow your mind, and because it has an extra thousand revs more to get to the red line, it doesn’t feel more immediate either. At least in the RF with an automatic gearbox, I couldn’t tell. The suspension setup is unchanged as well, because the Bilstein shocks are only available for manual transmission models. That’s fine with me, because the last thing I need right now is more stiffness to sever my head into the roof. 

driving matters.

If you ask me, I am going to stick to my guns and pick the standard car with Nappa leather. I don’t need Recaro® seats in a car that is 0 kilometres an hour faster nor 0.123456 seconds quicker to a hundred clicks. To me, the Miata has never been about figures and lap times. Sure, there are many that modify their cars beyond recognition, but l prefer to leave perfection untouched. There is a reason why the car was originally built that way and I would like to respect the original vision of the engineers and designers. They’ve already thrown in some extra horses and a stretched red line, so I’ll take it as is. I prefer the standard car because it’s a romantic experience.

There’s enough theater especially when you’re driving al fresco. It gives a sense that you don’t take performance cars too seriously. You’re not a guy that talks to women about lap times and strut bars. Barf. You simply enjoy the wind in your hair, the pure sound of a raspy vocalist for an exhaust, and the scenery around you. The Miata is a car that oozes with life. It truly is one of the best cars that you can buy at any price point, including this RF Club Edition if you are a midget. As for me, I absolutely lust after a Machine Grey roadster with a cherry red top and a manual gearbox. When that day comes and I’m out of reach, you’d find me in a mountain pass, chasing the sun, and dedicating a hymn to the road. 

The answer is always Miata.


2019 Mazda MX-5 2.0 RF SkyActiv A/T Club Edition

Engine: 1,998cc, DOHC 16V, Inline-4, SkyActiv
Fuel: Gasoline
Power: 181 bhp @ 7,000 rpm
Torque: 205 Nm @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed Automatic, RWD
0-100 km/h: 7.3 seconds
Top Speed: 220 km/h
Fuel Economy: 10 km/L Overall
Price: PHP2,680,000 Club Editiion + PHP22,400 Soul Red Crystal
+: Driver engagement, handling, sense of occasion, more power
-: Manual gearbox better, Recaro seats too chunky for the size of the car, prefer the Roadster
Verdict: One of the most stimulating and rewarding cars on sale at any price point
Rating: 9.5/10

Ex-Automotive Executive

Instagram: @enzoteodoro