Does A Retractable Roof Make The MX-5 RF Worse Than The Fiat 124 Abarth?

Comparison

Hard to lose with either.

We’ve already delved into the Fiat 124 and the Mazda MX-5 RF—two cars that are essentially identical save for the body panels, suspension, and drivetrain—and found them to have similar yet slightly different characters. And while the standard soft top MX-5 has been compared to the 124 time and time again, it's not too common to see the retractable fastback Miata pitched into the ring with the Fiat to see how the slight weight gain alters driving dynamics.

Surely a change as large as the inclusion of a heavy retractable fastback roof on such a small car is enough to change the stakes, isn't it? To find out, Edmunds got ahold of Motor Trend’s Carlos Lago and host Mark Takahashi for a side-by-side comparison.

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What they find is a pleasant surprise: two cars cut from the same wood that, through the magic of minor but deliberate and impactful alterations, end up being great to drive. Interestingly enough, they also offer different driving experiences. In either car, less is certainly more. Less weight makes each feel like an extension of the athletic driver on the road, less sound insulation serves to immerse the driver into the experience, less torque means more fun shifting through gears to work with the powertrain and manipulate it for faster and better overall cornering, and of course, a lower cost means quite a few drivers can afford a copy. Lagos' and Takahashi's conclusions aside, it seems like a driver with either car would be the real winner.

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