A refresh to the MX-5 trim line-up hasn’t exactly revolutionised Mazda’s offering, but we still appreciate the effort, and the fact that the brand is keeping its small sports car on sale while those around it fall by the wayside. It’s great to drive and proves once again that huge power and ballistic speed aren’t always necessary to really enjoy a performance car. The cabin is in desperate need of an update, though.

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Another week passes, another new variant of the Mazda MX-5 emerges. This time, we’re testing the Retractable Fastback RF model in 1.5-litre form and new Exclusive-Line trim. This mid-spec model is probably the one you’ll want to go for as well (some caveats not withstanding, which we’ll get to in a moment), because it comes with most of the kit you’ll need, some of the toys you’ll want, and few items that really push the price up. It splits the entry-level Prime-Line and top-spec Homura models.

This lesser-engined RF Exclusive-Line model costs £30,025 and features 16-inch alloy wheels as standard. These don’t actually look as small as they sound, given the MX-5 compact dimensions, and they mean the ride is acceptable, too.

Other standard-fit equipment includes heated, black leather seats, adaptive LED headlights, rear parking sensors, climate control, a seven-inch screen with sat-nav, wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto, full keyless go and a surprising level of safety kit for a small roadster. There’s also a new paint colour available for 2023-model-year cars; it’s called Zircon Sand and costs £570.

When it comes to design, there’s little different on this fourth-generation MX-5, which is good and bad. Despite the fact that the car was launched in 2015, the styling still looks sharp and the Mazda cuts an attractive shape, particularly in RF form – although this model commands a £1,900 premium over the soft-top. Some will prefer the more sophisticated look and roof system the RF brings, while some will think the regular car is purer. We’re still glad they both exist.

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