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There are different ways of experiencing a road trip, and we take two different Mazdas up to Kuantan to discover which one we prefer for a long drive up North.

20 Jun 2017

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The Mazda MX-5 RF puts a smile on your face when you go off the highway

The school holidays are now in full swing and, naturally, there are some of us who might want to take a road trip up North for a bit of rest and relaxation. That was certainly the intention of Mazda, who invited some of their customers and us for their Mazda Driveaway 2017 to Kuantan.

The winding B-roads are the MX-5's natural environment, with its quick steering and capable handling abilties making it an absolute delight in the bends
We were more than happy to join in the fun, but first we had to decide which car we wanted to go in.

The MX-5 RF was pretty much the obvious choice for enthusiasts like us. After all, the MX-5 is a driver's delight, with its sweet handling, and finely balanced chassis and setup, promising plenty of enjoyment for the winding B-roads that await us.

Truth be told, however, while Mazda's venerable roadster truly was a revelation on the numerous winding country roads along the way to Kuantan, it is not without its flaws.

For starters, it is obviously not the most practical car if you intend to bring more than a couple of bags up with you. Our only advice if you plan on taking the MX-5 with you on a holiday is to pack light, because the boot space is frankly miniscule.

Being a lightweight sports roadster, the car can also get rather noisy when you're zooming down the North-South Highway. Even with the hard-top roof of the RF model in place, the road and wind noise at high speed can get a tad unbearable after hours of driving.

For any keen driving enthusiast, the MX-5's sheer brilliance in driving purity is more than enough to make up for its flaws
Some may also bemoan the seemingly lack of grunt from the 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine, which has a mere 158bhp and 200Nm of torque. While it is indeed not a very fast or powerful sports car, that's not to say that the MX-5 is a complete dud.

It does require a lot of commitment (and some bravery) if you really want to unlock the car's performance potential, and you have to literally put the pedal down to the floor if you want to pull off moves like overtaking that pesky slow truck that's in your way. But that only makes the driving experience more exciting in my view.

And when the road is clear, the MX-5 is truly rewarding for the keen driver, with its quick steering and sharp handling abilities guaranteed to bring a smile to anyone’s face. There really is nothing quite like it, and it's almost enough to make up for the rest of its imperfections.

If you're chasing after the purity of driving enjoyment on your road trip, then there's absolutely no better choice than the MX-5. That much is for sure.

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