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Mazda's MX-5 gets folding hardtop option for '07

By BOB GRITZINGER
AutoWeek
Photos from Global Auto Index





We like the oh-so-easy-folding ragtop on the third-generation Mazda MX-5 so much that we’re left scratching our heads that the Ford-owned Japanese automaker would go to the trouble of engineering an optional folding-hardtop convertible for the 2007 model.

Yes, folding hardtops offer extra security from theft and better protection from the weather, and the trick motorized lids are all the rage right now in two- and four-seat cars. But is the added weight of a folding top and its motors and cables what you want in a lightweight roadster? How much complexity and cost does the roof add to Mazda’s value roadster?

Mazda will answer those questions soon, once the MX-5 Power Retractable Hard Top makes its global debut July 18 at the 2006 British International Motor Show in London. The car goes on sale in August or September in the U.S.

Mazda notes that a removable hardtop has been an option on the MX-5 since its launch in 1990, with a cloth convertible top standard. The 2006 MX-5 was launched late last year amid an increasingly competitive segment that now includes affordable roadster entries from General Motors (Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky). Historically, retractable hardtops have been offered on more expensive models, however several affordable four-seat cars with folding hardtops have recently arrived on the market.

OFFICIAL RELEASE FROM MAZDA
MAZDA TO EXHIBIT NEW MAZDA MX-5 MIATA WITH POWER RETRACTABLE HARD TOP AT THE BRITISH INTERNATIONAL MOTOR SHOW

IRVINE, Calif. — Mazda Motor Corporation will make the global debut of the Mazda MX-5 Miata Power Retractable Hard Top at the 2006 British International Motor Show in London, England. Since its launch in 1990, and with subsequent generations launched in 1999 and 2006, MX-5 Miata has always been available with an optional removable hardtop, but this is the first time the car will be available with a power-operated retractable hard top.

The British International Motor Show will be held in London from Tuesday, July 18, through Sunday, July 30, 2006.

Featuring a new, unique power retractable hard top roof, this is an all-new addition to the third-generation Mazda MX-5 which launched in late 2005 as a 2006 model. This new Mazda MX-5 provides a unified sense of driving exhilaration, ready to spread the fun of lightweight sports cars in diverse and distinct new ways, regardless of the weather.

“Jinba Ittai”—or ’rider and horse as one’ is the essence of Mazda MX-5, the expression reflecting the emotional connection between a horse and rider.

Along with the global debut of the MX-5 Power Retractable Hard Top, the Mazda Sassou and Kabura concept vehicles will also be shown.

Mazda will hold a press conference on Tuesday, July 18, 2006 at 11:45 a.m. (British Summer Time).

Mazda MX-5 with a power retractable hard top roof will be known by different names around the world:

North America: Mazda MX-5 Power Retractable Hard Top

Europe: Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe

Japan: Mazda Roadster Power Retractable Hard Top
 
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