Mazda MX-5 Miata with power retractable hardtop (artist’s rendering)
You could call the previous-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata’s power-folding hardtop option antithetical to the roadster’s lightweight, low-complexity mission, but there’s no denying it sold well. Give the people a self-folding method for keeping out the elements that isn’t simply a piece of cloth or vinyl, and they will come. Only this time around, nothing but a hand-operated folding cloth lid will be offered. Yep, for the all-new fourth-generation MX-5, Mazda is letting the roof party like it’s 1989. But that doesn’t mean enthusiasts can’t dream, right? So here it is: The MX-5 Miata PHRT Mazda isn’t building.
Why the love fest for roof design we admit falls out of step with the Miata’s simplistic ethos? Well, besides displaying a knack for fantasizing over Miata-based creations such as a fixed-roof coupe and even a shooting brake model, a significant chunk of third-gen “NC” Miata buyers opted for the “power-retractable hardtop” (PRHT for short), and even we purists had to respect the hardware. The PHRT not only fit in the same space devoted to the folding cloth roof, it also only added 77 pounds of weight. Factor in the hardtop’s superior noise-suppressing skills, and you can understand the PRHT option’s popularity.
In these renderings, our artist imagines what today’s ND Miata might look like with a similar PRHT—but offers up two distinct possibilities. The first, pictured above, shows a PRHT that exactly mimics that on the outgoing Miata: Thick pillars and a single rear window. The other, also pictured, depicts the PRHT with a pair of tiny quarter-windows that would theoretically improve rear sightlines. Were Mazda to reintroduce the power-folding roof option, we’d speculate that the simpler, single-window design would win out. Not only would it feature fewer pieces, but limiting the number of moving bits reduces potential squeaks and rattles and helps keep weight down. That said, weight—and cost—seem to be the driving forces behind Mazda’s decision to keep the newest Miata’s roof strictly old-school. But if it ever changed its mind . . .
Rendered: The Mazda MX-5 Miata Power-Retractable Hardtop