Our MX-5 RF proves it can be toddler-proof

It's been a busy month for VN66 ZHZ, as it's covered plenty of ground over the festive period.

Our MX-5 RF was deployed as a grand tourer at the end of December, carrying yours truly from our Gosport HQ all the way home to Hull for Christmas — a 268 mile journey — while hauling plenty of presents and luggage.

It may not quite match a luxury diesel saloon for comfort and efficiency over long distances, but it dealt with the cross-country journey back and forth with no problem at all. Once you get used to the notable wind noise and frequent salt-storm from lorries on a gritted M1, it's actually a fairly pleasant cruiser.

The real test over the festive period, though, was day-to-day usage up in Hull. It's fair to say that the south coast has a slightly nicer climate than the north east, and while down in Gosport, my time with the MX-5 is mostly limited to personal use and the occasional passenger run. Back home over Christmas was a different story, though.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle for our MX-5 came in the form of my youngest sister. The suggestion of McDonald's to my three-year-old sibling while on babysitting duty was met with excitement from her end, and the concerns of putting a child seat into a two-seat sports car from mine.

Fortunately, VN66 ZHZ proved more than capable. Isofix mounting points made fitment easy, and thanks to a weight sensor on the passenger side there was no hassle in turning off the airbag — the car did it on my behalf.

One thing that I found though is that folding metal roofs terrify my sister. After putting the top down, she was insistent to the point of tantrum that it didn't go back up based on the mechanism noise. Thank Mazda for heated seats and climate control then, which made the trip bearable despite being roofless in near-freezing temperatures.

The freedom of seeing the sky around her also kept my youngest sibling happy — always a positive when you're taking an impatient toddler for some McNuggets.

Another positive of the trip home? Realising just how good Machine Grey Metallic looks on other Mazda models. Parking our RF next to the family's identically coloured 6 saloon brought home just how good the shade is.

Fast forward a few weeks, and VN66 ZHZ had an appointment with Perry's Mazda in Portsmouth. Fortunately, this was just for a routine service — one it was perhaps a little overdue.

It came through with flying colours and aside from the standard checks and fluid changes, the only concern was the rear tyres, having run relatively low on tread — perhaps more a side-effect of being in the hands of motoring journalists for almost a year rather than a problem with the car.

There's not long left of our time with the Mazda MX-5 RF, but it continues to be a positive experience.

Highlight of the month : kids can enjoy the MX-5 RF too

Model: Mazda MX-5 RF
Price: £27,165
Engine: 2.0-litre petrol
Power: 158bhp
Torque: 200Nm
Top speed: 134mph
0-60mph: 7.2 seconds
MPG: 40.9mpg
Emissions:161 g/km
Mileage to date: 17,742

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