A S P O R T S C A R F O R A L L S E A S O N S The snow-covered Japanese island of Hokkaido gives Zoom-Zoom a chance to see the all-new Mazda MX-5 RF in action in extreme conditions STORY NIK B ERG / PHOTOGRAPHY ERI C M I COT TO The most tempting thing to do would be to turn around. To head back to the Mazda depot and ask if they have a Mazda CX-5 or a Mazda CX-3. Something with i-ACTIV all-wheel drive. The northern Japanese island of Hokkaido is completely blanketed in snow. Actually it’s more than that. It’s lying beneath a 50 tog duvet of the stuff. More snow than I’ve ever seen before. And I am driving a Mazda MX-5. A low-slung, rear-wheel drive roadster is not the obvious choice of transport around here. But this MX-5 is the RF, its retractable roof making it a genuine all-seasons sports car. Or, at least, that’s what I’m about to find out. This car, and every Mazda besides, was honed on Hokkaido at Mazda’s Kenbuchi Proving Ground. With winter temperatures plummeting into double digits below freezing it’s where Mazda pushes its new models to their limits. Every component from wheel nuts to heating systems, brakes and stability control are tested to extremes. And so are Mazda’s engineers, who live here during the long cold winter months.
Zoom Zoom Magazine Issue 29
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