The Mazda MX-5 Miata has always been a dichotomous car, known for its superb handling as much as it is for being on just about every “Top 10 Cars for Women” list. Over the years though, Mazda has let the MX-5 get bigger and heavier, while the suspension has gotten softer and tuned for comfort over driving. Mazda plans to change all that with its next-gen MX-5, which will be smaller, lighter, and may even boast a small-displacement turbocharged motor.When the MX-5 first hit the market, it weighed just a scant 2,100 pounds. The MX-5 has packed on an extra 15% more weight since then, now tipping the scales at over 2,400 pounds. It may not sound like a lot of extra weight, but on such a small car it makes a big difference…though the MX-5 has also gained a few inches in length, width, and height as well.
The engine also still isn’t all that punchy, as Mazda lacks a turbocharged engine option (though one was available in Japan in 2004-05.) But Mazda wants to get back to basics, and that starts with cutting the weight back by at least 200 pounds, with a stated goal curb weight of 2,200 pounds total.
The next MX-5 will also offer a host of new SkyActiv technologies, including a 1.3 liter turbocharged engine. I love me some turbos, and Mazda has a habit of producing fun-to-drive cars. This could be a killer combo, especially since the suspension is also going to get attention, with less emphasis on driver comfort and more on fun driving.
Fuel economy really hasn’t budged on the Miata since its inception either, hovering in the high-20’s for highway. But with new MPG rules coming into effect, the MX-5 must adapt or die. I’d like to see Mazda aim for at least 40 mpg highway. With such a small engine and a light car, they should at least be able to come close. The next Miata may even include electrification options,like hybrid drivetrains or capacitors seen in recent concepts.If they can wrap that all up in a nice-looking package, I may have to give it a shot.
A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, Chris can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.