By on July 1, 2009

Autoexpress claims that Mazda is working on a downsized MX-5 Miata roadster, fanning the flames of enthusiast optimism the world over. AE estimates that the mini drop-top could come with engines of 700cc to 1.6 liters, with a 160 hp turbo 1.6 four-pot topping the range. “Insider” sources say a 2012 launch is being discussed, and that a concept should appear on the car show circuit shortly. Though the engine displacements seem to indicate that the baby Miata isn’t likely to come stateside, hope springs eternal when it comes to these things, no?

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33 Comments on “Baby Miata in the Works?...”


  • avatar
    johnny ro

    Smaller, stiffer, prettier than my NB except for the new nose?

    I want one. Please price it at $15,000 MSRP stripped with 1.2 modern motor, say 100 at the crank.

  • avatar

    Well, since I can’t get a decent Cappuccino here, this might do for me.

  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    If it’s cheap enough they could probably sell some small number here as Track Only specials. Does the SCCA still have a Sub-Liter Class?

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Meanwhile, Mazda’s US sales crater looks like Chrysler’s:

    http://www.mazdausamedia.com/content/mazda-reports-june-2009-sales

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    The Miata is already one of the smallest cars availible for sale in the US. I don’t see much of a market here for an even smaller one.

    Really, is there anyone out there saying the Miata is too big? Who would the sub-Miata be marketed towards, and what could it do other than steal sales away from the current Miata?

  • avatar
    Robstar

    Smaller miata ? 160 horse? sub $15k ? better gas mileage ? RWD? Bring it on!

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    The first generation (NA) was even smaller than the current generation (NC). The generation between (NB) was also somewhat between them in size and weight.

    Seems to be the trend of the auto industry…let each subsequent generation of an automobile get a little bigger, then slide a smaller model below. Ironically, the smaller model ends up being about the same size as a previous version of the model it is placed below in the model line (BMW 1-series, I’m talkin’ to you!).

  • avatar
    GrandCharles

    I’m think like Robstar…but i read in autoblog that it would be front drive…blehhh…might as well call it a Geo Metro….not zoom zoom but zzz zzzz….

  • avatar
    GrandCharles

    John Horner :
    July 1st, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Meanwhile, Mazda’s US sales crater looks like Chrysler’s:

    http://www.mazdausamedia.com/content/mazda-reports-june-2009-sales

    I wonder if it has something to do with the new clown faced mazda3….

  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    If it was FWD that would be a horrible idea, but the first car that came to my mind when I read this was ‘Fiat 850 Spider’. A modern interpretation of that based on a shortened, narrowed MX5 platform would be cool.

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    Why? The miata is already mini, and you really can’t remove mass from the thing without failing to meet modern safety goals.

    As for a “club racer” for $15K, the stripped miata is only $22K. So why not get the real thing?

  • avatar
    Billy Bobb 2

    The new happy puss Mazda 3.

    Where have I seen this car before?

    Took a few minutes to realize it.

    “Tina Turbo”. A Chevron original.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    If it happens it’ll be a FWD convertible based on the Mazda2. It would be odd in the US, but in Europe it’s pretty common to have a convertible version of a car in that size class. Peugeot started it, I think.

  • avatar

    I’m think like Robstar…but i read in autoblog that it would be front drive…blehhh…might as well call it a Geo Metro….not zoom zoom but zzz zzzz….

    I’m sure there’s more than a few MINI drivers who would contend that a small FWD car (especially with a 1.6 blown engine) can accelerate and handle just fine.

    Unfortunately a small FWD roadster would probably be targeted more at sorority sisters whose Daddy won’t pony up for a Boxster than driving enthusiasts (ie. a latter day Honda Del Sol).

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    The original NA was about 2100 lbs and had a ~114 hp 1.6L engine. Crash requirements bulked it up a few hundred pounds over the years and generations.

    Perhaps this might be a reaction to the new footprint fuel economy regulations? Tiny car with a tinier engine?

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    The Lotus Elan from the 1960s weighed only 1,500 lbs. I haven’t been able to find any specs on its size, but remember reading a comment that that it was even smaller than the first generation Miata.

  • avatar
    grog

    What sitting at home said.

    Back in the early 80s, all the sorority babes drove Fiat Spyders. Sorority babes and Fiat Spyders are a lot like Twinkies: they look good and taste great but are really bad for you.

    The first thought that came to mind when I saw the “smaller Miata” concept was “original Miata”. Mazda would come full circle then if they did that. As insane as it sounds, I recall how my friends all wished Datsun would have gone back to the 240Z instead of ruining the Zs over the years (latest incarnations excepted).

  • avatar
    drifter

    Miatas has been becoming porkier and costlier to own and run with each generation. 17inch wheels and only 31miles per premium gas makes it much more expensive to run than something like a Civic coupe which weighs more.

    Bring back a roaster with a liter engine, 35mpg on regular and 14inch wheels and sell it for $15k without power windows, bose audio etc and party like it is 1960s all over again. Perhaps chineese owners of MG might be planning just that.

  • avatar
    venator

    My idea of driving fun is to push the car to its limits. The sub-MX5 Mazda could do that the same as the original Spitfire, A-H Sprite/MG Midget, Fiat 850 Sport Coupe/Spider etc. could, without having to worry about too many speeding tickets.

  • avatar
    Kurt.

    Not to hijack the thread here but the Chinese can’t really produce a stripped down car and expect it to sell in America. They will want to change the impresion of Chinese products and produce bells and whistles.

    However, Mazda could…and they could even use Chinese/Indian labor to make it happen. no one would care. America “initially” would rejoyce that this was a simlple car with nothing wasted…but then someone would want a stereo…and leather…and A/C…and an automatic…and 17 inch rims…and it would end up as the current Miata.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @NulloModo :
    Really, is there anyone out there saying the Miata is too big?

    Me.
    My favourite modern car is the Smart Roadster. Which is 2.5 ft shorter than a Miata. It’s only problem was the crappy gearbox. It had a 0.7L turbo engine and was magnificent fun.

  • avatar
    Ronman

    very cool idea

  • avatar
    Ronman

    I already drive a 2, if they are goign to manufacturer a CC to rival the 207cc and the likes, they have a great platform on their hand and i can imagine it driving much better than the french cars of the segment, even with a small ish engine

  • avatar
    midelectric

    The Mazda AZ-1 is one of my favorite kei cars, with mid-engine, turbo and gullwing doors it looked like a blast to drive. Hopefully this will be mid-engine as well, making it it’s own model with less chance of cannibalizing Miata sales.

    Plus I’d like a modern replacement for my AW11 MR2

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    Bring it on. And please don’t give it a goofy looking smiley face front fascia!

  • avatar
    stuki

    I’d say bring it on! The current MX, while small relatively, is still too fast and big to ‘race’ at somewhat legal street speeds in the US. There’s nothing like a completely under endowed little car, small enough to four wheel drift while staying in your lane and slow enough to almost require that kind of driving just to keep up with traffic, for pure, everyday driving fun. Especially if your reactions aren’t all that anymore. Spend the money on brakes, and on keeping the car light. Narrow, tall sidewall, long wearing rubber and conservative alignment is good as well.

    And again, focus on the brakes! All current “micro’ cars aren’t really built for enthusiastic driving, so come completely underequipped in that department.

  • avatar
    SpacemanSpiff

    Stupid bleepity-bleeping Mazda. I can’t fit into your big Miata, now you’re going to tease me with an even more desirable smaller & lighter version. Gee thanks…

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    People recall history so incorrectly sometimes.

    The current generation NC Miata, the best Miata ever, compares very well with the first generation NA Miata in every dimension.

    It is only 1.9 inches longer than the 1990 NA Miata.

    It is only 1.8 inches wider than the 1990 NA Miata.

    It is only .8 inches taller than the 1990 NA Miata.

    It weighs 305 pounds more than the 1990 NA Miata, but only 88 pounds more than the structurally reinforced, dual airbag, side impact door beam 1997 NA Miata.

    http://autos.msn.com/research/compare/exterior.aspx?c=0&n=3&i=0&ph1=t0&ph2=t0&tb=0&dt=0&v=t108931&v=t765&v=t12160

    Even the fuel economy is very close. And the price is lower if you adjust for inflation.

    Many cars have grown substantially, but not the Miata, the Miata has stayed incredibly true to its original design, despite now having dual front airbags, side airbags, and ABS as standard.

    There is no way that Mazda can make a smaller “Miata” (it would be the smallest Miata ever), without making it either transverse FWD (which sucks), or, much less likely, mid engined.

    People should stop complaining and start shopping. A current generation Miata can be had for under $20K new, and under $15K used, and the previous generations keep getting cheaper.

  • avatar
    Atomicblue

    My current daily driver is a ’93 Miata. No_slushbox is right that the dimensions of the current Miata (NC) are not that much more than the NA. However every time I park next to a new MX-5 Miata I can’t help but think “damn that thing’s a porker”. It’s just not as minimalist and simple as the original. Don’t get me wrong, I like the look of the refreshed 2009 and have considered one. But I just can’t seem to justify it when I look at what the NA I’m currently driving offers for the price (paid for and so cheap to operate). Now, if the MX-2 were to be a RWD car and come in at less than say 2200 lbs and 160 hp, then maybe.

  • avatar
    Mike66Chryslers

    If the current Miata is not signifcantly bigger than the older ones, then I don’t see how they could make it much smaller. The only time I ever sat in one was at a car show years ago. My legs got trapped under the steering wheel and I had to crawl out on my hands and knees! At that time at least, A Miata was not made for people over 6′ tall.

  • avatar
    MidLifeCelica

    At 6′ 2″ / 240+ (OK, ++) , I’d have to buy 2, so I could strap one to each foot!

  • avatar
    Strippo

    The NC is definitely roomier and more comfortable for the taller driver than prior generations, but for your passenger? Not so much.

  • avatar
    peteski

    AuricTech : +1

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