Next-Generation Mazda MX-5 Won't Be Smaller, Just Lighter

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
next generation mazda mx 5 won t be smaller just lighter

Sick of trying to motivate your Mazda MX-5 Miata’s prodigious tonnage? Thinking of giving that porker away to a friend? Help is on the way.

The next generation of automotive journalism’s favorite ride will shed weight, thanks to the use of carbon fiber, Autocar reports. That could mean smaller engines for all markets.

MX-5 program manager Nobuhiro Yamamoto told the publication that the fifth generation won’t appear before 2021, but when it does, expect an even lighter vehicle. Despite the diet, the Miata won’t slim down its proportions. Consumers aren’t getting smaller, and they want to carry more than just a wallet.

“The size is right,” said Yamamoto. “But in the future lightweight materials will be very important and will be used in this car. Now carbonfibre is very expensive, but we have in development affordable carbonfibre, so the MX-5 will be lighter in the future.”

Adding carbon fiber to the vehicle’s construction means less weight to move and stop, so components like engines, brakes and tires can shrink, Yamamoto added. That reduces weight even more, not that the Miata has a problem with that. A base MX-5 Miata Sport tips the scales at a trim 2,332 pounds.

A featherweight Miata also means better fuel economy, not that Mazda logs many complaints about that. TTAC’s Timothy Cain recorded an average of 34.1 miles per gallon on a week-long tear in his tester.

While the model comes with a 155 horsepower 2.0-liter four cylinder in North America, overseas markets get a 129 hp 1.5-liter. The next-generation model could make do with even less displacement.

Autocar anticipates a three-cylinder mill when the fifth generation bows, but that isn’t a safe bet on this side of the Atlantic (or Pacific). A downsized four-cylinder is a better bet for these shores, but 2021 is still a ways off.

[Image: Mazda USA]

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  • Funky Funky on Jul 22, 2016

    I seem to recall Mazda has made a lot of promises regarding future products lately. Where is the 2017 2-door/coupe Mazda 6? Where is the soon to be released retracting hard top MX-5/Miata? Let's see some follow through on the new products. I am a Mazda customer. I am awaiting the new products.

    • Redav Redav on Jul 25, 2016

      They never promised a coupe 6. They hinted that they would like to expand on the 6, which of course they didn't do. (And frankly, a coupe 6 would be a waste of development budget.) The hardtop Miata arrives next year. The real failure on promises was the diesel.

  • GeneralMalaise GeneralMalaise on Jul 22, 2016

    That is a great looking car and a super value. I bought my eldest son a '92 SE in 2001 for his HS graduation, he still owns it and keeps it in superb condition.

  • MaintenanceCosts We need cheaper batteries. This is a difficult proposition at $50k base/$60k as tested but would be pretty compelling at $40k base/$50k as tested.
  • Scott ?Wonder what Toyota will be using when they enter the market?
  • Fred The bigger issue is what happens to the other systems as demand dwindles? Will thet convert or will they just just shut down?
  • Roger hopkins Why do they all have to be 4 door??? Why not a "cab & a half" and a bit longer box. This is just another station wagon of the 21st century. Maybe they should put fake woodgrain on the side lol...
  • Greg Add me to the list: 2017 Sorento EX AWD w/2.0 Turbo GDI 68K miles. Changed oil religiously with only synthetic. Checked oil level before a rare long road trip and Ievel was at least 2 quarts down. That was less than 6 months after the last oil change. I'm now adding a quart of oil every 1000 miles and checking every 500 miles because I read reports that the oil usage gets worse. Too bad, really like the 2023 Tuscon. But I have not seen Hyundai/Kia doing anything new in terms of engine development. Therefore, I have to suspect that I will ony become a victim of a fatally flawed engine development program if I were to a purchase another Kia/Hyundai.