By on July 22, 2016

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata

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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22 Comments on “Next-Generation Mazda MX-5 Won’t Be Smaller, Just Lighter...”

  • avatar

    The team had a design goal of 1000Kg, and the 1.5 made it.

    Call me incredulous getting CF in there at the current price level.

  • avatar

    Look how happy it is to be outside!

  • avatar

  • avatar

    No way are we seeing a new Miata in 5 years. I see no need to speculate on the next car when the ND just came out. 3-cylinder engines, yeah right. I’m so sick of auto mags just throwing nonsense like that out there, hoping something will stick. Yeah, and the C6 Corvette’s going to be mid-engine, one day.

    • 0 avatar

      If there is any speculation, it’s not on TTAC or Autocar’s part. This is straight out of the mouth of the MX-5 program manager. I doubt Mazda would let him spout his mouth off about something like this if there weren’t any truth to it.

  • avatar

    “The size is right,” Yeah I know. At 6 ft tall 250lbs I am to long and fat to fit in it. How is it that at average height I cant even get my legs in.

  • avatar

    Interesting that we are hearing news/rumors of the next gen car, when the current car is spankin’ new.

  • avatar

    Hatch today please? Do you realize that hardtops save WEIGHT and add UTILITY? Why can’t we have one??

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think it would be lighter in a Miata. The Miata is always designed to be a convertible. It shouldn’t suffer from the same problems that are created when the top is cut off from a coupe.

  • avatar

    Great…less calories, less taste. I’m sure they’ll put a .5 liter 3 cylinder in there and call it Cry-Active Technology? Why Cry-Active? Because you’ll be crying in fear as you try to merge onto the highway with it.

  • avatar

    Would be incredible if they could get it under 2,000 lbs.

    Maybe at that lighter weight you could get rid of the power steering and go with a pure mechanical steering rack?


  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      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.

  • avatar

    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.

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