Mazda's Next MX-5 Miata Will Be Exactly What You Want, Report Says

Mazda may not mess with the Miata formula too much, at least in the short term.

2020 mazda mx 5 miata gear patrol

Recently, Mazda unveiled its Sustainable Zoom Zoom 2030 plan, which reveals the company's intent to go 100 percent electric — or at least electrified hybrid. That plan raised the question about what will happen with the MX-5 Miata, known for its purist driving dynamics and its combo of a naturally-aspirated combustion engine and manual transmission. Well, we may have, at least, a short-term answer.

Autocar is reporting details about the next-generation NE MX-5 Miata, which the outlet says will arrive in 2024. Per the report, the new MX-5 will use a version of Mazda's new Skyactiv-X combustion engine that debuted in the Mazda 3 and CX-30. It probably won't get much more power than the present version, but it will still be naturally aspirated to satisfy the purists and keep the option for a manual transmission. The new Miata would also get the obligatory LED lights and interior upgrades.

Does launching a new, purely combustion car in 2024 make sense? In the MX-5 Miata's case, probably — largely as a bridge to an eventual hybrid version in 2030.

After all, even if you can accept the eventual loss of the naturally-aspirated engine and the manual, the MX-5 still faces a fundamental challenge with weight if it goes electric using current tech. The current model weighs in at just 2,400 pounds; going hybrid or electric with the present battery technology would add significant weight to the car. For instance, Mazda's new MX-30 hybrid — with a small 35.5-kW battery pack — weighs 3,655 pounds. In other words, Mazda needs more time to figure out how to build a greener Miata.

The MX-5 should also be relatively easy for Mazda to keep as a combustion car through the end of the decade. The current model is already a fairly efficient car, delivering 30 mpg combined or 29 mpg with the manual. An MX-5 with the Skyactiv-X engine would be even more efficient. And the MX-5 is also a relatively low-volume seller. So it wouldn't have a huge impact one way or another on Mazda meeting emissions standards.


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