With the upgrades to the Mazda6 midsize sedan and Mazda3 compact hatchback and sedan complete, the time has come for an update to Mazda’s popular and iconic roadster, the MX-5 Miata. The reveal of the next-generation car is expected to come in a little over a year, according to a report from Britain’s Autocar, with the debut believed to be at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show.
Mazda initially targeted an ambitious curb weight goal of 2200 lb for the next-generation car, but indications are the final curb weight will come in closer to 2400 lb, a weight savings of between 150-200 lb compared to today’s car. Due to affordability considerations, the body is believed to be primarily steel, but with strategic lightening of specific components to keep weight low.
Initial reports suggested a turbocharged engine for the new Miata, but it now looks like naturally-aspirated I-4 engines of 1.5 liters and 2.0 liters will be offered in various markets. As with past Miata models, the focus will be more on balanced performance and handling rather than outright power.
The next-generation Mazda Miata is expected to be slightly longer than today’s car for a roomier interior, as well as making space for the Skyactiv engines, which have a long and bulky exhaust manifold design to enable their high fuel efficiency. Efficiency gains are expected to be in the neighborhood of 30 percent, which would translate to roughly 27 mpg city and 36-37 mpg highway, over the current Miata’s 21/28 figures.
The popular power retractable hardtop will continue on the new model, with a new design that preserves more trunk space. A canvas-top will still be offered.