While overseas markets will get a 1.5-liter four-cylinder, the new Miata will come with a direct-injection 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the U.S. That’s the same size engine as the outgoing Miata had, but the new four-cylinder features Mazda’s SkyActiv technology. Horsepower and torque figures for the new engine weren’t released, but Mazda said in a statement that the car “delivers sufficient output for its size.” The current Mazda3 compact car has a SkyActiv 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 155 horsepower and 150 pounds-feet of torque. The new Miata gets a six-speed manual transmission. An automatic is likely, but hasn’t been confirmed.
Like the previous Miata, the 2016 model has a double-wishbone front suspension and a multilink setup in back. However, the car trades hydraulically assisted power steering for electric power steering, which should help reduce fuel use along with the new Miata’s lower curb weight. Mazda says models with the 1.5-liter four-cylinder are around 220 pounds less than the prior car, but it’s unclear how much less the 2.0-liter cars we’ll see in the U.S. will weigh. Among the Miata’s weight-saving measures are aluminum body panels, including the hood, trunk lid and front fenders.
Cars often get larger when they’re redesigned, but the new Miata is a little smaller than its predecessor. Its 91.1-inch wheelbase is about a half-inch less than before, and overall length is down about 3 inches to 154.1 inches. Width is up nearly a half-inch to 68.1 inches, and overall height remains the same at 49 inches.
The current Miata has a knack for turning everyday drives into thrill rides. That focus on the driving experience appears alive and well in the new Miata, but we’ll have to see if the increased attention to fuel efficiency has diluted the car’s character.
Cars.com photo by Brian Wong