2019 Miata gets better fuel economy.
John Goreham's picture

2019 Mazda Miata Fuel Economy Goes Up With New Engine Upgrades

Mazda is upgrading the Miata's engine for 2019. Here's how the changes impact fuel economy.
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For the 2019 model year, Mazda is making substantive changes to improve the Miata's engine and performance. The power will bump up from 155 hp to 181 hp. The engine will also rev higher. That's a good thing. Another good thing is that this bump in power and performance comes at no cost to fuel economy. In fact, it goes up.

As our chart above from FuelEconomy.Gov shows, the 2019 Miata with its manual transmission has almost no change except a 1 MPG increase to the EPA Highway estimate. However, the automatic transmission-equipped Miata gets a more significant 1 MPG bump for the Combined mileage estimate. These changes are not dramatic but it's nice to know that the performance upgrades coming this year won't come at a penalty at the pump for owners.

In Torque News testing over the past three years, the various Miata test cars we drove all seemed to get the EPA combined mileage or better.

Unfortunately, we also looked up the mileage for the Fiat 124 SPider (which is built by Mazda in its Miata plant). The Fiat Sider shows no changes at all to its mileage, which leads us to think that it will be unchanged under the hood in 2019.

The Miata is already a quick roadster. As far as we can tell, it is the fastest convertible at its price point. With a 0-60 MPH time under 6 seconds, it will only be faster given these new changes. A 14% power bump is nothing to sneeze at.


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Comments

It is competitive, even though there is not a lot of competition in this small sports car class. And the changes all seem good. But I suspect that most of the power gains are way up on the top of the broader rev range. It has a relatively small engine, meaning not a lot of torque available down low, but happily rowing through the gears to get to the meat of the power is part of the package. Arguably, the Subaru FRS and Toyota twin are the closest competitors to the MX-5 Miata despite weighing more and not having a convertible model. But they do have 24HP more than the 2019 MX-5, so they offer similar performance overall. As far as comparably priced sport convertibles go, the 2019 Mustang turbo-4 convertible, with it's 310HP/350TQ, and 10 speed auto, is likely quicker for a comparable price. But it's extra 1,300+ lbs make the Mustang more of a cruiser than back canyon carver. Still, I doubt that any loyalists and potential buyers will find any fault in these evolutionary improvements to the 2019 MX-5 Miata.
I think you're underestimating what they can do with the VVT/L system. The 2.0L Skyactiv has a very conservative tune to begin with but for a while no tuners knew how to keep it from knocking w/ its 12:1, 13:1, or 14:1 compression ratio(depending on model and market) but then BBR gti and OVtuning figured out they could use VVT/L to vary compression. The current motor is just an ECU flash away from ~175hp, and some bolt ons can get you to 190hp all with more torque from idle to redline. With all the improvements to the new motor I wouldn't be surprised if it's making more torque almost everywhere. Now if they would just install a fuel system that can flow more than 210hp. It's silly seeing an ND Miata with cams, bolt ons, and a tune making the same power as one with a turbo sized for 480hp(bigger was actually better with the high compression).