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Would you buy a 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata with just 130 hp?

Motor Trend says the new Miata will loose 37 horsepower. Say it ain't so!


The Mazda MX-5 Miata has never been about power. Although the car is wonderfully fun to drive on road or on track, the Miata has never been fast, and certainly not powerful. Yet, it has been a driver’s favorite for three generations. However, if the power were to be cut from 167 horsepower down to just 130 hp would the car still be as fun?

Motor Trend Drops a Bomb

Motor Trend has reported that Mazda sources told the publication that indeed the base engine would have just 130 hp. The sources claim that given the 100kg weight reduction (221 pounds) the car will do just fine with so little power. The problem is that the weight reduction is not as much as the power reduction.

Miata Weight to Power Ratio

The current Power Retractable Hard Top MX-5 Miata has a curb weight of 2593 pounds (according to the Mazda USA website today). With its 167 hp, the weight to power ratio is 15.5 pounds per horsepower. A 2015 new 4rth generation Miata with a curb weight of 2372 pounds and 130 hp would have a weight to power ratio of 18.3 pounds for every hp. That is an increase of 18%! Meaning the car has to push 18% more weight with each unit of power.

Are we missing something? My Mazda representative (she is a Mazda employee, not a PR agency representative) recently confirmed the 100kg weight reduction is official. That is not an estimate.

Be Sure to Compare the Same Version of the Miata
In the Motor Trend story, the weight given for the new Miata is 2250 lb. However, that is for the soft top. Adding the 70 pounds that the soft-top adds brings us back to the 2320 lb range we used above. Apples to apples. How can the new car be as quick (or as slow if you are a pessimist) with a 37 hp reduction?

What Will You Do?
In any other car, we would be splitting hairs here, but many consider the Miata to be under-powered. Having tracked the car at Skip Barber schools I agree that the power is a problem if anyone wants to make the Miata more than Sunday cruiser. I owned a 2007 MX-5 Grand Touring Miata and plan to own another in the future. If these numbers are confirmed I will seriously consider snagging a 2015, one of the last of the Gen-3 cars, instead of a Gen-4 with its better looks and improved infotainment options.

Tell us what you think. Is a power reduction in the Miata a mistake, or is this issue overblown since the car is best used as a touring roadster? Last, does anyone actually give a hoot about the fuel economy of this car?

Read Why We Love the Gen 3 Miata So Much
More 2016 Miata Pics Here:


steve (not verified)    September 16, 2014 - 10:44PM

Mazda we have a problem, with a curb weight of 2250lbs you add two american adults (200lbs) in the car your at 2650lbs and 130 hp is not going to cut it (torque im sure sucks) this will be to biggest POS miata ever, slower than hell and we have not even turned on the a/c yet. An with the skinny as hell tires they put on it handeling wont be that good either, I dont give a shit what mazda says I will NEVER by this car!

base engine / 160-180hp 180ft/lbs
top engine / 190-205hp 200ft/lbs
these should have been the numbers mazda!

As a mazda fan Im really disappointed in this company as of lately here in the U.S. with all there underpowered engines and their refusal to turbocharge their new engines there is no excuse for this!!!!

Bob (not verified)    October 27, 2014 - 7:02PM

In reply to by steve (not verified)

Very dissappointed with the rumors of the low HP. I own a z28, but I always wanted a roadster like the miata. With less than 200 even 180, I guess I will look elsewhere. The body design is great though.

jwu (not verified)    September 16, 2014 - 11:08PM

I was very much ready to get one, but this news definitely put a damper to my enthusiasm. I will not buy one if it only came with 130hp. I understand the miata is not about power - but that said, it still needs decent power. 130 sounds like it will struggle to go up a curvy mtn road... so there goes half the fun. Granted, there may be 2 engine choices... but if we need to shell out much more $$ for the more powerful version, then that defeats the purpose of a miata as well... sigh...

Greg (not verified)    September 17, 2014 - 9:13AM

I believe the 130 hp number is for a base option primarily targeted for overseas. I do not believe it will be the only engine option in the US. I fully expect them to drop in a version of their 2.0L engine for higher trims. In other words, stop making a big deal out of it until proven otherwise.

The 2250 lb is for a soft top. No hard top is yet available, so there is no such thing as adding 70 lbs for an apples-to-apples comparison. It's possible that once the hard top is made available, you simply can't buy it with the less powerful engine.

And no, I wouldn't buy the 130 hp version. My last car had 130 hp & weighed 2800 lb, so that Miata would definitely be quicker, but my current car has 185 hp & weighs 3000 lb. I would expect a new sports car to at least be better than that, otherwise I wouldn't spend good money on it.

Andrew (not verified)    September 18, 2014 - 7:57PM

I have been waiting for the ND to come out for years. Nothing in the world would have stopped me from buying one until now, potentially. Luckily there is hope that two engine variants will be available. It's understandable why Mazda would choose to select a 130hp version as an option. However, I among others would not find this satisfactory. Unless the other engine variant is at least a 1.8L-2.0L or rotary I will be looking at other options for my next vehicle. Even for a small lightweight roadster anything under 1.8L seems utterly absurd. For one thing, why does Mazda care so much about efficiency here? A certain level of efficiency is to be expected, yes, but this is Mazda's premier sports car at the moment. People aren't buying the Miata for it's efficiency. Furthermore, if retaining the ND's new feather-light weight is so important (which I agree is and largely is what makes a Miata a Miata) why not use a rotary platform?

Mazda fan (not verified)    September 18, 2014 - 9:25PM

NO. 130 hp would be a absolutely dumb step backwards as miatas are underpowered and the new one must address this problem. I drive a 2007 mx-5 and I wish it had more power. I LIKE the direction Mazda is moving in except for the lack of more powerful engine options for the Mazda 6, Cx-5, mx-5.

Mikey (not verified)    September 19, 2014 - 10:50AM

I know a guy at a Ford Dealership who has converted a couple of Miatas by dropping Ford 5.0 litres in them. he said they fit perfectly and go like stink

J T (not verified)    October 6, 2014 - 3:39PM

It is a step down in power, but then again compare it to the original NA. About 2100 lbs with 116 HP, giving you around 18:1 lbs/hp. They weren't very fast but a hell of a lot of fun to drive.

JHee (not verified)    March 30, 2015 - 6:35PM

In reply to by J T (not verified)

Yeah... back in the 1990's when sports cars were 200-250 hp avg.
This is 2015... where econobox's are almost hitting 200 hp. Think of it like money. This is horsepower inflation. The MX-5 needs to keep up with the times. It'll be pretty sad when a modern day Corolla smokes this car at the red light.

Al (not verified)    November 5, 2014 - 10:39AM

Like the looks of the upcoming Miata and would have bought one except for the lack of sufficient hp. Looks like the new 2015 Ford Mustang convertible will go back on my radar.