Nearly three years ago, Mazda announced intentions to reduce its fleet wide fuel consumption by 30 percent before the year 2015. The reduction in fuel consumption for its models would mostly come from a reduction in weight for its next generation models and reduced dimensions of its vehicles (with a few rare exceptions, when a next generation of a vehicle is introduced, it is often larger and heavier than the model it replaces).
Mazda is looking to remove an extraordinary amount of weight from the next generation MX-5 (better known as the Miata in North America). The NC (third generation) Miata isn't exactly a pig, as it weighs 2,480 pounds with a 5-speed manual and 2,511 pounds with a 6-speed manual. However, this is over 300 pounds heavier than the NA (first generation) Miata which tipped the scales at 2,116 pounds.
According to The Car Connection, Mazda's current goal for the next generation Miata is to cut weight by 720 pounds. That would put a base Miata at just under 1,800 pounds -- an almost unheard low for North American market vehicles.
For comparison, the aluminum-intensive Lotus Elise tips the scales at 2,010 pounds. The diminutive shoe smart fortwo weighs 1,808 pounds.
Mazda is also looking to make the next generation Miata narrower and will throw out unnecessary features to reach its weight goals. In addition, the company wants to downsize the engine from its current normally aspirated 2.0-liter engine to a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine.
The low weight and downsized engine should do wonders for the Miata's handling and performance; not to mention its fuel economy. The current Miata is rated at 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Although the Miata is considered a sports car, those numbers are still rather mediocre for a vehicle that weighs 2,480 and has "only" 167hp on tap.
Mazda, like all other auto manufacturers, is on a mission to increase fuel economy across the board thanks to upcoming CAFE regulations.
Source: The Car Connection