Mazda won’t give up on the MX-5 Miata, but it won’t be replacing the current model for at least a few yearsby Robert Moore, on
Mazda has positioned itself in the opposite corner of other automakers. While the rest of the world is embracing electrification, we have Mazda aiming to go upmarket and launching a brand-new inline-six, RWD platform in the CX-60 crossover. Unfortunately the brand has had to ditch its plans for a new RWD Mazda 6, though it has been working on electrification to an extent with models like the MX-30, for example. All of this has led us to wonder what will happen to the Mazda MX-5, whose compact nature isn’t exactly the most compatible with full electrification. So, what’s the case, then? Well as it turns out, Mazda isn’t going to abandon the MX-5 at all, and it’s not planning to change the recipe, either.
Mazda’s Plans for the MX-5 Should Make You Happy
There’s a good chance that the following news is probably going to make you happy as long as you’re not a Tesla fanboy and actually like sports cars. The MX-5 Miata has soldiered on quite well in a world where regulators and emissions standards are forcing automakers to downsize and electrify. Not that a car like the Miata could be downsized much more than it is, but it could be electrified if Mazda really put its mind to it. That probably won’t happen for a long time, though, with Mazda’s head of product development and engineering in Europe, Joachim Kunz, laying out the plans for the MX-5 to Autocar.
"It's our brand icon and it is always treated very specially. At the moment, it looks like we will have this car forever, with this size and concept and combustion engine."
Of course, at some point, be it 10 or even 20 years from now, the MX-5 will have to be electrified if it’s going to stay around. He did point this simple fact out, but said that the brand would strive to “keep this pure concept.” He went on to discuss that the next-gen model will not be switching to an existing platform that underpins other models in the lineup. It wouldn’t make sense, though, as that would mean that it would have to ditch one of the things that makes it special – its RWD layout. Apparently, the MX-5 is the baby of headquarters, with most of its development happening right there in its home market of Japan.
So, now we know that Mazda looking to gear the MX-5 toward enthusiasts more than ever and is keeping it on a traditional RWD platform. That doesn’t mean that it will carry on exactly the same, though. The company definitely won’t jump into full-on electrification until it’s impossible to keep the MX-5 on the market without it. The company could, however, make the next-gen MX-5 a mild hybrid. If it leveraged its Skyactive-X combustion technology, it would be able to deploy the mild-hybrid system and increase torque output without ditching natural aspiration.
With this in mind, don’t expect to see the next-gen MX-5 (aka the NE generation) to arrive in the next couple of years. Kunz made it pretty clear that Mazda has no issue keeping the MX-5 on a 10-year lifecycle since it’s a little different than the rest of its lineup. The current model has been on the market since 2014, so 2024 is likely the earliest we’ll see the NE-gen MX-5, and that’s probably if we’re lucky. Targeting 2025 or 2026 might be more feasible as it would extend the next-gen model well into 2030 without the brand having to push into electrification too hard. Either way, the fact that Mazda will continue with the same MX-5 recipe is very good news for most of us.