• Nov 12, 2009

2009 Mazda MX-5 Miata – Click above for high-res image gallery

When the original fuel crisis hit the States in the 1970s, automakers scrambled to make smaller, more efficient transportation. The result was a lot of ill-packaged front-wheel drive suck better left in the deepest recesses of our collective consciousness. Since the mid '80s though, vehicles (and people) began growing at a steady rate to the point that the typical C-segment sedan is bigger and heavier than the run of the mill '90s midsize sedan.

Mazda is no different than the competition when it comes to added tonnage, as product development chief Robert Davis tells Autoweek/Automotive News that each product cycle results in weight gain of about 80 pounds. That stops beginning in 2011, though, as the Japanese automaker begins dropping the weight of a typical Mazda by 220 pounds or more. Davis says the automaker will attack the problem from several angles, including using more aluminum and high strength steel, cutting the overall length of vehicles by three inches or more and utilizing smaller and more efficient powertrains. Mazda engineers are also being charged with finding innovative solutions to solve problems like how best to bond aluminum to steel. The automotive Weight Watchers plan will result in fuel economy gains of three to five percent without sacrificing safety.

The weight loss isn't likely to happen throughout Mazda's entire lineup all at once, though, instead opting to drop pounds as vehicles come up for redesign. Mazda will also work to lose the weight without sacrificing the brand's Zoom Zoom roots. One of the first Mazda models expected to benefit from the companies weight loss goals is the MX-5 Miata. Rumors have been flying for months that the next Miata will be lighter than the already feathery roadster we have today. We'd say lighter is almost always better as long as the weight subtraction doesn't come at the expense of structural rigidity.

We're all for Mazda cutting weight from all of its models, and we're hoping that other automakers follow suit. We're pretty sure we've had enough of 5,000 pounds SUVs and two-ton sedans, and we're guessing you have, too.



Photos copyright ©2009 Chris Paukert / Weblogs, Inc.
[Source: AutoWeek]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 50 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      PRAISE JEEBUS!! About time, a "compact" car should definitely NOT weigh 3,000lbs...
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's not just the car, it's the trucks, too. I was parked next to a brand new F150 the other day and was shocked over the sheer size of it. I had a 1996 F150, which I got rid of because it was too big and this thing would have dwarfed it. The worst part is that this truck doesn't look like it a had a hard days work in its short life and probably never will.
      Good thing the owner can afford $5 a gallon of Obamaline.
      Derek
      • 5 Years Ago
      Now if only Americans would match this reduction in their own personal weight we'd be onto something. Based on some incredibly complex math that I'm not even sure I understand that would work out to about 11.4lbs for a 200lb person.

      Are we up to the challenge?
        Carlos
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Derek
        Not with McDonalds, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts, Wendy's, etc...around. Americans eat too much crap to lose weight.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Derek
        Not that I frequent such joints, but the McDonalds in the nearby Walmart shut down. Yes, you read that right. Gone. Caput. There's hope for humanity.
      • 5 Years Ago
      One of the first ways they should go about doing this is by making their cars lower. Virtually every car made today is absurdly tall. If you park a first gen Miata next to, well, practically anything else, it becomes obvious how stupidly tall cars are today. There's no earthly reason for a sedan or coupe to have a rooftop higher than about 52 inches. And that's generous. My NA's roof is about 46 inches from pavement and it's plenty for my 6'1" 240lb frame.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I absolutely agree. I don't get this trend, why make sedans this tall?
        A couple of weeks ago I was behind a MKS and a Jeep Cherokee next to it seemed tiny - that freakin' sedan was taller than an SUV!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Don't forget Nissan has also made a similar promise going into the future. I believe they said they were going to reduce weight by 15%.
      • 5 Years Ago
      and while you are at it...please, please change that stupid new face of your cars!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Here's something for Mazda to start with! Drop the bloated, made-for-America Mazda6 and bring us the better international version!
      • 5 Years Ago
      the current 2500 pounder isnt too heavy at all but 200lbs less would be great! The only thing i would like is to see the power go from the 2.0 MZR get boosted to a more respectable 200hp (or more). The S2000 weight in at 2800ish pounds but has an additional 70hp...if mazda can drop 200lbs and add about 30 to 70hp...that would be freeking amazing!
        • 5 Years Ago
        The engine is essentially the same one as the Mazda 3's. They have a turbo setup for it. It should be able to fit into the NC. You can fit a smallblock V8 into an NA or NB relatively easily (and without spoiling the handling in the case of the aluminum Chevy pieces. They're not really any heavier than Mazda's cast iron boatanchor.) The NC's hod is a lot higher than the NA's. I think Flyin' Miata has an aftermarket turbo setup for the NC as well. You have to figure that if some guys in a shop can engineer it, Mazda probably ought to be able to manage.
        • 5 Years Ago
        ..oh and add the 6pd to the base sport model. Am i asking for too much? eh
        • 5 Years Ago
        The 2.3DISI engine is not a simple drop in physically-wise, you have to cut into the firewall to wedge it in. No doubt an entrepreneurial tuner will get it done someday.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow, that will put the Miata at around 2,200 pounds. Replace the wheels, exhaust, and seats with lighter ones, and then remove the spare tire and A/C, and you'll be getting close to Lotus Exige power/weight for a lot less! It would make a great track car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm sorry, I mean Elise.
      • 5 Years Ago
      is this car even safe to be in??? it does not look like a very safe car to be driving. BUt i bet its really fun to drive!
        • 5 Years Ago
        @elpepe,

        Can you please cite these laws of physics that guarantee that any 2500 lb car will lose against any given 4000 lb car?
        • 5 Years Ago
        That physics law would be Newton's 3rd law. But it isn't as simple as that, since cars are not rigid bodies. A Smart car is a quite safe car to be in when it crashes with a Mercedes S-class , since the latter is designed to absorb the bulk of the impact and the former has a safety cell that will not deform. If you would substitute the S-class with a pickup truck of the same mass with a stiff ladder chassis, the lack of adequate crumple zones on the truck will transfer most of the energy to the smaller car and thus the passengers.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Jessica isn't being ignorant at all. There isn't many 2500lbs cars on the road these days, and when it get's into an accident with a tipical 4000 pounder, it will lose. Simple laws of physics. So yes, all by itself on the road or with others featherweights, it is quite safe... but realistically on our current roads, not so much. The small size and relatively small crash zones do not help.

        I can't imagine them going down even further to 2300lbs! Pretty impressive if they achieve it! And must be a blast to drive if you fit in one. But as safe as larger, heavier cars? Never.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Kitko

        200 kilos, shucks!!!

        EU cars:
        Mazda2 1.6 MCD GTA (90 PS) 5-door 1105 kg
        Ford Fiesta 1.6 Duratorq TDCi ECOnetic (90 PS) 5-door 1118 kg


        The 1.6 MCD same engine from Ford (renamed 1.6 Duratorq TDCi).

        13 kg it is insignificant and poor difference!
        • 5 Years Ago
        don't be a d!ckhead alex... question was asked, I answered it. And it's clear, based even on this blog that people need reminding of the basics. A small car with a 5 star rating is NOT the same or safe as a large car with a 5 star rating... capiche?

        And no it does not mean I like or drive large cars... But it's something people need to be aware of.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually the law I was more refering to was the 2nd one... the force that a car imparts onto another one in a crash is directly proportional to its mass. It's just common sense; Hurl two bowling balls with equal speed into each other, one twice as heavy as the other one, and what will happen? The heavier one will slow down but continue its course. The lighter one will bounce back. Who won that fight? If those were two cars, the g-forces will make your internal organs turn to mush a lot quicker in the lighter car, given sufficient speeds.

        Yes, of course we're ignoring the crash zones here, but it's safe to do. Since both cars are using both of their crash zones together, I believe in this scenario they help both cars equally. It's just one big crash zone relative to any one of the cars.

        Here, I searched around a bit and found that others too have common sense.

        http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7-10220037-48.html
        • 5 Years Ago
        As time progresses, those 'heavy' cars will be about as common as, dinosaurs. No worries, the automotive landscape is merely returning to how it was in the late 80's and early 90's. It may take a few years of attrition, but all of those people who thought it would be trendy to climb into a 'truck' for a daily driver will be going back to real cars.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If you are really that concerned with safety fit yourself and your family with nomex race suits, bell helmets and HANS devices; outfit your car with a full roll cage, fuel shut off and fire suppression system. Otherwise just realize that driving is, in and of itself, a dangerous activity. Might as well have fun.
      • 5 Years Ago
      A lighter Miata would be great but I'd be hesitant at "smaller." The world we live in is different from when the first Miata (NA) was launched. People are hideously obese now. The population is older and more fearful. The road is filled with two and three-ton SUVs.

      While a 2200 lb Miata would get my dollar (in a heartbeat) it simply couldn't be Lotus Elise sized. That's a line of marketability I'm afraid they can't cross.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'd ask that they also do something about the Canadian pricing for the car. Simply absurd.
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