Nearly eight months after the car was first unveiled, we now have fuel-economy figures for the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata sports car.

The Miata will achieve 30 mpg combined (27 mpg city, 34 mpg highway) when equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, and gets an extra 2 mpg highway with the six-speed automatic.

Mazda says this represents a 25-percent improvement over the previous manual-transmission model.

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The sole engine offered in the Miata is the Skyactiv-G 2.0-liter four-cylinder that's already available in several other Mazda models.

It produces 155 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque, driving the rear wheels through either transmission.

Mazda credits the application of its Skyactiv suite of fuel-saving technologies for the significant bump in fuel economy, along with weight-saving measures.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Club

2016 Mazda MX-5 Club

Thanks to a claimed cut of 150 pounds, the Miata is a lithe 2,332 pounds with the manual transmission, and 2,381 pounds with the automatic.

Lightening a car benefits performance as well as fuel economy.

Having less weight to throw around improves handling, and that's a big part of the appeal of the class of small, two-seat sports cars.

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Hence the oft-quoted command of Lotus founder Colin Chapman to "simplify, and add lightness."

Small size and a small-displacement engine will likely make the 2016 Miata among the most fuel-efficient sports cars in production.

Truly small sports cars are fairly rare these days, and the ones that do exist--including the Porsche Boxster and Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S twins--can't match the 2016 Miata's fuel economy.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Club

2016 Mazda MX-5 Club

However, the Miata can't claim the title of most-efficient two-seat car.

That distinction goes to the decidedly un-sport 2015 Smart Fortwo which--when equipped with a convertible top like the Miata--gets 36 mpg combined (34 mpg city, 38 mpg highway).

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The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata goes on sale this summer. Pricing starts at $25,735 with the manual transmission, and $26,810 for the automatic. Both prices include destination.

As of a few years ago, the Mazda Miata is officially the most popular two-seat open sports car ever built.

It has now surpassed in production volume all the legendary British sports cars on which it was modeled.


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