NE Miata: Next-Gen Miata – What to Expect

NE Miata: Next-Gen Miata – What to Expect

The next-generation NE Miata is anticipated to arrive within the next several years, with the current ND Miata nearly running its course since debuting for the 2016 model year. Mazda has yet to provide concrete details about the development of its fifth-generation MX-5 roadster, so we can only speculate what the next-gen Miata NE might bring.

Several aspects seem certain, though, like that the upcoming NE Miata will be as lightweight as possible, offer a manual transmission, and provide one of the purest driving experiences of any new car, no matter the price point. Given the track record of the first four generations of the Mazda MX-5 Miata, there’s little doubt the next-gen model will be a blast to drive on the street and the track.

That brings us to the question on the mind of most Miata fans: what engine will power the NE Miata?

Will Mazda’s iconic roadster stick with its tried-and-true formula of a lightweight, naturally aspirated gas engine for as long as regulations allow, or will it arrive sporting hybrid or electric power, or multiple engine choices?

That’s the focus of this still-too-early preview of the MX-5 Miata’s fifth generation.

Based on rumors, speculation, Mazda executives’ statements, and our own opinions, here’s what to expect when the Miata NE release date finally arrives.

Gas, Hybrid, Electric: What Will Power the NE Miata?

There have been recent NE Miata rumors and speculation that the next-generation MX-5 roadster will skip a hybrid powertrain altogether, jumping from the past and present gas-powered models to an all-electric drivetrain in one go. However, we think this is highly unlikely for several reasons.

For one, Mazda has been slow to transition to fully electric models throughout its lineup, and we expect the MX-5 Miata to be the very last Mazda model ever to go all-in on an EV powertrain.

The automaker is in the process of building an extensive lineup of Mazda hybrid and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models available worldwide or in select markets, so it seems natural the next-gen Miata NE will join this trend with a gas-electric hybrid powertrain option.

Secondly, electric cars and their batteries are simply too heavy at the moment to warrant a fully electric Miata. We think it’s much more likely that Mazda will wait to debut a Miata electric car until EV battery technology significantly improves, where an MX-5 EV wouldn’t weigh drastically more than any gas-powered Miata.

With the fifth-gen Miata NE release date likely only a few years away, it seems too soon to think about a lightweight Miata electric car.

That’s not to say the next-gen Mazda NE Miata won’t offer a fully electric option during its model run. We expect the upcoming Miata NE to be in production for a decade or longer, with various updates along the way.

The fifth-gen Miata platform will likely be developed from the start with gas, hybrid, and electric powertrain applications in mind.

Multiple Powertrains, Starting With a 2.0-Liter Gas Engine?

The current-generation ND Miata has been offered with multiple engines across various markets, including a 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter engine. We think the upcoming Mazda Miata NE model is even more likely to be available with multiple powertrain choices.

There could be a purely gas base engine, and an available hybrid or mild-hybrid Miata, with a Miata electric model offered later down the road.

We anticipate a variant of the Skyactiv-G 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine currently powering the ND Miata will live on in the upcoming Miata NE model.

Many die-hard Miata fans and current owners might not be interested in the rumored Miata hybrid model, at least initially upon release. So offering an enhanced 2.0-liter unit with upwards of 200 horsepower seems very likely and could satisfy gas-powered Miata loyalists.

The manual transmission is sure to live on in the next Miata, whether only paired with a purely gas engine, an exclusive hybrid powertrain, or both.

NE Miata Hybrid: Powertrain Possibilities

So, if the next Mazda Miata will likely have hybrid power, what powertrain should we expect under the hood?

Mazda has several mild-hybrid and full-hybrid options it could pursue. Or, a completely new Miata hybrid setup could be in the works right now.

If the next-gen Miata is powered by a heavily tuned version of a currently available Mazda hybrid engine, the e-Skyactiv-G 2.0 is one such option.

This 2.0-liter M Hybrid powertrain features a mild-hybrid setup and is utilized in models like the Mazda3 and CX-30 in select markets. And, you can get the e-Skyactiv-G 2.0 M Hybrid in the Mazda3 with a manual transmission, which is rare even among mild hybrids.

The e-Skyactiv-G 2.0 M Hybrid engine makes around 114 kW of power and 200 Nm of torque in its current usage, or about 153 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. It would likely see a significant rework through engine, intake, and exhaust tuning before being unleashed in the fifth-gen Miata NE.

The Skyactiv-X M Hybrid engine utilizing Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI) technology generates even more power than the e-Skyactiv-G, at about 178 horsepower and 165 pound-feet of torque. However, this innovative Mazda engine technology has only seen mild success in production applications like the Mazda3 and CX-30 in select markets so far.

So, a high-performance version of this 2.0-liter hybrid Mazda engine could be tuned for the fifth-gen Miata, resulting in a similar power output to the current ND Miata but with improved MPG ratings.

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Alternatively, the Miata hybrid could feature a full-hybrid setup, similar to the new CX-50 Hybrid, which is being offered in select markets powered by a Toyota-sourced hybrid engine making 219 horsepower.

If Mazda develops a full hybrid version based around its Skyactiv 2.0-liter engine currently powering the ND Miata, it could end up licensing hybrid technology from Toyota or jointly developing the new Miata hybrid powertrain. Mazda and Toyota have been jointly developing technologies for electrified vehicles for several years now, which could result in a highly efficient yet fun-to-drive NE Miata hybrid.

What about a Miata PHEV model?

As with a fully electric Miata, we think a plug-in hybrid Miata is highly doubtful in the near term. A PHEV variant would weigh substantially more than a gas-powered, hybrid, or mild-hybrid MX-5, and would go against the Miata philosophy of a lightweight roadster, and Mazda’s philosophy as a whole.

So, what displacement and power output should we expect for a next-gen NE Miata hybrid?

We do not anticipate any NE Miata engines to grow beyond the current car’s 2.0-liter displacement, as Mazda is committed to keeping the MX-5 weight as low as possible.

We’d guess an upcoming Miata hybrid will feature a 2.0-liter gas engine paired with Mazda or Mazda-Toyota hybrid technology, with a total system output exceeding 200 horsepower.

With the addition of gas-electric hybrid technology to the Mazda Miata, the next-gen MX-5 may be a bit heavier than previous models. Still, the NE Miata hybrid should gain significant power over current and past MX-5 models to offset this potential weight gain.

Many would agree it’s time Mazda offers a more powerful engine in the next-generation Miata, even if it’s only an available option.

Expected NE Miata Release Date

Mazda’s Vision Study Model, an inspiration for the NE Miata?

We anticipate the NE Miata release date will come in 2026, with this next-gen MX-5 arriving as either a 2026 or 2027 model. Since the current ND Miata debuted for the 2016 model year, that would put the current generation’s production run at 11 or 12 model years before the new model arrives.

Once the Miata NE release date arrives, this next-gen model should stick around for 10-15 years, with several updates and upgrades over its life, including a potential first-ever Miata electric car. However, expect the NE Miata debut to bring only gas and hybrid options to start.

A facelifted ND Miata is expected soon, which is meant to extend the life of the current model until the Miata NE arrives around 2026. Stay tuned for more details on a refreshed Miata ND model.

Will the Next-Gen MX-5 be Called the NE Miata?

There’s a lot of back-and-forth online regarding what the next-generation Miata will be called. The “NE Miata” is an obvious option, following the NA, NB, NC, and ND code structure that precedes it.

Some have pointed out that the Mazda-manufactured Fiat 124 Spider, or “Fiata,” has already used the NF and even NE codes in its VIN in certain markets (a quick search of these cars for sale in the States turned up only NF codes).

However, the Fiat 124 Spider VINs start with JC1NE or JC1NF, while the next-gen Miata would use Mazda’s VIN code structure and start with JM1NE, so sufficiently different VINs from the Fiat.

So, we’ll continue calling it the NE Miata unless Mazda itself announces otherwise.

Next-Gen Miata NE: Final Thoughts

Of course, we can only speculate on the next-gen MX-5 until an NE Miata concept, spy shots, or spec-sheet leak arrives. Or, perhaps Mazda will divulge more details about the development of its next Miata in the months ahead.

But one thing is for sure: a next-generation Mazda Miata will be arriving, and it shouldn’t be much longer. Mazda execs have commented that they believe the MX-5 Miata, or Mazda Roadster, will continue to exist as an important model in the carmaker’s lineup well into the future; it will just have to change with the times.

What that means for the next-gen Miata and the long-term future of this roadster is uncertain. But we’re confident Mazda will find a way to make every future Miata model one of the most fun and engaging new cars on the road.

All images, including ND Miata development – source: Mazda

By following Mazda’s design philosophy of Jinba Ittai — horse and rider as one — and focusing on what’s made this simple and lightweight roadster a modern legend, the next-gen Miata NE is sure to be a pure driving machine on the road and the track.

We’ll be providing more Mazda news, updates, opinions, and speculation leading up to the NE Miata release date, so we invite you to subscribe to our newsletter below if you haven’t already.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Will there be an NE Miata?

Yes, Mazda executives have confirmed that the Miata will live on in the automaker’s lineup beyond the current ND Miata generation. As the MX-5 roadster has become a symbol of Mazda, its engineering prowess, and its passionate pursuit of maintaining the joy of driving, there’s no doubt that an NE Miata will arrive to replace the current model. Stay tuned to MazdaMotoring for Miata NE news and updates.

When is the expected NE Miata release date?

We anticipate the NE Miata release date will arrive in 2026, with this next-generation MX-5 roadster debuting as either a 2026 or 2027 model. Expect significant updates to the overall design and engine powering the upcoming fifth-generation Miata. Until then, the current ND Miata will live on with a minor refresh and updates. Subscribe to MazdaMotoring for NE Miata news.

Will there be a Miata hybrid model?

Until Mazda confirms or denies, we can only speculate that the upcoming Miata NE will offer a new gas-electric hybrid powertrain for the first time. This first-ever Miata hybrid model could also be supplemented by a pure gas engine model, continuing with a tuned version of the carmaker’s Skyactiv 2.0-liter engine like what’s found in the current ND Miata.

Will the NE Miata have a manual transmission?

Yes, the NE Miata will surely have a manual transmission option when it arrives in the coming years, likely sometime in 2026. Whether the next-generation Miata NE continues on with a pure gas 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, a new hybrid powertrain, or with both a gas and hybrid Miata option, we’re confident Mazda’s fifth-generation MX-5 roadster will offer both an automatic and manual gearbox.