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If you’re considering a new fuel-efficient car, you’ll be interested to know that electric vehicles dominated the EPA’s rankings of various-sized vehicles, excluding wagons, SUVs, trucks, and vans. From a fuel economy perspective, EVs outperformed traditionally powered cars in size classes such as subcompact, compact, midsize, and large. So, what’s special about the two-seater Mazda MX-5 Miata and mini-compact Mini Cooper Convertible that positioned them as the only non-EV winners in the rankings?

Mazda MX-5 Miata

The EPA placed two-seaters as the first class on its “Most Efficient Cars by EPA Size Class (including electric vehicles)” list. The Mazda MX-5 roadster ranks as the most efficient car in the two-seater class with a combined fuel economy rating of 30 mpg. 

Mazda lists the following specs for the 2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata:

  • Front engine, rear-wheel drive 
  • 2.0-liter four-cylinder Skyactiv-G engine
  • 181 horsepower at 7,000 rpm
  • 151 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm
  • Six-speed transmission (manual or automatic)

The 2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata offers four trim levels featuring upgraded performance and comfort with each step up. For example, the $28,050 MX-5 Miata Sport features a six-speed manual transmission and a black soft-top roof. Additionally, every MX-5, including the base Sport trim, includes Mazda’s i-Activsense safety features such as “Blind-Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Smart City Brake Support, and Lane Departure Warning.” 

The $31,550 MX-5 Miata Club trim adds a stiffer sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein dampers, a limited-slip differential, and sporty design elements. Adding the Brembo BBS Recaro package to the Miata MX-5 Club drives the price to $36,050 for the soft-top version and allows the black retractable roof (RF) option, priced at $38,950. Either roof option includes red Brembo front brake calipers, red-painted rear brake calipers, 17-inch BBS forged wheels in dark gunmetal color, and Recaro sport seats with heat.

The MX-5 Miata Grand Touring offers four price levels. First, the six-speed manual transmission variant provides a choice between the $33,050 soft top and the $35,750 RF. If you prefer an automatic transmission, the MX-5 Grand Touring model equipped with the soft top at $33,550 or the $36,300 RF is your only 2023 Miata MX-5 Miata choice.

Mini Cooper Convertible

A blue and white 2019 Mini Convertible compact car driving through an intersection in a suburb
A 2019 Mini Convertible | BMW of North America, LLC.

The second entry on the EPA’s Most Efficient Cars list is the mini-compacts class, with the Mini Cooper Convertible as the best-of-class example with a combined fuel economy rating of 32 mpg. MINI lists a few engine options for the Cooper Convertible. However, only the base Cooper drivetrain provides the 32 mpg listed on the EPA ranking with features such as:

  • Front engine, front-wheel drive
  • 1.5-liter three-cylinder TwinPower Turbo
  • 134 horsepower at 4,500 rpm
  • 162 lb-ft of torque at 1,480 rpm
  • Six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission

The $35,700 Mini Cooper Convertible Limited features multiple exterior and mirror color options, leatherette interior upholstery, a three-in-one convertible roof, and active driver assistance. The included Signature Trim includes seven exterior colors, two wheel options, and seven interior finish options. Available upgrades include the following:

  • $1,750 Signature Upholstery Package
  • $150 Bonnet Stripes
  • $150, Performance Summer Tires
  • $250 Nappa Leather Steering Wheel
  • $250 Heated Steering Wheel

With the additional $995 Destination and Handling fee, the total price for a 2023 Mini Cooper Convertible with all available upgrades comes to $39,245.

Efficient EVs on the EPA list

If you like the Mini Cooper but want the efficiency of an EV, look at the Mini Cooper SE (the Mini Electric) Hardtop two-door that gets 110 mpg equivalent. Do you prefer the Mazda MX-5’s sporty nature but desire the benefits of owning an EV? If so, consider the pair of Porsche Taycan models on the list and larger models suitable for family sedans from Tesla and Lucid Motors with EPA-estimated ratings up to 140 MPGe.

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