What 2023 Two-Seater Has the Best Gas Mileage?
In the two-seater car class for 2023, the Mazda MX-5 Miata is the least expensive. While it can’t compete with the horsepower of the other two-seaters in the category, it holds its own for driving pleasure and leads the pack for practicality. So, is it also the most fuel-efficient two-seater?
Which two-seater gets the best gas mileage?
With the current state of gas prices and electric vehicles (EVs) pushing into nearly every segment, the Mazda MX-5 Miata topping the website Fuel Economy‘s list as the most fuel-efficient two-seater is a big win. While several two-seat EVs are on the market, only a few are fast enough for anything other than short trips in town. Still, the MX-5 Miata proves that fuel-efficient doesn’t always mean boring.
2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata’s fuel-efficient drivetrain
At the heart of the 2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata’s fuel-efficient drivetrain lies what Mazda describes as an “outstanding power-to-weight ratio.” Weighing about 2,400 pounds, the MX-5 Miata’s MSRP starts at $28,050 and features a 181-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder.
The naturally aspirated engine produces 151 lb-ft of torque and routes power from the front engine bay to the rear wheels through one of two six-speed transmissions. A six-speed manual is the only transmission option for the MX-5 Miata Sport and Club trims. The MX-5 Miata Grand Touring allows for either the manual or a six-speed automatic transmission option, complete with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Fuel economy estimates vary slightly between the two drivetrain options. The automatic-equipped MX-5 Miata Grand Touring gets an estimated 26 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway for a combined 31 mpg. With a lower 34 mpg highway rating, the standard transmission-equipped Miatas drop to an estimated 30 mpg combined rating.
2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata features
Mazda uses Kinematic Posture Control (KPC), a “software-based suspension performance technology,” to improve “precision and confidence” during heavy cornering without adding heavy suspension components. While the MX-5 Miata’s rear suspension works well without KPC, the software detects g-forces and steering inputs to determine the correct amount of braking it applies to the inner rear wheel to suppress body roll and improve steering feel while entering a corner. Finally, if equipped, KPC provides more brake pressure when accelerating through corners to enhance the car’s limited-slip system.
Safety features include dual front and side-impact airbags, reinforced side door beams, and driver assist features like “Blind-Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Smart City Brake Support, and Lane Departure Warning.” Interior tech includes a 7-inch color touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, six speakers, and steering wheel-mounted controls.
While the MX-5 Miata Sport and Club trim levels only come as a soft top convertible with cloth bucket seats, the Miata Club upgrades the car’s performance with Bilstein dampers, a reinforced front shock tower, and adds a limited-slip rear differential. A gloss black front air dam, rear spoiler, and black metallic 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels enhance the car’s sporty look.
The Club’s Brembo BBS Recaro Package adds Brembo front brakes, including front and rear red calipers, 17-inch BBS forged wheels, and heated Recaro sport seats. An option for a retractable fastback, or RF, also comes at this level. The power convertible RF opens or closes at the push of a button in 13 seconds.
The top trim Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring features the automatic transmission option and adds body-color heated outside mirrors with a driver’s side mirror that automatically dims when needed and rain-sensing windshield wipers. You’ll find standard black leather seats inside the cockpit, but the available upgrades include Terracotta Nappa leather upholstery, heated leather seats, and automatic climate control.