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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

A side profile shot of a beige 2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata convertible roadster model parked inside a garage

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.

Related What Does MX-5 Stand for in the Mazda MX-5 Miata?

What Does MX-5 Stand for in the Mazda MX-5 Miata?