Anyone hypermiling an MX-5 (Miata)?

Discussion in 'Mazda' started by Colin Dunn, May 29, 2008.

  1. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Member

    I'm currently driving a 2000 MX-5 Miata LS (1.8L 4cyl, ~140 hp). It only gets about 27 MPG overall (typical tank of about 300 miles for 11 gallons). That seems low for a 4-cylinder, 2,300-lb. car. It has about 117K miles.

    About 100 miles into the current tank, I put in a new air filter (a regular one, nothing high-performance) and aired up the tires to max sidewall (44 PSI now, was ~30 before). But it will be a few more days before I have to fill up again and get feedback on whether this helped my MPG or not.

    Also, I'll switch to synthetic 0W30 on the next oil change.

    Any other tips/tricks for hypermiling in a Miata? (Not just general driving techniques, but anything specific to the Miata?)
  2. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    Aerodynamics are bad, top up or down. Keep the speeds low.

    What rpm does it run at what speeds? I suspect it's got fairly short gearing = high rpm. Keep the speeds low, again.
  3. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Member

    The gearing is short - too short, IMO. The engine turns about 3,500 RPM when cruising on highways at 70MPH. Maybe "zoom zoom" should be "buzz buzz" instead...

    My in-town tanks at ~27 MPG involve very little high-speed driving. With the roads choked with traffic in Austin, I seldom break 60 MPH driving on the freeways in town. Excessive time spent idling is more of a problem than achieving excessive speeds ... but it's miserable to turn off the A/C in Texas during the summer.
  4. 2003protege

    2003protege Well-Known Member

    This is the case with my protege. However, I still get 31 mpg highway @ 70 mph w/o hypermiling. I would imagine the poor aerodynamics answer to your question is on the nose. Miatas are relatively light, So I wouldnt' expect a lower highway number out of them than my car, which has a much greater cross sectional area, and significant more weight.

    And I take offense to "buzz buzz" :rolleyes:

    Welcome, Colin.
  5. I have an MEdition (PS,PAB) and find it particularly well suited to engine off coasting in the area where I live which is semi-rural, rolling hills, two lane, moderate traffic.
    Steering is only slightly stiffer. Never have a sense of loss of control even in multiple tight turns. Gets the usual three pumps before braking becomes hard, so that's something I always try to stay conciously on top of.
    But perhaps the best features are you can keep rpm way down without lugging on the climbs and with great speed pick up over a couple hundred yards on the flat often get a coast of a mile or more. And, at least my favorite feature, is the I've got the bump restart skill down to where I can truly feel no difference in the transition back to power from coasting with the engine off.
    For example: It's 12.3 hilly, mostly country driving miles from my driveway to my daughter's. I ‘engine off coast’ (EOC) 7.3 of those miles going and for nearly 5.9 returning home. Each EOC event is limited to where the “coast is clear” (of any other traffic as far as I can see forward and back) and the potential “glide” will be .5 to 1.5 miles. For shorter coasts of a quarter mile or so, I use neutral, letting engine run at idle speed of about 850 rpm. And I rarely over 2200 rpm to climb hills in this area by early upshifting to 4th or 5th.
    Upshot... I get one needle-width of movement on my gas gauge for each 24.7 round trip and can easily make twenty-two or more of these trips between fill-ups (which I do about once a month) . You can do the math. It comes out to well over 50 mpg, about double what I get with standard driving techniques, which I still use some of the time due to traffic or road conditions.
    At the moment, I think there are two hazards we need to be aware of. First is other drivers. Their misinformed, "be very, very scared" reactions are probably exacerbated by hypermilers. My preventative? Give them lots and lots of room, especially female SUV drivers and teens. I try for a quarter mile clearance front and back before shutting off the engine. The second is lights dim considerably on the Miata with the engine off. And brighten considerably when the power comes back on. I'm not sure how noticeable or what effect this has on oncoming drivers. Anybody with any info on this topic? For example, do you need to dim you brights (I do) as you normally would?
  6. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    With these kind of gear ratios, Pulse & Glide is almost a must for getting good mileage. My civic runs 3200 rpm at 70. Compare these:

    Cruise Control @ 65 = 43 mpg
    P&G 55-65 mph = 57 mpg

    On the same 150 mile highway trip, a couple weeks apart from each other, in similar weather.
  7. Kent

    Kent New Member

    I have a 2007 MX-5 and am currently getting 36-40 mpg per trip. I drive rural, hilly, low speed roads about 27 miles each trip. I would suggest get a scan guage, if you don't already have one, and try to pick low speed roads. There's not a lot I can do on the highway without becoming a hazard. The speed limit becomes hazardous at times. I am also a firm believer in running partial tanks. The only time I fill up completely is when I have a long weekend or I'm doing a long trip. Gas is about 6 lbs per gallon, thats a lot of extra weight in my book. I notice a difference in performance if I fill the tank, so you know it's enough to affect mileage. It is a small tank, and if you don't have a gas station on your normal route, the extra detours may not make it worth while. I mainly try to go as slow as possible in top gear and drift down hills with the engine on as much as possible. I can get the fuel injectors to cut out at around 40mph in top gear going down hills, which helps a lot, also. Good luck.
  8. WheresMyGas

    WheresMyGas Member

    I'm trying it just to see how big is the difference. I used to get 25-29 driving it with 3k rpm shifts and some Wide Open Throttle through on ramps. I pumped the tires up to 43psi. It's just too they have a treadwear rating of 200. Grippy. After a some miles I took the spare tire out.

    I'm only at 160 miles on this boring tank :(
    I usually get around 220 miles. 60miles plus the extra miles I saved till I can check it :(
  9. jambo101

    jambo101 Active Member

    Miata is a crappy car to be hypermiling as it defeats the whole purpose of the car which is spirited runs through the twisties at high rpm's.
  10. jhu

    jhu Well-Known Member

    You should really be comparing average speeds. ie, what's the FE at cruise control speed of 58 mph?
  11. telcotech

    telcotech GPS ?, No thanks...

    2006 2.0 Liter MX5. While I'm not hypermiling it, I do have a scangauge II mounted in it for informational uses, and I do drive it year round )in New England, no less!(.:Banane49:
  12. wpete2

    wpete2 Member

    08 MX-5 which I've averaged 26 mpg over a couple years tho half my miles are in town w/ traffic lights every couple blocks at least and includes some winter driving.
    I use Mobil 1 0-30, and tire pressure @ 29psi which is about as high as comfort allows on 205 width tires on a 2600# car.
    I have a SGII that does keep me aware and I did own a Prius before when my commute was longer so generally aware of Hypermiling techniques from forums. I can get low 30's on longer trips pretty easily but the relatively low gearing of the MT models hurts plus it's too much fun to drive sportingly once in a while.
  13. wpete2

    wpete2 Member

    There is really good SGII support for Miata's from SG's James DeLong over on .
    Here's a link to an 19 page thread of codes that have been developed for NC model Miata's if there are any Miata owners here interested:
  14. wpete2

    wpete2 Member

    Any Miata owners out there ?
  15. ChopsQube

    ChopsQube Member

    I highly disagree. The Miata is a great car to hypermile with. You can get the best of both worlds with it. Sporty, agile fun as well as serious and decent mileage, all in the same tank!

    When buzzing along with traffic (75-80mph) and doing a few spirited blasts around town, I still averaged 30mpg. 90% of my driving is on the highway, 50 miles each way on mostly flat ground which is typical of Florida.

    Just by doing a few minor hypermiling techniques over the last five tanks, I'm now doing between 36-38mpg while also slowing my cruising speed down to 60mph. I don't do any P&G on the highway simply because there's too much traffic. Even my coast times aren't all that great, maybe 2-3 tenths of a mile, with one 1/2 mile coast.

    Now the 3 mile trip I make in town four times a day, I can coast about half of that each way, but still with the engine on. So that makes 112 miles round trip every day.

    I'm one! I have a '91 British Racing Green with the factory original hardtop. I've shaved roughly 135 lbs off of it so far (looking to shave another 30 lbs or so as well as at least 50 lbs off of myself), lowered by about an inch and a half, full exhaust, all synthetic fluids and a big-ish front lip (Garage Vary) to cut down on the underbody air flow.

  16. FSUspectra

    FSUspectra Practicing true conservatism!

    Very nice Miata, Chops. :):thumbs_up: Good numbers too! ;)
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 17, 2012
  17. ChopsQube

    ChopsQube Member

    Thanks Brandon. I love this car. I had a 2002 for five years and didn't like it nowhere near as much as this '91.
  18. psyshack

    psyshack He who posts articles

    I would go buy a brand new one right now if I could drive one with the top up without busting my head and jamming my neck. Thus my MZ3. And if it was RWD and was a Speeder. There would be no other reason to look for another fun, mpg getting drivers car.

    One does not have to drive a boring car to get, enjoy and like good mpg.
  19. Ophbalance

    Ophbalance Administrator Staff Member

    I'm giving serious consideration into picking up a SPEED version of one of these, an 04-05. Too bad they're about 10-12k for one.
  20. ChopsQube

    ChopsQube Member

    Exactly. Not to mention that in town, I can take the corners at intersections at near the speed limit, thus keeping up my momentum and saving fuel, AND enjoying the excellent handling of the car. Then again, this car is far from stock as far as the suspension is concerned which helps greatly! :D

    The heck with the overpriced "Speed" versions. You can get a really nice NA, dump a couple grand into it with a nice turbo setup and do better than the stock NB MazdaSpeed. And as far as I'm concerned, this little 1.6L is better and more fun than the 1.8L!

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