Is Mazda Planning to Show the Miata Hardtop in New York?

Mazda is apparently gearing up to reveal something properly new and interesting at the New York auto show. The Japanese automaker is keeping an extremely tight lid on just what’s hiding under the sheet, but rumors are swirling that Mazda is gearing up to unveil a power-retractable hardtop version of the latest MX-5 Miata.

In its invitation to U.K. journalists at Autocar, Mazda went as far to say it would “blow the lid off” something new at the New York show. While that’s not exactly hard evidence, the timing of a power-retractable hardtop model makes sense at roughly 18 months after the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata roadster first broke cover.

When Mazda unveiled the NC-generation Miata for the 2006 model, the power-retractable hardtop (PRHT) arrived about one year later to much excitement. It would go on to represent more than half of the Miata’s U.S. sales, offering a simple and easy electric mechanism for the folding top. Mazda sold about 8,600 units of the Miata here last year, which is the most since 2008, and the ND only went on sale halfway through 2015. Historically it’s been difficult for Mazda to sustain the Miata’s sales once the initial excitement of a new generation wears off, so a PRHT could help keep enthusiasm up for a bit longer.

2014 mazda mx 5 miata grand touring prht top up1

Mazda hasn’t officially confirmed or denied that the existence of a Miata PRHT, which in the past provided somewhat of a haven from the roadster’s significant engine and wind noise. The most likely wrench in the development would ostensibly be a matter of weight — the new ND Miata is able to achieve a curb weight of about 2,300 pounds in large part thanks to its lightweight soft-top design. The old PRHT Miata added roughly 100 pounds compared to the old roadster, and it was offered on Club and Grand Touring trims at a roughly $2,000 price premium.

The ND Miata is considerably quieter than its predecessor, especially with the top up, so Mazda may or may not see the same need for a PRHT version this time around. We’ll know for sure when Mazda tells us its secrets at the New York show, so stay tuned.

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