The Story Behind Chevy’s MX-5 Miata Fighter That Never Happened - SUV VEHICLE

The Story Behind Chevy’s MX-5 Miata Fighter That Never Happened



  • The Mazda MX-5 Miata has few close rivals since its inception in ’89, though automakers like Ford and Kia have teased competitors.
  • Chevy’s Tru 140S, while innovative in design and tech, failed to impress the audience or gain traction in production due to lack of interest.
  • The Tru 140S boasted a sporty exterior, compact design, possible customization options, and promising performance specs, but ultimately never made it to production.

The Mazda MX-5 Miata is a vehicle known worldwide for its superb performance ability and an inherently sporty attitude. The popularity of the Miata transcends generations, with decades of top-tier models under their belt, which have been popularized by modern media and pop culture. The Miata has garnered a fair amount of love from the automotive community, but has also made quite a few enemies.

Well, describing an opponent as an enemy means there is a close rivalry in the history books, yet, the MX-5 Miata has had little “close” competition since the inception of the compact sportster in 1989. This doesn’t mean competing automakers won’t try, as names including Ford, Toyota, and Kia have all generated buzz behind a rumored “Miata Fighter” at some point. For reference, the term “Miata Fighter” refers to a compact sports car that can match the performance, versatility, and sporty attitude the MX-5 Miata displays, and maybe do it better.

Chevrolet’s attempt at not only taking the compact sports car segment by storm, but tapping into the younger market, definitely came as a shock, but not in the way Chevy would have wanted. The concept, dubbed the Tru 140S, was revealed in 2011 alongside a larger sedan concept to a less-than-impressed audience. The innovation and tech were on point. One could even argue the performance of the compact concept may prove to be a bit spicy. However, Chevy just couldn’t get the public behind the idea, so it was eventually abandoned.

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In order to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was sourced from various manufacturer websites and other authoritative sources, including Chevrolet, Chevrolet Media, JD Power, and Mazda.

The Chevrolet Tru 140S Boasted A Bold And Sporty Exterior Design

The Chevrolet Tru 140S concept car was a bold and innovative step at the time that Chevrolet hoped would introduce a new audience to the classic American brand. By targeting young, urban consumers with a stylish and affordable vehicle that offered a blend of performance, technology, and customization options, Chevy demonstrated its ability to connect with a new generation of buyers and stay ahead of the curve in the competitive industry.

The Tru 140S may have been a glimpse into the future of Chevy’s popular line-up, showcasing the brand’s vision for compact and sporty vehicles that cater to the evolving needs and preferences of the consumer in a rapidly changing landscape. Even though the Tru 140S didn’t make it into production, it was still able to make a lasting impact on those who viewed and researched the car, myself included. However, it didn’t quite strike the nerve Chevy was hoping for, despite implementing a lot of customer feedback into the Tru 140S.

The Design Was Possibly Ahead Of Its Time

The Tru 140S was designed to be a compact, sporty coupe with a sleek and aerodynamic exterior. This translated to sharp lines, aggressive angles, and a low-slung profile that emphasizes the car’s sporty nature. The front end of the Tru 140S was characterized by a bold grille, slim headlights, and a sculpted hood that gave the car a dynamic and aggressive appearance.

Key Exterior Design Features

  • Bold, expressive contours
  • Straight, commanding body lines
  • Large wheels
  • Subtle lip spoiler
  • Sharp edges in front-end and rear-end design
  • Contoured hood

The profile of the 140S showcased a coupe-like silhouette with a sloping roofline and a muscular fender design. The character contours on the door are aggressively carved into the body, tracing your eyes to the sleek rear-end design. The rear features more clean lines and well-sculpted contours that almost give off an aggressive expression thanks to the sharp taillight design.

A rear spoiler and dual exhaust pipes further enhanced the car’s performance-oriented aesthetic, tying together the sporty look of the entire exterior design. But we haven’t mentioned the best part of the rear. IT’S A HATCHBACK! That’s right, the Tru 140S is a three-door hatch with seating for four, another selling point implemented due to customer feedback.

Possible Customization Options Would Have Enhanced The Tru 140S’s Personality

While the Chevy Tru 140S never came to fruition, there is plenty of information provided by GM that confirms some of the projected specs and features that would have been included had the Tru 140S seen the light of day. Chevrolet intended to offer optional cosmetic and performance options that would make the Tru 140S more personalized, which was a huge selling point when aiming at the younger generation of buyers. Interior and exterior color options as well as tech upgrades and upholstery material options were all on the table when the concept was working.

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The Tru 140S’s Performance Promised An Exciting, Economical Experience

Chevrolet Tru 140S Concept Car

The Tru 140S concept car was only optioned with one engine, the very same one that powered its bigger brother, the Code 130R. This engine was a 1.4-liter Ecotec turbocharged inline four-cylinder similar to the 1.4-liter Ecotec turbo I-4 in the latter Chevy Cruze, which produced 150 horses and 200 Nm of torque. This was enough for Chevy to proudly boast of the Tru 140S’s excellent performance and sporty road manners. This was to be partly attributed to the performance-inspired suspension setup and chassis tuning included in the compact sports coupe.

Chevrolet Tru 140S Concept Car Specs


1.4-L Ecotec Turbocharged Inline 4-Cylinder




200 Nm


Six-Speed Manual or Six-Speed Automatic


Front-wheel Drive


Front-Engine, Four-Passenger, Three-door, Hatchback Coupe

(Source: Chevrolet)

Transmission-wise, the Tru 140S could have really capitalized on the fact that it was to be offered with either a six-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual. The inclusion of the manual transmission is a testament to Chevy’s, at the time, steps to enhance their performance line-up, including the fifth-gen Camaro, which had just hit dealerships just a few years prior to the Tru 140S reveal. The Tru 140S was based on the same platform used on the Chevy Cruz and the groundbreaking Volt EV, which would become available the same year as the Tru 140S reveal. The compact sports coupe was only set to feature front-wheel drive.

Fuel Economy Was A Focal Point For The Tru 140S

Chevrolet mentioned that the Tru 140S would boast excellent fuel economy, and while we never got any real-world economy numbers, Chevy claimed an estimated 5.9 liter per 100 km, which is roughly 40 MPG. This is thanks to the lightweight construction of the Tru 140S as well as the efficient, and spirited, 1.4-liter Ecotec Turbo I-4. The turbo I-4 incorporates variable valve timing (CVVT), multiple weight-cutting features and precautions, and a variable-flow oil pump. All of which aided in both the peppy performance and the superb fuel economy.

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Cutting-Edge Interior Tech And Amenities Planned To Usher In An Era Of Advanced Features And Functions

The cabin of the Tru 140S was set to feature the latest in connectivity and entertainment, as well as driver safety and assist features. Powered by Chevy MyLink, the Tru 140S would include Wi-Fi and advanced smartphone connectivity, which Chevy predicted would add yet another layer to the customization options offered in the hatchback coupe. A heads-up display and digital gauge cluster relay info to the driver, while the neighboring touchscreen houses the infotainment.

The interior layout matched the rest of the Tru 140S’s personality, which was clean, sporty, and fun to drive. This translated to bucked seats and a driver-centric button and control layout. These features ensure that a cohesive sporty attitude would be felt in every application, while the various material and tech upgrade options would only serve to increase the visual, tactile, and functional appeal of the interior. While not the roomiest of Chevy’s performance-oriented models, the Tru 140S promised more room than its competitors, which included the legendary MX-5 Miata and the Pontiac Solstice.

Why The Tru 140S Never Made It To Production

While the idea was strong, the design was definitely eye-catching, and the features promised increased user-friendliness, Chevy ultimately pulled the plug due to lack of interest, as well as the more profitable models, including the Camaro and the ever-present Corvette, both showing more promise in the performance car arena. Chevrolet also introduced the Volt that same year, which was essentially a four-door, non-hatchback, EV version of the Tru 140S, considering they utilized the same platform.

The competitive sports car market is likely another reason Chevy didn’t move forward with the Tru 140S, especially considering that Mazda and Honda had pretty strong control of the small sports car market, and the Tru 140S wouldn’t be able to compete with the likes of sports cars in a larger vehicle class due to its weaker engine and performance. Simply put, the Chevy Tru 140S didn’t strike the audience it set out to impress as anything but an odd little three-door hatchback. That said, the Tru 140S would have offered a sporty, advanced car at a cheaper price point than those at the top of the compact sports car list, with a projected low $20,000 starting MSRP. And it would have been an interesting model to experience regardless of its overall popularity.


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