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Next Mazda MX-5 Miata to weigh a ton(ne), literally –

Filed under: Convertible, Performance, Mazda

Looking at recent spy shots of the fourth-generation Mazda Miata, it’s obvious this sporty little roadster will grow in size compared to the current model, but it’s also going on a diet. At the Tokyo Motor Show, Auto Motor und Sport sat down with Mazda executive Kiyoshi Fujiwara, who gave a little more insight into the Miata’s redesign.

Fujiwara said that they’re aiming for a curb weight of a tonne (metric ton), which is 1,000 kilograms or right around 2,200 pounds, for the next-generation Miata. This would make the roadster at least 300 pounds lighter than the current NC Miata, but still about 200 pounds heavier than the original NA.

There is no indication as to how Mazda will go about removing that much weight from the bigger car, but with as popular as the power retractable hard top (PHRT) model is on the current car, the new Miata may ditch this feature to lose its weight. Improving the power-to-weight ratio appears to be a key goal of the Mazda team, so we also wouldn’t be surprised to see a more powerful engine underneath the longer hood.

Next Mazda MX-5 Miata to weigh a ton(ne), literally originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 27 Nov 2013 10:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Next-gen Mazda2 designed for ‘predominantly feminine’ appeal –

Filed under: Budget, Hatchback, Mazda, Design/Style

We can’t ever think of a time we’ve heard anyone accuse the current Mazda2 of being too edgy, which makes reports of a softer design for the next-gen model a little surprising. Autocar reports that when the new 2 debuts next fall, it will have a softer, more feminine appeal than the current design.

This description lends a little more credibility to the Japanese magazine image we saw of the car back in July. Aside from Mazda‘s Kodo-inspired signature face, that picture did reveal softer lines, especially along the side of the car. This softened styling is to appeal to the car’s target market, which Mazda’s European design chief is reported to have called a predominantly feminine customer base.

Last we heard, though, Mazda might keep the next 2 out of the US due to slow sales.

The 2015 Mazda2 will reportedly ride on a shortened version of the platform used for the CX-5, but Autocar mentions that its platform could also be the basis of a new subcompact crossover – possibly to go up against vehicles like the Buick Encore and the upcoming Honda Fit-based crossover called the Vezel.

Next-gen Mazda2 designed for ‘predominantly feminine’ appeal originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 26 Nov 2013 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda3 Skyactiv-Hybrid and CNG Concept shown in Japan –

Filed under: Concept Cars, Hybrid, Japan, Tokyo Motor Show, Hatchback, Mazda

Mazda has received a tremendous amount of public and industry praise in the last few years, following up the successful introduction of its Skyactiv technology (powertrain and otherwise), with strong products like CX-5, Mazda6 and most recently, the Mazda3. At the Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda has taken yet another step forward with Skyactiv and the 3, showing the compact (called Axela in Japan) with an all-new compressed natural gas engine in the Skyactiv-CNG Concept.

The end result of the Skyactiv-Hybrid is fuel consumption estimated at something like 74 miles per gallon.

Mazda thinks that CNG-powered vehicles are due for an uptick in demand, and the company believes this new powertrain will add valuable breadth to the Mazda3 range. The CNG Concept is actually a duel-fuel vehicle, capable of running on either natural gas or gasoline. In fact, we’re told that the high compression ratio (14:1) inherent in Skyactiv-technology gasoline engines makes conversion to CNG particularly simple.

Perhaps more interesting is the unveiling of Mazda’s first-ever hybrid powertrain, aptly named Skyactiv-Hybrid. The new system, which is only slated for the Japanese market at this point, connects an electric motor to a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine, using it to assist at low engine speeds and under low-load conditions. The electric motor is supplied by a nickel-metal hydride battery of unstated capacity.

The end result of the Skyactiv-Hybrid in the Mazda3 is fuel consumption estimated at 3.2 liters per 1,000 kilometers on the lenient Japanese cycle, or something like 74 miles per gallon, and total system output of around 134 horsepower (136 PS).

You’ll find slightly more information about the Skyativ-Hybrid and the Skyativ-CNG Concept in the press release below.

Continue reading Mazda3 Skyactiv-Hybrid and CNG Concept shown in Japan

Mazda3 Skyactiv-Hybrid and CNG Concept shown in Japan originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 21 Nov 2013 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Car and Driver releases 2014 10Best list, Miata’s 8-year run ends [w/video] –

Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Sedan, Marketing/Advertising, Hatchback, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Porsche, Volkswagen

Change! Unlike last year, in which Car and Driver’s 10Best list was populated with almost exactly the same vehicles as the year before – the only change between 2012 and 2013 was that the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ twins took the position previously occupied by the Cadillac CTS-V. By contrast, 2014 brings with it several notable additions and subtractions.

But first, let’s look at what carries over from 2013 to ’14: the Audi A6/A7/S6/S7 family, the BMW 3 Series/4 Series family, the Honda Accord, Porsche Boxster/Cayman and Volkswagen Golf/GTI.

That’s a mighty fine list of machinery there, to be sure. But you may notice a few glaring omissions, most notably, in our eyes at least, the Mazda MX-5 Miata. For those keeping track, the little Japanese sports car had been on the list for eight consecutive years, ending in 2013, for a total of 14 appearances since hitting the market in 1989.

Given the model’s age and the rest of this new 10 Best list, we don’t think Mazda will be too disappointed, however. Also missing is the Ford Focus/Focus ST and Mustang, which made it in 2013 in GT and Boss 302 guises. Finally, the Honda Fit falls off, along with the aforementioned FR-S and BRZ coupes.

So, fully half of last year’s 10Best cars were removed for 2014. Here are the new faces: Cadillac CTS Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Ford Fiesta ST Mazda3 Mazda6 Want to know the reasoning behind what’s leftover and what’s brand new? Head on over to Car and Driver for the complete rundown, scroll down below for a video, and feel free to let us know what you think of the magazine’s 10Best Cars for 2014 in the Comments.

Continue reading Car and Driver releases 2014 10Best list, Miata’s 8-year run ends [w/video]

Car and Driver releases 2014 10Best list, Miata’s 8-year run ends [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 21 Nov 2013 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda CEO says rotary not viable, so don’t look for a new one –

Filed under: Performance, Mazda

We have some very sad news to report, rotor-heads fans: Don’t expect a new rotary-powered vehicle anytime soon. This comes straight from Masamichi Kogai, the CEO of Mazda, which is the only company to ever market a commercially successful rotary-powered automobile in the world. The issue, as it has pretty much always been, is environmental.

While the Wankel rotary engine does indeed make a lot of power in a small, lightweight package, it does so while burning lots of fuel and emitting lots of noxious gases into the atmosphere, at least when running on gasoline. And that means the rotary engine will likely only ever be able to power niche vehicles. And that, in turn, means that it is very difficult to turn a profit on vehicles with rotary engines, particularly for a small automaker like Mazda.

It has to be a viable commercial proposition. If we are going to adopt it, it has to be a product that can generate at least sales of 100,000 units a year. We have to be able to achieve a profit, said Kogai in an interview with Automotive News . Mazda sold 56,203 RX-7 models in the United States (the automaker’s biggest market) in 1986.

Sales of the RX-8 peaked in 2004, its first full year on the market, with just 23,690 units.

There is a sliver of hope, though. We are the first and only manufacturer to commercialize the rotary engine. In that respect, we have some responsibility, said Kogai.

Research will continue on the rotary engine at Mazda, and, since the engine will run on a wide variety of fuels, including hydrogen, it is possible that we’ll see a rotary return on an alternate fuel sometime in the not-too-near future.

Mazda CEO says rotary not viable, so don’t look for a new one originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 19 Nov 2013 14:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda CEO predicts record US sales in next 2 years –

Filed under: Mazda, Earnings/Financials

The recently appointed CEO of Mazda is apparently quite the optimist, claiming that the Japanese brand, renowned for its Zoom-Zoom driving character (and more recently its sleek, refined designs and Skyactiv efficiency), is claiming the company will record its best-ever US sales within the next two years. According to a report from Automotive News . Masamichi Kogai expects Mazda to move 400,000 of its Kodo-styled vehicles in the increasingly competitive US market by March 2016, with the recently launched Mazda3 leading the charge.

It will impacted considerably by the trend of the U.S. industry. But. it’s my hope we achieve the record by that time, Kogai tells AN.

The brand is currently targeting 300,000 units by the end of this fiscal year in March 2014. Given that production and sales of the Mazda3 (and consumer awareness of the 2014 Mazda6) is still picking up steam, it isn’t a stretch to imagine Mazda, which sold 240,000 vehicles from January to October of 2013, hitting its target.

Along with the overall increase in sales numbers, Kogai is expecting the independent brand to take an even larger slice of the US sales pie, claiming 2.5 percent US market share, improving from its current 1.9-percent foothold so far in 2013. I think the upper limit may be 2.5 percent for the time being, Kogai told AN, before pointing out, We don’t want to use a lot of incentives. That is not the sales approach we aspire toward.

Mazda CEO predicts record US sales in next 2 years originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 18 Nov 2013 18:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda returning to top-tier racing with diesel-powered prototype in USCC –

Filed under: Motorsports, Mazda, Diesel, Racing

Mazda has unveiled its latest challenger in the top flight of endurance racing, a diesel-powered prototype that will campaign the inaugural, 2014 Tudor United SportsCar Championship. The new Skyactiv-D-powered car will make its race debut at January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

This is the most significant step Mazda has taken towards returning to the global racing stage since our overall victory at Le Mans in 1991, said the director of Mazda Motorsports, John Doonan. That historic racecar, the rotary-powered 787B, has grown to become one of Mazda’s many, well-known racers.

More recently, the Japanese brand has been making waves in the Grand-Am series, campaigning RX-8s and, most recently, running diesel-powered Mazda6 sedans in the GX-class. Mazda will campaign two factory-backed prototypes at Daytona. Driver lineups will be announced closer to race day.

Take a look below for a press release from Mazda on its latest racing effort.

Continue reading Mazda returning to top-tier racing with diesel-powered prototype in USCC

Mazda returning to top-tier racing with diesel-powered prototype in USCC originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 14 Nov 2013 13:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda CX-5 in auto-brake accident on Japanese test drive –

Filed under: Budget, Japan, Safety, Technology, Crossover, Mazda

As we slowly march towards a world where our cars will drive for us, there will be mishaps. Systems will act up, not behave has intended or we’ll simply forget to turn them on. We all remember when Volvo tested the S60’s City Safety system.

Now Mazda has had an issue of its own.

During a test of a Mazda CX-5’s Smart City Brake Support on a dealership lot in Japan, a prospective customer and a dealership employee were injured when they hit a urethane barrier used for testing the system. According to Bloomberg . which spoke with the Saitama Prefectural Police, the impact with the barrier left the customer with an injured neck while the dealership employee suffered a fractured arm. Considering the injuries, we imagine this wasn’t a small barrier.

For any safety function, it’s impossible to be 100-percent free of accidents. These technical functions aren’t always the easiest to understand, IHS Automotive auto parts analyst, Hiroshi Ataka told Bloomberg .

Mazda’s Smart City Brake Support is available as standard equipment on the Mazda6 Grand Touring and as an optional extra on the CX-5 and Mazda3, in the US market. A Mazda spokesperson in Japan told Bloomberg that it will be cooperating with the local authorities and that the company will not comment on any other issues involving Smart City Brake Support at this time.

Mazda CX-5 in auto-brake accident on Japanese test drive originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 14 Nov 2013 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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LA Design Challenge invokes biology for 2025 concepts [w/poll] –

Filed under: LA Auto Show, BMW, Mazda, Subaru, Toyota, Design/Style

Participants in the annual LA Design Challenge always manage to come up with edgy, wacky designs for future vehicles, but with a theme of Biomimicry and Mobility: 2025 this year’s crop of cars might be the quirkiest we’ve ever seen. As usual, automotive designers from around the world participated in this year’s competition, and all the designs will all be unveiled next week during the LA Auto Show with a winner being announced on November 21.

Chinese automakers made a strong showing with Qoros, SAIC Motor, JAC Motors and Changfeng all bringing interesting takes on the biology, human intelligence and sustainability theme. One of the more innovative ideas among these automakers is the Qoros Silk Road System allows autonomous vehicles to drive in packs similar to how ants travel.

Speaking of ants, the SAIC Motor Mobiliant (shown above) gets its design from the shape of an ant’s body, and, like the insect, it can climb building acting as a personal elevator as well. The JAC Motors design also merges vehicle and building design, while the Changfeng LaBrea inspired by the design of muscle fibers.

Other entrants include Subaru and US-based design teams for BMW, Toyota and Mazda. BMW’s duo of concepts mimic plant and animal life. The LA Subways concept acts as a submersible, single-person vehicle to take advantage of the LA river, with a shape similar to an Ocean Sunfish. The Sustainable Efficient Exploratory Device (SEED) imitates the shape of a seed pod, and uses propulsion methods inspired by a shark, dragonfly and a water bug.

Mazda’s Auto Adapt might be the most car-like concept of the bunch, while the Subaru Suba-Roo and the Calty-designed, Toyota e-grus are the most mind-blowingly awesome.

Scroll down to check out all nine design studies, and then vote on your favorite in the poll below.

View Poll

Continue reading LA Design Challenge invokes biology for 2025 concepts [w/poll]

LA Design Challenge invokes biology for 2025 concepts [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 13 Nov 2013 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2014 Mazda6 earns Popular Mechanics’ ‘Car of the Year’ –

Filed under: Budget, Sedan, Mazda

Ring one up for Mazda. The Japanese brand’s midsize offering, the Mazda6, has been named Popular Mechanics ‘ Car of the Year. The 6 received a comprehensive reworking for the 2014 model year that saw it adopt sleek, sexy sheet metal; a clean, logical interior; and powertrain technologies that allow it to net some of the best fuel economy available in a gas-powered, non-hybrid sedan.

Popular Mechanics praised the 6’s Skyactiv 2.5-liter, 184-horsepower engine, as well as its agility and responsiveness during testing. It also remarked on the functional, but well designed cabin, and the degree of available technology.

The Mazda6 really impressed us with how well it delivers so many things modern car owners want: great mileage, fun road-handling, upscale features and looks – and remarkable value, said Jim Meigs, Editor-in-Chief of Popular Mechanics .

To be named Car of the Year by a publication as esteemed as Popular Mechanics is as flattering as it is humbling, said Mazda’s president and CEO, Jim O’Sullivan.

Besides crowning the Mazda6 as Car of the Year, Popular Mechanics named the new Chevrolet Corvette Stingray as its Performance Car of the Year, the Nissan Versa Note as its Value Car, the new Ram Heavy Duty as its Hauler, and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class as its Technical Innovation of the Year. Scroll down for the official press release from Mazda and Popular Mechanics .

Continue reading 2014 Mazda6 earns Popular Mechanics’ ‘Car of the Year’

2014 Mazda6 earns Popular Mechanics’ ‘Car of the Year’ originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 12 Nov 2013 14:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda doubles down with a pair of Threes –

Filed under: Concept Cars, SEMA Show, Sedan, Hatchback, Mazda

Looking to appeal to the compact tuner crowd, Mazda brought two different flavors of its 2014 Mazda3 to the SEMA Show in Las Vegas this week. The Club Sport 3 Concept hatchback (above) has more of a racing vibe to it, while the Vector 3 Concept sedan (right) looks to inject a little extra fashion into the all-new Mazda3.

Hotting up the 3, Mazda stuck with the stock 2.5-liter engine on the Club Sport 3 Concept but added a limited-slip differential and six-speed manual gearbox, the latter of which was lifted from the CX-5 crossover. Other upgrades include coil-over shocks, a performance exhaust, Brembo brakes and an aero body kit – the latter of which will be offered to buyers at a later date.

While the Vector 3 Concept does get some performance bits like two-piece Brembo brake rotors and grippier tires, the focus on this sedan is all about styling. Starting with a custom paint job and ghost stripes, the whole look is tied together with 19-inch, V-spoke Rays wheels.

Continue reading Mazda doubles down with a pair of Threes

Mazda doubles down with a pair of Threes originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 06 Nov 2013 11:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda hits Vegas with a pair of Sixes –

Filed under: Aftermarket, SEMA Show, Sedan, Mazda, Design/Style

Despite the fact that the annual SEMA show is more of an exercise in what could be than what will be, it gives automakers the chance to stretch the legs of some of its most important models. Take the 2014 Mazda6, for example – it’s hardly new, having gone on sale early this year – but this year’s SEMA expo marks the first time Mazda has been able to show off the customization possibilities for its sleek midsize sedan. To that end, the Japanese automaker has arrived in Las Vegas with two very different takes on its sexy Six.

First up is the Mazda6 Club Sport you see above, wearing a motorsports-inspired gray, black and red accent-color scheme that, as Mazda says, is represented in not-so-subtle angular lines reminiscent of a car speeding past your line of sight. The whole car is done up in a base color of Composite Grey, and uses a Brilliant Black roof to match the similarly colored front, side and rear diffusers, as well as the rear spoiler.

Mazda has fitted the Club Sport with Rays 57 Motorsport G07FXX 20-inch wheels, wrapped in Yokohama 245/35R20 tires. Powering the CS is Mazda‘s 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D diesel four-cylinder engine (that we’ll get in the standard Six early next year), and other changes include an HR spring kit, larger Brembo brakes and a Racing Beat exhaust.

And then there’s the Ceramic 6 Concept, pictured right. The name comes from the car’s Ceramic White paint, though we don’t really get the Taupe Silver accent stripes. Mazda says they’re meant to mimic the linear frequency patterns found on the likes of couture dresses and flowing fabrics, but it just looks a bit overwrought to us.

The Mazda6 already has so many clean lines, why add more?

Mazda has fitted the Ceramic 6 with Rays Volk Racing Original G25 20-inch wheels, also finished in that same silver color. Additional upgrades include an HR spring kit, larger Brembo brakes and a Racing Beat exhaust (sound familiar?). Inside, there are new, premium soft leathers throughout, in a white-and-black theme, with metallic accents.

Have a look at Mazda’s SEMA Sixes in the galleries above and below, and scroll down to read about the company’s full Vegas smattering in the press release.

Continue reading Mazda hits Vegas with a pair of Sixes

Mazda hits Vegas with a pair of Sixes originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 05 Nov 2013 19:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Tow truck driver hilariously bad at righting a flipped Mazda –

Filed under: Videos, Hatchback, Mazda, Humor

Can rolling your car get any worse? The correct answer is yes, as this poor soul found out when he rolled his Mazda3 onto its side. Calling a tow truck might be a logical, post-rollover move, but in this case, it kind of made the situation worse.

We don’t want to give away just what happened, so you’ll need to scroll down and watch the video. A fair warning, though, it does contain a moment of colorful language towards the end, so watching it at work, with the volume up, might not be wise. Have a look below for the full video.

Continue reading Tow truck driver hilariously bad at righting a flipped Mazda

Tow truck driver hilariously bad at righting a flipped Mazda originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 30 Oct 2013 20:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda poaches designer Kevin Rice back from BMW –

Filed under: Hirings/Firings/Layoffs, Mazda, Design/Style

Kevin Rice left Mazda a baker’s dozen years ago, but now he’s back.

A graduate of the Transportation Design program at Coventry University (just across town from Jaguar headquarters), Rice worked his way up in the industry working for the likes of Opel and Italdesign Giugiaro before landing a job at Mazda. Between 1995 and 2000, he collaborated on such projects as the RX-8 and the 1999 Neospace concept that previewed the Mazda2 before moving on to BMW, where the new 3 Series and 4 Series were among the last projects he worked on during his 13-year tenure in Munich.

Now back at Mazda, Rice has been named the Japanese automaker’s new creative director, charged with further honing the brand’s KODO design language from its European headquarters in Oberursel, Germany. We’re looking forward to seeing what he and his design team come up with in the coming years.

Continue reading Mazda poaches designer Kevin Rice back from BMW

Mazda poaches designer Kevin Rice back from BMW originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 30 Oct 2013 11:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda surprises us with four SEMA previews –

Filed under: Aftermarket, Concept Cars, SEMA Show, Sedan, Performance, Hatchback, Mazda, Diesel, Racing

While the cars to look forward to at this year’s SEMA show in Las Vegas are starting to stack up pretty high – Ford alone is bringing 57 vehicles – we hadn’t gotten word about what Mazda was up to before now. A shadowy digital figure has reached out to the Autoblog staff, providing us with four tantalizing images of SEMA showcar renderings, though without any substantive information to go with them.

We don’t have any idea what is under the hood or behind the wheels of this foursome of two Mazda6s and two Mazda3s (hatch and sedan), but we can say that we like the way the company’s lauded styling for all models is wearing the amped up wheels and paint schemes.

The Mazda3 hatchback seen here seems to be making overt overtures to the world of motorsport, with a lowered front splitter, super low-profile tires on massive wheels, and a number 3 writ large on the bodyside. The Mazda3 sedan gets a similar treatment without the numeration.

Mazda clearly isn’t done telling the performance story for its impending Mazda6 Skyactiv-D diesel, either. The gray over black sedan is wearing a CS6 Diesel marking on its door, and could perhaps be a toned down version of the company’s Skyactiv-D racecar. Look for more information about the SEMA cars on the Mazda stand, when we have it.

Mazda surprises us with four SEMA previews originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 28 Oct 2013 16:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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