Archive for July, 2013
While it may not be touting the old “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” axiom we all know and love, Mazda recognizes that racing can only improve its cars. And so it’s no surprise that the Japanese automaker is testing and refining its Skyactiv-D diesel engine by sending it out on various race tracks around the country – notably being the first diesel ever to compete at Daytona and the first to notch a Grand Am win at Road Atlanta.
Next up? Indy. It has been over 60 years since a diesel-powered machine ran at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the Cummins-powered racer that competed in the 1952 Indy 500 with a 6.6-liter inline-six-cylinder oil-burner was a fast and brutal machine that set a new lap record in qualifying leading up to the race. Though that car was withdrawn with turbocharger failure 71 laps in, its diesel powerplant left an indelible impression on the racing community, and that’s something Mazda hopes to accomplish once again.
Mazda says that the diesel engine in its race car is pretty darn close to stock – 51 percent stock by parts count, and 63 percent stock by weight – which means the way it performs in competition is at least a somewhat meaningful way to the stock engine’s durability in the real world. Check out the image of the Mazda6 Skyactiv-D racer posing alongside the 1952 Cummins above (click to enlarge) and feel free to peruse the press release below for the rest of the details.
Mazda Skyactiv-D racer first diesel to run at Indy in 60 years originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Jul 2013 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
It’s hard not to be smitten with the 2014 Mazda3; after all, just look at it. But beyond its slick lines, we found the new compact hatch to be a pretty remarkable steer, offering up good levels of comfort and refinement, not to mention functionality and engagement. Now, there’s more reason to like the 2014 Mazda3, as we’ve just learned that the car will officially be rated at 30 miles per gallon city and 41 mpg highway.
That 30/41 rating is for the Mazda3 sedan fitted with the 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G inline four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Opting for the manual transmission retains the 41-mpg highway number, but drops the city digits to 29. Hatchback models with the 2.0-liter engine achieve 29/40 mpg with the manual ‘box and 30/40 with the automatic.
Mazda also offers a larger 2.5-liter inline-four in the 3, and while a six-speed automatic will be the only transmission available with this engine at launch, the automaker has confirmed that a manual is coming shortly. With the 6AT and 2.5, the Mazda3 sedan is rated at 28/39 mpg, or 29/40 with the company’s i-Eloop regenerative braking system. Hatchback models shrink those numbers to 28/37 and 29/39 mpg, with and without i-Eloop, respectively.
Along with official fuel economy numbers, Mazda has announced pricing for its new compact, and the base i SV model with a six-speed manual transmission will start at $16,945 (*not including $795 for destination).
2014 Mazda3 officially rated at 30/41 mpg, priced from $16,945* originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 24 Jul 2013 09:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Auto sales in Europe have been a tricky proposition for some years, but Mazda has seen some success on the backs of the CX-5 and new Mazda6. According to a report form Automotive News Europe, though, that doesn’t mean we should be looking for the Japanese manufacturer to set up production operations there.
Mazda’s European CEO, Jeff Guyton, explained to AN that “Our intention is to have manufacturing scale. That gives you scale economy and quality through repeatability.” In other words, a big honking plant in one part of the world is preferable to a half dozen small factories building the same vehicles.
European sales for Mazda are up 5.4 percent in the first half of 2013, with 74,000 units sold. That kicked the Zoom-Zoom brand’s market share up from one to 1.2 percent. Small gains, but gains nonetheless. According to Guyton, Mazda would need to sell 200,000 units of just one model in Europe for local production to make sense. Mazda’s best European year saw 320,000 units sold across the entire range.
Mazda on sales upswing in Europe but won’t build there originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 20 Jul 2013 17:10:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
The styling changes at Mazda are proceeding at a fairly quick tempo. The CX-5 was unveiled, followed by a refreshed CX-9, the excellent Mazda6, and most recently a new Mazda3. This all happened over the course of less than two years, which in the auto industry is like a long week.
Now the Mazda2 is getting its revamp. Thanks to a magazine scan from Japan, we now have our first look at the new sub-compact, called the Demio, in its home market. Mazda’s familial front end has been fitted, and it doesn’t look quite as suited to the smaller car. Lacking the long-hood look of the Mazda3 and Mazda6, the new styling looks overly rounded, almost bulbous from our angle. It’s still attractive, but the shape is kind of off-putting compared to the chiseled faces of the 2’s big brothers. We’ll concede that the folded magazine page may have something to do with it, however.
The next-generation 2 should adhere to Mazda’s Skyactiv philosophy, which means we can expect a highly efficient four-cylinder engine, although it’s impossible to say if Mazda will do away with its smallest offering’s one-engine strategy. Considering the Mazda2 will be riding on a shortened version of the CX-5’s platform, we’d expect some degree of mechanical parts sharing, regardless of how much the larger platform needs trimmed. Perhaps a detuned version of the 2.0-liter, Skyactiv four-cylinder could be under the 2’s hood?
According to our poster, we’ll see the next Mazda2/Demio in the spring of 2014, likely as a 2015 model. That timing makes predicting which show it’ll be unveiled at difficult. New York, Beijing, and Geneva all fall in the spring months, and are three of the biggest shows on the planet. Our money is on New York or Beijing, which lack the supercar glitz found in Switzerland. We’ll have more before then.
The 2014 Mazda6 is our most recent addition to the Autoblog long-term fleet, and we spent the month of June getting to know our Soul Red tester, generally enjoying the honeymoon phase of this twelve-month relationship. During June, the Mazda6 spent the majority of its time with director of photography Drew Phillips, who in addition to putting together this pretty gallery of our rakish long-term car, had a lot to say about it as a daily driver.
You see, not too long before Mazda delivered our long-term 6, Drew bought a 2014 CX-5 crossover to support his growing family. The CX-5 was the first vehicle to use Mazda’s full suite of Skyactiv technologies, and we’ve generally enjoyed the good-to-drive CUV. A lot of that CX-5 goodness lies beneath the more shapely lines of this sleek Mazda6 sedan, so it’s only fitting that Drew had a lot of comparisons between Mazda’s two housemates during his month behind the wheel.
The new Mazda3 is a stunner, both aesthetically and from a driving perspective. As with all good things, though, there’s always room for improvement. That’s where the wizards from Mazdaspeed come in. Mazda’s in-house tuner has been tweaking and turbocharging the five-door Mazda3 since 2007, with impressive results.
We’ve shown you renderings of what the third-generation Mazdaspeed3 could look like, and for the most part your response was quite positive. Now, AutoExpress has come out with details of just what might be under that long hood. According to our friends across the pond, the new Mazda3 MPS (that’s what the Speed3 is called in Her Majesty’s auto industry) will be arriving with a new, high-revving, naturally aspirated engine. Wait, what?
Yes, if the rumors are to be believed, the next Mazdaspeed3 will ditch its turbocharger. According to an anonymous engineer, the new MS3 will arrive in December (this is for the UK market, mind you) with a 200-horsepower, naturally aspirated engine. The 2.0-liter mill is based on the Skyactiv engine in the new 3, and should be capable of a sub-seven-second run to 62 miles per hour.
Now, we strongly encourage you to take these rumors with a grain of salt. There are a lot of things that don’t add up here. With 200 horsepower, the new Speed3 would be down over 50 horsepower on the original model. It’d also be easily outgunned by the competition from Ford, Subaru, and Volkswagen. And what about torque? The only way we can see a 200-horsepower Mazdaspeed3 working is if it weight is dramatically reduced. Considering weight savings is a tenet of Mazda’s Skyactiv philosophy, that seems like a possibility.
We’re still a long way from the new Mazdaspeed3’s debut, and a lot can change between now and then. What do you think – does a Mazdaspeed3 work without a turbo? Would you buy one with the more powerful alternatives available? Let us know in the comments.
The Cure For The Common Corolla
I hate the Toyota Corolla. I’m not talking about the new 2014 model; I can’t yet judge a car I haven’t driven. I’m referring to the current, old-as-dirt sedan. As an appliance, I get why people buy it, but it represents everything that I, as a car enthusiast, dislike. I don’t like looking at it, I don’t like sitting in it, and I really don’t like driving it. There is absolutely no amount of emotion dialed into any part of the Corolla experience and every other vehicle in the segment is a far better choice. But still, somehow, Toyota sells ’em like hotcakes.
Thankfully, there are a lot of people who agree with me. And for folks like us, companies like Mazda exist. This small Japanese automaker places emotion and driver involvement as its top priorities when creating new products, and mostly – especially in recent years – the end results have been great. The new CX-5 crossover is a doll, to say nothing of the rakish and lovely new Mazda6 that launched earlier this year. And let’s not forget the Miata…
It’s a shame, then, that Mazda’s sales numbers have never correlated with how we enthusiasts feel about the products, though a lot of that simply has to do with the company’s weaker advertising efforts, not to mention a less robust dealer network. Mazda continues to build cars that are great to drive above all, and the automaker is slowly but surely getting its refinement issues and infotainment technologies in order. This new 2014 Mazda3 aims to offer the best of the brand’s new Skyactiv powertrain DNA, housed in a package with features and technologies that stand up to every other car in the highly competitive C segment.
It is everything the Corolla is not. And it’s fantastic.