Archive for October, 2013

Mazda MX-5 GT gets green light

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 19th, 2013

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Mazda MX-5 GT Concept

The Mazda MX-5 Miata is as popular around the Autoblog offices as Kate Upton posters are around fraternity houses. Few staffers have much criticism for Mazda’s ubiquitous roadster, and fewer still aren’t overjoyed when one arrives in their driveway. So you can imagine how a report from Auto Express about a more potent MX-5 model is going over in our offices today.

The new model, which was shown in concept form as the Mazda MX-5 GT at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, has a slight catch, though. First, we have absolutely no idea if Mazda will bring the MX-5 GT to the US. Secondly, and perhaps more problematically, this isn’t a production car – it’s a kit from the team at Jota Sport.

Now, to be fair, the kit doesn’t sound like a bad thing. It bumps the UK-spec 2.0-liter, 157-horsepower engine up to 203 hp thanks to a sports exhaust and a revamped ECU (46 horsepower from an ECU and exhaust in a naturally aspirated car?). To make the little Miata even more agile, Jota has also fiddled with the suspension. AE doesn’t mention things like the grippy tires or Recaro seats that were found on the concept, though.

What concerns us is the cost of converting an MX-5 to an MX-5 GT. AE seems to think the GT should retail for under


Finalists for 2014 Green Car of the Year announced

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 18th, 2013

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Green Car of the Year Finalists

The list of finalists for the 2014 Green Car of the Year has been announced, and in a genuinely bizarre twist, there’s only one hybrid and no electric vehicles among the five contestants, despite the arrival of cars like the BMW i3 and Tesla Model S. Taking the place of the EVs are a pair of diesels, repping a technology that last won a Green Car of the Year award in 2009, when the Audi A3 TDI took the title. No diesel was in the running for last year’s award.

Naturally, both of the diesel finalists are fielded by the Germans – with BMW’s 328d and Audi’s A6 TDI getting the nod. In the case of the 3 Series, BMW installed a 2.0-liter, turbodiesel, capable of delivering 180 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, while returning 45 miles per gallon on the highway. Audi and its larger, 3.0-liter, V6 turbodiesel produce quite a bit more grunt, with 240 hp and 428 lb-ft of grunt, but net a very impressive 38 mpg on the highway in the A6.

Finalists for this year’s awards include two diesels, three gas-powered cars and a plug-in hybrid.

This year’s awards are a coup for gas-powered vehicles, as well. Both the Toyota Corolla and Mazda3 are finalists, with jurors citing the Mazda’s i-ELOOP and Skyactiv technology, which allow the handsome car to net up to 41 mpg. The Corolla, meanwhile, offers a new Eco trim, which can return 42 mpg from its 1.8-liter, naturally aspirated, gas engine.

Rounding out this year’s crop of finalists is the Honda Accord, which is available in gas, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid variants for the first time. The Accord Plug-In is capable of 115 mpge, while the Accord Hybrid returns 50 mpg in the city and 47 on the highway.

This is the first time in several years that the awards haven’t been dominated by electrified vehicles of some ilk. 2013 was won by the Ford Fusion, and saw two other hybrids and three gas-powered cars. 2012, meanwhile, marked a victory for the natural-gas-powered Honda Civic, against two pure electrics, a hybrid and a diesel model. 2011 saw the excellent Chevrolet Volt crowned champion, beating out an EV, two hybrids and a gas-powered model.

This year’s awards will be handed out at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show by Green Car Journal. We’ll be on hand, live in LA, for the awards. Until then, be sure to let us know what car you think deserves the crown in Comments. Scroll down for the official press release from Green Car Journal.

Continue reading Finalists for 2014 Green Car of the Year announced

Finalists for 2014 Green Car of the Year announced originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 17 Oct 2013 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Graffiti artist Banksy turns Mazda Protege into warfare commentary

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 16th, 2013

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Street artist Banksy paints on a Mazda Protege and truck trailer.

British street artist Banksy, who currently resides in New York City for its high pedestrian traffic and plentiful hiding spots, recently took his stencils and spray cans to a truck trailer and an old Mazda to make a commentary about war, according to a video report by Newsy.

Part of the canvas, a late-1990s Mazda Protege, is a sub-$3,000 used car at best, but we’re sure having Banksy’s art sprayed onto it has greatly increased its value, as it did to a piece at a Former Packard plant in Detroit a few years ago. The same goes for the trailer, which looks like it would be right at home attached to a U-Haul rental truck.

The graffito, painted in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, was accompanied by a link to some disturbing audio from a controversial 2007 military video leaked by Wikileaks in 2010. Head on below to watch the video report, and be sure to visit Banksy’s website if you want to see the painting with the audio (listener discretion advised).

Continue reading Graffiti artist Banksy turns Mazda Protege into warfare commentary

Graffiti artist Banksy turns Mazda Protege into warfare commentary originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 16 Oct 2013 11:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Graffiti artist Banksy turns Mazda Protege into warfare commentary

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 16th, 2013

Filed under: , , , , ,

Street artist Banksy paints on a Mazda Protege and truck trailer.

British street artist Banksy, who currently resides in New York City for its high pedestrian traffic and plentiful hiding spots, recently took his stencils and spray cans to a truck trailer and an old Mazda to make a commentary about war, according to a video report by Newsy.

Part of the canvas, a late-1990s Mazda Protege, is a sub-$3,000 used car at best, but we’re sure having Banksy’s art sprayed onto it has greatly increased its value, as it did to a piece at a Former Packard plant in Detroit a few years ago. The same goes for the trailer, which looks like it would be right at home attached to a U-Haul rental truck.

The graffito, painted in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, was accompanied by a link to some disturbing audio from a controversial 2007 military video leaked by Wikileaks in 2010. Head on below to watch the video report, and be sure to visit Banksy’s website if you want to see the painting with the audio (listener discretion advised).

Continue reading Graffiti artist Banksy turns Mazda Protege into warfare commentary

Graffiti artist Banksy turns Mazda Protege into warfare commentary originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 16 Oct 2013 11:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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NFL player Alfred Morris receives his thoroughly restored 1991 Mazda 626

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 16th, 2013

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Alfred Morris' 1991 Mazda 626

Washington Redskins starting running back Alfred Morris might not drive a flashy sports car or SUV, but after today, he’ll be driving the nicest 1991 Mazda 626 on the planet.

Back in July, Morris temporarily traded in his 626 – cheekily named Bentley – for a 2014 Mazda6 loaner courtesy of Mazda, and today the sedan was presented back to him after the ultimate PR stunt: a reported 275-man-hour restoration that left this 22-year-old daily driver looking like it just rolled off the assembly line.

Not everything was brought back to original condition, though. The expired sticker from Morris’ final year at Florida Atlantic University was left on the windshield, but to fit the car’s nickname, a few high-end touches were added to the interior. This includes the quilted, cross-stitched leather seats (just like a real Bentley) and the touchscreen Pioneer audio system. There’s also a plaque under the hood marking this car as the “Alfred Morris Project.”

According to Jalopnik, Morris bought the car back in his college days from his pastor for just $2. We’re not sure how much money Mazda and Mazda’s D.C.-area dealerships put into this restoration, but it was definitely no cheap undertaking. Scroll through the gallery to see before, during and after shots of Morris’ very special 626.

NFL player Alfred Morris receives his thoroughly restored 1991 Mazda 626 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 15 Oct 2013 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda’s New-Generation Vehicles Showcased at 2013 Johannesburg International Motor Show

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 15th, 2013


Mazda refurbishing this NFL running back’s 22-year-old daily driver

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 10th, 2013

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Redskins'  running back Alfred Morris poses with his 1991 Mazda 626

I don’t actually care for the Washington Redskins (which is a good thing, considering the start to their season this year), but I love their running back, Alfred Morris. Why? Well, to start with, Morris helped deliver a dominating 10-3 season for my fantasy football team last year after a flash of prescience saw me pick him up off the waiver wire in Week 1 (hit me up on Twitter if you need fantasy sports insight, guys, I’m sort of like the Ruxin of Autoblog).

Morris is also pretty endearing because of his loyalty to his car, Bentley. Hold up – that’s not to say the running back has splashed out on a Continental GT or a Flying Spur. No, Morris gave his much-loved 1991 Mazda 626 the tongue-in-cheek name “Bentley” while he was still a student at Florida Atlantic. One 1,613-rushing-yard rookie season and a $2.2-million contract later, and Morris is still using his Mazda as his daily driver. It might be easy to assume that the young player is simply being really prudent with all of his newfound wealth, but the guy really just has a thing for his five-speed-manual 626.

And Mazda, of course, loves the story of Morris’ affection. In an effort to keep his 626 running strong and looking good, the company’s Washington D.C.-area dealers have agreed to refurbish Bentley back to its original showroom freshness. Rather than spoil the classic (?) lines of the 626, the Mazda folks are essentially restoring the car for Morris. The cracked dash will be swapped out for a factory replacement, the engine and transmission given a thorough going-over and the whole vehicle generally made as fresh as Will Smith circa 1991. Bentley is expected to be completed and rolling through the capitol city by October 15, and in the meantime, Morris has been driving around in a new 2014 Mazda6 loaner car.

Continue reading Mazda refurbishing this NFL running back’s 22-year-old daily driver

Mazda refurbishing this NFL running back’s 22-year-old daily driver originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 10 Oct 2013 13:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Pre-orders Start for All-New Mazda Axela in Japan

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 9th, 2013


2014 Mazda3 Sedan [w/video]

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 3rd, 2013

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Playing Favorites

2014 Mazda3 Sedan

We’re not going to beat around the bush: for the kind of person who willfully chooses to take longer, windier and more scenic routes to get to Point B, the 2014 Mazda3 is the new compact car measuring stick by which others will be judged. That doesn’t, of course, make it the right choice for every buyer.

We’ll spend the next thousand words or so explaining the whys and hows that make our opening statement a fact, but for now, suffice it to say that Mazda has engineered its latest crop of vehicles – namely the CX-5, Mazda6 and its smaller sibling and subject of this test, the Mazda3 – from the ground up. Absolutely everything about the Mazda3 is refined for 2014, from its chassis to its engines and everything in between, and it was done in a completely new and holistic way. Every component, subcomponent and stamping required to bolt and weld together an automobile was rethought to ensure the Mazda3 has what it takes to compete with such established benchmarks as the Honda Civic and Ford Focus.

We spent a day in and around sunny San Diego clutching the keys to Mazda3 variants in both sedan and hatch forms, powered by both 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines, to see how the car stacks up in its hotly contested segment. Since we’ve already driven the hatchback version of the car, albeit in pre-production form, we focused our attention on the Mazda3 sedan, and we spent seat time in each of its competitors throughout the process to ensure our posteriors were accurately calibrated. Read on to see what we found.

Continue reading 2014 Mazda3 Sedan [w/video]

2014 Mazda3 Sedan [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 02 Oct 2013 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda engineers urging execs for more RWD models

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 3rd, 2013

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2009 Mazda RX-8

According to Edmunds, Mazda engineers are pressuring the company to create more rear-wheel-drive models, in an effort to better differentiate itself from its rivals. This push is reportedly coming from middle and senior engineers within the company, and these folks at Mazda believe this rear-drive strategy would allow the automaker to produce more distinctive, fun to drive cars. Mazda discontinued the rear-drive (and rotary-engined) RX-8 a few years ago, leaving the MX-5 Miata as the company’s only RWD offering.

As enthusiasts, we’re fully on board with Mazda offering more rear-drive cars, but unsurprisingly, the company’s top management isn’t exactly keen on the idea – and with good reason. First and foremost, the cost associated with redesigning fresh architecture for new models would be very high, and considering the fact that Mazda hasn’t exactly been raking in the dough lately, an expensive new venture like this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. What’s more, Mazda’s latest front-drive models – the Mazda3, Mazda6 and CX-5 – have been very well-received, and are helping the company gain sales momentum.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other options. Edmunds reminds us that Mazda is already partnering with Alfa Romeo on the next-generation Miata, and if this collaboration is successful, perhaps the relationship could bear additional fruit. After all, Alfa Romeo is said to be working on returning to its rear-wheel-drive roots, so Mazda’s engineers might be able to make a case for more RWD goodness after all.

Mazda engineers urging execs for more RWD models originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 02 Oct 2013 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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