Posts Tagged ‘economy’

A car writer’s year in new sheetmetal [w/video]

Published by Mazda Blogs on December 18th, 2014

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I figured it would be interesting to parse the figures and quantify my year in cars in a way I’d never done before.

Christmas is only a week away. The New Year is just around the corner. As 2014 draws to a close, I’m not the only one taking stock of the year that’s we’re almost shut of.

Depending on who you are or what you do, the end of the year can bring to mind tax bills, school semesters or scheduling dental appointments. For me, for the last eight or nine years, at least a small part of this transitory time is occupied with recalling the cars I’ve driven over the preceding 12 months.

Since I started writing about and reviewing cars in 2006, I’ve done an uneven job of tracking every vehicle I’ve been in, each year. Last year I made a resolution to be better about it, and the result is a spreadsheet with model names, dates, notes and some basic facts and figures.

Armed with this basic data and a yen for year-end stories, I figured it would be interesting to parse the figures and quantify my year in cars in a way I’d never done before. The results are, well, they’re a little bizarre, honestly. And I think they’ll affect how I approach this gig in 2015.

Continue reading A car writer’s year in new sheetmetal [w/video]

A car writer’s year in new sheetmetal [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Dec 2014 12:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Kiwi seniors accidentally lock themselves in Mazda3 for 13 hours, nearly die

Published by Mazda Blogs on December 17th, 2014

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2014 Mazda3

It’s an over-played trope that senior citizens are bad with technology. Its regular use as a comedic device, though, overshadows a more dire circumstance that comes when elderly citizens are paired with gizmos and gadgets they don’t fully understand.

A couple from New Zealand spent the night in their new, smart-key-equipped Mazda3 after thinking they’d locked themselves in, in what The Otago Daily Times called “a series of ‘Murphy’s Law’ events.” The two thought the car wouldn’t function without the key fob, which had accidentally been left outside of the car, along with the owner’s manual. That, along with the combination of stress, darkness and a lack of overall information about the car nearly killed Mollieanne and Brian Smith.

After thinking they’d become trapped, the Smiths, 65 and 68, respectively, tried honking the horn to alert neighbors – it was Guy Fawkes Night, so the sound was drowned out by fireworks – and even took the Mazda’s jack to a window in their attempt to escape.

When they were discovered and freed 13 hours later, Mrs. Smith was unconscious and Mr. Smith was having trouble breathing, with emergency crews telling the couple another half hour in the car would have killed them. Mr. Smith later told The Otago Daily Times he was “very methodical,” but couldn’t figure out how to unlock the car.

“Once I found out how simple it was to unlock it I kicked myself that I did not find the way out,” the 68-year-old told The Times. “I had this mind-set that I did not have the transponder [so I could not get out].”

Mazda New Zealand pointed out that is not the case.

“It’s not a design flaw with the car,” Mazda New Zealand General Manager Glenn Harris told The Times. “What we have said to the [dealership] network is, with new technologies, don’t forget to show customers how to use them in their entirety [and] how to override them. There is always a manual process to override them.”

Kiwi seniors accidentally lock themselves in Mazda3 for 13 hours, nearly die originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 16 Dec 2014 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda2 nets Japan Car of the Year, Cherokee first US model to ever crack top 10

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 14th, 2014

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2015 Mazda2

2015 Jeep CherokeeThe 2015 Mazda2 is quite high up on our must-drive list. Yes, the teeny, tiny successor to the 100-horsepower five-door is worth getting excited over, largely because the previous generation was one of the absolute best smiles-per-dollar values on the market.

While we eagerly await for our opportunity to take to the 2’s helm, our expectations of the new car have just been heightened thanks to its win in Japan’s Car of the Year competition. Called “Demio” in the land of the rising sun, Japanese journalists handed out Mazda’s second COTY award since the CX-5 took the title in 2012.

In more surprising news, the new Jeep Cherokee has made the list of 10 Best Cars in Japan. The Jeep’s triumph marks the first time an American car has cracked the top ten, finishing eighth. It’s not, however, the first Fiat Chrysler vehicle to snag the title, following in the footsteps of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta and Fiat Panda. Still, the fact that an American brand can make such impressive inroads into the traditionally tough-to-crack Japanese market is a seriously big deal.

Take a look below for the official press release from Mazda, as well as the Google translated release from Jeep.

Continue reading Mazda2 nets Japan Car of the Year, Cherokee first US model to ever crack top 10

Mazda2 nets Japan Car of the Year, Cherokee first US model to ever crack top 10 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 14 Oct 2014 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Can a hopped-up Miata take on the Porsche Boxster?

Published by Mazda Blogs on September 3rd, 2014

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Mazda MX-5 vs Porsche Boxster

As long as there have been used cars, there has been this question: are you better off buying a new vehicle, or picking up a used offering and making a few aftermarket modifications? While the answer is far from clear, Auto Express has put together a video that will attempt to well and truly put the argument to bed… or at least add fuel to the fire.

Using a 16-year-old, second-generation Mazda MX-5, the AE team has set itself a modification and improvement budget of 5,000 pounds (about $8,200 at today’s rates). Without crossing that threshold, the MX-5 will need to be upgraded to the point that it will be able to turn a quicker lap time than a brand-new Porsche Boxster (which is not a Boxster S).

Now, this is only the first part of a series, and covers the upgrades to the old NB. AE will be delivering a dedicated track battle video between the MX-5 and the Porsche soon. You can bet we’re eagerly awaiting the arrival of that one.

Continue reading Can a hopped-up Miata take on the Porsche Boxster?

Can a hopped-up Miata take on the Porsche Boxster? originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 03 Sep 2014 12:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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What you missed on 8.28.14

Published by Mazda Blogs on August 29th, 2014

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Daily U-Turn

Volkswagen e-UpElectric VW e-Up! tested

The Volkswagen Up! is one of our favorite pieces of pint-sized forbidden fruit. The cute little city car is already one of the best-selling microcars in Europe, and VW aims to broaden its appeal with a new electrified version, the e-Up! Jonathon Ramsey recently took the electric Up! for a quick spin in Germany. Read his full report, here.

Mazda MX-5 Miata muleMazda MX-5 Coupe in the works?

We’re just days away from the reveal of the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata, and already, the rumormill is swirling about what’s in store for the lovely two-seat sports car. New reports suggest that a long-awaited coupe model is indeed in the cards – of course, take that with a huge grain of salt. More details about future plans for the Mazda3 and Mazda6 are detailed here, as well.

VolvoVolvo model range details revealed

Tired of all the Volvo news this week? Good. Neither are we. Looking beyond the introduction of the 2015 XC90, or man Noah Joseph managed to get some more details about the future of the company’s model range, which happily includes sedans, wagons, and the well-liked Cross Country trims. See what else is in store in his deep dive, here.

Top Stories

What you missed on 8.28.14 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 28 Aug 2014 19:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2016 Mazda2 revealed ahead of Paris debut [w/videos] [UPDATE]

Published by Mazda Blogs on July 17th, 2014

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2015 Mazda2

Small cars may be big business, but the world’s automakers don’t seem to be in any particular rush to keep them fresh. The new Smart Fortwo unveiled yesterday replaces a model that’s already been around for seven years, one based on a structure dating back to the late ’90s. The new Opel Corsa revealed just last week replaces a model that had been around for eight years. And the Mazda2 has been on the market in its current form for seven years now, but not for much longer, because Mazda has finally revealed its successor.

Set to be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show this October, the new Mazda2 follows the stylistic lead of this year’s Hazumi concept remarkably close, from the sharply creased front end right down to the wheel design – bringing the supermini hatchback in line with the KODO design language that characterizes its bigger siblings: the Mazda3, Mazda6 and CX-5.

Although details released thus far are rather limited, and power will vary from one market to another, engine options center around a 1.5-liter four in both gasoline and diesel versions, joining the manual and automatic transmissions and the chassis itself under Mazda’s Skyactiv technology umbrella. We wouldn’t expect the diesel version to make it across the Pacific (or across the border from the plant that will build it alongside a new Toyota hatch in Mexico), but rumors have surfaced of a potential rotary hybrid. The new 2 will also include the company’s MZD connectivity suite and i-Activsense safety technology.

Also sold as the Demio in certain regions (like the Japanese Domestic Market), the new Mazda2 represents a vital product for Mazda, which has sold over 2.4 million of them since the model line’s introduction 1996. Production has already begun at Mazda’s plant in Hofu near Hiroshima, Japan. Scope out the videos and press release below for a closer look.

UPDATE: We’ve updated this story with the US market press release, below, which confirms that the Mazda2 will be a 2016 model when it goes on sale here. A handful of new images have been added to the gallery above, as well.

Continue reading 2016 Mazda2 revealed ahead of Paris debut [w/videos] [UPDATE]

2016 Mazda2 revealed ahead of Paris debut [w/videos] [UPDATE] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 17 Jul 2014 08:16:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda to celebrate 25 years of MX-5 with 15 Miatas in New York

Published by Mazda Blogs on March 20th, 2014

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1989 Mazda Miata

Having first debuted at the Chicago Auto Show in 1989, the Mazda MX-5 Miata has been on the market now for an impressive 25 years. So to celebrate that quarter-century anniversary, Mazda is bringing no less than 15 examples of the legendary roadster from throughout its history to the New York Auto Show this year.

Mazda isn’t saying just which versions of the MX-5 it’s bringing to the Javitz center this year, but with three generations to choose from and over 900,000 units built and sold, there are plenty of examples – including production versions, special editions and concept cars.

What would really put the cherry on this birthday cake, however, would be if Mazda were to surprise us in Manhattan with the debut of the highly anticipated fourth-generation Miata that we’re expecting to debut sometime this year.

The new MX-5 is tipped to go back to its roots style-wise, but grow in length ever so slightly to accommodate the requirements of Alfa Romeo, which was supposed to be partnering with Mazda on the development of the new roadster but is now said to be getting cold feet over the prospect of manufacturing an Alfa in Japan.

Continue reading Mazda to celebrate 25 years of MX-5 with 15 Miatas in New York

Mazda to celebrate 25 years of MX-5 with 15 Miatas in New York originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 20 Mar 2014 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda Hazumi Concept shows up ahead of Geneva

Published by Mazda Blogs on February 26th, 2014

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Mazda Hazumi Concept

Last week, Mazda officially teased its Geneva-bound Hazumi concept, showing little more than an aggressive headlamp design. But now, thanks to the magic of the Internet, another rendering of the Hazumi has appeared on the web, and, well, it’s totes adorbs.

In Mazda’s original release from last week, we were told that the name “Hazumi” means “spring up” or “bound” in Japanese, and is “particularly well-suited to a small car that appears to be bursting with energy.” And now that we’re getting a nearly full glimpse of the thing, we absolutely have to agree. The company’s Kodo design language offers aggressive style in a cute little shape, and the usual raft of concept car-spec treatments (no mirrors, huge wheels, etc.) make it look even more comical and delightful.

Indeed, the Hazumi is understood to preview the next Mazda2 subcompact, and if this concept car points the way forward for Mazda’s tiniest hatch, consider us totally geeked. Mazda is also set to debut its new 1.5-liter Skyactiv-D diesel engine at the Geneva Motor Show next week, and while the company hasn’t confirmed if that powerplant will make its way into the next Mazda2, it sure makes sense, at least overseas. Stay tuned.

Mazda Hazumi Concept shows up ahead of Geneva originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 25 Feb 2014 10:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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IIHS tests 11 minicars, finds them wanting in small-overlap crash test

Published by Mazda Blogs on January 22nd, 2014

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IIHS minicar small-overlap crash tests

IIHS minicar small-overlap testingThe Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and its challenging small-overlap crash test have passed judgment. In testing of nearly a dozen minicars, only one vehicle scored an acceptable rating on the ultra-tough test, which was instituted in August 2012.

The Chevrolet Spark was the only car out of 11 to net an “Acceptable” rating in the small-overlap test and the only one to be named a 2014 Top Safety Pick. The IIHS has four rating levels – Poor, Marginal, Acceptable and Good.

The Mazda2, Kia Rio, Toyota Yaris and 2014 Ford Fiesta all netted “Marginal” scores on the small-overlap test, while the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage, Nissan Versa, Toyota Prius C, Hyundai Accent, Fiat 500 and Honda Fit all netted “Poor” ratings. We’ve posted the full score result sheet to the right.

“Small, lightweight vehicles have an inherent safety disadvantage. That’s why it’s even more important to choose one with the best occupant protection,” said Joe Nolan, IIHS’ senior VP for vehicle research. “Unfortunately, as a group, minicars aren’t performing as well as other vehicle categories in the small overlap crash.”

Scroll down for the official press release from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Continue reading IIHS tests 11 minicars, finds them wanting in small-overlap crash test

IIHS tests 11 minicars, finds them wanting in small-overlap crash test originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 22 Jan 2014 00:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda planning ‘aggressive’ dealer shakeup

Published by Mazda Blogs on December 17th, 2013

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Auto Sales Mazda

Mazda has set an ambitious goal of selling 400,000 units by the end of the 2015 Japanese fiscal year in March 2016, and to do that, it’s going to need to take some aggressive action. That means that underperforming members of its 637-showroom strong dealer network are about to get the axe.

The purge won’t just be limited to dealers that aren’t performing, though. Mazda will seek to consolidate poorly located dealers and build new showrooms in better locations. It still isn’t clear how many dealers are being targeted or at what point Mazda would end its cull.

This consolidation of dealers is all part of a one-two punch for the Japanese brand, that will also see increased marketing efforts in 35 key areas. Of those markets, Mazda is placing a special emphasis on New York and LA, although there’s not much mention of what other regions are being looked at.

The shuffling of dealers is being called “aggressive” by Akira Marumoto, Mazda’s North American executive vice president. “I believe we can achieve our goal. Our initiatives are bearing fruit,” Marumoto told Automotive News at last month’s Tokyo Motor Show.

As we mentioned in a previous story, Mazda’s 400,000-unit goal is going to be done largely on the back of the Mazda3, which is still being rolled out.

Mazda planning ‘aggressive’ dealer shakeup originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 17 Dec 2013 17:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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