If there’s such a thing as a driver’s crossover, this is it.
If there’s such a thing as a driver’s crossover, this is it.
The 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.
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.
By now, you’ve already poured over the details (however few there may be) and images of the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. For us enthusiasts, it’s arguably the most important new car debut of the year, and for Mazda, it marks the 25th anniversary of its iconic roadster – something that’s being celebrated all weekend long out in Monterey, CA.
Our resident Miata owner, Chris Paukert, is out in sunny California and just passed along this video, showing all four generations of the MX-5 in motion (slowly), on the road at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This is the first time the 2016 MX-5 has been shown driving under its own power, and it will join a wealth of other roadsters as Mazda attempts to break the world record for most Miatas in one place at one time.
2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata in motion for the first time originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 05 Sep 2014 19:39:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Diesel has without a doubt become the dominant fuel in the modern era of endurance racing. The 24 Hours of Le Mans has been won under diesel power for the past eight years running, as has every race in the FIA World Endurance Championship since its inauguration in 2012. Yet there will only be one diesel prototype entered in the top tier of the new Tudor United SportsCar Championship this year, and it belongs to Mazda.
The last Japanese manufacturer to win at Le Mans outright, Mazda has been gradually working its way back up the endurance racing ladder once again, following the example set by Audi with diesel power. Last year it campaigned a competition-spec Mazda6 Skyactiv-D in the GX class of the Grand-Am series, but rather than simply port over the existing racer into the new series, it’s fielding a new prototype instead, just as it promised a couple of months ago. And now that prototype has hit the track for the first time, prompting Mazda to release its basic specs for the first time.
Tentatively referred to simply as the 2014 Mazda Prototype, the purpose-built racecar is testing this weekend in the Roar Before the 24, the official test session at Daytona that kicks off the racing season. It packs a 2.2-liter SkyActiv-D engine that’s based heavily on the production version but tuned to produce 450 horsepower and 580 pound-feet of torque in race trim. Power is channeled through a six-speed sequential transmission from Xtrac, carbon brakes from AP and 18-inch racing slicks from Continental. With the Daytona-spec aero setup, it’ll top out at around 186 miles per hour.
Oddly, despite outlining a number of very specific parameters in the press release below, Mazda didn’t specify how many cylinders the engine packs or who made the carbon monocoque chassis, but it doesn’t take much to deduce the cylinder count as four and the chassis as a Lola-built LMP2. Either way, a pair of these prototypes will be dicing it with a variety of other Le Mans and Daytona prototypes at the Rolex 24 at Daytona later this month and throughout the inaugural United SportsCar Championship this season. Mazda has already announced it’s keeping the same four drivers in place it employed for the GX entry last season, with two more to be announced shortly.
There has never been a four-door diesel sedan in the Grand-Am series, until now: The blunt, bewinged grille of the Mazda6 GX has blown right through that wall. It’s said that racing improves the breed, but usually the breed has gone on sale when the racing begins. One of the unusual aspects of the Mazda6 GX, on the other hand, is that while the diesel won’t go on sale to the public until later this year, it will already have tasted racing blood by the end of the day. That kind of reversal is more likely found with super coupes like the Lexus LFA and Honda NSX.
Mazda has taken class wins at Daytona’s 24-hour race a whopping 23 times since 1975, most recently in 2010 with the RX-8 in the GT class. This year the Hiroshima company decided to show off its SkyActiv technology, then turned things up to eleven by opting for its SkyActiv-D instead of the more conventional SkyActiv-G gas engine to run in the new GX class. It will be joined by competitors like the Lotus Evora and Porsche Cayman in the class, nevertheless, at 2.4 liters, it’s the smallest engine on the grid.
Time has not been a friend, either – Mazda said that the first five SkyActiv-D engines off the production line went to Speed Source in Coral Gables, Florida, the company that preps Mazda’s race vehicles. Still, race driver Jonathan Baumarito on the #70 car said that although the engine’s been on the dyno since February of last year, it’s only been in the car for about a month and there have been only a couple of test days.
Speed Source owner, team driver and multiple 24-hour winner Sylvain Tremblay – he drove in the teams that won in 2008 and 2010 in the RX-8 – said the big challenge right now is getting the gearing right. Both Tremblay and Baumarito said that the diesel’s torque is a plus through the Bus Stop section at the back of the course, entered after coming off the high-speed banked turn. But Tremblay said that the first infield section of horseshoes is more trying because the SkyActiv-D needs to be on boost to get its power on, and that doesn’t happen until after 3,500; maintaining that through slow-speed turns and having enough to get the job done through the high-speed ovals is the test.
There are three Mazda6 GXs competing, Everyone is cautiously optimistic about how things might go during the race, but in fairness this has to be looked at as a 24-hour testing session. Road & Track rode shotgun for a lap in the #00 Visit Florida Racing car, you can check out the sounds of diesel at Daytona in the video below.
Mazda6 GX Grand-Am racer goes where no diesel sedan has gone before originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 26 Jan 2013 19:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Mazda has officially kicked off production of the 2014 Mazda6 at its Hofu No. 2 plant in Japan’s Yamaguchi prefecture. The car in the photo above is a European-spec Mazda6 wagon, equipped with the automaker’s 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G gasoline inline-four, and it’s the first undisguised look we have at the rakish estate.
The 2014 Mazda6 will be seen for the first time at the Moscow Motor Show in August, and the rest of the world will get their first glimpse at market-specific models during September’s Paris Motor Show festivities. The third-generation Mazda6 will go on sale in Europe and Japan before the end of the year, while North American cars will start hitting dealerships sometime in early 2013.
Mazda plans to produce approximately 120,000 units of the Mazda6 annually at Hofu. 2012 marks the 10th anniversary of Mazda6 production there, with the original car (the official 626 replacement) first rolling off the line in 2002.
To review, Mazda will also offer the new mid-sizer with its Skyactiv-D diesel engine in other markets (and possibly the U.S.), and the car will be the first to use the automaker’s new i-ELOOP regenerative braking technology. We’ll have all the official details later this month.
First official Mazda6 wagon pic revealed as plant comes online originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 02 Aug 2012 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Don’t blink, or you might just miss the first teaser for the next-generation Mazda6. Mazda has released a 21-second spot designed to give the world a glimpse of the company’s new sedan. From the look of things, the Mazda6 will borrow heavily from the Takeri Concept Car we saw debut at the Tokyo Motor Show last year. While details remain scarce about the upcoming model, rumor has it the four-door may bow with nothing but four-cylinder engines under the hood. Automakers like Chevrolet, Hyundai and Kia have already embraced that move for their family sedans, resulting in lighter, more efficient platforms.
Whether or not Mazda does eschew a traditional V6 engine engine for a four-pot, odds are buyers will find a Skyactiv mill behind the headlights. That means direct injection will make a showing on the car for the first time in the model’s history. Currently, the most powerful Skyactiv four-cylinder in the Mazda stable tops out at 155 horsepower, which would be low for an entry-level model in this segment. We expect a more powerful tune of the 2.0-liter Skyactiv engine in the Mazda3 to be the base powerplant, but we imagine the technology will need to be mated with either a larger-displacement block or forced induction if Mazda intends to stay competitive with other automakers’ higher-power engine options. Check out the teaser video below.