Posts Tagged ‘skyactiv’

2014 Mazda6 Skyactiv-D Wagon

Published by Mazda Blogs on February 21st, 2013

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2014 Mazda6 Skyactiv-D Wagon - profile view

This was sort of a quirky surprise drive opportunity. I’ve been over here in Italy for a while now, and Mazda Italia contacted me seemingly out of the blue to drive test some version of the Mazda6 with a diesel engine. Supremo. The Mazda6 is a sexy everyday beast and I have been digging their SkyActiv-D engines for a while now. Very spirited units.

My contact phones me the day of, and says he can come by with the car, and then we’ll head off to some sort of special spot for dynamics testing and technical conversation. Nice deal, say I.

My guy Ernesto pulls up outside of the house and – lo and behold – it’s a dang Mazda6 station wagon with the very most recent 2.2-liter SkyActiv-D motor good for 148 horsepower and healthy 280 pound-feet of torque. The wee four-banger with 14.0:1 compression ratio hauls this 3,260-pound wagon around with the best of them. A decent 0-to-60-mph time of 8.7 seconds, too.

Best touch? This one had the standard six-speed manual gearbox. We at Autoblog know how we bend a few noses the wrong way with our open cravings for exactly this sort of un-American car setup. But, oh my, did we have a good day together.

Driving Notes

  • First off, the Mazda6 sedan we just tested is a fine-looking conveyance. But if you like wagons like I do, this 2013 Mazda6 wagon is even finer. To my eyes, it doesn’t overdo it like some Infiniti models or the Nissan Juke, and any references to the swoopy Fisker Karma soon fade away. Mazda’s “Kodo” (“Soul of Motion”) design approach just works.
  • I was so geeked that this was a wagon. And the six-speed manual mated with the SkyActiv-D engine just took it over the top. Before hopping in, I noticed the optional set of really nice 19-inch wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Turanza T001 treads, the latest vintage of this fine rubber.
  • Ernesto tells me that I am the very first in all of Italy to drive this engine trim outside of the company testers. “What about the Italian journos?,” I ask. He smiles and shrugs, meaning, “Too bad for them, I guess.”
  • This revvy and strong 2.2-liter turbodiesel is not the 173-hp tune that arrives in the U.S. later this year in the sedan, but it would do just fine on American roads. If the hp bump seems modest on the trim we’ll get, well, the torque bump is also a mild 30 lb-ft. Acceleration to 60 mph will be only a half-second quicker and fuel use will increase, though it will still be good at about 30 miles per gallon city and 40 mpg highway.
  • We pulled up outside of a go-kart track I know out in the middle of the northern Italian flatlands. Ernesto tells me this is the place. Seriously? Yes, seriously. Ever whipped a front-wheel-drive family wagon with manual shifter and small diesel engine around a karting circuit? Me either.
  • The terrific Turanza tires were smoking freely under the cranking enthusiasm of the 2.2-liter four. All of the torque was there at 1,800 revs and the action of the manual shifter proved smooth and precise. It was easy to heel-and-toe at all times – this, on an extremely tight kart track, not an open road with time to think built-in.
  • The wagon handled my induced-oversteer moves well, with superb steering and exceptional weight transfers exceptional. (It’s like this on almost any hopped-up wagon I’ve driven even a little like this. For instance, I prefer the Mini Cooper S JCW Clubman on a hot circuit versus the hardtop for this very reason).
  • All traction nannies were off and Ernesto and I were having a little more fun than I think his bosses had in mind. I started in with the Scandinavian handbraking, a technique that invariably enters the equation on such tracks, and we were giggling like school girls in short order.
  • The Mazda6’s rear suspension setup’s lateral arms do not, as many do, err forward and higher than the wheel hub. Instead they attach low, below the wheel center. This results in an extremely sporting attitude over twisty roads as the arms push at the rear wheel down lower and closer to the center line. This was most noticeable on track.

For the moment, no wagons are promised for the US, sadly. That’s a serious bummer for all of us; this Mazda6 wagon is a brilliantly executed design. Pretty damn good on a kart track, too.

2014 Mazda6 Skyactiv-D Wagon originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 21 Feb 2013 14:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2014 Mazda CX-5 with 2.5-liter Skyactiv engine

Published by Mazda Blogs on February 5th, 2013

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2014 Mazda CX-5 with 2.5-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder. Front three-quarter view

Back in October, we compared the relative merits of two new and very good small crossovers: the 2013 Ford Escape and 2013 Mazda CX-5. The CX-5 we tested then had Mazda’s 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G engine under its hood, and it managed to just edge out the EcoBoosted Ford despite being down by some 23 horsepower and 34 pound-feet of torque. Had it been available, the 2.5-liter Skyactiv engine that we recently had the opportunity to try out in the 2014 Mazda CX-5, it may have made that comparison even easier to call in the Japanese CUV’s favor.

Clearly, if you’re in the market for a reasonably sized crossover, the CX-5 should, at the very least, be on your test-drive list. The new engine offering will let buyers opt for a stronger powerplant, with 184 hp and 185 lb-ft on tap. On our second day in Austin’s Hill Country – the first was spent quick-spinning the 2014 Mazda6 i Sport, you’ll recall – we covered a couple of hundred miles and put the new CX-5 through its paces; here’s what we turned up.

Driving Notes

  • The extra half-liter of Skyactiv displacement, resulting in 29 more horsepower and 35 more pound-feet of torque than in the 2.0-liter model, is satisfying in this new CX-5. With the larger engine, the CX-5’s 0-60 time falls to about 7.2 seconds (Mazda’s estimate) from just under 9 seconds in the 2.0-liter version. Those numbers are borne out in real-world feel, too, where the new CX-5 absolutely feels quicker away from a stoplight and less strained when passing slower folks at highway speeds. The 2.5 engine sounds a bit better, too – offering a mildly enthusiastic growl up around 5,000 rpm and onward.
  • Every other piece of the dynamic driving experience is more or less exactly the same with the 2.5-liter engine as it was with the smaller powerplant. Mazda only had CX-5s with the new engine on hand at our drive event in Austin, and it’s possible that driving both versions, back-to-back, could reveal some mild handling differences. But with only a few months separating our last seat time in the 2.0-liter car from this drive, we feel safe saying that the more-potent CX-5 is every bit the nimble handler as its slightly lighter sibling.
  • With the added thrust and equal handling taken as read then, what exactly is the give/get situation relative to the smaller-engine CX-5? The larger-engined vehicle gains about 100 pounds, trim-for-trim. The 2.0-liter is the only 2014 CX-5 that can be had with Mazda’s very good six-speed manual transmission, meanwhile, though product planners hinted that we may be seeing a 2.5L/6MT combo later in the model year. (We know from the Mazda6 that the engine and manual transmission work nicely together.) Impressively, the 2.5L CX-5 only loses one mile per gallon in the city versus the smaller displacement engine (25 versus 26 mpg), and the highway ratings stay exactly the same (32 mpg). Towing capacity stays steady at a modest 2,000-pound maximum for all CX-5 models.
  • With such stellar comparative specifications versus its 2.0-liter brother, the determining factor for opting-in to a 2.5-liter CX-5 is essentially only cost. For 2014, Mazda is only offering the 2.0-liter engine in Sport (read: base) models – both all-wheel-drive and front-wheel-drive flavors – while the 2.5-liter engine starts at the plusher Touring trim in both driveline configurations. That means while a true apples-to-apples comparison isn’t possible, you will have to pony up about $2,000 to get into the larger mill. A front-wheel-drive CX-5 Sport 2.0 6AT starts at $22,595, while the FWD CX-5 Touring 2.5 6AT asks $24,615 (all models have identical $795 destination charges). For AWD models, the difference between the Sport and Touring is an identical $2,020 gap – MSRPs of $23,845 and $25,865, respectively.
  • Here’s a little model-year 2014 trivia for future members of the CX-5 enthusiast clubs: This year sees three new colors (Soul Red, Jet Black, Meteor Gray) replacing three old colors (Zeal Red, Black Mica, Metropolitan Gray). The new red is a $300 option. Last year’s blue plastic engine cover has been replaced with a black plastic engine cover. Mazda’s Smart City Brake Support, which automatically brakes the vehicle in low-speed, crash-imminent maneuvers, is now standard with the Touring and Grand Touring tech pack, while the burglar alarm has been deleted from those packages. Got all of that? We’ll have a quiz next week.

2014 Mazda CX-5 with 2.5-liter Skyactiv engine originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 05 Feb 2013 11:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Why the 38-mpg 2014 Mazda6 is on dealer lots, but you can’t drive it

Published by Mazda Blogs on December 21st, 2012

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2014 Mazda6 - front three-quarter view

If you stop by your local Mazda dealer this month, with any luck, you’ll see the much-anticipated 2014 Mazda6 parked in the showroom – there are already a few hundred of them out there. That’s quite an accomplishment in light of the fact that it isn’t even calendar year 2013. The move is part of a strategic decision by the Japanese automaker, which is hoping to capitalize on holiday showroom traffic. (The last five days of the year are typically among the busiest dealer days all year).

If you happen to spy the rakish sedan, you may notice something missing – a window sticker. That’s because Mazda (like other automakers) can’t legally display the Monroney on a 2014 model year vehicle until January 1, 2013. According to Autoblog sources, Mazda dealers are legally prohibited from letting you test drive until the start of 2013, so it’s more of a sneak preview than anything else. Even so, we reckon shoppers will be impressed when they finally get a look at those window stickers – Mazda hasn’t announced fuel economy figures yet, but Autoblog has learned that the 2014 model will carry a pair of impressive numbers: EPA estimates of 27 miles per gallon in the city and 38 mpg on the highway using regular gas.

Mazda dealers are legally prohibited from letting you test drive until the start of 2013, so it’s more of a sneak preview than anything else.

Those figures mirror that of the CVT-equipped 2013 Nissan Altima, but with a bit more power – the document cites figures of 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque from the 2.5-liter Skyactiv four cylinder – figures that are down slightly from the 189 hp and 189 lb-ft overseas example we drove in October. Unlike the Nissan and many of its competitors, the engine can be paired with the buyer’s choice of either a six-speed manual gearbox or automatic. Other key rivals, including the Honda Accord, Kia Optima and Toyota Camry fall short of the Mazda’s economy numbers, though the Kia does offer a bit more power at 200 hp/186 lb-ft.

The 2014 Mazda6 fuel economy figures come courtesy of a “Display Vehicle Playbook” dealer document obtained by Autoblog from an anonymous source. A word of advice – don’t bother trying to cajole your local salesman into an early sale or test drive. Those same dealer materials spell out in no uncertain terms that “there are SIGNIFICANT financial penalties that may be incurred should the vehicle be operated or driven prior to final invoice.” Final invoices will be issued by Mazda district managers just before the car goes on sale January 2.

Unlike its rivals, however, the Mazda6 will only launch with one engine – there is no uplevel V6 or turbocharged gas I4 in the cards. However, Mazda has already confirmed a 2.2-liter Skyactiv turbodiesel powerplant, which is mentioned in the document as having “late 2013 availability.” No fuel economy or power estimates are provided.

Company officials have confirmed to Autoblog that its dealers still have a substantial inventory of 2013 Mazda6 models on lots – around 7,000 units, or about a 100-day supply. With the much more advanced new model already on many lots – set to carry similar pricing – selling through the outgoing model is likely to be a challenge met only with substantial incentives.

Why the 38-mpg 2014 Mazda6 is on dealer lots, but you can’t drive it originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 21 Dec 2012 16:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2013 Ford Escape vs. 2013 Mazda CX-5

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 24th, 2012

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Brothers From Another Mother Face Off

2013 Ford Escape vs 2013 Mazda CX-5

Not a single part is shared between these two crossovers.

We couldn’t do this comparison test a year ago. No, not because the CX-5 is a new nameplate and all-new vehicle for the Mazda brand (okay, that’s technically a valid reason), but because until now, Mazda’s only small crossover offering was the Tribute – a rebadged version of the trusty last-gen Ford Escape. In fact, it’s always been sort of tricky to put Ford and Mazda vehicles in the same comparison test, only because nearly every product in Mazda’s stable could be traced back to some sort of Ford platform.

But with the two automakers having officially parted ways, Mazda was forced to create an all-new platform for a small crossover that would play in the same segment as the Escape. And under the lights of the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show last November, both the 2013 CX-5 and 2013 Escape debuted, with representatives from Ford and Mazda alike reassuring us that not a single part is shared between the two crossovers, noting that the two companies were in no way involved in the development of each other’s vehicle.

That in mind, we thought it best to pit the Escape and CX-5 against one another to see how the family lines have matured after the divorce.

Continue reading 2013 Ford Escape vs. 2013 Mazda CX-5

2013 Ford Escape vs. 2013 Mazda CX-5 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 24 Oct 2012 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2014 Mazda6

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 5th, 2012

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Mazda Makes a Marvelous Mid-Sizer

2014 Mazda6

It’s well known that Mazda is working through some corporate challenges at the moment, but the company’s second-half news has been, in general, far better than the headlines from the first half. Global sales are up 12 percent, the CX-5 has sold 200,000 units worldwide and U.S. dealers are begging for more inventory. There’s also a new factory on the way in Mexico that will assuage the profit-killing exchange-rate woes of building cars in Japan, and the next-generation MX-5 Miata – whenever it arrives – is going to bring an Alfa Romeo roadster with it.

Still, at the moment, it’s probably true that there is more love for Mazda – or perhaps there’s actually more nostalgia – than sales traction.

The company would like its brand new midsize segment competitor to change that.

So in one corner we have the 2014 Mazda6. In the other corner we have the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Volkswagen Passat and Chevrolet Malibu. That is not an exciting list for a car enthusiast, but arrayed en masse it’s like Neo taking on the endless Agent Smiths in the playground scene in The Matrix: Reloaded - what the other cars lack in individual character they more than make up for in suffocating, sledgehammer numbers. Example: Mazda’s entire export production – that’s every one of its models that it sells in every other landmass besides Japan – in August 2012 was 44,495. That same month there were 36,270 Camrys sold in the United States alone.

Continue reading 2014 Mazda6

2014 Mazda6 originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 05 Oct 2012 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2014 Mazda3 to shed hundreds of pounds; diesel, Mazdaspeed variants possible

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 1st, 2012

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2012 Mazda3 sedan, front 3/4 view

According to Car and Driver, the next-generation Mazda3 is set to undergo an extensive overhaul, similar to what the Japanese automaker has done with its larger Mazda6 sedan.

On the powertrain front, expect the still-new 155-horsepower 2.0-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder to carry over. But since the next Mazda3 will likely shed hundreds of pounds thanks to the company’s lighter Skyactiv-tuned platform (a good chunk of which will be shared with the CX-5), the 2.0-liter engine should return improved fuel economy and performance since there won’t be so much heft to cart around. Currently, the 2.0-liter Mazda3 returns up to 40 miles per gallon on the highway.

C/D also states that a diesel-powered version of the compact Mazda3 is under consideration, as is a new version of the turbocharged Mazdaspeed3.

Visually, expect the new Mazda3 to receive the full brunt of the automaker’s new Kodo styling language. That isn’t a bad thing, though – both the new CX-5 and Mazda6 are handsome vehicles, and we think the aggressive headlamps and upright grille will translate nicely to the smaller package. C/D has worked up a rendering of what the Mazda3 could look like in hatchback form with the new styling direction, so head over there to check it out.

2014 Mazda3 to shed hundreds of pounds; diesel, Mazdaspeed variants possible originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 01 Oct 2012 18:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Slow-selling Mazda2 may not be renewed for U.S.

Published by Mazda Blogs on August 29th, 2012

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Mazda2

As with its platform-mate, the Ford Fiesta, the Mazda2 hasn’t exactly made hay with the monthly sales numbers. Unlike it’s Ford relative, however, Mazda isn’t committed to sticking it out with the Mazda2 in the U.S. Ford has gone on record as saying it will remain committed to the Fiesta here, while a report in Automotive News claims the next-generation Mazda2, due around 2014, might skip our shores. The lack of momentum in the U.S. subcompact market is one of the causes, as is the Mazda2’s price: with an asking price of $14,530, it is only $670 less expensive than the four-door Mazda3.

The Japanese company is focusing on its volume models and on getting its Skyactiv technologies fully integrated throughout the line. We’ve now got a full look at the Mazda6, and AN suggest the 2.2-liter twin-turbo diesel with 170 horsepower and 310 pound feet of torque could come to the U.S. after the sedan is launched here.

The next Mazda3 will be a showcase of lightweight and efficient Skyactiv tech, with 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter direct-injection engines on offer, a diesel and i-Eloop regenerative braking being considered. The lighter, more powerful MX-5 Miata is expected to be here in about two years time, and a rotary-powered sports car is still being worked on well behind the scenes.

Slow-selling Mazda2 may not be renewed for U.S. originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 29 Aug 2012 09:14:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2014 Mazda6 finally breaks cover in Moscow

Published by Mazda Blogs on August 28th, 2012

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2014 Mazda6 - front three-quarter view

Mazda has made the unusual choice of selecting the Moscow Motor Show to unveil its all-new 2014 Mazda6. The mid-size sedan looks very sharp, and powered by the Japanese automaker’s latest line of Skyactiv engines, it ought to be efficient and solid to drive, as well.

Visually, the Mazda6 is the company’s latest expression of their Kodo (“Soul of Motion”) design language and draws heavily from the company’s well-received 2011 Takeri showcar. A widened, stretched version of Mazda’s five-point grille is employed and it’s perhaps the most attractive version of that design element to date. The grille is connected to the LED headlights via shiny bits, a design tactic reminiscent of the new BMW 3 Series.

According to chief designer Akira Tamatani, “We have created a design in which the wild and dynamic expressions of motion artistically realize a powerful presence.” The color seen here is called Soul Red, and was enveloped by Mazda to accentuate the shapes of the new 6.

Inside, the layout is a clean and straightforward one, which has become a hallmark of Mazda cabin design. The cabin is highlighted by a color-matched interior accent panel. A trained eye will even notice a rotary selector to control the navigation system,


Mazda seen raising production of CX-5 as Skyactiv engine capacity doubled

Published by Mazda Blogs on July 3rd, 2012

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2013 Mazda CX-5 - silver, front three-quarter view

We’ve grown quite fond of Mazda’s new Skyactiv engine range, and apparently, we aren’t the only ones. High demand for these engines has caused Mazda to double its production of both the gasoline and diesel four-cylinder engines, and starting in October, the automaker will produce 800,000 of these efficient engines globally, up from 400,000.

In the United States, the 2.0-liter gasoline engine is the only Skyactiv unit currently available, found under the hood of the Mazda CX-5 (pictured) and select Mazda3 models. Elsewhere in the world, CX-5s can be had with a 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D turbodiesel engine, which we had a chance to test (and fall in love with) in Iceland. The automaker has confirmed that its next-generation Mazda6 sedan will be available with both of these four-cylinder engines, though it’s unclear if the diesel will be available Stateside. (Mazda has confirmed it will market an oilburner in the U.S. in the near-term, but it hasn’t revealed which vehicle will get it).

Part of the reason for this Skyactiv engine increase is the strong early demand globally for the new CX-5 crossover. Mazda will be upping production from 200,000 units annually to 240,000, all of which are built at the automaker’s Ujina, Japan facility. Because of strong demand since the crossover hit dealerships in February, Mazda has increased its global sales target from 160,000 units to 190,000.

Scroll down for the full press blast.

Continue reading Mazda seen raising production of CX-5 as Skyactiv engine capacity doubled

Mazda seen raising production of CX-5 as Skyactiv engine capacity doubled originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 03 Jul 2012 15:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Next Mazda6 to go four-cylinder only

Published by Mazda Blogs on April 26th, 2012

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Mazda Takeri Concept - live in profile

Beneath the gorgeous and impossibly long looking hood of the Mazda Takeri Concept lies plenty of real estate. By our estimation there’s room for any number of powerplants, from a high-revving rotary to a twin-turbo V6. However, when Mazda launches the new 2014 Mazda6, which will ape the looks of the Takeri show car, it will only contain a measly little four-cylinder, according to Autoweek.

So that’s being a bit harsh, as despite the reported demise of a V6 engine option for the Mazda6, at least it will be getting a Skyactiv four-banger, according to the report. Skyactiv is, of course, Mazdaspeak for its suite of technologies that includes its next-generation powertrain with direct injection and a fancy new automatic transmission design, a combination we liked a great deal when we sampled it in the CX-5 crossover.

With Hyundai, Kia, and Chevrolet having dumped their V6’s in favor of an all-four-cylinder lineup for their midsize sedans, we’re not surprised to see Mazda follow course. We do, however, wonder how the beleaguered Japanese brand intends to compete when it comes to performance.

With 155 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque, the 2.0-liter Skyactiv four in Mazda’s new crossover isn’t particularly powerful, so we hope we might see a slightly larger displacement version with a few more ponies for the bigger sedan. Or one with forced induction. Or how about a diesel engine option? Mazda has promised a diesel for North America, though it hasn’t specified which vehicle it will arrive in. The automaker has committed to deploying a stellar 2.2-liter turbodiesel four making 173 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque for the CX-5, at least in Europe. Now that might be just the ticket to make a top-trim Mazda6 get up and go.

Next Mazda6 to go four-cylinder only originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 25 Apr 2012 18:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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