Posts Tagged ‘year’

Consumer Reports says infotainment systems ‘growing first-year reliability plague’

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 27th, 2014

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2014 Consumer Reports Auto Reliability SurveyThe Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Survey (right) is out, and the top two spots look much the same as last year’s list with Lexus and Toyota in first and second place, respectively. However, there are some major shakeups for 2014, with Acura plunging eight spots from third in 2013 to 11th this year, and Mazda replaces it on the lowest step of the podium. Honda and Audi round out the top five. This year’s list includes six Japanese brands in the top 10, two Europeans, one America and one Korean.

Acura isn’t the only one taking a tumble, though. Infiniti is the biggest loser this year by dropping 14 spots to 20th place. Other big losses come from Mercedes-Benz with an 11-place fall to 24th, and GMC, which declines 10 positions to 19th.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s not traditional mechanical bugs hauling down these automaker’s reliability scores. Instead, pesky problems with infotainment systems are taking a series toll on the rankings. According to Consumer Reports, complaints about “in-car electronics” were the most grumbled about element in new cars. Problem areas included things like unresponsive touchscreens, issues pairing phones and multi-use controllers that refused to work right.

The biggest offender was Infiniti’s InTouch infotainment system on its new Q50, with over 20 percent of owners reporting problems. The QX60 SUV also was dinged on its reliability. Hence, the Japanese brand dropped 14 places in just a year.

Ford has reason to celebrate, though. Lincoln deserves a gold star for the best improvement by moving up 12 spots to take 15th place. Also, improvements to MyFord Touch helped the Blue Oval to jump three places to 23rd position. According to CR, the Explorer had just a 3-percent complaint rate for its infotainment system, versus a peak of 28 percent for the model in years past.

The data in the table above (click to expand) is based on responses to surveys from CR subscribers. The institute claims that 2014 was its largest one yet, with info gathered for over 1.1 million vehicles. Scroll down to read the full press release about the results.

Continue reading Consumer Reports says infotainment systems ‘growing first-year reliability plague’

Consumer Reports says infotainment systems ‘growing first-year reliability plague’ originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 27 Oct 2014 16:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ward’s releases 10 Best Interiors list for 2014

Published by Mazda Blogs on April 11th, 2014

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Mercedes-Benz S-Class

While we’re still a ways off from the automotive awards season proper, where things like North American Car and Truck of the Year, Motor Trend‘s Car of the Year and Car and Driver‘s Ten Best are named, that doesn’t mean there aren’t trophies being handed out to deserving automakers. Ward’s 10 Best Interiors being one of them.

As the name might imply, the magazine focuses on the very best interior treatments in the US market. Whereas some awards purposely exclude extreme, high-dollar offerings, Ward’s considers them – the only requirement is that a vehicle has a “new or significantly redesigned interior.”

Ward’s offered up the list of winners in simple, alphabetical order, and it only seems fair to do the same:

We’ll admit to being surprised by a pair of these – the Kia Soul and Jeep Cherokee – while the rest make a fair amount of sense. What’s most remarkable is the huge range of prices, from the $24,010 Kia to the $372,800 Rolls-Royce.

What do you think of Ward’s findings? Do you agree? Are there any vehicles that should be included in this list? Post your thoughts down in Comments.

Ward’s releases 10 Best Interiors list for 2014 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 10 Apr 2014 17:28:00 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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World Car of the Year finalists announced

Published by Mazda Blogs on March 8th, 2014

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World Car of the Year co-chair Matt Davis

To say the 2014 Geneva Motor Show was packed full of news is an understatement as big as the show’s home at the Palexpo convention center. Despite everything that we were able to cover during this year’s show, there’s still more coming out of Switzerland, including the announcement of the finalists for the 2014 World Car of the Year Awards.

We reported on the original list of finalists over three weeks ago, and now, that initial list has been pared down to three finalists for each of the five awards. The finalists were announced at a press conference by frequent Autoblog contributor and co-chair of the awards, Matt Davis (above).

The finalists for the overall title of 2014 World Car of the Year are the Audi A3, the BMW 4 Series and the Mazda3. The World Luxury Car of the Year will be either the Bentley Flying Spur, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class or the Land Rover Range Rover Sport, while the Performance Car of the Year will be awarded to the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, the Ferrari 458 Speciale or the Porsche 911 GT3 (which, um, yeah…).

Rounding out the trophy contenders are the finalists for World Green Car of the Year, which include the Audi A3 Sportback G-Tron and Audi E-Gas, the BMW i3 and the Volkswagen XL1. Finally, World Car Design of the Year will be contested by the BMW i3, Mazda3 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The winners will be announced in April, at the 2014 New York International Auto Show. Scroll down for the official press release from the World Car of the Year committee.

Continue reading World Car of the Year finalists announced

World Car of the Year finalists announced originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 07 Mar 2014 18:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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IIHS announces this year’s safest vehicles, toughens standards again [w/video]

Published by Mazda Blogs on December 20th, 2013

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released its annual list of the best-rated vehicles for safety, and like last year, they’re again divided into two groups: Top Safety Picks and winners of the tougher Top Safety Pick+ award. This year, however, the IIHS has changed its minimum criteria for each award, making them both significantly tougher to earn than last year.

The IIHS uses five tests to judge vehicles: moderate overlap front and side crash tests, a roof strength test, head restraint test and the recently added small overlap front crash test. Last year, a basic TSP award could be earned by achieving a Good rating in the first four tests, regardless of the vehicle’s score in the new small overlap front crash test. For 2014, however, the IIHS is making the small overlap front crash test score count, requiring a Good or Acceptable score, along with a Good rating in the other four tests, to earn the award.

With the small overlap front crash test now incorporated into the basic TSP award, IIHS is changing the TSP+ award to recognize automakers that offer an extra level of protection with crash prevention technology. This year, any vehicle satisfying the criteria for the basic TSP award that also offers a forward collision warning system or automatic braking system will earn the TSP+ award.

As for the list of winners, Honda stands out as having the most TSP+ awards, a total of six spread among itself and Acura, as well as two more basic TSP awards. The IIHS also found it exemplary that smaller manufacturers like Volvo, Subaru and Mazda were able to achieve three TSP+ awards each. In total, 22 vehicles earned TSP+ awards, an increase over last year’s count of 13. What’s more shocking is that while 117 vehicles earn basic TSP awards last year, only 17 were able to meet the more stringent requirements this year.

The full list of IIHS award winners can be found below, along with a video by the IIHS explaining their testing procedures and this year’s new requirements.

Continue reading IIHS announces this year’s safest vehicles, toughens standards again [w/video]

IIHS announces this year’s safest vehicles, toughens standards again [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 19 Dec 2013 19:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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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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Mazda books first yearly profit in half-decade, NA still a drag

Published by Mazda Blogs on April 30th, 2013

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2013 Mazda6 Sedan

Automotive News reports Mazda has posted its first annual profit in five years. The company made $364.3 million in the last fiscal year, following a $1.14 billion loss the year prior. Operating profit also jumped up by $91.3 million to $572.8 million, thanks in part to a revenue increase of 8 percent to $23.42 billion.

But the news isn’t all rays of sunshine. North America continues to be a problem for Mazda where the automaker posted yet another loss. The manufacturer lost $519.1 million last year, up from $427.8 million the year prior. While the launch of the CX-5 helped see US sales increase by 2 percent to 273,000 vehicles, the region as a whole bought up 372,000 units. Mazda had predicted closer to 380,000 units.

Even so, Mazda says it should have North America back in the black by next year, with the company forecasting a sales increase of 11 percent to 415,000 units in the region. That’s thanks in part to a boost from the redesigned Mazda6 sedan.

Mazda books first yearly profit in half-decade, NA still a drag originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 30 Apr 2013 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Playboy reveals its 2013 Cars of the Year

Published by Mazda Blogs on December 20th, 2012

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Vaunted men’s magazine Playboy knows that its readers are nearly as interested in cars as they are in the female anatomy… sorry, we thought we could write that with a straight face. Anyway, the buff-book does occasionally fill some of its spreads with sexy metal, to accent all the rest of the sexiness.

To wit, the magazine has unveiled its feature on the 2013 Cars of the Year. Without giving us much in the way of criteria for the awards, nor a clear framing of the categories (“Responsible Ride” is a particularly challenging concept, especially when you consider that the Mazdaspeed3 was the winner), Playboy has nevertheless highlighted what we assume to be it’s favorite 12 or 13 (depending on how you count) cars from the 2013 model year.

Headlining the class is the Porsche 911, which Playboy writers single out for having “remarkable electronic voodoo.” BMW M5 is named “Slickest Sports Sedan” though the Cadillac ATS then follows on because “we couldn’t resist giving the new Caddy a shout-out.” The rest of the picks are pretty conventional (save, perhaps, the Honda Fit EV as “Ace Electric”), even if the categories and methodology are fairly wonky. Cruise through or gallery for a taste or check out the full list, here. The site is safe for work, and you can legitimately (this time) say that you were reading it for the articles.

Playboy reveals its 2013 Cars of the Year originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 20 Dec 2012 08:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2013 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year finalists announced [w/poll]

Published by Mazda Blogs on December 12th, 2012

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North American Car of the Year crystal award

2012 is almost in the books and automakers are spending December gearing up for the 2013 auto show season, which tips off next month at the Detroit Auto Show. Traditionally, the latter opens up with the announcement of the North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year awards, and this year figures to be no different.

But up until this moment, we didn’t know which six vehicles would be parked ahead of the stage as finalists, with executives and engineers waiting for the winners to be disclosed. Whittled down from October’s “short list” of nominees (11 cars and 10 truck/utility vehicles), the finalists are as follows:

2013 North American Car of the Year:

2013 North American Truck/Utility of the Year:

As determined by a non-profit, independent jury of 50 US and Canadian journalists(*), the pair of lists above arguably feature a surprise or two, and they open up some potentially interesting story lines. Will the Ford and Honda, which compete against each other in the marketplace, split votes among jurors who only want to vote for one family sedan? Did the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ twins miss making the finalists’ list because they were listed as separate entries, or did they just not win over enough jurors? Until the voting patterns of the jurors are released (after the awards are announced), we won’t really know if any of these scenarios played into the calculations.

What do you think of these six vehicles? Which would you vote for? Which do you think will win? Participate in our polls below by guessing which vehicles will win, then state your case for who should win in Comments.

*Full disclosure: Author is a NACTOY jury member.

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Continue reading 2013 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year finalists announced [w/poll]

2013 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year finalists announced [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 12 Dec 2012 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda CX-5 named Japan’s Car of The Year, Subaru BR-Z wins "Special Award"

Published by Mazda Blogs on December 3rd, 2012

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The Mazda CX-5 stamped its Kodo design and SkyActiv technology authority all over the Japan Car of the Year awards, taking the top prize ahead of the Subaru BRZ/Toyota GT 86. It is Mazda’s second victory in the last ten years, the 2005 MX-5 claiming the same trophy, and the fourth time the Hiroshima company has won.

The award is decided by 60 local “automotive experts and journalists,” and open to any passenger car released in Japan from November 1, 2011 to October 31, 2012 that has sold more than 500 units. Each judge gets 25 votes, his or her top vote getting 10 points, the rest of the points being spread among the judge’s choice for the next best four cars.

The second-place getters were the Toyobaru twins with 318 votes, the surprise being they didn’t beat or get any closer to the crossover. The Subaru BRZ did claw some mojo back, earning the Special Award given to cars that have made “an exceptional impact.” The BMW 3 Series was third overall and won the Import Car of the Year award with plenty of room between it and the second place Range Rover Evoque.

The full list of winners is below, along with press releases from the organization and the manufacturers. Congratulations to Mazda on the win.

Continue reading Mazda CX-5 named Japan’s Car of The Year, Subaru BR-Z wins “Special Award”

Mazda CX-5 named Japan’s Car of The Year, Subaru BR-Z wins “Special Award” originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 03 Dec 2012 10:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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