By on April 17, 2014

Mazda-Skyactiv-Chassis-05

While Mazda’s new MX-5 Miata’s debut will have to wait another day, the iconic roadster’s new Skyactiv Chassis made the rounds at the 2014 New York Auto Show.

As demonstrated, the new chassis places the engine further back toward the center while providing the upcoming Miata with a lower center of gravity and 220 pounds in weight savings over the outgoing chassis. Front and rear suspensions have been reworked, and steering improvements have been made, including the introduction of electric power steering.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

26 Comments on “New York 2014: Mazda Skyactiv Chassis Live Shots...”


  • avatar
    tjh8402

    way to copy and paste a Mazda press release. Only a manufacturer trying to sell their product would say something as asinine as “steering improvements have been made, including the introduction of electric power steering.”, especially when dealing with a car like the Miata.

  • avatar
    cognoscenti

    Since when is the “introduction of electric power steering” a good thing for a driver’s car?

    EDIT: tjh8402 beat me to it. Consider your comment seconded.

    • 0 avatar
      gtrslngr

      Consider yourself seconded as well . Or thirded if you prefer !

      Seriously . Whats next in Mazda’s bag of MX5 preview tricks to disappoint us ?

      No more manual perhaps ?

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    What is the real story with EPS? Sure, it saves a fraction of an MPG, but the premium car companies that are adopting it are ignoring what premium means. It isn’t all about saving a buck or a bit of oil.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      I don’t think it’s an issue when done well. I’ve never heard anyone complain about the lousy steering in an RX-8 or S2000.

      • 0 avatar
        gtrslngr

        Well … the RX8 never was a true sports car . More a bargain luxury GT poseur than performer : so most likely with its owners absolute precision wasn’t a priority . With the S2000 though . First to my chagrin I wasn’t aware the S2000 had EPS [ shame on me ] But second … browsing the internet one does find more than a fair share of complaints with the EPS steering in the S2000 having to do with both driving , feel , precision as well as a multitude of problems that seem to plague the cars EPS system .

        As to stuffing EPS into the MX5 though ? Hmmmn . Well it kind of takes even more of the cars simplicity away that was part and parcel of their overall appeal . So maybe not such a great idea . Hmmmn .

        • 0 avatar
          Kaosaur

          What would you consider the RX-7s then? Specifically the FD. I’ve driven both, but while they’re different they are both precise and effortless. If anything, the RX-8′s handling is more refined (smoother). tl;dr the RX-8 steers better while the RX-7 grips better.

          They’re both pretty much sports cars to me. EPS is not in any way a problem with the RX-8.

        • 0 avatar
          JuniperBug

          You need to look up some reviews of the RX-8, specifically on this site. Of all the things it’s been criticized for, steering and handling are not on the list.

  • avatar
    Xafen

    I haven’t had many good experiences with electronic steering, but Mazda is one you don’t even notice, and it feels good.

    Mazda does “steer-by-wire” power steering right.

    • 0 avatar
      rodface

      I haven’t driven as many cars as the majority of the B&B have, but steering a Mazda feels sublime compared to the rubbery, floaty feel of other cars, including my roommate’s ’12 Elantra and the ’14 Beetle I rented last week. My other roommate has an ’06 335i which—judging by its steering feel—weighs as much as an Escalade. I don’t know how Mazda does it, but they get EPS right.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        An ’06 3-series does not have EPS. I agree with you though that BMW steering in that generation is TOO heavy, my own car included.

        My Fiat Abarth has EPS, and I have absolutely no complaints about the feel of it at all. Though I wish it didn’t make the steering heavier in Sport Mode.

  • avatar
    dartman

    Meh…many people complain about hydraulic power steering systems removing all the “feel” of a direct manual system. Time and technology march on; well executed electric systems can provide the same amount of tactile feel and feedback as well executed hydraulic or full manual system do/did. As to manual transmissions, I learned to drive on a “three on the tree” pick-up and have driven just about every type of manual there is; why would anyone not want a superior in every way automated manual in a modern car? I get it that in older cars it is nice to maintain the historic connection, but other than that, it seems silly.

    • 0 avatar
      glwillia

      For the Miata, I’d prefer a traditional manual for cost and simplicity. Same reason I’d prefer the manual soft top over a power folding hardtop.

    • 0 avatar
      bludragon

      I agree on the steering, but disagree on the manual. I like the EPS in both a civic si and an rx8 and I drove an e90 in between and overlapping those two. The civic did take me a while to learn, and I think that is the problem when someone first comes to EPS. It takes time to learn the language of the steering feel. The same is true to some extent of an auto, but i don’t think any amount of time with a torque converter would make me prefer one to a clutch. I might however be swayed by something with an auto clutch though.

    • 0 avatar

      @dartman

      when it comes to transmissions, there’s a choreography in operating the shifter and the clutch that I love, and that I greatly miss when I drive a slushbox. As for “automated manuals”, I don’t see the point when the slushbox shifts the gears generally at the proper time, and if you need to downshift sooner, you can always push the gas a bit harder (my quote marks around the phrase are meant to convey scorn).

      And as others have said, the simplicity is a big plus. No worries about flushing the tranny, and no need to do it every 30k.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        “there’s a choreography in operating the shifter and the clutch that I love”

        Bravo, well stated!

      • 0 avatar
        dartman

        I should probably have been more clear. I don’t mean conventional automatics using torque converters but rather the ever more common Dual clutch (dct)style units that provide a direct connection between the motor and transmission. I don’t disagree about the personal pleasure one can derive by increasing the mechanical “connection” with a machine—motorcycles are probably the highest order in transportation devices-old cars or “retro” new ones are fun and here’s hoping that they always remain an available option, but they don’t make you a better driver per se, just a more attentive one.
        As to simplicity and relative maintenance requirements I don’t think one.has an advantage over the other, both require regular maintenance for optimum wear and performance, and I would argue the possibility of causing inadvertent major damage due to abuse and neglect is much higher with a traditional standard transmission.

        • 0 avatar
          p___mill

          I can drive a real manual home on 3 of 5 gears and no clutch hydraulics while an automated manual can be completely incapacitated by an errant coolant sensor. Automation requires complexity and complexity is the enemy of reliability.

          I would also argue against the virtues of AMTs for lapping a racetrack. Most magazines just take the OEMs word that the AMT is faster with their tame racing driver. Even if they do their own tests its usually only over a few laps. By lap 6 or 7 or the second session of a hot day the system starts ignoring some of the shift commands. Then the next thing you know your in limp mode parked next to the guys with superchargers watching your buddies keep lapping until everything cools down.

  • avatar

    I would love to be able to buy the new chassis and drive train as it sits up there all pretty on it’s pedestals.

  • avatar

    I’m worried that moving the engine back will also cause the car to have a longer hood ala BMW Z3 and Z4.

    I’m not a fan of the far back driving position in a sports car. I always feel like I have to ask the car to take the corner before I reach the corner :)

  • avatar
    robc123

    Me trying to keep an open mind-

    What production (drivers) car ever made was made better by electric steering?

  • avatar
    qest

    How do we know power steering won’t be optional?


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India