The Truth About Cars » Mazda http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 02 Mar 2015 14:00:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Mazda http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/reviews/mazda/ Mazda’s Entire Line ‘Up For Discussion’ In Future Salamanca Expansion Plans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/mazdas-entire-line-discussion-future-salamanca-expansion-plans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/mazdas-entire-line-discussion-future-salamanca-expansion-plans/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 13:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1002818 Sometime in the future, your next Mazda6 could be assembled and shipped to the showroom from Mazda’s factory in Salamanca, Mexico. According to Automotive News, Mazda North American Operations CEO Jim O’Sullivan says that when it comes time to add more vehicles to the Salamanca production line, the entire collection would be up for discussion: […]

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Sometime in the future, your next Mazda6 could be assembled and shipped to the showroom from Mazda’s factory in Salamanca, Mexico.

According to Automotive News, Mazda North American Operations CEO Jim O’Sullivan says that when it comes time to add more vehicles to the Salamanca production line, the entire collection would be up for discussion:

We’re continuing to look at opportunities for that plant, and asking what else should we consider putting into it. You don’t build an assembly plant for one product. It’s going to be an ongoing investment.

The decision to add more vehicles to the line is linked to Mexico’s own free-trade agreements with a number of countries throughout the world, a greater influence for automakers to consider building its wares there than the nation’s low-cost labor.

The Mazda2 and Mazda3 are currently in production in Salamanca, with a version of the former for Toyota to begin assembly late in 2016.

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Chicago 2015: 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Accessories Design Concept Arrives http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicago-2015-2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-accessories-design-concept-arrives/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicago-2015-2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-accessories-design-concept-arrives/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 17:32:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=998138 Perhaps as way to keep tongues wagging until summer, the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata turned up in some new clothes for the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. The Accessories Design Concept features components lifted from the MX-5 Global Cup car set to hit the track this season. Said components include: front air-dam; side-sill extensions; and a […]

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Perhaps as way to keep tongues wagging until summer, the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata turned up in some new clothes for the 2015 Chicago Auto Show.

The Accessories Design Concept features components lifted from the MX-5 Global Cup car set to hit the track this season. Said components include: front air-dam; side-sill extensions; and a backside reworked for improved aero.

Brembo brakes help slow the forged BBS wheels around the hairpin, while a carbon-fiber luggage rack with integrated third-brake light allows the driver and a lucky passenger to pack more than just a day’s worth of clothing; the rack also weighs less than 2 pounds.

The concept is also a homecoming for the Miata, as the first-gen version of the iconic roadster bowed in Chicago back in 1989. The 2016 version, meanwhile, is set to hit showrooms this summer.

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Behind The Scenes At The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Long Lead Preview http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/behind-scenes-2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-long-lead-preview/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/behind-scenes-2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-long-lead-preview/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 13:30:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=991954 To say that the global preview for the new MX-5 was “exclusive” would be like calling the Moon “rarely visited”. Only eight North American journalists had the chance to drive one of just four available cars over the course of two days. The good news is that we each got nearly two hours in the […]

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To say that the global preview for the new MX-5 was “exclusive” would be like calling the Moon “rarely visited”. Only eight North American journalists had the chance to drive one of just four available cars over the course of two days. The good news is that we each got nearly two hours in the “ND”, all on mostly empty roads and without a drive partner.

The better news is that I got an additional two hours to interview key management and engineering personnel from Mazda after my drive. I didn’t get all the answers I wanted, but I got a few that you won’t get anywhere else — at least not yet.

You can see my review of the MX-5 in right-hand-drive, 1.5-liter, JDM (yo) form here. Due to space limitations, however, that article doesn’t include several interview tidbits and additional information. So, without further ado:

  • As part of the efforts to reduce weight and lower the polar moment of inertia, the roll hoops and their supporting structure are now made from aluminum. Since this makes welding a competition rollcage a tricky business, the MX-5s that are being used in the new Global MX-5 Cup will have a steel structure in place of the aluminum one — but what does this mean for future generations of Spec Miata and other road-car-into-race-car series?
  • Part of the new MX-5’s responsiveness comes from a lighter flywheel. This is an old trick to increase the perceived power of a car, but it always comes at the cost of low-speed driveability and NVH. To cut down on the resulting vibration, there are fifty-gram damping weights mounted on the differential. How light is the flywheel? Mazda wouldn’t say. They did show an engineering diagram that appears to suggest that the weight savings comes from machining the outer rim with oval depressions. The flywheel in the NC was 16.2 pounds; street/race flywheels from the aftermarket can be as low as half that. My guess: fourteen pounds.
  • However, Mazda did disclose that the flywheel is single-mass instead of dual-mass/rubber-damped.
  • In conversations with the drivetrain engineer, he specifically declined to state that the much lighter, aluminum case rear differential has the same power handling capacity as the old one. He was only willing to state that it was the same for both engines and that it had been engineered to handle the two-liter, which has slightly more torque (148 lb-ft vs. 141 lb-ft) than before.
  • The suspension is single-rate sprung and very soft, which I think is a good thing. This car rides pretty well for the size and weight.
  • There’s more legroom in this Miata than there was in its predecessor, and I never felt cramped during my two-hour drive. With that said, I have short legs for my height, and usually wear a thirty-two or thirty-three inch inseam. What about headroom? Although the driver sits twenty millimeters lower, the windshield’s lower as well. I had no trouble sitting in such a fashion as to align my eyes with the sunshades. Tall drivers beware. This might be particularly true with the top up; it’s lower profile than it was in the NC.

While the Internet is already foaming at the mouth about the 155-horsepower rating for the SKYACTIV two-liter, I continue to believe this is the best Miata in history and very much worth the money, assuming it costs at least one penny less than a Boxster 2.7. Not that the Boxster is as fun to drive, sad to say. Regardless of the power, if you want to be one of the early adopters, my recommendation would be to get in line now.

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Land Rovers, Jaguars Et Al Leave Höegh Osaka After Month At Sea http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/land-rovers-jaguars-et-al-leave-hoegh-osaka-month-sea/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/land-rovers-jaguars-et-al-leave-hoegh-osaka-month-sea/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 11:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=991122 Having spent most of January on its side, the Höegh Osaka returned to Southampton, England Tuesday to unload 1,400 premium vehicles bound for Germany. According to The Daily Mail, the car carrier was intentionally run aground in the Solent off the Isle of Wight January 3 when it began to list at 52 degrees shortly […]

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Land Rover Hoegh Osaka

Having spent most of January on its side, the Höegh Osaka returned to Southampton, England Tuesday to unload 1,400 premium vehicles bound for Germany.

According to The Daily Mail, the car carrier was intentionally run aground in the Solent off the Isle of Wight January 3 when it began to list at 52 degrees shortly after departing for Germany through the English Channel. Around 1,400 premium vehicles were onboard, including Land Rover Defenders, Jaguar XFs, MINIs, a Rolls-Royce Wraith, and a Porsche Boxster.

Presently, each of the 1,400 vehicles aboard are being inspected for any damage, especially the type that would mean a final ride to the crusher. The final total won’t come until early next week at the latest, though a decision to follow in Mazda’s footsteps — the automaker scrapped 4,700 units aboard the Cougar Ace in 2006 — would prove costly; the total value of Höegh Osaka’s cargo stands at £30 million ($45 million USD).

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TTAC Long Term Update #2: 2015 Mazda 3 Sport http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/ttac-long-term-update-2-2015-mazda-3-sport/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/ttac-long-term-update-2-2015-mazda-3-sport/#comments Fri, 02 Jan 2015 22:11:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=970489 This will be the first winter since 2009 when I will not be driving an open top sports car. I can say with confidence that for a daily driver in the Snowbelt, the answer is not necessarily “Miata”. As much as I adored my Miatas, I had come to the realization that the six months […]

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This will be the first winter since 2009 when I will not be driving an open top sports car. I can say with confidence that for a daily driver in the Snowbelt, the answer is not necessarily “Miata”.

As much as I adored my Miatas, I had come to the realization that the six months of blissful, open-air motoring in the summer was outweighed by the misery of driving one in the winter.

Traction in the snow was the least of my problems. With a good set of winters and a limited slip-differential, I was never once stuck, spun around or slipping excessively in the snow or on ice.

Things that did suck, in no particular order

  1. The utter lack of insulation, which made the car freezing cold. Not even the hardtop could remedy this.
  2. No ABS. Some of the more cantakerous types will probably be rolling their eyes at this assertion. I know how to threshold brake, but I also know the sheer panic of trying to come to a complete stop on a slick road after a child has just ran into the street to get their ball. Never. Again.
  3. The rather limited cabin space is not conducive to wearing a parka and size 11.5 EE Red Wing snow boots.
  4. Jack’s accident made me think twice about driving a car with a less than modern suite of safety features.

For now, I am enjoying the relative warmth of the all-steel bodyshell, the heated seats, the Bluetooth system, the rear seats and proper trunk. I am sure that, come spring, I’ll be missing my Miata.

The big change for this month was the addition of a set of snow tires. Our friends at TireSpot recommended a set of Hankook Winter i-Pike RS W419s in 205/60/16, and I immediately installed them in preparation for another Polar Vortex. Of course, it’s been a warm winter, with only a light dusting of snow, but this weekend’s winter storm should reveal how they perform in the white stuff. Fuel economy is sitting at 26 mpg, largely in town. On our next tank, we’ll see what kind of effect the snow tires have on fuel economy.

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Capsule Review: 2015 Mazda Miata Grand Touring PRHT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/capsule-review-2015-mazda-miata-grand-touring-prht/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/capsule-review-2015-mazda-miata-grand-touring-prht/#comments Mon, 29 Dec 2014 14:54:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=968873 One of the burdens of being right is that people are always trying to prove you wrong. The Mazda MX-5 Miata knows what I’m talking about. For a quarter century, the Miata has suffered the slings and arrows of upstart challengers. Those others have come and gone while the Miata remains. It’s right and Mazda […]

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2015 Mazda Miata Grand Touring PRHT

One of the burdens of being right is that people are always trying to prove you wrong.

The Mazda MX-5 Miata knows what I’m talking about. For a quarter century, the Miata has suffered the slings and arrows of upstart challengers. Those others have come and gone while the Miata remains. It’s right and Mazda knows it.

The Miata doesn’t get refreshed often, but it just happened again. Until you can buy that one, this old crock, the “NC,” is your only choice.

How can a car that’s 10 years old with less power than the Scion FR-S (which I have already commented about) and an automatic transmission still be right? I’m sure to like this car even less than I liked the Toyobaru, right?

Wrongo.

2015 Mazda Miata Grand Touring PRHT front three quarter top down

It was disappointing to see an automatic transmission shift quadrant when I looked through the passenger-side window. The fleet driver had left a voicemail telling me he’d dropped off a Miata, so I wrapped up the weekly resource allocation meeting as quickly as possible and headed for the parking lot. I haven’t had a Miata to drive in several years, and with a manual, they are quite the delight.

I became indignant

Why do automakers do this? Why undercut driver engagement? Getting over my precious self, the answer is clear: most people buy cars with automatics. Even tidy convertibles with sporty personalities.

People are stupid. They are both lazy and incompetent behind the wheel. Because people are stupid, I was going to have to suffer a stupid week in this stupid car set up for stupid idiots.

I wasn’t expecting much out of the self-shifting MX-5. Boy, was I surprised.

2015 Mazda Miata Grand Touring PRHT automatic transmission shifter

The Miata is perfect, regardless of which transmission you choose. It’s lively and light on its feet. It’s involving to drive, and it doesn’t give a crap about the numbers that internet racers obsess over.

Whatever spec-sheet triumphs the Miata lacks, it makes up for in personality. It’s a car that wants to play. There’s just 167 hp coming from the 2.0 liter four cylinder, which drops to 158hp with the 6-speed automatic. The power reduction comes courtesy of a redline that moves down from 7,200 rpm with a manual to 6,700 rpm with the auto. Torque stays the same at 140 lb-ft, which makes me think the horsepower reduction is a camshaft/valve timing/redline thing. It also doesn’t matter, because the torque converter does its low-speed multiplication thing. Performance off the line is responsive, and the automatic knows what the hell it’s doing. Call the powertrain dated, I call it well-developed and proven.

2015 Mazda Miata Grand Touring PRHT 2.0 liter engine

There’s only about 2,500 lbs to deal with here. That’s why the Miata feels more lively than you might expect. The Miata is playing with just 10 fewer lb-ft of torque than the Toyobarus, but the Scion FR-S automatic I had a while back was 300 lbs heavier. And it sucked in ways the Miata doesn’t. The Miata’s torque peak is at 5,000 rpm, a full 1,600 rpm sooner than the FR-S, and that translates to more immediate delivery of what muscle there is. When shifted manually, the automatic was even responsive enough to be satisfying. I would have preferred a manual, of course, but the Miata’s glow doesn’t dim with an automatic, and Mazda is smart to offer it, because purists are crappy new car buyers.

The Miata isn’t without some horseshit. There’s a “Induction Sound Enhancer,”  a membrane in the intake manifold that vibrates at specially-tuned frequencies to sound more like an MGB gulping through SU carburetors. More aural snarl enhances the experience, and it’s not as asinine as BMWs that play back engine recordings through the audio system, but it’s still something that took development time and dollars to create an artifice. There are also steering-wheel mounted shift paddles with a learning curve (buttons above for downshift, below for up, you’ll definitely pick the wrong one mid-corner.) That’s about it for shenanigans with the Miata, though, the rest is just solid performance and capability.

2015 Mazda Miata Grand Touring PRHT leather seats

The interior is clearly a 10 year old design and uses materials from another era. The design is a plus, the materials, if you care, are a negative. Three knobs for climate, a pair for the radio, all within easy reach, who needs more? The plastic on the center stack of my test car had picked up a surprising amount of nicks and scuff marks in just three thousand miles; not a good look. The controls feel good, there’s no goddamn touchscreen to confound you, the steering wheel feels good in your hands, and it’s connected to one of the most direct rack-and-pinions in the business.

The Miata Grand Touring like I drove is the most luxed-up model. The seats are done up in leather, a handsome color called Spicy Mocha in this case, with fake cowhide on the door panels. It’s a classy look, especially in a color other than dour black. The snug cabin has all the charm that you’ve been told it does. Because I’m under 6’ tall, it’s a delightfully close environment. Taller or wider folks will bump into the physical limitations of the Miata, but reports are that it can still be comfortable, even for tall folks.

Other Grand Touring features are the Bose audio system, standard 17” alloy wheels, strut-tower brace, automatic climate control, and silver-trimmed rollover hoops. As welcome as the extra filigree is, the main point here is the underlying car. The Premium Package my car had goes hand-in-hand with the Suspension Package. This is where the real action happens. It’s a sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein dampers and a limited-slip differential.

2015 Mazda Miata Grand Touring PRHT rear three quarter top down

Despite its senior status, the outgoing Miata feels solid. It’s not as drum-tight as a Boxster, but there’s still a beefy sill to step over. Aluminum is used in the hood and trunklid to keep both weight, and the center of gravity, low. Some suspension components and the rear brake calipers are also aluminum. The strut tower brace under the hood ties the upper mounting points for the front suspension to the firewall for extra rigidity. What that means from behind the wheel is a steering column that doesn’t shake much, and a structure that doesn’t wind up during maneuvering. I was expecting the Miata to feel like a car that had been engineered in the naughties. Not so. It goes down the road with a contemporary attitude that’s relaxed, frisky, and capable, all at once.

That intake manifold honker thing pipes some pleasant growl into the cabin, but it’s still silly. The chassis is tuned with a fine balance between comfort and control. The Miata’s ride is absorbent, but that doesn’t mean the handling won’t make you grin. There’s all kinds of information coming to your hands through the steering column, and the engine’s response is eager and linear. Compared to that FR-S bogey, the Porsche-like precise feeling of the Scion is traded for more comfort in the Miata. It’s a loss on paper that makes the Miata a better car to drive in the real world. The Miata feels more responsive, the power curve doesn’t do funny whoop-de-dos, and it gives you what you ask for.

The Miata’s role as a modern-day MGB means you sit more upright than you might expect. It’s a small car, for sure, but it’s long-haul comfortable. The useable trunk and extra refinement offered by the power-retractable hardtop make the Miata an all-weather, all-seasons car.

2015 Mazda Miata Grand Touring PRHT top down front three quarter

While there are other sporty coupes for not a lot of money, there aren’t many. None are as well-rounded as the Miata. You want to go racing? It’ll do that. Taking your mother in law to the grocery store? It’s got that covered, as well. In Grand Touring trim with the automatic, the MSRP is $30,550, and the final tally was a luxurious $33,000 with my car’s Premium Package (HID lights, Bluetooth, Keyless Entry and start, satellite radio, alarm). That’s about as expensive as you can make it, and it’s not hard to stay in the $20,000s. The Miata won’t embarrass grown-ups, but it’s not dull in the least. There’s a reason why it’s one of the cars I recommend the most. Let’s hope they don’t screw up the next one.

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Alfa Romeo To Build Spider On Own Platform, Mazda MX-5 To Fiat-Abarth http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/alfa-romeo-build-spider-platform-mazda-mx-5-fiat-abarth/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/alfa-romeo-build-spider-platform-mazda-mx-5-fiat-abarth/#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2014 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=963858 Alfa Romeo will be going its own way for its upcoming Spider, directing Mazda to take its 2016 MX-5 over to Fiat-Abarth instead. Car reports the new roadster will be “a derivative of project Giorgio,” per Alfa and Maserati brand boss Harald Wester. Giorgio is, of course, the RWD platform that will underpin many a […]

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Alfa Romeo will be going its own way for its upcoming Spider, directing Mazda to take its 2016 MX-5 over to Fiat-Abarth instead.

Car reports the new roadster will be “a derivative of project Giorgio,” per Alfa and Maserati brand boss Harald Wester. Giorgio is, of course, the RWD platform that will underpin many a new Alfa, including the expected 159 successor due early this coming summer.

As for the MX-5’s role in the matter, the platform will be heading to Fiat-Abarth, raising the possibility for a new Barchetta or stand-alone Abarth model to emerge from Mazda’s Hiroshima facility in the near future. Alfa’s Spider, however, will be made in Italy, per CEO Sergio Marchionne’s vision for the Alfa brand.

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Shimizu: Takata Hasn’t Found The Cause Of Airbag Failures http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/shimizu-takata-hasnt-found-cause-airbag-failures/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/shimizu-takata-hasnt-found-cause-airbag-failures/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 15:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955722 Takata has yet to find the root cause of the defect affecting its airbags; Autoliv will supply replacements to Honda; and Toyota, Mazda and Chrysler are expanding their recalls. Reuters reports Takata hasn’t found the cause behind the catastrophic failures in its airbags, per testimony given by safety executive Hiroshi Shimizu before Congress Wednesday. That […]

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Shimizu, Takata's Senior Vice President for global quality assurance, testifies before a U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing in Washington

Takata has yet to find the root cause of the defect affecting its airbags; Autoliv will supply replacements to Honda; and Toyota, Mazda and Chrysler are expanding their recalls.

Reuters reports Takata hasn’t found the cause behind the catastrophic failures in its airbags, per testimony given by safety executive Hiroshi Shimizu before Congress Wednesday. That said, Shimizu said his company was of “the strong opinion that (there) is a factor contributing to this defect: which is high humidity, temperature and the life of the product.” He also claimed the ammonium nitrate used in the airbags was safe and stable, though he admitted replacements weren’t coming fast enough.

Meanwhile, competitor Autoliv announced it would supply replacements to Honda for vehicles in the United States. The automaker had mentioned before Congress it was in talks with the supplier and another, Daicel, regarding expanded production to replace modules in a nationwide recall. Autoliv will add capacity in its existing plants, with deliveries to come after six months.

Among the other affected automakers, Chrysler, Toyota and Mazda have stepped up their individual recall efforts. AutoGuide says the subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has called back 149,150 Dodge Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 models from the 2003 model year, covering Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan and the Virgin Islands. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated the move wasn’t enough, and is looking at what action to take next.

Over in Japan, Bloomberg reports Toyota is recalling 190,000 affected vehicles in its local market and in China. The recall comes on the news of a catastrophic detonation at a junkyard of a Takata airbag inside a 2003 WiLL Cypha; the detonation was part of the procedures outlined by Japan’s Automobile Recycling Law, which also requires dismantlers to report any problem to the automaker to determine if a recall is necessary.

Finally, The Detroit News says Mazda is recalling 40,000 more vehicles — including the 2003-2007 Mazda6, 2004-2008 RX-8, 2006-2007 Mazdaspeed6, 2004-2005 MPV and 2004 B-Series — in Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Texas and Alabama. The automaker previously recalled 44,000 units in the U.S. and 2,600 in Puerto Rico.

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Los Angeles 2014: 2016 Mazda CX-5 Unmasked http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-mazda-cx-5-unmasked/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-mazda-cx-5-unmasked/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 00:05:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948169 Completing the Mazda trifecta of the all-new CX-3 and refreshed Mazda6 comes the revised CX-5. The 2016 update gives the crossover a face updated for the times, LED accents, 19-inch wheels, and nine colors from which to paint your world. As for the interior, higher-quality materials, improved NVH and seating, and more places to store […]

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Completing the Mazda trifecta of the all-new CX-3 and refreshed Mazda6 comes the revised CX-5.

The 2016 update gives the crossover a face updated for the times, LED accents, 19-inch wheels, and nine colors from which to paint your world. As for the interior, higher-quality materials, improved NVH and seating, and more places to store all the things are now available, as well as an electronic parking brake to keep things in place.

Under the hood, two engines deliver the power to the front or all four wheels: a 2-liter four-pot, and a 2.5-liter variant that is expected to save the driver from spending more at the pump than necessary.

Finally, the cyborgs in your life can enjoy the automaker’s Mazda Connect infotainment system, as well as the i-Activsense safety suite, which makes driving a little easier with features like radar-based cruise control and smart braking.

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Los Angeles 2014: 2016 Mazda6 Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-mazda6-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-mazda6-revealed/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 23:50:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948121 Meet the new boss, almost the same as the old boss. Refreshed for the 2016 model year, the Mazda6 has a revised smile, LED headlamps, and nine colors from which to choose. Meanwhile, the inside provides the driver with a first-ever-for-the-brand electric parking brake, minimized gaps between interior panels, and a 10 percent reduction in […]

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Meet the new boss, almost the same as the old boss.

Refreshed for the 2016 model year, the Mazda6 has a revised smile, LED headlamps, and nine colors from which to choose. Meanwhile, the inside provides the driver with a first-ever-for-the-brand electric parking brake, minimized gaps between interior panels, and a 10 percent reduction in NVH levels on rougher roads, 25 percent on properly paved highways.

Motivation is reduced to one engine: the 2.5-liter four-pot capable of moving 184 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque to the front. Six-speed auto and manual transmissions make the connection possible.

Tech goodies include the Mazda Connect infotainment system and the automaker’s i-Activsense safety suite, which has features such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and smart braking.

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TTAC Long Term Update: 2015 Mazda3 Sport http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/ttac-long-term-update-2015-mazda3-sport/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/ttac-long-term-update-2015-mazda3-sport/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 19:21:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944873 What was supposed to be a milestone in my life – taking delivery of my first new car - ended up being thrown off by a slight mishap during PDI. And one that raises questions about Mazda’s Mexican operations. Before I took delivery of my new Mazda3, myself and my Dad gave the car a […]

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What was supposed to be a milestone in my life – taking delivery of my first new car - ended up being thrown off by a slight mishap during PDI. And one that raises questions about Mazda’s Mexican operations.

Before I took delivery of my new Mazda3, myself and my Dad gave the car a thorough once over on the dealer lot. There, we noticed the faint gouge just above the rear badge, as well as some white marks in and around the badge (less visible in the photo). I decided not to take delivery of the car and let Yorkdale Dufferin Mazda’s PDI guy work out the problem.

The next day, I got a call from the dealer, saying the Mazda would replace the hatch with an entirely new unit. It turned out that the original hatch wasn’t sprayed correctly, and Mazda would send a new, pre-painted unit to replace it. The 2.0L versions are built at Mazda’s all-new Salamanca, Mexico facility. Perhaps there are some teething problems with the plant. One OEM quality engineer I spoke to suggested that there may have been pre-delivery damage. But according to the legal disclosure given to me at delivery, there is none. Should it emerge, I have legal recourse.

Almost immediately, I ordered snow tires – and the timing was perfect, given that we have our first snowfall today. On the advice of my tire vendor, I went with the Hankook W419 RS, which are apparently performance oriented winter tires. We’ll see how they fare.

Thanks to Jason Donio and Yorkdale Dufferin Mazda for their assistance. They can be reached at 416-789-4521.

Thanks to Jason and Mitch at Tirespot. While they tires were purchased at retail with no discounts, I cannot recommend them enough. 416-283-1300.

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TTAC Long-Term Review: 2015 Mazda3 Sport http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/ttac-long-term-review-2015-mazda3-sport/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/ttac-long-term-review-2015-mazda3-sport/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 14:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=943689 First it was Jack. Then my Grandma. Now it’s my turn to buy a new car. The idea of owning a pure, elemental sports car is romantic and enticing. But the reality of living with one as your daily driver in a climate that alternates between stiflingly humid and frigid enough to freeze your bone […]

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First it was Jack. Then my Grandma. Now it’s my turn to buy a new car.

The idea of owning a pure, elemental sports car is romantic and enticing. But the reality of living with one as your daily driver in a climate that alternates between stiflingly humid and frigid enough to freeze your bone marrow is another matter. Half the time is spent stuck in traffic with the sun delivering enough UV rays to turn your scalp the same shade as a lobster. The other half is spent shivering in the barely insulated cabin, dodging distracted drivers and all-season shod cars while trying not to panic your passenger with consecutive attempts at threshold braking (hooray, no ABS). It was time for something different. For now. I will revisit things once the ND MX-5 is released.

The Miata went up for sale, and like any clean, rust-free Miata in Toronto, it went for a pretty penny. I promptly took the money, did not pass go or put $2000 down on a nice car. Instead, I socked it away in my retirement account. In line with my new, adult priorities, my criteria for a new car was such:

1) Cheap

2) Reasonably fun to drive

3) Cheap

4) Fuel efficient

5) Cheap

I briefly considered a Volkswagen GTI, but at the time, premium gas was over $6 a gallon, and the only 5-door version in Canada cost a hair under $35,000. I resolved to move on to a Ford Fiesta ST, but by the time I was ready to buy, interest rates went from 1.49 percent to 5.59% for financing and 7.19% for leasing. I had no intention of paying $500 CAD a month over 60 months to own that particular car. Previously, Ford Employee Pricing and favorable rates would have made the car sit in the high end of the “affordable” range for me, but now it sat well outside that bracket.

Earlier in the year, I’d driven a Mazda3 with the 2.0L and 6-speed manual, and came away just as impressed as I was at the launch event. It wasn’t particularly quick, but it felt gutsier than my NB Miata. The handling was as brilliant as I remembered, and the steering reminded me of my beloved 1997 NA, with a custom alignment, minus the darty sneeze-and-you-change-lanes feel that came with having 5 degrees of caster dialed in. More importantly, it was fairly comfortable, had a real trunk and got 35 mpg in mixed driving on regular gas – far better than the premium-swilling NB ever returned.

Somehow, my local dealer, Yorkdale Dufferin Mazda, had a number of manual transmission Mazda3s (and Mazda 6s, and Mazda5s for that matter) on the lot. I was all set on a Crystal Blue Mica sedan when I had a change of heart at the last minute, and took the hatchback model, seen here, in the same deep navy blue. This one was spec’d exactly how I wanted: 6-speed manual, the Convenience Package (with automatic headlamps and the all-important heated seats, among other things). No sunroof. The big, tablet-like screen with the HMI Commander interface. With the various incentives, I paid just a hair above invoice.

Confession time: I actually leased it. With a 60 percent residual, the ability to write part of the car off and no desire to own it out of the 3 year warranty, I opted for the (substantially) lower monthly payments. Many of you will counter that leasing is akin to a long-term rental, and you are correct. But it also ended up being cheaper than getting a Zipcar for two days out of every month.

I’m sure I could have also paid cash for a used car, but I wanted to free myself from trips to the mechanic, repair bills and the hassles associated with all of those factors. And with a interest rate of 0.29% from Mazda, it’s effectively free, meaning there’s better places to park my money.

I plan on detailing my experiences with the car for as long as I am driving it. I’m proud that myself, Jack and other contributors can and do bring you real world impressions of cars that we have paid our own money for. I’m also happen to be driving something akin to a wagon, even if most of you don’t regard it as such.

 

 

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Consumer Reports: Infotainment System Woes Mark 2014 Reliability Survey http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/consumer-reports-infotainment-system-woes-mark-2014-reliability-survey/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/consumer-reports-infotainment-system-woes-mark-2014-reliability-survey/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 10:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=936826 Consumer Reports released its Annual Reliability Survey for this year, focusing some of the attention on the woes experienced by a handful of infotainment systems. According to the publication, the absolute worse of the pack in 2014 was Infiniti’s InTouch system in the new Q50, with over one in five owners wanting to take a […]

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Infiniti InTouch - Infiniti Q50

Consumer Reports released its Annual Reliability Survey for this year, focusing some of the attention on the woes experienced by a handful of infotainment systems.

According to the publication, the absolute worse of the pack in 2014 was Infiniti’s InTouch system in the new Q50, with over one in five owners wanting to take a crowbar to the whole thing. The brand itself took a beating, dropping 14 points to 20th out of 28 as a result of the Q50’s issues, as well as the overall reliability issues in the QX60. Other infotainment systems ironing out the bugs included Ford’s MyTouch, Honda’s HondaLink and Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s UConnect.

Concerning overall reliability, Lexus once again took the top of the podium, while Toyota and Mazda respectively brought home silver and bronze, and Honda finished in fourth. Buick, meanwhile, was the only brand among the Detroit Three to place in the top 10, jumping from 16th to sixth on the strength of its entire portfolio.

As for why the other Detroit brands failed to reach the top 10, Consumer Reports says domestic small and compact cars, along with full-size trucks, are holding everyone back. Tesla also didn’t make the list, but that was due to criteria than low quality: the publication only rates brands with a minimum of two models, a situation that will be remedied when the Model X rolls out next year.

Finally, Audi took fifth behind the Japanese makes, while Porsche took ninth ahead of Kia. BMW and Volvo remained within the top 20. Only Mercedes-Benz took a hit among the Europeans this year, falling 11 spots to 24th thanks to the new CLA and S classes.

The Consumer Reports 2014 reliability survey obtained its information from 1.1 million vehicles, the largest survey of its kind in the publication’s history.

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NHTSA Issues Urgent Recall For Takata-Equipped Vehicles In Humid Climes http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nhtsa-issues-urgent-recall-takata-equipped-vehicles-humid-climes/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nhtsa-issues-urgent-recall-takata-equipped-vehicles-humid-climes/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934178 If you happen to own certain BMW, General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Mazda and Nissan vehicles, and reside in a humid climate, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging you to take it in for repairs linked to the Takata airbags installed. Though the agency didn’t explain exactly the need for urgency, the airbags made […]

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Takata Airbag Cutaway

If you happen to own certain BMW, General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Mazda and Nissan vehicles, and reside in a humid climate, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging you to take it in for repairs linked to the Takata airbags installed.

Though the agency didn’t explain exactly the need for urgency, the airbags made by Takata have been linked to humidity-related failures, where upon detonation, metal shrapnel would be sprayed into the cabin, injuring or killing all within.

Owners of the following affected vehicles may need to bring their vehicles in for repairs if they call Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands or Hawaii home:

Toyota: 778,177 total number of vehicles potentially affected
2002 – 2004 Lexus SC
2003 – 2004 Toyota Corolla
2003 – 2004 Toyota Corolla Matrix
2002 – 2004 Toyota Sequoia
2003 – 2004 Toyota Tundra
2003 – 2004 Pontiac Vibe

Honda: 2,803,214 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2001 – 2007 Honda Accord (4 cyl)
2001 – 2002 Honda Accord (6 cyl)
2001 – 2005 Honda Civic
2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V
2003 – 2011 Honda Element
2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey
2003 -2007 Honda Pilot
2006 Honda Ridgeline
2003 – 2006 Acura MDX
2002 -2003 Acura TL/CL

Nissan: 437,712 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2001 2003 Nissan Maxima
2001 – 2003 Nissan Pathfinder
2002 – 2003 Nissan Sentra
2001 – 2003 Infiniti I30/I35
2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4
2003 Infiniti FX

Mazda: 18,050 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2003 – 2004 Mazda6
2004 Mazda RX-8

BMW: 573,935 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan
2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe
2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon
2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible
2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe
2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible

General Motors: 133,221 total number potentially affected vehicles
2002 – 2003 Buick LeSabre
2002 – 2003 Buick Rendezvous
2002 – 2003 Cadillac DeVille
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Impala
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Venture
2002 – 2003 GMC Envoy
2002 – 2003 GMC Envoy XL
2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora
2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Bravada
2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Silhouette
2002 – 2003 Pontiac Bonneville
2002 – 2003 Pontiac Montana

Recall letters are being sent out to affected owners, who can also look up their VIN through SaferCar.gov to determine if their vehicle is under recall.

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Revised Mazda2 Takes Home Japan COTY Award http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/revised-mazda2-takes-home-japan-coty-award/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/revised-mazda2-takes-home-japan-coty-award/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 14:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=931434 The newly revised Mazda2 — Demio in its home market of Japan — won’t be in United States showrooms until sometime during the 2016 model year, but when it does arrive, it will be bringing along its first award: the 2014-2015 Car of the Year Japan, as presented by the Japan Car of the Year […]

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The newly revised Mazda2 — Demio in its home market of Japan — won’t be in United States showrooms until sometime during the 2016 model year, but when it does arrive, it will be bringing along its first award: the 2014-2015 Car of the Year Japan, as presented by the Japan Car of the Year Committee.

The fourth vehicle to adopt the automaker’s Kodo design language — after the CX-5, Mazda6 and Mazda3 — the Mazda2 took home the award just two years after the CX-5 did the same. The win is Mazda’s fifth overall.

All passenger vehicles announced or in production in Japan between November 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014, with over 500 units produced/planned for the home market, were eligible for this year’s award.

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EPA: Mazda Holds Highest MPG, Lowest CO2 Averages For 2013 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/epa-mazda-holds-highest-mpg-lowest-co2-averages-2013/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/epa-mazda-holds-highest-mpg-lowest-co2-averages-2013/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=928618 Mazda’s green vibes must just feel right with the Environmental Protection Agency, as the agency has proclaimed the automaker has the highest fuel economy and lowest greenhouse gas emissions of any automaker in 2013. Edmunds reports Mazda’s portfolio netted an average of 28.1 mpg and 316 grams/mile of CO2, followed by Honda (27.4/324), Subaru (26.7/332) […]

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Mazda’s green vibes must just feel right with the Environmental Protection Agency, as the agency has proclaimed the automaker has the highest fuel economy and lowest greenhouse gas emissions of any automaker in 2013.

Edmunds reports Mazda’s portfolio netted an average of 28.1 mpg and 316 grams/mile of CO2, followed by Honda (27.4/324), Subaru (26.7/332) and Nissan (26.2/339). Nissan also had the greatest improvement in both rankings, jumping up 2.2 mpg and cutting down 30 g/mi of CO2 compared to 2012. All four are set to continue their green ways, as well, with Mazda leading the way again for 2014 at 28.8 mpg/309 g/mi CO2.

At the bottom of the list, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles delivered an average of 20.9 mpg/425 g/mi CO2. Volkswagen AG bested the other German manufacturers with 353 g/mi CO2 and 25.7 mpg, while Hyundai and Kia continue to be footnotes due to an ongoing investigation regarding fuel economy numbers.

As stated earlier, the overall average mpg for 2013 came out to 24.1 mpg, while overall CO2 emissions averaged 369 g/mi. The EPA adds that the number of vehicles topping out at 40 mpg and above jumped from three to 26, and that the top three most fuel-efficient models for 2013 are the Chevrolet Spark (119 combined MPGe), Honda Fit EV (118) and Fiat 500e (116).

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Maeda: New Mazda RX Must Have Rotary Power http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/maeda-new-mazda-rx-must-rotary-power/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/maeda-new-mazda-rx-must-rotary-power/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 11:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921617 Can you imagine one day visiting a Mazda showroom to buy a new RX-7 and finding anything but a rotary engine under the hood? Neither can global design chief — and RX-8 designer — Ikuo Maeda. Automotive News reports the designer, whose father gave the world the aforementioned sports car, is hard at work on […]

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Mazda 787B + Rotary Engine

Can you imagine one day visiting a Mazda showroom to buy a new RX-7 and finding anything but a rotary engine under the hood? Neither can global design chief — and RX-8 designer — Ikuo Maeda.

Automotive News reports the designer, whose father gave the world the aforementioned sports car, is hard at work on bringing back the RX line. Though nothing is set in stone, and that the Skyactiv engine “is a wonderful powertrain,” Maeda insists the next RX must live up to its name.

However, engineers are still at a loss as to how to make the rotary engine cleaner to meet today’s more stringent emission guidelines, having been hard at work in the background since the Renesis 16X engine debuted in the back of the Taiki concept in 2007. Mazda itself hasn’t pushed the rotary back into the spotlight since giving the RX-8 the ax in 2012.

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2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Unveiled http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-unveiled/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-unveiled/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 01:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=905601 This is it: The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata unveiled for all to behold. The fourth-generation MX-5 takes the automaker’s Kodo design language to another level, giving the iconic roadster “the presence of a living creature and a strong sense of vitality to the car,” as well as convey agility. Underneath the bio-mechanical skin, the roadster […]

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This is it: The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata unveiled for all to behold.

The fourth-generation MX-5 takes the automaker’s Kodo design language to another level, giving the iconic roadster “the presence of a living creature and a strong sense of vitality to the car,” as well as convey agility.

Underneath the bio-mechanical skin, the roadster distributes its 2280 pounds of weight — 200 pounds lighter than the current MX-5 — 50:50 between the front and rear. Under the bonnet, a Skyactiv-G direct-injection gasoline engine sends its power to the back through either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.

Part of the weight reduction comes from the use of aluminum forward of the A-pillar as well as the rear bumper reinforcements. Lighter suspension components and soft-top materials contribute to Mazda’s so-called “gram strategy,” also.

Behind the wheel, the automaker’s Mazda Connect next-gen connected-vehicle system “efficiently links the driver to the car and the outside world.” Meanwhile, the soft-top can be operated from within the cockpit, the roadster won’t look awkward like the Nissan Z and Murano CrossCabriolet with the top down, and wind control features will keep your hair or hat from blowing away.

The new MX-5 will go on sale in 2015. No price of admission has been announced at this time.

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Lightly Revised Mazda CX-5 Caught By Spy Cameras http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/lightly-revised-mazda-cx-5-caught-spy-cameras/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/lightly-revised-mazda-cx-5-caught-spy-cameras/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 10:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=893394 The Mazda CX-5 is doing well for itself among critics and customers alike, but like anyone else, the automaker has some ideas on how the crossover can keep its edge. Autoblog reports spy cameras caught a lightly camo’d CX-5 testing somewhere in Europe with tape covering parts of its face and backside. The head and […]

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2013 Mazda CX-5. Picture courtesy motortrend.com

The Mazda CX-5 is doing well for itself among critics and customers alike, but like anyone else, the automaker has some ideas on how the crossover can keep its edge.

Autoblog reports spy cameras caught a lightly camo’d CX-5 testing somewhere in Europe with tape covering parts of its face and backside. The head and rear lamps have been revised, along with the grill, and the side mirrors boast integrated turn signals.

Expect to see everything unmasked around the Los Angeles Auto Show this November prior to going on sale the following autumn for the 2016 model year.

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Mazda2 RE May Appear Soon, But Only In Select Markets http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/mazda2-re-may-appear-soon-but-only-in-select-markets/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/mazda2-re-may-appear-soon-but-only-in-select-markets/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 11:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=863249 The oft-rumored Mazda2 RE PHEV, powered by a range-extending rotary engine, may soon become reality, appearing sometime after the next-gen hatch debuts in showrooms between October and the new year. Motoring.com.au reports the PHEV won’t be making its global debut with the rest of the new Mazda2 family in August, nor will it likely appear […]

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The oft-rumored Mazda2 RE PHEV, powered by a range-extending rotary engine, may soon become reality, appearing sometime after the next-gen hatch debuts in showrooms between October and the new year.

Motoring.com.au reports the PHEV won’t be making its global debut with the rest of the new Mazda2 family in August, nor will it likely appear in showrooms where government support is lacking, according to Mazda Australia Managing Director Martin Benders:

The only markets in which you can justify bringing something like that out, to get at least a reasonable amount of volume to justify setting it up as a saleable model, are ones where there’s government support for those types of models.

Benders adds that the current crop of Skyactiv engines do a better job of reducing CO2 emissions and boosting fuel economy than the more expensive PHEV technology, with subsidies and sales quotas hindering the case for hybrids in countries where the support isn’t there. However, Benders doesn’t believe government money should be used to promote the technology, preferring the market to decide what lives and what dies.

As for the new-gen Mazda2, which will take its cue from the Kodo design language found in vehicles like the Mazda3 and Mazda6, power will be supplied by a 1.5-liter naturally aspirated gasoline engine and a matching turbo diesel; the latter will likely not make it to the United States when the new compact arrives next year.

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Reader Review: 2014 Mazda6 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/reader-review-2014-mazda6/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/reader-review-2014-mazda6/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 15:46:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=863065 TTAC reader Steve submits his review of his 2014 Mazda6 Touring – with a manual! I drove home in my new Liquid Silver Mazda 6 (Touring with 6MT) in January of this year – at just over $23,000, this is the cheapest new car I’ve bought, and also the most enjoyable. Having previously owned a […]

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TTAC reader Steve submits his review of his 2014 Mazda6 Touring – with a manual!

I drove home in my new Liquid Silver Mazda 6 (Touring with 6MT) in January of this year – at just over $23,000, this is the cheapest new car I’ve bought, and also the most enjoyable.


Having previously owned a 2006 Mazdaspeed6 and more recently a 2011 Nissan Maxima, I had serious reservations about shedding so many ponies from my stable by opting for Mazda’s obligatory 4 banger. However, after a few years of the Maxima’s CVT, my left leg had atrophied to the point where I was bound and determined to buy another manual transmission, despite the power downgrade and the lack of entrants in the midsize sedan segment with an optional third pedal.

My first choice was a Cadillac ATS 2.0 RWD 6MT, but at the time I was shopping, I was not finding any deals. The tiny back seat and my three growing kids didn’t make things easier. The prospect of Detroit winters in a rear-drive car, my own lead foot (turbo engines tend to be thirsty with my driving habits) and the upward creep of the MSRP, I decided to pass.

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Although I looked at the Accord and Fusion, the sexy curves, long hood, imposing grille and general seductiveness of the Mazda6 drove me right into the waiting arms of my Mazda dealer. I opted for the Touring trim level without too much debate as it had the optional 6MT and the Sport was only available with cloth interior and could not be had with the considerably more aesthetically pleasing 19” rims. I considered the auto-only Grand Touring simply because it had quite a few extras not available on the Touring, like a moon roof, navigation, HID headlights, real leather seats and LED running lights to name a few. Had the Grand Touring been offered with a manual, I would probably have one in my driveway. But the Touring trim is really the sweet spot in terms of value; shaving at least $6,000 off of the price compared to a Grand Touring, probably more depending on equipment levels.

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The interior of the Touring trim is no penalty box. Upscale is not a word I would use to describe it, but it is tasteful and competitive with others in the class in terms of material quality. The dash is composed of primarily soft touch materials where it matters in addition to faux carbon and aluminum accents. There are hard textured plastics on surfaces where your hands are unlikely to wander. The seats are “leatherette” trimmed. It is a somewhat convincing leather substitute which is likely to fool those who don’t know better. I find that it is no better or worse than real leather in terms of comfort.

The base sound system is actually quite good; I have been very pleased with it. The Bluetooth audio works very well, as does the streaming Pandora function. HD radio is also nice feature to those who actually still listen to AM/FM. Fire up the car and my Google Music library starts playing where it left off in a matter of seconds; I assume it would do the same for an iPhone. There has been lots of criticism of the infotainment system which I find really unwarranted. It may not be the best, most intuitive system with the largest screen and fastest processor on the market, but I have managed just fine. It makes me wonder just how subjective the love/hate reviews of various infotainment systems must be.Open the manual and learn how to use it people!

The 6 has a touch screen infotainment system with a display that is roughly 5.5 inches, almost the exact same size as my Galaxy Note3. This also raises the question as to the value of these infotainment systems. Armed with a tablet, a giant phone and a laptop, what the hell do I need a fancy in-car infotainment system for? If you cannot manage to launch Google maps on the fly via voice command on your phone for turn by turn directions you probably cannot operate an in-car infotainment system properly either. My point being, these systems, particularly navigation systems, are largely redundant in my opinion. If you are so inclined though, you can use the touch screen or the command dial mounted between the gearshift and cup holders to operate the audio or customize a variety of functions such as the duration of your audible turn signal clicks, the time the exterior and interior lights remain on after the vehicle is turned off and various other functions. Climate control is easy to operate and has proven extremely effective for AC or heat. I have found that all the buttons are fairly well placed and reasonably intuitive to operate.

The back seat is spacious enough to accommodate my three children, two of whom still require booster seats sitting outboard and my five foot tall 8-year-old sitting in the center, but it is admittedly tight with the boosters. There is enough leg room for a 6 foot tall adult to sit in relative comfort behind a 6 foot tall driver.

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It’s true that ingress and egress to the rear passenger compartment is complicated by the sloping roofline but the situation is easily remedied by opening your eyes and not smashing your head into the door frame. If you find the process too daunting, you are probably lucky Darwin hasn’t yet come to claim you as an evolutionary failure in some sort of freak strangulation accident at the hands of some easily escapable contrivance. The front seats are comfortable on longer trips and sufficiently bolstered. The car has a push button start, but curiously, not advanced keyless entry. Only the driver’s window is express auto up/down and the key fob unfortunately cannot roll down any of the windows on a hot day. Headlights are auto off, but not auto on. It has a standard backup camera with cross traffic alert and blind spot monitor. The driver has a power adjustable seat. The rear seats split 60/40 to allow trunk pass through of bulky items. The trunk is sufficiently large for a few golf bags or at least one dead body.

On the road, the 6 feels downright nimble, especially compared to my old Maxima (a 4DSC it was not). The 6’s body stays planted while cornering even on imperfect surfaces where my old Maxima would have lost composure due to suspension rebound. Steering is fairly boosted at low speeds but has nice weight and feel once on the road. The 6 handles the patchy moonscape of Michigan roads rather well, even with the big rims and low profile tires. It is a firm ride, but never feels like it crashes over bumps; gracefully handling road conditions that would have shaken trim pieces off of my old Mazdaspeed6.

The car is not fast, but the 184hp and 185 torques produced by the Skyactiv 4-cylinder are a good match for the chassis and transmission. The powerplant is more than adequate for a 3200 pound car. Redline comes rather quick at just over 6k rpm and more brisk acceleration requires you to stay above 3000 rpm, shifts are relatively smooth and clutch operation is easy with a good engagement point not too far from the floor in the clutch pedal travel.

Cruising around 80 mph on the highway puts the car at about 3000 rpm, and there is what I would consider a moderate amount of engine, wind and road noise. In the last few months I have been consistently getting about 31 mpg is mostly city driving. The small amount of highway travel I have done so far has netted about 38 mpg. Fuel economy was a little lower in the frigid winter months, averaging 28-29 mpg, but I am very pleased with the fuel consumption since spring.

I have clocked over 7000 trouble free miles since I bought my 6 with no regrets, wishing only for a few goodies and options to be available with the manual transmission beyond the Touring trim standard features. But, like my father always said, “wish in one hand and sh*t in the other and see which hand fills up first”. It took me a long time to figure out what that means, and I think this crude pearl of wisdom is well suited to the compromises we all make when purchasing a vehicle. A perfect car with everything you want may not exist, but there is a vehicle that has what you need and is perfect for you.

I may be turning into my father – or perhaps finally letting go of my youth and embracing the horror of being a balding, 30 something father of three children who appreciates sensible, worry-free, reasonably priced transportation. With the new Mazda6, I get all that in addition to a nice dose of exterior styling, a chassis, suspension, transmission and engine that can bring a smile to my face and some joy to my commute. I know there are plenty of cars that can best the Mazda6 in every test that involves moving, I haven’t seen any ladies flocking to me as I pull up to the club and it is not luxurious by any stretch. But, what you get for the price of admission adds up to more than the sum of its parts and I believe the Mazda6 in general and the Touring trim in particular is a true bargain in a beautiful and fun to drive package.

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Honda, Nissan, Mazda Recall 3 Million Over Defective Airbag Inflators http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/honda-nissan-mazda-recall-3-million-over-defective-airbag-inflators/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/honda-nissan-mazda-recall-3-million-over-defective-airbag-inflators/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 10:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=850770 Honda, Nissan and Mazda are recalling a total of 3 million vehicles equipped with defective airbag inflators supplied by Takata, following a similar action by Toyota. Automotive News reports 2.03 million Hondas, 755,000 Nissans and 159,807 Mazdas globally are being recalled to replace the defective units. The effort comes just after Toyota recalled 1.62 vehicles […]

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Honda, Nissan and Mazda are recalling a total of 3 million vehicles equipped with defective airbag inflators supplied by Takata, following a similar action by Toyota.

Automotive News reports 2.03 million Hondas, 755,000 Nissans and 159,807 Mazdas globally are being recalled to replace the defective units. The effort comes just after Toyota recalled 1.62 vehicles outside Japan that were recalled earlier this month for the same issue, and 655,000 vehicles in the home market that were being recalled for the first time. As of June 23, 10 million vehicles between 2009 and 2014 have been recalled due to defects in Takata’s airbag units.

June’s action follow those by the four automakers conducted in April of this year, when Takata informed the group that a number of the defective units had escaped into the supplier channels due to poor record-keeping between 2000 and 2002 at the supplier’s plants in Washington and Mexico, where the moisture-infected units were assembled and stored. Moisture degraded the airbags’ inflators, which led to the units exploding, throwing metal shrapnel throughout the cabin.

Other manufacturers who used Takata airbags — including Ford, Chrysler and BMW — are also calling back a handful of affected models, especially those in humid climates such as Florida and Puerto Rico; CEO Shigehisa Takada claimed “the high levels of absolute humidity in those states” may also cause catastrophic failure of the inflators.

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Mazda MX-5 Miata 25th Anniversary Edition Sells Out In 10 Minutes http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/mazda-mx-5-miata-25th-anniversary-edition-sells-out-in-10-minutes/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/mazda-mx-5-miata-25th-anniversary-edition-sells-out-in-10-minutes/#comments Thu, 22 May 2014 12:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=828610 Were you hoping to get your hands on one of the 100 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata 25th Anniversary Edition roadsters? Alas, you can stop holding your breath: All 100 were sold within 10 minutes. Autoblog reports Mazda opened its pre-order site for the roadster on Tuesday with the idea of keeping it open until the […]

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2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata 25th Anniversary Edition

Were you hoping to get your hands on one of the 100 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata 25th Anniversary Edition roadsters? Alas, you can stop holding your breath: All 100 were sold within 10 minutes.

Autoblog reports Mazda opened its pre-order site for the roadster on Tuesday with the idea of keeping it open until the end of May or when 250 customers registered. Ten minutes later, 250 customers signed up, leaving the automaker with the unenviable task of contacting and verifying the first 100 who will be granted the opportunity to order this particular MX-5.

Once the customer chooses either the $32,205 six-speed manual or $32,655 six-speed sport automatic with manual shift, “the customer’s information will then be forwarded to the dealership of their choosing to finalize the transaction.” All models come with a retractable hard top, the Soul Red paint found on the Mazda6, special badging inside, and a custom Tourneau watch among the pieces available.

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Rental Review: 2014 Mazda CX-5 Touring AWD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/rental-review-2014-mazda-cx-5-touring-awd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/rental-review-2014-mazda-cx-5-touring-awd/#comments Sat, 26 Apr 2014 18:30:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=810162 Two years ago, I declared my undying affection for the Mazda CX-5. The “Skyactiv philosophy” cute-ute was, I reckoned, pretty close to perfect. There was just one little problem: although the manual-transmission variant shone in venues as diverse as Laguna Seca and the back roads surrounding Monterey, the CX-5 struggled a bit when its two-liter […]

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Two years ago, I declared my undying affection for the Mazda CX-5. The “Skyactiv philosophy” cute-ute was, I reckoned, pretty close to perfect. There was just one little problem: although the manual-transmission variant shone in venues as diverse as Laguna Seca and the back roads surrounding Monterey, the CX-5 struggled a bit when its two-liter powerplant was combined with an automatic transmission. So what, right? Obviously the stick-shift is the one to have.

Since most people don’t feel that way, however, Mazda has decided to address the power issue by making its 2.5L, 184-horsepower engine standard equipment in Touring trim and above. To check out what difference the bigger mill makes on the road, I drove a CX-5 nearly twelve hundred miles in the course of seventy-two hours.

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My trip took me from sunny Powell, Ohio to, um… is that Bangkok in the photo above? Perhaps it’s Kuala Lumpur, or Nairobi. Maybe this next shot will help.

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Yes? No? Maybe? The Pepsi-Cola sign should be helpful. Let’s see it from another angle:

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That’s Citi Field, home of the Mets. The CX-5 is, therefore, in the so-called “Iron Triangle” behind Citi, the unregulated, unpaved area where chop-shops and bootleg collision centers dominate the not-quite-urban landscape. The “Iron Triangle” is, I understand, not long for this world; too many people have their eyes on the real estate. You can read more about it on Slate. My six-foot-tall, unashamedly Dutch boon companion and professional urban planner, [name redacted], considers the area perhaps the most exciting part of New York. “It’s amazing, to see a place where nothing’s been done.” Then, referring to the city’s willful failure to provide the Iron Triangle with paved streets, city sewers, or electric lighting, she offered this: “Every Republican in this country should be dragged there to see what happens when you have little to no government involvement in daily life.”

One thing’s for certain: if you want to go off-roading within the five boroughs, this is your destination. The landscape abounds with foot-deep sinkholes, ruts, and crests created by the action of undrained rainwater across the dirt surface. Once or twice, I was able to get the Mazda to do some deliberate traction transfer to the rear wheels in order to get up a slippery hump. The locals, who avoid those areas as a matter of course, eyed me with suspicion. What kind of idiot would deliberately tackle stuff like that in a CUV?

The CX-5 is totally fine on rough surfaces, as long as you’re conscious of the ride height, but it was designed to operate on-road. A good thing, as I had a lot of road to cover during this trip, and I had to drive it all myself. I decided that I would deliberately compare this $26,215 four-cylinder car against the Grand Cherokee that won the Rental Grinders comparison a week ago. What do you lose for the $13,000 price gap to the JGC, and what, if anything, do you gain?

We all know that a transverse FWD platform pays dividends in all sorts of ways. Start with interior space utilization. The CX-5 is significantly smaller than the Grand Cherokee, losing half a foot in both length and wheelbase and four inches across the beam, but it doesn’t feel like it. All four passengers have at least as much usable room in the Mazda as in the Jeep, and cargo area was effectively identical. After the decidedly upscale interior and touch points of the Grand Cherokee, the CX-5 was functional at best — but nearly everything you touch feels acceptable for the segment. Some of it is a little over-designed, as with the turn signal and wiper switch that have J-shaped connectors to the steering column, but it’s all usable enough.

The Touring trim’s included center screen and stereo system are the easy equal of anything the Jeep or Ford Edge SEL have to offer; better, in fact, with more features and a more satisfying listening experience. The Bluetooth integration was a little frustrating; not only were phone conversations using my Samsung Galaxy S3 quite frustrating, the texting feature was completely useless.

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Yeah, don’t bother with that. It doesn’t work. On the positive side, track and artist information were clearly and correctly displayed when using my phone as an audio device, and the directional buttons for track selection were functional as well.

A good stereo is a requirement for a long drive, but a good ride and low interior noise don’t hurt matters. Here, the CX-5 shone, matching the bigger utes for ride and beating the Edge on noise suppression. It had the measure of its rivals on manueverability, as well, particularly on the surface streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn where moving aggressively to find and fill gaps isn’t an optional behavior.

So far, that’s all the behavior I expected from the little-ish Mazda based on previous experience. The questions I had revolved around the pairing of the 2.5L Skyactiv and the six-speed automatic. We can start with the good news: On the 560-mile trip from Powell to Williamsburg, the CX-5 displayed an average 30.1mpg consumption figure, showing 30.3mpg all the way to the Holland Tunnel. I drove for economy, avoiding strong starts or kickdown-intensive passing, but I did run 75-80mph wherever possible.

On the way back, however, there was a strong headwind and I frequently found myself summoning fifth gear for climbs. Against the wind, so to speak, the CX-5 couldn’t maintain 80mph without dropping out of top gear. At the end of the return trip, therefore, the score stood as you see here:

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Still not bad, right? And still about twenty percent better than what either the Edge or Grand Cherokee could manage. Make no mistake, though, the addition of the 2.5L didn’t make this CUV a rocketship. At best, it’s now quick enough to work with all traffic situations. If you want a fast vehicle in this segment, get the old V-6 RAV4, which fired off fifteen-second quarter-miles with no problem. This Mazda won’t come close to that.

It’s tempting to wish for a V-6 in this CUV, as well. But the CX-5 shines in large part because of the overall balance Mazda got from making it incompatible with a larger engine. Perhaps alone among its competitors, this is a vehicle of restraint and even taste. Just enough size, just enough motor, just enough features. At two-thirds of the price of the larger CUV competition, this vehicle offers a full share of their virtues, with some additional ones besides.

After two long days on the road, I remained convinced by the CX-5. It would really knock my socks off if Mazda could combine the six-speed manual with the bigger engine, but this Touring variant is more than good enough to see off the competition. The sticker price represents tremendous value and it continues to be recommended over the alternatives, from CR-V to Escape. If you really need more power, more curb appeal, and more off-road ability, you can choose the Grand Cherokee without regrets — but for the vast majority of buyers, this Five is enough.

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New York 2014: Mazda Skyactiv Chassis Live Shots http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-mazda-skyactiv-chassis-live-shots/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-mazda-skyactiv-chassis-live-shots/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:14:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=802970 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 […]

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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.

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