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. Tue, 07 Jul 2015 21:00:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 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 » Mazda http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com 2016 Scion iA Review With Video – Mono-Priced Zoom-Zoom http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/2016-scion-ia-review-video-mono-priced-zoom-zoom/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/2016-scion-ia-review-video-mono-priced-zoom-zoom/#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 13:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1105937 When is a Scion not a Scion? Since Scion is division of Toyota, this is both a trick question and a serious one. Scions can be anything from tweaked Toyotas and foreign market Toyotas to cars built by other manufacturers for Scion. The first such product was the collaboratively developed Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ / Toyota 86. […]

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2016 Scion iA Exterior-004

When is a Scion not a Scion? Since Scion is division of Toyota, this is both a trick question and a serious one.

Scions can be anything from tweaked Toyotas and foreign market Toyotas to cars built by other manufacturers for Scion. The first such product was the collaboratively developed Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ / Toyota 86. The second is this Mazda-designed and Mazda-built Scion iA.

Exterior
Mazda and Toyota entered into a partnership of sorts a while back, and the iA is the first fruit. If you didn’t know by now, the tasty looking 2016 Mazda2 hatch is not coming to the USA, despite Mazda’s plan to sell it in Canada and Puerto Rico. To satisfy shopper’s love for sub-compact Zoom-Zoom, Scion had Mazda turn the 2 into the Scion iA sedan for the U.S. and Toyota Yaris sedan for Canada. As happens with the Ford Fiesta, the hatch-to-sedan conversion adds around a foot of length overall. To help differentiate the iA from any future Mazda2 sales in the USA, the front end gets an enormous trapezoidal front grille and some “Angry Birds” headlamps. Out back, the Scion’s rear is less disguised with a strong Mazda influence in the tail lamps blended with a hint of Camry.

I know I’m going to take heat for this, but I actually like the looks of the iA in person. I think the side profile and rear are better balanced than the Ford Fiesta sedan, although the Fiesta’s grille is better looking. The overall design comes across as more intentional and — dare I say — emotional than the Nissan Versa or Chevy Sonic.

2016 Scion iA Interior-006

Interior
Hop inside the iA and it’s pure Mazda, which is a good thing. In terms of style and parts quality, Mazda basically made Scion a 90% scale Mazda3 interior with a few tweaks. We get the same chunky steering wheel loaded with buttons, same single-dial instrument cluster and 7-inch infotainment screen. Also cribbed from the Mazda parts bin is the standard keyless-go system, a single-zone manual climate control and standard cruise control.

For a car as small as the iA, the front seats proved surprisingly roomy. Scion claims 41.9 inches of legroom up front, which is more than you get in the Corolla or Focus, and a still respectable 34.4 inches in the back. Although taller drivers will probably bash their elbows on the B-pillar, they will fit. Cargo room comes in at a generous 13.5 cubic feet beating the bigger Corolla by a hair.

2016 Scion iA Interior

Infotainment
Mazda calls the infotainment software MazdaConnect. Scion hasn’t named it specifically but the system is exactly the same. What sets the iA apart isn’t so much the class-leading infotainment software and interface but that the system is standard. Looking like someone grafted an iPad to the dashboard [I think it looks more like a cheap Walmart Android tablet than an iPad, but to each their own. -Mark], the 7-inch color touchscreen LCD is the heart of the system. In the center console we have an iDrive/MMI-like controller knob and button array. Similar to Infiniti’s systems, you can navigate with either the controller, or the touchscreen, or both depending on what is easier at the moment. As long as you’re parked. Above 5 MPH the touchscreen functionality is locked out allowing only voice and control knob inputs.

Smartphone app integration for streaming media is standard and shoppers can add navigation software to the display for an undisclosed price after you buy the car. The high-resolution graphics, an intuitive interface and complete voice commands of your media library create a system that rivals uConnect and iDrive for best in the industry. The only danger with making this system standard in the iA is that it makes other Scions look decidedly behind the times.

2016 Scion iA Engine Mazda SkyActiv-001

Drivetrain
Logically, there’s a Mazda 1.5L four-cylinder engine beating under the iA’s hood. Good for 106 horsepower and 103 lb-ft of torque, the engine uses all Mazda’s fuel sipping tech, including direct injection, a high 12:1 compression ratio and a Mazda 6-speed automatic with a tall final gear and aggressive torque converter lockup program. For the purists in the crowd, you can get your iA with a short-throw manual transmission, but you’ll get 2 MPG better (37 MPG combined, 42 on the highway) with the 6-speed automatic.

2016 Scion iA Exterior-003

Drive
In an unexpected twist, all iA models will come with a standard low-speed collision warning and mitigation system. The system is similar in design to Volvo’s first-generation City Safety system and uses a laser scanner mounted in front of the rear view mirror to monitor traffic. At speeds between approximately 5 and 18 MPH, the system will first warn the driver of an impending collision, pre-charge the brakes, then as a last resort reduce engine power and apply the brakes autonomously to either avoid or mitigate the collision. The Scion reps said the system is not programmed to detect pedestrians or cyclists like Volvo’s latest system, but it “may respond” to that type of obstacle depending on the situation.

Since my time was limited with the iA, I wasn’t able to put it through my usual battery of tests. You should expect acceleration times to be leisurely, likely in the 10 second slot occupied by the Prius C. The best acceleration times will be with the 6-speed automatic but the 6-speed manual will make those seconds tick by faster because it’s simply more fun. I spent most of my day in a 6-speed manual version and, although I did long for more power, the short throws and excellent clutch pedal distracted me for the most part.

2016 Scion iA Exterior-006

For a Scion, the steering is sheer perfection. For a Mazda, I’m still sad the iA has electric power steering. Turn in is crisp as can be expected from a car riding on 185/60R16 tires and the steering ratio is just about perfect. The Scion folks had Mazda tune the iA towards the softer side of the segment which causes more body roll than I had expected, but aside from that it didn’t reduce the fun too much on the winding mountain roads of our test drive. Overall grip is lower than I had expected with plenty of commotion coming from the tires if you enter a corner a little too hot. I blame both the tire size and the rubber compound for this but the tires can be easily swapped. Even though we have a torsion beam suspension in the rear, the iA was remarkably well-behaved in corners with broken pavement.

The most compelling thing about the iA is the combination of Mazda engineering and Scion pricing. For 2015, the MSRP starts at $15,700 with the 6-speed manual and ends at $16,800 for the iA with the 6-speed automatic. Because of the way Scion’s pricing scheme works, the manual transmission model has a high level of content that frequently precludes a manual transmission in the competition like the 7-inch LCD infotainment system, the pre-collision braking system, keyless-go and the backup camera. Scion also tosses in a 2-year/25,000 mile scheduled maintenance plan. When comparing the iA to the rest of the segment, the high level of standard equipment manages to make the iA the best sub-compact deal around. When pitted against Nissan Versa, the value leader in the segment, the Scion manages to be $1,500 less when comparably equipped.

2016 Scion iA Exterior Front Grille

The iA isn’t the Scion I was expecting, and it isn’t the Mazda I was hoping for either. The iA seems like Mazda’s interpretation of what a Scion should be, and marriage has created a surprisingly good little car. Shoppers will find a well-controlled ride, excellent road manners and impeccable fuel economy all wrapped inside Scion’s warranty and scheduled maintenance, and sold at a Toyota dealer. The combination makes for the most appealing sedan in this segment by a hair. (If Ford mates an automatic transmission to their 3-cylinder turbo Fiesta, it’s game on.) The combination should also be a lesson for Mazda, because Scion’s mono-spec philosophy and pricing give pragmatists a reason to buy the best driving sedan in this segment.

Scion provided the vehicle, insurance, gas and a snazzy lunch for this review.

2016 Scion iA Engine Mazda SkyActiv 2016 Scion iA Engine Mazda SkyActiv-001 2016 Scion iA Exterior Front Grille 2016 Scion iA Exterior-001 2016 Scion iA Exterior-002 Wheel 2016 Scion iA Exterior-003 2016 Scion iA Exterior-004 2016 Scion iA Exterior-005 2016 Scion iA Exterior-006 2016 Scion iA Exterior-007 2016 Scion iA Exterior-008 2016 Scion iA Interior 2016 Scion iA Interior-001 2016 Scion iA Interior-002 2016 Scion iA Interior-003 2016 Scion iA Interior-004 2016 Scion iA Interior-005 2016 Scion iA Interior-006 2016 Scion iA Interior-007 2016 Scion iA Interior-008 2016 Scion iA Trunk

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Yamamoto: This MX-5 Is All You’re Getting, Take It or Leave It http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/yamamoto-this-mx-5-is-all-youre-getting-take-it-or-leave-it/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/yamamoto-this-mx-5-is-all-youre-getting-take-it-or-leave-it/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 16:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1104809 First it was the Toyobaru triplets. Now it’s the MX-5. Nobuhiro Yamamoto, program manager for the Mazda MX-5 Miata, has crushed the dreams of those looking for more factory horsepower from the fourth-generation roadster. In short, if you want to “get hung up on numbers,” look elsewhere. Speaking with the folks at TopGear.com, Yamamoto has […]

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2016 Mazda MX-5

First it was the Toyobaru triplets. Now it’s the MX-5.

Nobuhiro Yamamoto, program manager for the Mazda MX-5 Miata, has crushed the dreams of those looking for more factory horsepower from the fourth-generation roadster. In short, if you want to “get hung up on numbers,” look elsewhere.

Speaking with the folks at TopGear.com, Yamamoto has plainly stated there won’t be a high-output special in the same vein as the NB Mazdaspeed MX-5.

From TopGear.com:

“It’s important not to get hung up on numbers,” Yamamoto-san told us. “Not on power, or torque. No, what is more important is the feeling. The driving experience and feeling is more important than power.

“In my mind it just has to be fun to drive,” he added.

To put it plainly, there will be no additional powerplants, no superchargers and no turbochargers. The most horsepower you’ll be able to buy on the showroom floor will be 155 from the 2.0L four-cylinder engine, take it or leave it.

While a vocal minority will cry foul at the thought of the MX-5 having less power than the outgoing model, we should commend Yamamoto and Mazda on this line-in-the-sand decision, especially when you consider the reasons why.

“It’s got to be affordable. Faster MX-5s means more money,” he added.

But, with the prevalence of turbocharged engines in today’s market, adding one to the MX-5 likely wouldn’t cost much more. According to Yamamoto, though, a turbo would ruin the Miata.

“I never considered using a turbo,” he said, “because naturally aspirated engines are just nice, especially for this kind of car.

“What’s very important to me is the feeling, and that you are happy driving it. I don’t want any more power or torque for the MX-5, but the sensation is important.”

[Photo credit: AutoGuide/Adam Wood]

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Don’t Expect Subaru To Follow Toyota To Mazda For BRZ RWD Platform http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/dont-expect-subaru-to-follow-toyota-to-mazda-for-brz-rwd-platform/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/dont-expect-subaru-to-follow-toyota-to-mazda-for-brz-rwd-platform/#comments Sun, 28 Jun 2015 18:32:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1101193 According to Car & Driver, the folks in Toyota City are smitten with the new Mazda MX-5 Miata. So much so they’re considering using the platform for the next Toyota GT86, sold as the Scion FR-S in North America. The rumor states what goes for Toyota goes for Subaru’s sports car – the BRZ – as […]

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2016 Mazda MX-5

According to Car & Driver, the folks in Toyota City are smitten with the new Mazda MX-5 Miata. So much so they’re considering using the platform for the next Toyota GT86, sold as the Scion FR-S in North America.

The rumor states what goes for Toyota goes for Subaru’s sports car – the BRZ – as well. I’m not so sure about that.

“If Toyota were to employ the MX-5’s chassis, it would be on the next-generation FT86,” Car & Driver was told by a source.

The source says nothing specifically about the BRZ, though the magazine infers the Miata platform will also be used on the next sporty Subaru. However, Subaru may be smart to forego a second generation BRZ altogether.

Currently, the Toyobaru triplets are produced by Subaru in Ōta, Japan. The company is currently capacity constrained. Subaru will stop producing Camrys for Toyota at their Indiana facility in 2016 in order to claw back some of its own capacity to build the Legacy and Outback, the most popular model at Subaru. This shift to the Mazda platform could be a way for Subaru to get out of the RWD platform business and focus more on core models or variations thereof.

Mazda is building the MX-5 at their own facility in Japan and will build the forthcoming Fiat 124 Spider upon its debut. Considering Mazda and Toyota have been getting cozier as of late with a new facility in Mexico building the new Mazda2 along with the Scion iA/Toyota Yaris Sedan, Toyota could also move RWD sports car production to Mazda’s facility in Japan alongside the new Miata.

This would free up capacity for Subaru at their Ōta plant to build other models currently in demand.

So, if Toyota does see the MX-5 Miata platform as a solution for the next generation GT86 and Scion FR-S, don’t expect Subaru to follow suit.

[Photo credit: AutoGuide/Adam Wood]

 

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Crapwagon Outtake: Mazda RX-7 GSL-SE http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/crapwagon-outtake-mazda-rx-7-gsl-se/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/crapwagon-outtake-mazda-rx-7-gsl-se/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 13:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1100345 My wife tells me that I’m not allowed to own an RX-7. To be fair, there are any number of cars I’ll likely never own due the the varied circumstances of life and wallet, but Mazda’s rotary wonder, generally available for a budget price, is off limits due to the misadventures of relative youth. More […]

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$_57

My wife tells me that I’m not allowed to own an RX-7.

To be fair, there are any number of cars I’ll likely never own due the the varied circumstances of life and wallet, but Mazda’s rotary wonder, generally available for a budget price, is off limits due to the misadventures of relative youth. More details, someday, when I’ve recovered from the tetanus.

Yesterday, I happened upon an eBay auction for, arguably, the most desireable of the first-generation RX-7, the GSL-SE. These “five-letter” cars are the only ones with the larger, more powerful, fuel-injected 13B engine. The model also added a limited slip, larger brake discs, and more luxury features. This one also carries the limited “IMSA TARGA-7″ package, which appears to be mostly tape stripes and an aluminum-looking faux-targa bar cover for the B-pillar. The car has been repainted, and generally looks good. Even the velour bordello red interior looks clean.

Then my daily Bring A Trailer email came through.

1984-Mazda-RX-7-GSL-SE-Front-900x636

Another five letter RX-7, this time a white ’84 model with lower miles and red leather. This one is even nicer than the black ’85, with mostly original paint and functional air conditioning. While white cars are not my favorite, I’ll admit this one is stunning.

I’m curious what you, the faithful Crapwagon readers, think of these cars – especially the selling price. The black car on eBay has a Buy it Now price of $9,900. I’d imagine the reserve is closer to $8k. My guess – the white car will pull about a grand more than the black one, assuming it sells.

What sayeth the B&B?

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Bark’s Bites: The (Imaginary) National Automakers Association Draft, Part One http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/barks-bites-imaginary-national-automakers-association-draft-part-one/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/barks-bites-imaginary-national-automakers-association-draft-part-one/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 12:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1100193 Warning: What you are about to read is NOT REAL. It is the product of the warped mind of your friendly neighborhood editorialist, Bark M., who wonders: What if automakers had to “draft” new products, just like the NBA does?  Talking Head #1: Greetings, and welcome to Detroit, the host city for the 2015 National Automakers […]

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Obama+Announces+New+Automobile+Fuel+Efficiency+h36L8Fl4eLpx

Warning: What you are about to read is NOT REAL. It is the product of the warped mind of your friendly neighborhood editorialist, Bark M., who wonders: What if automakers had to “draft” new products, just like the NBA does? 

Talking Head #1: Greetings, and welcome to Detroit, the host city for the 2015 National Automakers Association Draft! Tonight, we’ll see the future of automakers unfold, as they get the chance to select a new model for their existing lineup.

Talking Head #2: That’s right, and the excitement has been building ever since the end of last model year. Some big questions will be answered this evening: What will Subaru do with their pick? Will Ford finally have a full-sized sedan worth talking about? And will FCA’s Sergio Marchionne finally find a trade partner for their spot in the draft?

TH1: Word has it that Sergio has been burning up the phone lines trying to find somebody to help him move out of the first round, but my sources say that he hasn’t had any takers so far. As you know, though, there’s invariably a surprise or two on NAA Draft Night!

TH2: That there is! As always, the automakers will be drafting in reverse order of current U.S. market share. That means that first up on the clock is a fan favorite, Mazda.

TH1: Well, Mazda has a good, quality lineup, full of young star players, but for some reason they’ve had a hard time breaking through in America. Will this be the pick that finally gets them over the hump and positions them as a real player in the U.S. market?

TH2: We’re about to find out, as it looks like we are getting this 2015 NAA Draft underway! Here comes the commissioner to the podium with the card. Let’s listen.

Commissioner: With the first pick in the 2015 NAA draft, Mazda selects… a New CX-9, from Hiroshima, Japan!

TH1: Well, we can’t be too surprised with this one, can we?

TH2: No, not at all. The CX-9 has been getting long in the tooth and Mazda needed something new and fresh to be competitive in this segment. The Mazda fans have got to be happy with this selection.

TH1: Indeed, they are. While some fans here were hoping for a new Mazda 2 to be brought to the U.S., it’s hard to ignore that Mazda is missing out on a key segment with the current CX-9. Great pick.

TH2: All right, that was a solid, if not necessary climactic beginning to our evening. Next up is one of the more glamorous names in our industry: Mercedes-Benz. What have you been hearing about Mercedes?

TH1: It’s hard to know exactly which direction Mercedes might go in here. Their fans are still a little confused about the recent shakeup of their lineup – there are a lot of familiar faces with new names. Plus, they’ve had a few recent refreshes of their biggest sellers – the C Class is selling better than ever, and they’ve already signed a new E-Class for 2016.

TH2: We’ll know soon enough – here’s the commish!

Commissioner: With the second pick in the 2015 NAA draft, Mercedes-Benz selects…the W246 B Class, from Stuttgart, Germany!

TH1: I think it’s safe to say that we’ve had our first surprise of the evening!

TH2: No question. The B Class has been a solid performer in both the EU and in Japan since it launched back in 2011, but I’ve gotta say, I’m surprised that they’re trying it in America. However, with the growth that MINI is seeing in America this year, perhaps Mercedes thinks there’s an opportunity for a luxury entry into the subcompact market.

TH1: It’s all part of the excitement that we’ve come to expect from the NAA Draft! Next on the clock with the third pick is another German automaker, BMW.

TH2: BMW has sort of lost their…

TH1: Whoa, whoa, whoa, I have to blow the whistle on you there, partner. I’m sure you weren’t about to say that they’ve “lost their way,” like every other talking head hack, were you?

TH1: Um, no. Not at all. I was about to say that they’ve lost their…okay, fine. You got me.

TH2: Considering that BMW is up about 7 percent in sales year over year, I think they’re doing just fine. But there is one segment where they’ve lost some market share, and that’s the small luxury SUV segment.

TH1: Let’s see if they address that tonight. Over to you, Commissioner!

Commissioner: With the third pick in the 2015 NAA draft, BMW selects…a new X3, from Spartanburg, South Carolina!

TH1: That’s the obvious choice here, isn’t it?

TH2: Certainly is. The X4…well, I mean, what the heck is the X4, anyway? It’s not selling in any great numbers, and the X3 has been down big time as of late. A new model seems to be just what Herr Doctor ordered.

TH1: Subaru is next up on the clock, partner. There’s been a lot of discussion lately about Subaru’s recent success in the American market, but how will that impact their draft pick tonight?

TH2: That’s a great question. They’re missing a lot of the key segments for American market success in their lineup – mid-sized SUV, subcompact – and the Impreza is sold in numbers that don’t impress anybody. But can they take on more capacity right now?

TH1: Let’s see what they decide to do. Here’s the commissioner with the pick.

Commissioner: Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a trade. Subaru has traded their pick to Toyota, along with all remaining BRZs on dealer lots, for cash considerations and a car to be named later. With the fourth pick in the 2015 NAA draft, Toyota selects…an Avalon replacement, from Georgetown, Kentucky!

TH2: Not a huge surprise here, is it?

TH1: No, not particularly. I think Subaru did the right thing – they’re already at maximum capacity at most of their plants, and adding more models would just make it even worse. Also, killing the BRZ makes a ton of sense. They barely sell, and they are occupying floorplan space that could be used for other, more profitable models.

TH2: And Toyota needed a new full-sized sedan. The whole segment is dying quickly, yes, but maybe Toyota sees that as an opportunity to seize some market share from their aging competitors. Perhaps they can use the platform to update the Lexus ES, too.

TH1: This evening is moving along quickly, as we move to the fifth pick, which belongs to Volkswagen Auto Group. VW and Audi have a few holes to fill in their American lineup, to say the least.

TH2: Truer words were never spoken, my friend. The Jetta, the Passat, the A4…all of them are aging and relatively unpopular in their segments. The lights are flickering a bit at VW stores. Can tonight’s pick help keep them on?

TH1: The pick is in, so let’s turn things over to the commissioner.

Commissioner: With the fifth pick in the NAA draft, Volkswagen Auto Group selects…a Jetta with actual content, from Wolfsburg, Germany!

TH2: I think they didn’t really have much of a choice here. The Jetta is losing market share faster than any other compact car – they had to get competitive.

TH1: I don’t know…the Passat isn’t doing any better, and that’s a bigger segment, overall.

TH2: Yes, but the Jetta name still means something in America. The Jetta is the top-selling VW model of all time. I think VW knows that they’re climbing an uphill battle in the mid-sized segment with the Passat – maybe they figure it’s better to fight a battle that they actually have a shot at winning. And they’ve proven that they can make an excellent small car with the Golf and its performance derivatives.

TH1: Good point. VW fans have to be pleased with this pick.

TH2: Well, we’ve got Hyundai/Kia up next. Is there a faster rising team in the league than these guys?

TH1: I don’t think so, my friend. While the current Sonata hasn’t been everything that they hoped it would be, they’ve got some real hits on their hands with their crossover lineup. And the new Sedona is doing quite well, too. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t trouble spots.

TH2: You’re absolutely right. The Rio is falling well behind the competition in the Subcompact category, and even the Soul isn’t selling like it once was. What inside scoop do you have about H&K’s next move?

TH1: I don’t think there’s any question that they’d like to have a real, legitimate sporting car in their lineup. But can they justify it?

TH2: Well, the pick is in, so let’s go to the commissioner.

Commissioner: With the sixth pick in the NAA draft, Hyundai/Kia selects…an all-new, 5.0 liter Hyundai Genesis Coupe, from Seoul, South Korea!

TH1&2 (simultaneously): WHOOOOOOA!

TH1: That’s a big swing.

TH2: Is it ever! The Genesis Coupe has been tired for a while. Not only are they revamping it, they’re shoving in the big V8 from the sedan. Do you like it?

TH1: I love it! They’ve already got, in my opinion, the best RWD sedan for the money on the market. Now, they’re taking aim at the Mustang and Camaro. It’s bold, it’s brash – great pick!

TH2: Don’t go anywhere, folks! When we come back from commercial (tomorrow –Bark), we’ll find out what the big boys from Nissan, Honda, Toyota, FCA, Ford, and GM have in store for us.

All right, have at it, B&B – what would you have “drafted” for these manufacturers?

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SPIED: Fiat 124 Spider Sports Long Hood for Small Motor http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/spied-fiat-124-spider-sports-long-hood-for-small-motor/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/spied-fiat-124-spider-sports-long-hood-for-small-motor/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 14:16:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1099897 This is the first ever set of spy shots of the upcoming Mazda MX-5 Miata based Fiat 124 Spider with near-production body work. Damn, honey, you’ve got a big nose. While this addition to the Fiat lineup is quite covered in camo in these photos, it’s easy to see the roadster will rock a longer hood than […]

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124 Spider_011

This is the first ever set of spy shots of the upcoming Mazda MX-5 Miata based Fiat 124 Spider with near-production body work.

Damn, honey, you’ve got a big nose.

While this addition to the Fiat lineup is quite covered in camo in these photos, it’s easy to see the roadster will rock a longer hood than the Mazda MX-5. However, it looks like other elements stay quite similar to the original on which it’s based, including the curved windshield surround and proportions of the rear deck.

If rumor is to be believed, the new Fiat 124 will be powered by the same 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder found in other Fiat products. Power will be sent to the rear via a six-speed manual transmission and possibly a six-speed dual clutch or conventional automatic.

We will likely see the Fiat 124 in all its glory this November at the Los Angeles International Auto Show. Expect sales to start next year.

The new Fiat will be built alongside the MX-5 in Japan.

124 Spider_011 124 Spider_010 124 Spider_009 124 Spider_008 124 Spider_006 124 Spider_005 124 Spider_004 124 Spider_003 124 Spider_002 124 Spider_001

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Toyota Prius SUV Reportedly Under Development http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/toyota-prius-suv-reportedly-under-development/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/toyota-prius-suv-reportedly-under-development/#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 19:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097417 The Toyota Prius can be had in compact, wagon and original recipe, but there may soon be another addition to the family: an SUV. The Prius SUV would be developed via its partnership with Mazda, and would likely be a production-ready version of the C-HR Concept from last year’s Paris Auto Show, AutoGuide writes. The […]

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Toyota-C-HR-Concept-3

The Toyota Prius can be had in compact, wagon and original recipe, but there may soon be another addition to the family: an SUV.

The Prius SUV would be developed via its partnership with Mazda, and would likely be a production-ready version of the C-HR Concept from last year’s Paris Auto Show, AutoGuide writes.

The partnership between the two automakers allows for powertrain technologies to be exchanged regarding new models. Thus, one idea for the SUV would be Mazda’s 1.5-liter SkyActiv diesel for a hybrid-diesel variant, as well as one without electric motors for European markets. Mazda, meanwhile, would use Toyota’s technology to bring its first EV to market, set to meet the ZEV standards set for 2018 by California’s government.

(Photo credit: Mike Schlee/AutoGuide)

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Weekend Roundup: Top Gear Show, F1 Show and New Subaru Blue is All Show http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/weekend-roundup-top-gear-show-f1-show-and-new-subaru-blue-is-all-show/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/weekend-roundup-top-gear-show-f1-show-and-new-subaru-blue-is-all-show/#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2015 14:45:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1086473 As Richard Hammond and James May wrap up the “lost episodes” of Top Gear sans Jeremy Clarkson, the three are rumored to be heading to Netflix with the unsuspended pair turning down deals worth 4 million GBP. Here’s what caught our eyes over the weekend. I Don’t Need A Monster Truck (WIRED) Small trucks were virtually […]

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Top-Gear-Live-Richard-Hammond-and-James-May

As Richard Hammond and James May wrap up the “lost episodes” of Top Gear sans Jeremy Clarkson, the three are rumored to be heading to Netflix with the unsuspended pair turning down deals worth 4 million GBP.

Here’s what caught our eyes over the weekend.

gl_brown_ff-582x588I Don’t Need A Monster Truck (WIRED)
Small trucks were virtually the only good thing about the ’90s. Oh, and music. The music was good.

chris-evans-car-fe_2455765bTop Gear doesn’t need Chris Evans. It needs a woman (The Telegraph)
“Personally, I didn’t really care. Clarkson was finally off our TV screens. After 13 years of racist comments, general rudeness and physical violence (Piers Morgan also fell prey to his wayward fist), the BBC got some balls and sacked the man.”

Top-Gear-Live-Richard-Hammond-and-James-MayTop Gear’s Richard Hammond and James May to refuse £4MILLION return for show with Jeremy Clarkson (Mirror)
This time it won’t be “back to the studio” for the three Top Gear hosts. Instead, they’re off to Netflix.

604771ea1d4348e79a4cf5c178243e55F1 teams reject mid-race refueling plan (AutoBlog)
Risks outweigh benefits in F1’s latest idea to spice up the show.

Mazda BT50Facelifted Mazda BT-50 Pickup Gets The Kodo Look (CarScoops)
Mazda’s Hilux competitor is getting a facelift in the style of many of the brand’s other offerings.

15FordF150_16Ford running short of F-150 frames (AutoBlog)
Due to an issue with Ford’s frame supplier Metalsa, production has lagged and demand isn’t being met.

toyota-discontinues-trd-superchargerToyota Discontinues TRD Supercharger Program (AutoGuide)
Goodbye, TRD superchargers. Though, we can’t say you’ll be missed.

Benz to power houses too (Motoring.com.au)
Tesla isn’t the only automaker looking to bring electrons to your household outlets.

Finnjet_1800-700x454Finnjet, the only car with a chrome bill bigger than its gas bill, comes up for sale (Hemmings Daily)
Mother of Chrome God.

1966-Toyota-Crown-Deluxe-FrontEscalade V8: 400 HP 1966 Toyota Crown Deluxe (Bring A Trailer)
While I usually dump a bit on Japanese restomods, this one deserves your attention.

subaru-reveals-hyper-blue-color-01Subaru Reveals New Hyper Blue Exterior Color (AutoGuide)
New blue shade tries to out-Polestar Polestar.

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Weekend News Round-up: 2016 Mazda MX-5 Reviews, Lane-Splitting is Safer and Aston Martin Going Electric http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/weekend-news-round-up-2016-mazda-mx-5-reviews/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/weekend-news-round-up-2016-mazda-mx-5-reviews/#comments Mon, 01 Jun 2015 12:14:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1080681 Surprise! TTAC didn’t have a single writer at the Mazda MX-5 media preview. Instead, here’s a few different reviews of Japan’s favorite roadster from other outlets and a run-down of what you may have missed over the weekend.   MIATA! MIATA! MIATA! 2016 Mazda MX-5 Review (AutoGuide) “A smaller Miata is a better Miata.” 2016 Mazda […]

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2016 Mazda MX-5

Surprise! TTAC didn’t have a single writer at the Mazda MX-5 media preview. Instead, here’s a few different reviews of Japan’s favorite roadster from other outlets and a run-down of what you may have missed over the weekend.

 

MIATA! MIATA! MIATA!

2016 Mazda MX-52016 Mazda MX-5 Review (AutoGuide)
“A smaller Miata is a better Miata.”

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata 2.0L First Drive (AutoBlog)
“Championing the roadster revolution.”

2016 Mazda MX-5 MiataFirst Drive: 2016 Mazda Miata (The Detroit Bureau)
“Forward into the past.”

2016 Mazda MX-5 MiataThe 2016 Mazda Miata Is Undeniably Fantastic (Jalopnik)
“This car rocks.” Travis says a longer review will be available later this morning. UPDATE: It’s up.

2016 mazda mx-5 miata club2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Tested! (Car & Driver)
“The Meta Miata.”

 

NOT MIATA! NOT MIATA! NOT MIATA!

la-fi-hy-lanesplitting-safe-uc-berkeley-studyLane-splitting for motorcycles is safe, says landmark Berkeley study (LA Times)
Bottom line: riders who lane-split are safer overall and accidents involving lane-splitting are less likely to cause serious injury than other motorcycle accidents. California is on the cusp of making lane-splitting legal.

Speedhunters' Cars Of May 2015Revisiting The Cars Of May (Speedhunters)
“With the sixth month of the year now upon us, it’s time to take a look back at the feature cars of May 2015.”

aston-spypics-2015-002_0Aston Martin plots future hybrid models (Autocar)
Another builder of sporting GT cars is planning a drive down Electric Avenue. Aston Martin could also see its lineup expand to seven separate models.

nissan_pathfinder_mainNissan rules out Navara-based SUV… for now (GoAuto.com.au)
Nissan Australia won’t be sourcing a truck-based SUV to go head-to-head with the Ford Everest, Toyota Fortuner and Holden Colorado 7. Australia also won’t get the new Murano even though it’s selling like hotcakes elsewhere.

dodge charger hellcatChallenge Won: We Do 11 Seconds in the Dodge Charger Hellcat (Cars.com)
“We set out to see how close we could get to 11.0 seconds with a factory-fresh 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and drag strip rental of Byron Dragway in Byron, Ill.”

f1 gridFIA looking for a new F1 team (AutoBlog)
New team would bring total to 12 with 24 cars on the grid in addition to 2016 entrant Haas.

teslas inside showroomTesla loses fight with dealers to sell its cars in Texas (The Verge)
Two bills, which would have allowed direct sales of Tesla cars in Texas, have died on the floor.

nascar-cup-champions-week-2013-denny-hamlin-speaks-onstage-after-winning-the-coors-light-pSprint Cup competitors form Driver Council (Motorsport.com)
“We’ve been trying to get all of our drivers together for about a year now,” says Danny Hamlin. Just don’t call it a ‘union’.

Drifting at Goodwood Festival of SpeedGoodwood festival adds drifting category (AutoBlog)
The end is nigh.

Mad Max ScreenshotMad Max before and after shots show what’s real and what’s fake (The Verge)
Even without CG, the explosions in Mad Max are still apocalyptic.

More as the day goes on…

[Photo credit: AutoGuide/Adam Wood]

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2016 Mazda2 European Review http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2016-mazda2-european-review/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2016-mazda2-european-review/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 14:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1077026 The Mazda2 is another car whose absence in the US market will bring tears to the eyes of driving enthusiasts – and rightly so, because it’s a great little car. At the same time, it was probably the right call by Mazda not to import it to the States. This car can truly shine, but wide open […]

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2016 Mazda2 European Spec

The Mazda2 is another car whose absence in the US market will bring tears to the eyes of driving enthusiasts – and rightly so, because it’s a great little car. At the same time, it was probably the right call by Mazda not to import it to the States. This car can truly shine, but wide open American roads are not the right place for it, no matter how much canyon carving petrolheads would like them to be.

Ask a typical automotive enthusiast or petrolhead about modern cars and you’ll probably hear they are rubbish and the older cars are “just right”. You’ll hear modern cars are too full of electronics. They’re too bloated. The driver is isolated too much from the task of driving. With everything being focused on comfort, safety and economy, the joy of driving suffers.

Try to explain this to the typical car buyer and you get a blank stare in return, which is why the Mazda2 won’t be a sales hit in Europe, and would be a flop in America. It’s is a shame, really, because it’s a wonderful little car.

So, why won’t people buy one over, say, the Citroën C4 Cactus or Škoda Fabia? Or some tiny little crossover, which is actually less practical, but more expensive? Let’s explain it on the Fabia, which I tested recently, and which is a direct competitor to the 2 on European market.

2016 Mazda2 European Spec

As I mentioned several times in the review, sitting in the Fabia feels like you’re in a bigger car than its dimensions suggest. It uses the architecture and interior design language of bigger Volkswagen products and drives in a very “grown up” and confident manner. While a decade or two ago, a supermini was something you bought only to drive around town, the Fabia is a perfectly capable highway cruiser – or it would be, if it had more power.

The Mazda, on the other hand, feels and drives like a small car. Truth be told, the 2 I borrowed for this review was a poverty-spec example with the base 75 hp 1.5L four-cylinder engine while the Fabia esd equipped with its available top-of-the-line 110 hp 1.2 turbo plant, but that doesn’t change much about the way both cars feel.

The first difference is obvious: the Fabia is just larger inside. This is to be expected, as Fabia plays the “half a class above the competitors” game that’s typical for Škodas. However, the Mazda is a bit small even when compared to the average of its class, with cramped rear quarters and a relatively small boot. If you want to use your supermini as a family car, this will not work as well as the Fabia.

2016 Mazda2 European Spec

Then there’s the interior ambiance. The Mazda’s cabin is quite pretty to look at and everything feels slender, smooth and stylish. The Mazda’s “sports car feel” is in contrast to the Fabia and its direct competitors offering up their “big car” interior atmosphere. It’s in the details: a tiny rev counter in the corner of the dash instead of proper dial. Radio or infotainment system sticking out of the dash like a sore thumb. And, of course, the slightly tinny sound made by closing doors.

Don’t get me wrong – the Mazda’s interior doesn’t feel cheap or ugly. It’s just a tad too obvious  the main concern was saving weight and not creating a luxurious experience for those inside. Today’s customers want to be pampered.

What they do not appreciate are the finer things in automobile that we as enthusiasts hold supreme, like sublime suspension tuning or a lovely, naturally aspirated engine paired with a precise, delicate manual transmission. Which is sad, because those count among the main reasons for buying a Mazda2.

2016 Mazda2 European Spec

Let’s start with the engine first. As I already mentioned, my press loaner was powered with the least powerful, least sophisticated version of the 1.5 SKYACTIV four-cylinder. It lacks the trick 4-2-1 headers, crazy compression ratio and – on paper – it looks seriously underpowered. Compared to both superminis I drove before and after the Mazda2 (the aforementioned Fabia 1.2 TSI and Corsa 1.0 Turbo), its 75 hp seems almost like a joke.

Trust me, it isn’t. Having driven a few cars with N/A engines neutered by EU5 emission standards lately, I started to think that turbocharging is the only remaining way to go. Mazda proved me (and probably many others) wrong. There is nothing neutered about this engine. Thanks to its large displacement (for a base engine in an EU-market supermini), it’s not lacking torque in the low range, and it somehow keeps the rev-happy characteristics of a classic Japanese four-pot. I’ve never been a great fan of revvy four-cylinders and I actually like the diesel version of Mazda6 more than the gasoline one, but the four-banger in the Mazda2 is a delight. I found myself revving it right to the redline just for fun and, of course, sometimes out of necessity because 75 hp isn’t really much. That’s not to say the 2 is unbearably slow. On the contrary, it was much quicker than I expected and at normal pace it was perfectly fine. I was surprised by its ability to overtake at A-road speeds (around 60-65 mph in CZ), as well as its relative stability and bearability near the top speed of about 110 mph.

2016 Mazda2 European Spec

Which neatly brings us back to the suspension. The example I tested is probably the least sporty Mazda2 that can be ordered. Small, 15 inch steel wheels with plastic hubcaps and narrow, tall tires. Couple that with a relatively soft suspension and light, city-biased steering with almost no feel or weight whatsoever, it doesn’t sound like a “sporty” small hatchback. As you’ve probably guessed, though, the opposite is true. The 2 represents what I would call the “English school of suspension tuning”. It isn’t low and stiff like German sports cars, designed for impeccable Teutonic roadways. Instead, it uses its suppleness and light weight to be quick and nimble even on broken surfaces – and to be comfortable enough that you don’t get scared off a “spirited drive” by the jolts and jittering.

If I were to distill the previous paragraphs into one sentence, it would sound like this: Unlike the Fabia, which tries hard to feel like an Octavia or Passat (and succeeds to a remarkable degree), the Mazda2 tries really hard to feel as much like a Miata as possible (and succeeds as well). It’s a pretty, lightweight little hatchback with a lovely engine that’s a hoot to drive. The problem for you, our readers from US, is the typical American buyer has precious little appreciation for things like balanced handling or a sweet, revvy, naturally aspirated engine. It’s nice that it gets great fuel mileage (over 30 mpg even in a bit of a rush), but it probably won’t really shine when coupled with its available automatic transmission. Also, the great, nimble suspension will be of little use during typical American commute.

2016 Mazda2 European Spec

The good news? The CX-3 crossover shares a platform with this car. The first CX-3 reviews promise that it may provide much of the things that are great about the 2 while looking large and substantial enough to allure a typical American customer. Considering the base CX-3 with 120 hp 2.0L SKYACTIV engine costs about the same money on the Czech market as the Mazda2 with a 90 hp SKYACTIV 1.5 and only marginally better equipment is probably the real (and quite understandable) reason why Mazda is pulling the plug on the Mazda2’s U.S. sales. Both cars probably cost roughly the same money to build, with the CX-3 being much more interesting to a typical American and only marginally worse for a driving enthusiast.

@VojtaDobes is motoring journalist from Czech Republic who previously worked for local editions of Autocar and TopGear magazines. Today, he runs his own website, www.Autickar.cz. After a failed adventure with importing classic American cars to Europe, he is utterly broke, so he drives an Alfa 164 Diesel he got for free. His previous cars included a 1988 Caprice in NYC Taxi livery, a hot-rodded Opel Diplomat, two Dodge Coronets, a Simca, a Fiat 600 and Austin Maestro. He has never owned a diesel, manual wagon.

Photography: David Marek

2016 Mazda2 European Spec 2016 Mazda2 European Spec 2016 Mazda2 European Spec 2016 Mazda2 European Spec 2016 Mazda2 European Spec 2016 Mazda2 European Spec 2016 Mazda2 European Spec 2016 Mazda2 European Spec 2016 Mazda2 European Spec 2016 Mazda2 European Spec

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Mazda USA Isn’t Importing The New 2: Here’s Why http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/mazda-usa-isnt-importing-new-2-heres/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/mazda-usa-isnt-importing-new-2-heres/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 13:51:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1075034   Although the car’s been certified for sale in the United States, Mazda won’t be bringing the new 2 to American consumers. That doesn’t mean the possibility isn’t there for the future, according to Automotive News, nor does it mean the 2 won’t appear in the United States in another form. Despite significant improvements, the […]

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2016 Mazda 2

“It’ll always be there if we need it.” – Robert Davis, Senior VP Of Mazda U.S. Operations, on Mazda2.

Although the car’s been certified for sale in the United States, Mazda won’t be bringing the new 2 to American consumers. That doesn’t mean the possibility isn’t there for the future, according to Automotive News, nor does it mean the 2 won’t appear in the United States in another form.

Despite significant improvements, the fourth-generation 2 – formerly known as the Demio and a successor to the first 2 sold in the U.S. – would likely have fared little better than its predecessor.

Mazda began selling the 2 in the U.S. in 2010, at a time when consumers were mad about saving money, not just in terms of payment but also in terms of fuel. Auto consumers are now far more willing to fork over more of their hard-earned cash, even if it means extending the term of their loan.

As a result, subcompact car volume has taken a hit. Through the first four months of 2015, sales of the departing 2 and its better-selling rivals from Nissan, Hyundai, Honda, Chevrolet, Ford, Toyota, and Kia are down 4%. In fact, April was the first month this year in which subcompact sales increased on a year-over-year basis.

2010 Mazda2

Even before the recent downturn in subcompact car sales and the discontinuation of the America’s first Mazda 2, the subcompact Mazda was not among the leaders in its category. On the contrary, the opposite was true.

Since July 2010, over 58 months, Mazda has sold just 61,909 copies of the 2 in the United States. Nissan can sell that many Versas over the span of just six months.

Mazda2 sales peaked in the model’s second full year of 2012 at just 19,315 units. Yet even in 2012, the 2 ranked last in its category. Even non-traditional small cars like the Fiat 500 and late-to-the-party cars like the Dodge Dart (which only competed in the second-half of 2012) outsold the 2 in its best-ever U.S. sales year. Moreover, Mazda was able to sell six times as many copies of the 3 in 2012 as the 2.

Now, with the CX-3 junior crossover arriving to help the compact 3 bolster Mazda’s volume, the simple cost of marketing the 2, a car which has passed U.S. regulatory hurdles, is deemed to be greater than the potential profit earned from actually selling the car.

If it’s difficult for a large automaker to create sufficient margins on high-volume subcompact cars, it’s obviously going to be far more challenging for a small automaker like Mazda to create sufficient profit of a low-volume car like the 2. While it’s true that consumers would be quick to look at the new 2 differently (there’s no 4-speed automatic, there’ll be a greater feature array including head-up display, fuel economy is said to be 20% better) it’s clear that Mazda believes what’s past is prologue. The first bound-for-America 2 flopped. The experiment didn’t pay off. Let’s not do it again.

2016 Mazda 2 fueleconomy.gov

Meanwhile, for consumers who want a Mazda 2, they’ll still be able to buy one. It won’t be a hatchback, and it won’t wear a Mazda badge. But the upcoming Scion iA is, in essence, a 2016 Mazda 2. From fueleconomy.gov, we can assume that the iA will achieve the same fuel economy as the 2 was said to achieve, since the government website is still showing that the 2 will be made available.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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While You Were Sleeping: Mazda Says Driving Matters, New HiLux and Ford F-150 Trailer Backup Assist Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/while-you-were-sleeping-mazda-says-driving-matters-new-hilux-and-ford-f-150-trailer-backup-assist-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/while-you-were-sleeping-mazda-says-driving-matters-new-hilux-and-ford-f-150-trailer-backup-assist-revealed/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 10:39:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071898 After being stuck in Nashville for an extra unscheduled 24 hours and spending the following 12 hours bouncing from airport to airport, I can easily say that air travel is horrible. Conversely, Mazda is extolling the emotional virtues of driving in a new ad campaign. Here’s what happened overnight. Mazda’s new mantra: ‘Driving Matters’ (Automotive News) […]

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DriversLife+Screengrab5

After being stuck in Nashville for an extra unscheduled 24 hours and spending the following 12 hours bouncing from airport to airport, I can easily say that air travel is horrible. Conversely, Mazda is extolling the emotional virtues of driving in a new ad campaign.

Here’s what happened overnight.

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While You Were Sleeping: Audi RS3 Sedan, Toyota HiLux Reveal and Cameras Are Everywhere http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sleeping-audi-rs3-sedan-toyota-hilux-reveal-cameras-everywhere/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sleeping-audi-rs3-sedan-toyota-hilux-reveal-cameras-everywhere/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 10:55:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1066090 Looking south of the A4 in Audi’s current range of motors, the hottest vehicle in its North American lineup is the current S3. Those of us west of the Atlantic don’t get to enjoy the turbocharged five-pot RS3 Sportback. Thankfully, Theophilus Chin is on the scene to digitally imagine our Ingolstadt desires with this compromise – the RS3 […]

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Audi RS3 Render / Theophilus Chin

Looking south of the A4 in Audi’s current range of motors, the hottest vehicle in its North American lineup is the current S3. Those of us west of the Atlantic don’t get to enjoy the turbocharged five-pot RS3 Sportback. Thankfully, Theophilus Chin is on the scene to digitally imagine our Ingolstadt desires with this compromise – the RS3 sedan.

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Bark’s Bites: Endurance Races Require Actual Endurance, Apparently http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/barks-bites-endurance-races-require-actual-endurance-apparently/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/barks-bites-endurance-races-require-actual-endurance-apparently/#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 11:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1060130 How many days until I get to race again? I asked myself that question over and over again this winter. After my first experience running with the fledgling American Endurance Racing organization last fall, I spent many long, snowy winter weeks in Kentucky, counting the days until this season’s debut race at New Jersey Motorsports […]

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083

How many days until I get to race again?

I asked myself that question over and over again this winter. After my first experience running with the fledgling American Endurance Racing organization last fall, I spent many long, snowy winter weeks in Kentucky, counting the days until this season’s debut race at New Jersey Motorsports Park’s Lightning Raceway.

Our small but determined racing team had designs on a big win to start the year. Matt Johnston’s mighty GM-powered FC RX-7 had been dialed up a few notches during its hibernation and was now putting over sixty more horses to the wheels. Matt had done a round of testing at Mid-Ohio earlier in the year and reported back the car felt faster and better than ever before. Not only is he a master sheet metal worker and welder, Matt can also drive the wheels off of his Frankenstein. We also, of course, had TTAC’s legendary racer, Jack Baruth, as a wheelman. I felt confident I would be the best “slow guy” anybody would have on their team.

There was only one thing standing in the way of TTAC having the best journalistic racing team in the history of the internet itself:

actiontravis

That’s right. Jalopnik’s Travis Okulski had thrown down the virtual gauntlet by convincing the powers-that-be at Gawker Media to sponsor the race and actually rename the trophy after themselves. As a result, we would all be competing for the “Jalopnik Cup of Excellence.” Not only THAT, they brought a film crew, an RV, Supreme Leader Matt Hardigree, and approximately fourteen press cars to the race. Oh, and they also brought an LS-powered BMW, too. What the hell, guys? Don’t you know that imported coupes with GM motors is kinda our thing?

What better way to stick it to the man than kicking Travis squarely in the ass of his too-tight jeans and showing those Jalops you can’t just buy your way to the top in endurance racing.

Despite the fact that they allowed the Jalops to put their logo on the trophies, American Endurance Racing just gets it right in so many ways. They compete on world-class racing circuits. They have the skinniest rule book in racing. You can bring just about any car you want, provided it’s fully caged and wearing 200 treadwear tires. They class you appropriately and simply – not based on arbitrary rules or points, but on qualifying times. Oh, yeah, that reminds me – they also have a full day of practice and qualifying, which no other budget-minded endurance series offers. You get two nine-hour races: one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Dollar for dollar, AER is the best value in amateur racing. Period.

During qualifying, Jack and Matt both posted nearly identical times of 1:18.4, which meant that we were third out of forty-one cars. The Jalopnik team broke the clutch on their car early on, so they switched to a backup E36 BMW and qualified sixth. Despite our vociferous protests (not really), that meant we were placed in the top of the three classes – named “Daytona,” “Sebring,” and “Indy” and we were gridded second for the start of the race because one of the top two cars was late to grid.

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Not a bad pace car, amirite?

 

We placed Jack in the car to start the race. The plan was to take advantage of the mandatory five pit stops by cycling through our three-man team, allowing Jack to take the green flag and Matt to take the checkered. In other words, they’d be doing all the important driving and I’d be filling up some of the time inbetween.

As the Hellcat finished the second pace lap and entered the pits, I held our radio channel open and, the minute the flagman waved, screamed “GREEN GREEN GREEN.” Jack got a great jump on the start and ended up being even with the leader’s E36 as they climbed the hill toward Turn One. The next time they came by, Jack had established a lead of nearly two seconds over the field. We held the lead for the first fifteen laps or so, only relinquishing it as top qualifier and racing coach Kyle Tilley finally made his way up through the field from the back.

Nevertheless, we continued to hold a comfortable second position for the first hour of the race and we were just preparing for a driver change to get me into the car when we heard Jack’s voice over the radio.

“PIT! PIT! PIT! I’m coming in. I think there’s something wrong.”

Then, just a moment later: “PADDOCK! PADDOCK! Water all over the windshield!”

Matt and I sprinted up from our pitlane spot to the paddock where we saw Jack rolling in under the power of inertia. He had totally lost grip in Turn Two, which was when the first radio call was made. It turned out oil had been spit onto the rear tires from the engine compartment. When we popped the hood, we saw a destroyed belt, a broken sensor, and lots of oil and water everywhere. Matt immediately set to work diagnosing the problem, but he had to wait until the cast-iron block of the GM 3800 had cooled enough for him to actually get his hands on the motor. We feared, perhaps, the head gasket had blown.

Luckily, the problem wasn’t as bad as we thought. Matt discovered we had simply blown the front seal on the engine and sent Jack and me to the local Advance Auto Parts with a list of tools and parts required. He believed that he could get the car back on track within two hours. Certainly, that wouldn’t put us in contention for the win, but it would give us a chance to beat the Jalopnik team, which was experiencing problems of their own.

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Travis’ E36 had blown a radiator hose earlier in the day. After they repaired it, they came back in not much later with a broken motor mount. If we could get back out on track, we had a chance to turn more laps than they did.

We went to Advance Auto Parts in Vineland, NJ, to retrieve the parts required. They did have the seal that we needed, but not the right tools, so we had to walk next door to Auto Zone. After a quick stop at Chick-fil-A, we arrived back at the track to give Matt the items he required and then did our best to stay out of his way.

tinman

Okay, I realize that it looks like I’m sunbathing while Matt is working very hard at fixing the car in this photo – and that’s because that’s exactly what was happening. The Tinman does not like to be bothered when he’s working. He’s been running this car all by himself in NASA Time Trials for years and feels best when he’s one with his car. I, on the other hand, have no mechanical knowledge of a car other than…okay, I have no mechanical knowledge of a car. Best just to leave him alone.

True to his word, Matt had the car back up and running in less than two hours. Since position was no longer a concern, we decided to have Matt drive next; in the event that something else went wrong, he’s much better at diagnosing problems behind the wheel than I. Matt went out and began turning hot laps, throwing down a lap time that would end up being the third fastest of any car on track for the day. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long.

“Water all over the windshield. I’m coming in.”

Damnit. Back to the paddock. After more diagnosis, we determined that the water pump was cavitating and this had caused a crack in the radiator.

“So we’re done, right?” I asked Matt.

He took a deep breath. “No. There’s something called AlumaSeal.”

Matt sent us out to the local NAPA Auto Parts store to get a $1.50 tube of this magical powder that would seal the crack in our radiator. As we came back, Jalopnik was having their reader meet-up near the entrance to Lightning. We cruised by and gave the “Jalopnik is Number One” salute to Travis and Matt from our rental Prius – all in good fun, of course.

However, when we were driving back to our paddock spot, we spotted Travis’ Audi S3 press car sitting unattended. “I wonder if he left the keys in it,” and I hopped out of the Prius and tried the door. Sure enough, it opened readily. When I pressed the Start button, the Audi came to life. Yes.

I then returned for another lap by the Jalopnik meet-up, this time waving happily from the driver’s sear of Travis’ S3. “Did I leave my keys in it?” I heard Travis say as we cruised by. Yes, yes you did.

I parked the S3 near their RV and got out to meet some happy Jalop readers as Jack delivered the AlumaSeal back to Matt. They were all super nice people who claimed they read my writing. Lexus brought out a gorgeous RC F to the event, which I immediately wondered if I could get onto the track somehow without anybody noticing, but decided against it.

Matt, meanwhile, was busy actually fixing the radiator. The AlumaSeal had done the trick. By this point, we had no chance of even catching the Jalopnik team (which had repaired their car and was back out turning laps), but we wanted to make sure the car would be ready for Day Two. Matt suited up and went back out for a few laps, then returned to hand the car over to me so I could take the checkered flag. Gulp. My turn to tackle Lightning.

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Lightning is a challenging track to say the least. There’s virtually nowhere to rest. Every turn requires precise inputs and exact speeds. Our power meant we were leaving everybody behind in the straights, but the turns were monstrously challenging. I passed nearly everybody I encountered as I made good use of our torque. As I finished the race, I tried to ensure I didn’t spin the motor too high, shifting early and braking earlier than I normally would. As a result (of that and lesser driving talent), my laps were a couple of seconds behind Matt’s and Jack’s, but I still felt good about my times. Combined with Matt and Jack, we would have been competitive enough for us to podium and contend for the overall win if we hadn’t had mechanical issues.

Even with being careful, I still experienced my own “off,” as the brake pedal depressed much more than normal under the bridge into Turn 7. Rather than try to make the turn, I simply straight-lined it off into the dirt. No harm, no foul. I took the checkered flag two laps later. Upon returning to paddock, everything appeared to be okay with the car. Matt deemed the car fit the for the next day’s race and we headed out to dinner with the Jalopnik staff (who were much more gracious about beating us than I expected). For all the jawing back and forth, Matt and Travis are good, likeable people who have the best interest of the world of automotive journalism at heart. Jalopnik is lucky to have both of them.

That being said, we still wanted to kick their asses on Day Two.

After a solid night’s rest at the local Fairfield Inn, we returned for the second race with a plan that we believed would ensure success. Matt was scheduled to start the race, followed by Jack (who would keep our pace quick), and then me, who would be faster than the third drivers for nearly everybody else. Alas, it was not meant to be.

Matt started strong and moved us all the way up to third from our starting position of tenth, but after 19 laps, a familiar refrain came over the radio:

“I’m coming in. Water all over the windshield.”

The damage was too much for even the magical AlumaSeal to fix. The car overheated from a normal running temperature of 204 degrees all the way to 220 degrees. Rather than try to find a new water pump and radiator, we called it a day. The Jalops didn’t last much longer than we did, succumbing to a broken clutch.

All that being said, I should probably mention that the gentlemen from Team Mancave managed to take home the win both days with their impressively quick and reliable E36 BMW. AER is not a “You’re all winners” culture, nor should it be.

But damned if we didn’t feel like we had a wonderful weekend, even with all the issues. We had a great time running at the front of a talented field of drivers in extremely fast cars. We’ll be back with a bigger pump, a better pulley, and even more determination for the AER race at Mid-Ohio in October. Circle the weekend of October 20-22 on the calendar, my Midwestern friends. Maybe we can have our own little TTAC meetup in my home state. We might not have an RV or a Lexus, but we’ll have three Midwestern-grown boys who are ready to take on the world.

Come join us.

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Lifted Rally Miata Proves It’s Still The Answer To Everything http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/lifted-rally-miata-proves-still-answer-everything/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/lifted-rally-miata-proves-still-answer-everything/#comments Sun, 03 May 2015 13:59:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1059482 The ongoing automotive journalist meme that Mazda’s nearly perfect Miata is the answer to everything may not technically be true. But, this “Lifted Rally” Miata sure makes a good case in its favor. This example is an original NA Miata featuring none other than British Racing Green paint. It’s been lifted with longer springs and FM upper […]

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The ongoing automotive journalist meme that Mazda’s nearly perfect Miata is the answer to everything may not technically be true. But, this “Lifted Rally” Miata sure makes a good case in its favor.

This example is an original NA Miata featuring none other than British Racing Green paint. It’s been lifted with longer springs and FM upper perch spacers, though the owner admits he wouldn’t take it off-road as the spring are at “near factory rate”. Inside, the seats have been reshod in new vinyl, a “vintage” roll hoop has been added, and the owner claims the car itself is completely rust free. If you don’t feel like dealing with the hardtop, the MX-5 is equipped with the latest in tan glass window top fashions. (Sorry, hardtop not included.)

The rally-wannabe NA MX-5 is listed on Grassroots Motorsports with a $4,200 asking price in Roswell, GA.

[h/t Bring A Trailer]

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Crapwagon Outtake: 1988 Ford Festiva Turbo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/crapwagon-outtake-festive/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/crapwagon-outtake-festive/#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 13:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1057314 The “big engine in a small car” theme has been with car enthusiasts for generations. GTO, Sunbeam Tiger, Cobra, Monster Miata: plenty of enthusiasts, both in the boardrooms and in garages across the globe, know that more power plus less mass equates to speed. Some enthusiasts, like Carroll Shelby, had plenty of financial backing to […]

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The “big engine in a small car” theme has been with car enthusiasts for generations. GTO, Sunbeam Tiger, Cobra, Monster Miata: plenty of enthusiasts, both in the boardrooms and in garages across the globe, know that more power plus less mass equates to speed.

Some enthusiasts, like Carroll Shelby, had plenty of financial backing to explore these whims. Some, like the mad genius who cooked up this Ford Festiva, worked with slightly smaller budgets.

The Mazda turbo under the flaming bonnet isn’t too much of a stretch. The Festiva was designed by Mazda, built by Kia and originally carried an anemic version of the venerable B-series Mazda four cylinder. The seller claims over 200hp out of the Mercury Capri-sourced twincam B6T, which could be a handful if the chassis isn’t well tuned.

Clearly, the car is a work in progress that needs sorting, especially visually. A single color paint job, sans flames and faux blower intake, would go a long way to making this a sleeper. The alloys, looking a bit like the vaunted Volk TE-37, actually look decent on this car.

Making “sissy passengers wet themselves” is a bold claim. The gutted interior will make cleanup easier.

h/t to Jose Diaz

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Not In The Big Leagues Yet, But Mazda 6 Sales Are Steadily Rising http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/not-big-leagues-yet-mazda-6-sales-steadily-rising/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/not-big-leagues-yet-mazda-6-sales-steadily-rising/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 14:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1056162 For the eleventh time in twelve months and the third consecutive month, U.S. sales of the Mazda 6 increased in March 2015. Only a slight 42-unit decline in December broke what would now be a full year-long streak of year-over-year improvement for the 6. With help from a refreshed-for-2016 model already making up the bulk of […]

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Mazda 6 sales chart

For the eleventh time in twelve months and the third consecutive month, U.S. sales of the Mazda 6 increased in March 2015. Only a slight 42-unit decline in December broke what would now be a full year-long streak of year-over-year improvement for the 6.

With help from a refreshed-for-2016 model already making up the bulk of Mazda’s 6 inventory, Mazda USA is now on track to sell more than 65,000 6 sedans in calendar year 2015, a rate of sales that would return the midsize Mazda to a nine-year high.

Last month was a particularly productive period according to Mazda’s end-of-quarter sales report: “The refreshed 2016 Mazda6 recorded its best month of sales since March of 2012 with 7,570 vehicles sold, an increase of 32.1 percent over March of 2014.”

We’ll shortly see whether Mazda can buck a historical trend that sees their April sales tumble after strong third months. In 2014, for instance, as the overall new vehicle market became 10% smaller in April than in March, 6 volume plunged 33%. The year before, the industry reported a 12% decline between March and April; 6 sales in April 2013 were less than half what they were in March 2013.

2016 Mazda 6

Seasonal changes are to be expected. But for industry observers who want to see whether the Mazda 6 can maintain a roster position in the big leagues, another drop below 5000 units will be informative.

Yes, 6 sales are steadily on the rise. And it’s not as though Mazda can manage the kind of production volume to match the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord. But there’s no denying the 6, however highly praised by reviewers, is a lower-tier player in the midsize category. There are no optional powerplants, the enthusiast-oriented suspension tuning doesn’t deliver the softness of segment leaders, and the overall Mazda brand has long struggled to rise from low-volume status.

In other words, even when the 6 is surging, as it was in March, it still ranked tenth in the segment in U.S. sales, behind even the sharply declining Volkswagen Passat. Among conventional volume-brand midsize sedans, only the Subaru Legacy sold less often than the 6, though interestingly, the Legacy’s surging, as well. Subaru reported a 90% improvement to best-ever March levels for the Legacy last month.

At the moment, however, in the lead-up to the CX-3 and MX-5 launches, the 6 is a very bright spot for Mazda USA. Sales elsewhere at the Mazda brand are down 5.5% through the first-quarter of 2015. 6 volume is up 27% so far this year.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar.

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New Mazdaspeed3 Speculated For Frankfurt Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/new-mazdaspeed3-speculated-frankfurt-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/new-mazdaspeed3-speculated-frankfurt-debut/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 00:43:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1055817 Fans of the Mazdaspeed3 may soon rejoice, as speculation points to a new version of the high-performance hatch debuting in Frankfurt this September. The new Mazdaspeed3 – Mazda3 MPS in Australia – will turn up as a concept before quickly entering production, Motoring.com.au reports. Power is expected to come from a 2.5-liter turbo-four unit capable […]

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Fans of the Mazdaspeed3 may soon rejoice, as speculation points to a new version of the high-performance hatch debuting in Frankfurt this September.

The new Mazdaspeed3 – Mazda3 MPS in Australia – will turn up as a concept before quickly entering production, Motoring.com.au reports. Power is expected to come from a 2.5-liter turbo-four unit capable of 295 horsepower – which will also motivate the new CX-9 set to make its world debut later this year in Los Angeles — with AWD as a possible feature.

For those waiting for the next Mazdaspeed6, the publication’s sources point to 2017 as the earliest the high-performance sedan would arrive; the aforementioned turbo-four and AWD system would also find its way here.

Meanwhile, Mazda has plans to have four crossovers in the lineup with the addition of a reborn midsize CX-7 and its third-row seating, taking its place alongside the subcompact CX-3, compact CX-5 and fullsize CX-9. The CX-7 would debut after the new CX-9.

[Photo credit: Mazda]

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2017 Fiat 124 Spider Set For 2016 Showroom Arrival http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/2017-fiat-124-spider-set-2016-showroom-arrival/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/2017-fiat-124-spider-set-2016-showroom-arrival/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 18:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1055361 For those who want their 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata to have a more Italian flair, the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider will hit showrooms in 2016. Prior to being unloaded from many a container, the 124 Spider will make its global debut at either Frankfurt or Los Angeles later this year, reports Edmunds. According to Fiat […]

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1970 Fiat 124 Spider Sport

For those who want their 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata to have a more Italian flair, the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider will hit showrooms in 2016.

Prior to being unloaded from many a container, the 124 Spider will make its global debut at either Frankfurt or Los Angeles later this year, reports Edmunds.

According to Fiat Brand for North America boss Jason Stoicevich, the roadster would not be a rebadge of the Miata, proclaiming Fiat would put its own style on the model once offered to Alfa Romeo. Parent company FCA later decreed that all Alfas would be designed and engineered in the brand’s native Italy, shuffling the 124 Spider off to Fiat in so doing.

Power is expected to come from Fiat’s 1.4-liter four-cylinder, while pricing and passenger configuration — 2+2 or two-passenger — are among the mysteries left unsolved for now. Both the Spider and the Miata will be assembled at Mazda’s facility in Hiroshima, Japan.

Once stateside, it will be the crown jewel for Fiat’s U.S. lineup — currently consisting of the 500, 500e, 500L and 500X — while competing against the MINI Cooper Roadster, Porsche Boxster, and the aforementioned Miata.

[Photo credit: Rex Gray/Flickr]

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2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Improves Over 2015 Model In Fuel Economy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-improves-2015-model-fuel-economy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-improves-2015-model-fuel-economy/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 16:13:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1053529 Owners of the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata will experience better fuel economy compared to the outgoing 2015 model. Those who choose to pair the roadster’s 2.0-liter Skyactiv I4 with a six-speed automatic will see EPA-rated numbers of 27 mpg city, 36 mpg highway, and 30 mpg combined, according to Edmunds. Those who pick the manual […]

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Mazda North American Operations MX5Club

Owners of the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata will experience better fuel economy compared to the outgoing 2015 model.

Those who choose to pair the roadster’s 2.0-liter Skyactiv I4 with a six-speed automatic will see EPA-rated numbers of 27 mpg city, 36 mpg highway, and 30 mpg combined, according to Edmunds. Those who pick the manual six-speed, meanwhile, will the same mpg figures in the city and combined, but lose 2 mpg on the highway.

The new ratings are a 29 percent improvement over the 2015 model, whose six-speed auto or manual/2.0-liter I4 combo netted 21 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined; the five-speed manual had the same highway figure, but gained 1 mpg in the city and 2 mpg combined in comparison.

The improvements are likely linked to the loss of 150 pounds in weight for both 2016 variants, coming to 2,332 for the manual and 2,381 for the auto.

As far as what else the MX-5 Miata has in store for new and old fans alike, Jack Baruth went behind-the-scenes not too long ago to bring back his impressions on the next-gen roadster.

[Photo credit: Mazda]

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Junkyard Find: 1983 Mazda RX-7 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1983-mazda-rx-7/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1983-mazda-rx-7/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 13:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1052833 First-generation RX-7s aren’t as common in self-service wrecking yards as they were five years ago, but it’s not hard to find a couple in a typical large yard in the Los Angeles or San Francisco areas. Most of the time I don’t photograph these cars, but we’ve seen this ’79, this ’79, this ’80, and […]

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12 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

First-generation RX-7s aren’t as common in self-service wrecking yards as they were five years ago, but it’s not hard to find a couple in a typical large yard in the Los Angeles or San Francisco areas. Most of the time I don’t photograph these cars, but we’ve seen this ’79, this ’79, this ’80, and this ’85 so far in this series, and now we’ve got today’s beat-looking but low-mile ’83 from Northern California.
03 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Do you suppose this is the actual mileage, or did the speedometer cable break in 1991? It seems unlikely that the car has 1,068,798.3 miles on it.

01 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

While California’s tailpipe-emission limits in 1983 seemed incredibly strict by the standards of the other 49 states in 1983, these grams-per-mile numbers are filthy compared to current standards. For example: in 1983, your new California car could spew 0.7 grams of nitrogen oxides per mile; in 2015, the limit is 0.05 grams/mile.

14 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I hope these “GS” emblems weren’t applied by Mazda. At least it has the beautiful rotareeeee.

The more you look, the more you like!

11 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Suzuki Recalls 2M Amid Reports Of Smoking Ignitions http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/suzuki-recalls-2m-amid-reports-smoking-ignitions/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/suzuki-recalls-2m-amid-reports-smoking-ignitions/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 22:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1051009 Suzuki is recalling a record 2 million vehicles to replace ignition switches amid reports of smoke and fumes being emitted from the part. The recall adds 1,873,000 vehicles to the 168,000 previously recalled late last month, Reuters reports. Both figures apply to nine models made in Japan, including the Chevrolet Cruze, Mazda AZ-Wagon, Mazda Carol, […]

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2003 Suzuki Wagon R

Suzuki is recalling a record 2 million vehicles to replace ignition switches amid reports of smoke and fumes being emitted from the part.

The recall adds 1,873,000 vehicles to the 168,000 previously recalled late last month, Reuters reports. Both figures apply to nine models made in Japan, including the Chevrolet Cruze, Mazda AZ-Wagon, Mazda Carol, and Suzuki’s own Alto, Wagon R and Swift. The recall for the latter three covers vehicles built between 1998 and 2009.

Another 133,700 models in the new recall were sold overseas in Australia and Europe, including the aforementioned Swift, Alto and Cruze.

Thus far, 67 reports of smoking switches have been reported, including 18 in police cars. The reports have all come from Japan.

[Photo credit: Kuha455405/Wikipedia]

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Crapwagon Outtake: The Greatest Car Ever http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/crapwagon-outtake-greatest-car-ever/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/crapwagon-outtake-greatest-car-ever/#comments Sun, 05 Apr 2015 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1038681 Miata. The answer to everything. Perfect commuter? Ideal first car? Autocrosser? Racer? Demo derby? Seriously, have you ever watched a regional level Spec Miata race? But, with nearly a million built over twenty five years, will the Miata ever be a collectors’ item? Will your grandkids ever turn on Barrett-Jackson in twenty years to see […]

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Miata. The answer to everything.

Perfect commuter?

Ideal first car?

Autocrosser? Racer? Demo derby? Seriously, have you ever watched a regional level Spec Miata race?

But, with nearly a million built over twenty five years, will the Miata ever be a collectors’ item? Will your grandkids ever turn on Barrett-Jackson in twenty years to see the perfect Mazda Roadster cross the block, with Spanky Assiter screaming away?

Perhaps the limited edition cars–like the ’91 BRG, the ’94 R-package, or this, the Mazdaspeed. The first Miata to get any sort of performance bump under the hood, via turbo.

This one for sale on Autotrader, for example, looks well cared for, having lived in the sodium-free South for all eleven years and 68k. At $11,999, this MSM might be worth something someday. And if not, a couple clicks and a few bucks will bring another hundred horsepower in a shiny brown truck.

Meanwhile, my own Miata sits rusting under a cover in the garage, waiting for this interminable winter to end.

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New York 2015: 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club Unveiled http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/new-york-2015-2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-club-unveiled/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/new-york-2015-2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-club-unveiled/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 14:15:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1035073 For those looking for a track-day special that can driven to the track, the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club just might be what you need. Performance upgrades found in the Club model include limited-slip differential, Bilstein shocks, and shock tower brace, but only if one opts for the six-speed manual. Those who choose the six-speed […]

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Mazda North American Operations MX5Club

For those looking for a track-day special that can driven to the track, the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club just might be what you need.

Performance upgrades found in the Club model include limited-slip differential, Bilstein shocks, and shock tower brace, but only if one opts for the six-speed manual. Those who choose the six-speed auto will only have 17-inch gunmetal wheels, front air dam and rear lip spoilers going for them.

An additional package — pulling from the MX-5 Global Cup race car — adds Brembo brakes, functional side aero, and swaps the standard wheels for 17-inch black BBS forged alloys.

Other features include Mazda Connect, seatback bars, and piano black side mirrors.

Pricing and other details will arrive closer to the MX-5 Miata’s showroom debut this summer.

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Question Of The Day: What Car Should I Buy? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/question-day-car-buy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/question-day-car-buy/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 18:12:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1033649 Reader Brian writes to us with a question about what car to buy next. Since he’s from the Big Apple, we’ll run this on the eve of the NY Auto Show. Hello, I’m not sure if i’m contacting through the right medium here. I’m a long time avid reader of this blog and thank you […]

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2011_Mazda_MX-5_PRHT_--_04-28-2011

Reader Brian writes to us with a question about what car to buy next. Since he’s from the Big Apple, we’ll run this on the eve of the NY Auto Show.

Hello,

I’m not sure if i’m contacting through the right medium here. I’m a long time avid reader of this blog and thank you for all the content that has been put out. I’ve learned a lot about the automotive industry just from this site alone. Today i’m writing to you all with a question regarding what car i should get with a budget of approximately $15K-$17K (About what my car is worth at the moment). I currently have a 2010 Miata GT, PRHT, 6sp Manual and live in the NYC area. I’ve had it for a few years now and love the way it drives, but its starting to wear me down in terms of comfort and practicality. I just want something that is more comfortable and practical but still learns more towards the sporty side. I’ve been looking at everything from a 2010 G37X, 2011 Mustang V6 Premium, to a Fiesta/Focus ST. What do you guys think? What’s your personal opinions on those cars? Any input would be excellent! Looking forward to your response(s).

Have at it.

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