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, 26 May 2015 13:03:40 +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 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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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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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.

lightning

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!

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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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2016 Mazda Miata Comes In At Under $25k http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/2016-mazda-miata-comes-25k/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/2016-mazda-miata-comes-25k/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 14:43:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1032697 According to numerous media reports, Mazda has announced a base price of $24,950 for the next Mazda MX-5.   A current model MX-5 costs $23,970. Given that the new car is smaller, lighter and is only slightly down on power (not that it matters, thanks to the lower curb weight) and is a thoroughly modern […]

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2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-live-reveal-front-three-quarters-04

According to numerous media reports, Mazda has announced a base price of $24,950 for the next Mazda MX-5.

 

A current model MX-5 costs $23,970. Given that the new car is smaller, lighter and is only slightly down on power (not that it matters, thanks to the lower curb weight) and is a thoroughly modern package inside and out, the $980 premium is a small price to pay. If anyone in Canada wants a gently used Mazda3 with very low lease payments, get in touch with me.

 

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Bark’s Bites: The Good, The Not-as-Good, and the Ugly: Part One http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/barks-bites-good-not-good-ugly-part-one/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/barks-bites-good-not-good-ugly-part-one/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 14:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1031993 Thanks to our Question of the Day series, we’ve had a myriad of discussions here lately about manufacturers who have “lost their way” and whatnot as of late. My contention is that every large-scale manufacturer on the market today does things exceptionally well—the market is too competitive for them not to. Any OEM that doesn’t have […]

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Thanks to our Question of the Day series, we’ve had a myriad of discussions here lately about manufacturers who have “lost their way” and whatnot as of late. My contention is that every large-scale manufacturer on the market today does things exceptionally well—the market is too competitive for them not to. Any OEM that doesn’t have a claim to at least one niche is doomed to failure (cue the BAILOUT discussions). However, each company also has some things that they do badly—and some have things at which they are complete failures.

In preparation for this week’s New York International Auto Show, let’s take a look at what each player in the market does very well, does moderately well, and, frankly, doesn’t do well at all. This first installment will focus on the smaller volume competitors.

In reverse order of market share thus far in 2015:

DAIMLER

The Good:

Mercedes continues to be the leader in the Luxury Flagship category. The S-Class is not only the consistent volume leader in its segment, it’s the benchmark for any luxobarge that wants to try to compete. The S-Class generally outsells the A8 and the 7-Series combined in any given month.

The E-Class is Daimler’s bread-and-butter car. A friend of mine had been lusting after an M5 for literally years, but when he had finally completed his residency and was ready to buy one, he decided to go in a different direction. “The E63 AMG was just better,” he told me (I’m still bugging him to do a Reader Ride Review). And while the performance version of the E-Class has become an absolute beast, the regular old E350 is still the “I’ve made it” car in most office parks around flyover country. It, too, outsells the competition by a 2:1 ratio most months.

The Not-as-Good:

Merc has never seemed to be able to get the whole SUV thing down. My pops had an ML class up until about a year ago when it was stolen from his gym’s parking lot. He was actually pretty relieved—he replaced it with a Grand Cherokee and has been much happier ever since. For whatever reason, the GL and the M just don’t have the panache of the X3 and X5. Mercedes’ SUV/CUV offerings aren’t bad, but they shout “stay-at-home Mom” much more than the offerings from the other Germans do. Since personal anecdotes are clearly the most important thing when ranking vehicles, I’ll just point that a colleague of mine nearly jumped out of his shoes to tell me that the GL he was driving the other day was his wife’s car, not his.

How do you solve a problem like the C-Class? No matter what Daimler does with it, it continuously lives in the shadow of the 3-Series. Back when I was doing a little entry-level German performance sedan shopping a few years back, I cross-shopped the C 300, the 335i, and the A4/S4. My friend who was tagging along made the following comment: “Everything about the C-Class just feels…old.” While there’s plenty to like about the C-Class, there just doesn’t seem to be any reason to pick it over the competition unless you’re a Mercedes brand junkie.

The Ugly:

The CLA. The CLA. God, the CLA. Have you ever seen another car that screams, “Hi, I’m an idiot!” on the road like the CLA 250 does? The BMW 320i and the Audi A3 can be defended as choices—particularly the A3. The CLA is a perfect car for a Delta Delta Delta whose daddy is footing the lease bill. For everybody else, it’s a wretched choice. And if you’re going to come back at me with “What about the CLA45?” then I can only assume you’ve never heard of something we in America like to call the MUSTANG GT.

MAZDA

The Good:

MX-5. It’s an icon, and I don’t think that I really need to expand much on one of the three most popular cars at TTAC. No matter what they’ve done with the newest generation, it’s guaranteed to be good.

The CX-5 is the only car that you can recommend to virtually anybody and be assured that they’ll like it. Younger people like the sportiness. Families like the versatility. Older people like the size and the ride height. Everybody likes the price. It’s the best car vehicle in its segment. Doesn’t sell like it, though.

The Mazda6 wins every comparison test it enters. Seriously. It’s the undisputed champion of the mid-sized sedan segment. It’s the best-looking, the best-driving, and the only car in CamCordima land that lets people know that you actually cared about your vehicle choice. Yet nobody, and I mean, nobody actually buys it. Every other vehicle in the segment outsells it by at least 5:1.

The Not-as-Good:

Somebody get our Managing Editor some Tums for this one, because I’m gonna have to put the Mazda3 here. Is it a very good car? Absolutely. Does it deserve to be priced the way it is? Absolutely not. While the 3’s base price is competitive, once options start being added, it gets very expensive, very quickly. For example, to move up from 155 HP to the 184 HP 2.5 liter engine with an automatic transmission, you’re looking at an MSRP of $27,415. That’s kinda insane. It’s hard to find a trim level of the 3 where the Focus, Elantra, Cruze, or Civic don’t make a little more sense. If it’s driving dynamics you’re after, I can see why you’d go for the base manual transmission car, though. Cut the price by a grand on each trim (and real-world pricing is close to that), and it goes back up to the “good” category. [No disagreement here. In Canada, it is priced much more aggressively than in the United States. My car is equivalent to a 2.oi Touring, which goes for $21k USD. I paid the equivalent of $16k USD.-DK]

The Ugly:

Mazda does everything well, save one thing: marketing. They have the worst dealer network in America—many of them are leftovers from the Ford partnership, and you can guess how many Ford stores focus on selling Mazdas nowadays. Their advertising strategy can be flat out baffling. I got my Mazda CX-7 back in 2008 because they advertised a $199 a month with zero down 36 month lease. I have no idea what a CX-5 leases for today, and neither does anybody else because Mazda never advertises it. I’m not sure how Mia Hamm or Penn and Teller help Mazda sell cars, but by the tumbleweed blowing through Mazda dealerships lately, I don’t think anybody else knows, either.

VOLKSWAGEN AUTO GROUP

I’m going to differentiate between Vee Dub, Porsche, and Audi here.

VOLKSWAGEN

The Good:

The GTI is pure wizardry. It’s like VW took all of its R&D budget and just decided, “Screw it—let’s make at least ONE good car.” The new GTI is Volkswagen at its purest—a small (for today’s standards), affordable (again, for today’s standards) car that at least makes one question whether or not the Fiesta ST is the best smiles-per-dollar value. It’s good that the GTI is so good, because…

The Not-as-Good:

Not only do I not have anything else to put in the “Good” category, I don’t have anything for the “Not-as-Good” category either. I could probably put the Golf R somewhere in this category, but I haven’t driven one, so I can’t say. I also suspect it will be rendered moot by the arrival of the Focus RS in the States.

The Ugly:

Volkswagen has made some truly bizarre decisions regarding its lineup for the US market. I don’t even consider any of the VWs in the rental aisle, anymore. The Passat, Jetta, and Golf are so far behind their competition that I honestly don’t know how VW stores are keeping the lights on. Why is it that the interior quality is so good in the GTI and so abysmal in the Jetta? I had a 1994 MK III Jetta once—I believe it might have been the first one sold in Ohio in 1993. It wasn’t a fast car. It had roll-up windows. It had wheel covers. But at least it had character. Volkswagen has managed to do the impossible—along with all of the other decontenting, it has removed all of the fun and personality from its cars.

AUDI

The Good:

Audi seems to be doing the “entry-level luxury” thing better than anybody else. The A3, while it shares the MQB platform with the rather drab Golf, shines in comparison with the 320i and the CLA 250, perhaps because it seems truer to the Audi brand than either of its main competitors do to their own. If I were in the market for such a vehicle, there’s no doubt that the A3 would be the pick.

Along those same lines, the S3 are RS7 are both compelling choices in their respective categories. In fact, if I could buy any car on sale in America right now, I would likely choose the RS7 ( I even made it the star of a short story once).

The Not-as-Good

The Audi Q line has always struck me as a bit…odd. I get the feeling that the folks at Audi know that they need a CUV/SUV line for America, but that their hearts just aren’t in it. I like the vehicle, overall. They drive well, they’re well assembled—I even knew a guy once who used a Q5 to tow his S2000 to autocrosses. I’m just not sure who the audience is for these things.

The Bad

The A4 isn’t what it once was—well, actually, that’s not true. It’s exactly what it once was. The A4 seems like it’s stuck in a time warp, riding on a platform that is going on seven years old. The only reason to choose the A4 over a 328i or C300 is price, and I think Audi knows it.

PORSCHE

The Good:

I haven’t driven a Porsche in aggression since about 2008 (except for when I drove David Walton’s GT3 for about five miles and missed third gear every. single. time.), so I might be a bit out of date here. That being said, I have heard nothing about the Cayman GT4 that doesn’t make it seem like it’s the second coming. So that’s good.

I trust the guys at R&T when they say that the 991 is the best new Performance Car for 2015, too.

The Not-as-Good:

The Cayenne is probably the vehicle most responsible for the shark-jumping of the luxury SUV craze. Once Porsche did it over a decade ago, it no longer seemed (quite as) strange for manufacturers like Lamborghini, Bentley, and others to make a crossover. It’s still Porsche’s best selling model, even if it doesn’t seem as ubiquitous as it once did—certainly it has lost some sales to its own internal competition, which leads me to…

The Ugly:

The Macan is just a straight-up cash grab by a manufacturer whose nameplate used to actually mean something. I find it hard to believe that Porsche is willing to sully its once-proud name for 600 units a month of Macan sales, but apparently, they are.

But even the Macan makes the Panamera look bad. Panameras are really only sold in three parts of the country—LA, NYC, and Atlanta (to Porsche executives). With the exception of a mild facelift in 2013, the Panamera has been essentially the same since launch, making it look old and tired in comparison to cars like the RS7, the BMW M6 Gran Coupe, or the CLS63 AMG. And in order to get a Panamera that will compete with those cars on the track, you’ll need to step up to the Panamera Turbo, which means you’ll have spent enough money to buy almost two RS7s.

 

See? It’s not that easy to simply exclude a manufacturer. It will get even harder in the coming days, as we move into some higher-volume automakers. Next up: A trio of Japanese companies (Nissan, Honda, and Subaru) as well as the Korean conglomerate of Hyundai/Kia.

 

 

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Generation Why: Invasion Of The Bodystyle Snatches http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/generation-invasion-bodystyle-snatches/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/generation-invasion-bodystyle-snatches/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 14:32:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1030465 We don’t have the rights to run the spy photos of the Scion iA concept, but you can check them out here. The above rendering, from TopSpeed, is 99.9% accurate, for better or for worse. On the surface, it looks like an uglier version of the Mazda2 sedan, with the unfortunate catfish maw grafted on […]

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We don’t have the rights to run the spy photos of the Scion iA concept, but you can check them out here. The above rendering, from TopSpeed, is 99.9% accurate, for better or for worse. On the surface, it looks like an uglier version of the Mazda2 sedan, with the unfortunate catfish maw grafted on in place of the rather handsome Mazda front end treatment. The on paper sepcs aren’t exactly thrilling either.

We at TTAC estimate a 1.5L Skyactiv 4-cylinder making 106 horsepower, with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic gearbox. From what we’ve seen, the tablet-style screen present on all Mazdas will make its way over, and it’s possible that even the excellent HMI Commander knob will too.

On the surface, it seems like a cynical attempt by Scion to cash in on the low end of the market without building a car of their own. But this kind of thing has been happening for years and years in the Japanese Domestic Market. The Civic (well, really the Domani, aka the Acura EL) itself was lent out to Isuzu and sold as a Gemini, with literally no modifications beyond a couple of “Isuzu” emblems slapped on in strategic locations.

The iA will at least have a different front end (ugly as it may be), and the dealer network for Scion is a lot more extensive than Mazda.  106 horsepower seems a bit lackluster, but keep in mind that in hatch form, the car weighs 2270 lbs. The Skyactiv unit will almost certainly return outstanding fuel economy, and both gearboxes are among the best in the industry. It’s basically the Isuzu Gemini we never got – and it won’t amputate your legs in an accident.

And let’s not forget this either: Mazda can use ever dollar that comes its way. The deal with Toyota is probably a nice cash infusion for the company, and helps use some capacity at its new Mexican plant.

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New York 2015: Mazda MX-5 Miata Club Edition Set To Bow http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/nyias-2015-mazda-mx-5-miata-club-edition-set-bow/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/nyias-2015-mazda-mx-5-miata-club-edition-set-bow/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 11:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1029737 Coming next week, Mazda will unveil its most aggressive version of the new MX-5 Miata when it brings the MX-5 Miata Club Edition to New York. Though little information was given about what the Club Edition will bring to the party, Mazda says the model will amplify the driving experience already found in the standard […]

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Coming next week, Mazda will unveil its most aggressive version of the new MX-5 Miata when it brings the MX-5 Miata Club Edition to New York.

Though little information was given about what the Club Edition will bring to the party, Mazda says the model will amplify the driving experience already found in the standard model, “harking back to the early lightweight sports cars that inspired it, but serving as a beacon for the future as a thoroughly modern, sophisticated package.”

Speculation points to the Accessories Design Concept from the 2015 Chicago Auto Show for inspiration, as well as the current Club Edition, including black wheels, limited-slip differential, and an appearance package.

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2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Curb Weight Figures Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-curb-weight-figures-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-curb-weight-figures-revealed/#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2015 14:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1021081 Wanting to know how much the curb weight of the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata will be? Wonder no more. AutoGuide says the icon’s curb weight with the manual transmission comes to 2,332 lbs, while the automatic takes the weight up to 2,381 lbs. In comparison, the outgoing Miata weighs 2,480 lbs with the manual, 2,542 […]

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Wanting to know how much the curb weight of the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata will be? Wonder no more.

AutoGuide says the icon’s curb weight with the manual transmission comes to 2,332 lbs, while the automatic takes the weight up to 2,381 lbs. In comparison, the outgoing Miata weighs 2,480 lbs with the manual, 2,542 lbs with the auto.

As a result of the ~150-pound weight reduction, the 2016 Miata has a power-to-weight ratio of 0.066 horsepower per pound. It also is lighter than the Scion FR-S, which tips the scales at 2,758 lbs.

Power for the new roadster in North America will be a 2-liter Skyactiv four-pot delivering 155 horses and 148 lb-ft of torque to the back, while the rest of the world also receives a 1.5-liter four with 129 horses and 110 lb-ft of torque.

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Junkyard Find: 1984 Mazda B2000 Sundowner Pickup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1984-mazda-b2000-sundowner-pickup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1984-mazda-b2000-sundowner-pickup/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 14:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1005386 Plenty of Mazda B-Series pickups were sold in the United States, mostly badged as Ford Couriers, but starting in 1983 (when the Ranger appeared) your only choice for obtaining one of these cheap-and-simple little trucks was your Mazda dealer. I spotted this somewhat rusty ’84 in a Denver wrecking yard on Saturday, and it looked […]

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33 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPlenty of Mazda B-Series pickups were sold in the United States, mostly badged as Ford Couriers, but starting in 1983 (when the Ranger appeared) your only choice for obtaining one of these cheap-and-simple little trucks was your Mazda dealer. I spotted this somewhat rusty ’84 in a Denver wrecking yard on Saturday, and it looked like it still had some good miles left in it.
70 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinJust 147k miles in 31 years.
56 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe ignition key is there and the windshield sports auction-company “RUN AND DRIVE” stickers, which means we’re probably looking at a dealer trade-in that nobody wanted to buy.
06 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Sundowner was the long-wheelbase version of the B2000.
12 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one is covered with clues that tell us a story about the final owner. “Hang Up and Drive” and Black Flag stickers plus a hand-painted mystical eyeball here.
46 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIs there the requisite “KILL YOUR TELEVISION” sticker? Yes, here it is!
26 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHere’s the 1,970cc F engine, which was good for 90 horses in 1984. Can you imagine Americans buying a pickup with just 90 horsepower today? That would be like asking us to turn down our thermostats in the winter!

This tough little truck is loaded for bear!

When you’ve got something this good, you take care of it.

Here’s the optioned-up SE-5. Sakes alive!

03 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 26 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 28 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 29 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 31 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 33 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 36 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 38 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 40 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 42 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 44 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 45 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 46 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 49 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 52 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 53 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 55 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 56 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 59 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 63 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 64 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 66 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 68 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 70 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 71 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Editorial: Zoom, But Where’s The Boom? The Mazda Question http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/editorial-zoom-wheres-boom-mazda-question/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/editorial-zoom-wheres-boom-mazda-question/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 14:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1001058 Last week, fellow contributor Doug DeMuro posed the question, “Has Mazda lost its zoom?” Some weeks before that, he asked readers, “When did BMW lose its edge?” To be brief, the answer to the first is a simple “No,” while the answer to the second is – well, let’s ask BMW. Hey! Bavarians! How do […]

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Last week, fellow contributor Doug DeMuro posed the question, “Has Mazda lost its zoom?” Some weeks before that, he asked readers, “When did BMW lose its edge?”

To be brief, the answer to the first is a simple “No,” while the answer to the second is – well, let’s ask BMW. Hey! Bavarians! How do you sleep at night, selling bizarre cross-coupes and sport activity whats-its and M-badged heffalumps like the 5-series Gran Turismo?

BMW, in a Rainier Wolfcastle accent: “On a huge pile of money, surrounded by many beautiful ladies.”

I see. So here’s my question – if Mazda is, as I posit, selling the strongest lineup of vehicles it’s had in decades, then why isn’t it knocking it out of the park?

First though, some brief defence of the Mazda range may be needed, as there are those who feel that it lacks cohesion. I believe the quote bandied about refers to our resident hot-shoe / well-heeled-Visigoth Jack Baruth declaring the Camry SE a bit sprightlier around a racetrack than a Mazda6. However, I remind you that the same gent said the following, “As it turns out, I did nearly sixty laps of Laguna Seca in the CX-5. The first three were for you, dear readers; the rest were for me.”

And that was back when you still couldn’t get anything other than a relatively overmatched 2.0L in that particular crossover. Now there’s a more-flexible 2.5L engine available that still returns excellent fuel economy but doesn’t feel overtaxed in passing maneuvers. You can get the same engine in the Mazda3, which I have just finished up a week in, now with either a six-speed manual (lovely) or conventional six-speed automatic (frankly, better), and that car is pretty enough that it could easily wear an Alfa-Romeo badge.

The Mazda2, which Doug dismissed for having just 100hp, is just debuting with 115hp now, and shares a design language with the rest of the range. The new CX-3, bound to launch somewhere mid-year, builds on the 2’s chassis with a little more ride-height (as well as a 2.0L, 155-horsepower engine), and having watched a camouflaged mule run along the Angeles Crest highway at speed, that thing’s going to be sharp too.

Much more importantly, they’re also very pretty cars these days. No more of the grinning why-so-serious nonsense that only really worked on the cutesy ‘2, Mazda’s new design language is good enough to have those who don’t care about corners looking twice. Should they glance at the fuel-economy figures, those too should impress. Moreover, most Mazda products I’ve driven actually hit their economy targets without trickery, unlike some turbocharged options I could name. And will: so-called Ecoboost offerings.

So what gives? Is it, as Doug suggests, a lack of power in the range? Toe-to-toe with four-banger Camrys and CR-Vs, Mazda’s products are actually a little ahead; it’s a fair point that handling and feel take a backseat to plain ol’ underhood gumption, and that there are probably a few people driving around in 2.0T Optimas who turned down the ‘6 on the basis of power, but where the bulk volume is, there too is most of the Mazda range.

The problem, I feel, is in not in the product, it’s in the perception. Easiest example of this? The new MX-5.

When the word went out that the new ND-chassis MX-5 would have just 155hp, out came the knives. It wasn’t enough. It certainly wasn’t daring enough. If anything, it was a step backwards. Just one issue: the Venn Diagram between those complaining and those who’d driven the car had zero overlap – and that was with the JDM 1.5L cars.

Moreover, get a few lines down in the comment thread of any first-drive, and you’d start hearing people talk about rust. Either they’d be dismissing all Mazdas as rust-buckets, based on apocryphal experience, or defending the brand, based on apocryphal experience. The consensus seems to be that the modern cars are much better (with the caveat that time has yet to take its full toll), but that the buying public hasn’t forgotten.

More to the point, the buying public doesn’t seem to have forgotten their last poor experience with a Mazda dealer, or perhaps the lack of choice when it comes to finding one. Not that they’re all the same, but if there are five Honda dealerships in your town, eight Toyota dealerships, and one place that sells Mazdas, guess which brand takes a kicking? Someone who had a bad experience at Toyota A but liked their car might try Toyota B before switching brands.

Meanwhile, over at Subaru, equally a niche player, things couldn’t be rosier. This despite a history of headgasket issues and fussy maintenance requirements. Subaru’s overall sales in the US were double Mazda’s results, with just under treble the growth.

It’s not a mystery, no more so than the prevalence of gluten-free food these days. Subaru’s all-wheel-drive is of no real benefit to many shoppers, but it has at least a placebo effect. In addition, overall fuel economy is improved enough now thanks to CVT and direct-injection to be acceptable, and the brand can tout its reputation for all-weather capability and safety loudly enough to drown out the critics.

For Mazda, a philosophy of “fun-to-drive spirit” baked into every car, no matter how true, just isn’t enough. In fact, if Mazda succeeds, it’ll be in spite of the fact that their cars drive well.

Enthusiasts buy into handling and feel, but they do so in small numbers, and they currently face a glut of options. No-one would tell you the Miata wasn’t zippy, but the actual sales figures for that car are almost hilariously modest, even by niche-market standards. Everybody else buys safe – not boring: safe. Something that’s a known quantity, recommended by friends and family, with a decent monthly payment and a nice-enough feel.

BMW certainly understands this, and has abandoned their Ultimate Driving Machine image for a scattershot approach that currently fills at least three niches which were probably better left empty. They still make the odd enthusiast-pleasing car, but the average 3-series leaving the lot is more akin to a Mercedes-Benz C-Class than its boxy ancestors. BMW knows that they need not worry about the weight-distribution of the ATS when the Audi Q3 is a far bigger sales volume threat.

Thus, the disheartening feeling that the gleaming alloy air cars are coming for that Soul-Red barchetta with the Mazda badge on the nose. But perhaps that’s not quite the case just yet.

CX-5 sales are steady, and the company’s growth, as-mentioned, is modest but present. The CX-3 will be an important launch, but its the CX-9 that faces down even tougher competition in the three-row segment. At least Mazda’s earlier to the game here than VW.

Personally, I’d like to see the next Mazdaspeed car, the next powerful Mazda, be a version of the CX-3; imagine a GLA AMG competitor for less than half the price. With the conventional hot-hatch segment relatively crowded, the next ‘Speed, and Mazda as a company, needs to hit them not where they are, but where they ain’t.

However, that’s beside the point. If Mazda’s to survive, it’s the twin attributes of consumer-reproducible overall fleet fuel economy and attractive styling that will keep the company afloat. Has Mazda lost its zoom? No, but that’s practically irrelevant. Survival here is not going to be about Jinba Ittai, but how pretty the pony is, and how much it costs to keep it fed.

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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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Question Of The Day: Has Mazda Lost Its Zoom? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/question-day-mazda-lost-zoom/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/question-day-mazda-lost-zoom/#comments Fri, 13 Feb 2015 14:26:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=999250 Ladies and gentlemen, today I must reveal a depressing opinion about Mazda: I believe they no longer zoom. Yes, folks, that’s right: I believe that Mazda, everyone’s favorite “zoom zoom” brand, once home to all the cool “zoom zoom” cars, is no longer in the “zoom zoom” business. In fact, if they were to make […]

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Ladies and gentlemen, today I must reveal a depressing opinion about Mazda: I believe they no longer zoom.

Yes, folks, that’s right: I believe that Mazda, everyone’s favorite “zoom zoom” brand, once home to all the cool “zoom zoom” cars, is no longer in the “zoom zoom” business. In fact, if they were to make those commercials again today, the little boy would say “sip sip,” and the ad would show Mazda’s lineup slowly descending a hill in top gear in order to maximize average fuel economy.

For those of you who have no idea what the hell I’m talking about, allow me to back up a bit. The year was 2005 – or possibly 2002, I have no idea – and Mazda was putting out these “zoom zoom” commercials in order to point out how it was more fun than all the other automakers. What would happen in these ads was:

1. A little boy – inexplicably dressed in funeral attire – would stand by the side of the road and whisper “zoom zoom” while the camera panned uncomfortably close to him.

2. They’d start playing this high-energy song, whose entire lyrics – this is true – were “Zoom
ZOOM zoom! Yeah zoom zoom zoom zoom zoom.”

3. The entire Mazda lineup – including the B-Series, which was an outdated small pickup that moved with the grace of a garage door – would speed recklessly through the desert, uprooting sagebrush and various species of lizards.

Although I’d love to make fun of these commercials, I must admit that I actually enjoyed them immensely. You got the sense, when you were watching them, that Mazda was cool and fun and youthful, and other people must’ve agreed, because how else do you explain them selling all those yellow Protege5s?

More importantly, however, Mazda of ten years ago had the exciting lineup to justify these ads. There was the high-performance MazdaSpeed6, which had more power than the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. There was the sporty MazdaSpeed3, which had more power than the Acura NSX. And there was the RX-8, which consumed more oil than a NASCAR race. And who can forget the turbocharged MazdaSpeed Miata, which soon gave way to the highly enjoyable “NC” MX-5?

But in my opinion, the brand long since has changed.

Now, before I assail Mazda for making un-zoomy products, I should note that they aren’t currently using the “zoom zoom” tagline anywhere in their advertising. In fact, a quick trip to their website reveals they aren’t using any slogan, and instead their press images primarily involve bright red vehicles in dimly lit settings.

And it’s a good thing that Mazda has abandoned its “zoom zoom” slogan, because the brand isn’t really in the zoomy business any longer. I think many of you agree with me here, or at least call me names in the comments.

To help prove my point, consider the Mazda6, which is the single most attractive midsize sedan in human history. Seriously: when we all die, and humanity moves on, there will come a day, deep in the future, when the curator at the Louvre says: “We need to make room for the 2014 Mazda6. Can we move the small, faded painting of that grinning woman? Lisa something?”

But here’s the problem: as beautiful as the new Mazda6 is, it isn’t sporty. Oh, sure, it handles a little better than most competitors, and it has big wheels that make it look like an expensive luxury car; the kind of luxury car that might have illuminated door sills and free baked goods in the dealership waiting area.

But its most powerful engine makes 174 horsepower. One seventy four. This is Honda Civic territory. This is Ford Focus territory. This is 1990s family sedan territory. And to make matters worse, another unfortunate Mazda6 fact: every single competitor offers more power. Even the Toyota Camry – long considered the automotive version of un-lined typing paper –has a V6 version that makes 268 horses and reaches 60 mph in under 6 seconds.

It isn’t just the Mazda6 that’s got me worried. While Ford’s subcompact Fiesta has a high-performance version with 184 horsepower, the tiny Mazda2 is saddled with only 100. While the Volkswagen Golf R is about to debut with 296 horsepower, there still isn’t a MazdaSpeed3 – though some rumors say it’s on the way. The brand of the RX-7 and RX-8 now makes three SUVs and a minivan. And instead of pursuing speed, Mazda has instead earned the EPA’s distinction of most fuel-efficient automaker – an honor, yes, but not a zoomy one.

But if you aren’t yet convinced that the fun is gone from Mazda, here’s the real kicker: that zoom-zoom kid? The one in the commercials? Who got all excited about the Mazda6 powersliding over an endangered turtle habitat? He’s at Notre Dame Law School, where he’s currently on the dean’s list. The dean’s list!!! In other words: even the zoom-zoom kid has given up on having fun!

Now, I admit that Mazda is just now coming out with the all-new MX-5 Miata, which is the brand’s link to the high-performance world. And I understand that some of you might think that this alone makes Mazda sporty. But here’s my counterargument: Ferrari.

Ferrari, as you know, makes bright red sports cars for people who spend more time tending to their hair than their children. But they also make an oddly proportioned station wagon with a hood so large that it could serve as a landing area for remote-controlled drones. But is Ferrari a station wagon maker? No! They’re a sports car maker that happens to have a station wagon – just as Mazda is a mainstream, gas mileagy brand that happens to have a cool little sports car.

I also admit that Mazda products are generally more fun to drive than their counterparts at Honda, Toyota, Nissan, or other brands. But does this justify Mazda’s image as a “sporty” automaker? Does a slightly better steering feel and improved cornering abilities still make Mazda a “zoom zoom” brand? In my opinion, it just isn’t the same – but what say you? Has Mazda lost its zoom?

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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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