Tag: Mazda

By on July 21, 2016

2016 Mazda 3 sedan red

Enthusiast praise for the Mazda3 began before the current-generation compact Mazda arrived in late 2013. Previous iterations benefited from hugely positive reviews. “We’re going to love the 3 once it arrives in America,” Automobile wrote in December 2003. Credit for dynamic excellence was the norm a generation later. “Steering is direct and the suspension is firm enough for spirited driving and equally competent at soaking up bumps,” said AutoGuide in early 2009. I haven’t hesitated to get in on the action, writing in my second review of the latest compact Mazda, “The Mazda3 is still the best compact car you can buy.”

It’s therefore not surprising to see that in a five-way compact car comparison for the magazine’s July edition, Car and Driver named the 2016 Mazda3 i Grand Touring the winner of the test. Car and Driver handed the Mazda 203 points, 44-percent more than the fifth-ranked 2016 Nissan Sentra SL achieved.

Industry observers also won’t be surprised to learn that Car and Driver’s fifth-ranked Nissan Sentra produced 139-percent more first-half sales than the Mazda, while the other three losers all roundly outsold the Mazda, as well. (Read More…)

By on July 20, 2016

2016 Mazda MX-5 Soul red

Bonus. It’s the money you didn’t expect to receive from your employer at the end of the fiscal year, the mussel bar you didn’t know existed at the new Yelp-hyped strip mall restaurant your significant other convinced you to try, the extra hour of sleep you grabbed exiting daylight saving time last autumn.

There are vehicular bonuses, as well. The Jeep Wrangler succeeds at what it was built to do: to handle genuinely tough off-road situations. But it’s also a convertible.

Our long-term Honda Odyssey seats eight in surprising comfort, just as it ought to. But the Odyssey also handles really well.

After growing acquainted with all kinds of odd duckling electric cars, the Tesla Model S didn’t merely expand our expectations for electric range and performance, it looked really good while doing so.

After a blissful week of sunshine during which I drove 260 miles with a variety of passengers on mostly coastal routes, never attempting for a moment to do anything but drive the car harder than we would any other test car, it turns out our Mazda Canada-supplied 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata travelled 34 miles per gallon. Bonus. (Read More…)

By on July 20, 2016

Ford Festiva, Image: © 2016 Crabspirits/The Truth About Cars

Did you think I would end this column on just any random car? Not only is subject vehicle #100 a real mind-scrambler, but this dramatization is based on a true account from the former owner of this bubblegum Ford Festiva.

(Read More…)

By on July 11, 2016

Isuzu D-Max

Mazda is closing the door on its relationship with Ford and opting to partner with Isuzu for its next-generation pickup trucks.

The automaker announced a new agreement today that will see Isuzu build its next pickup model, bound for everywhere but North America. The two companies previously collaborated on a pickup solely for the Japanese market. (Read More…)

By on July 9, 2016

Driving Matters Mazda6 Times Square Mesh Board South, Image: Mazda USA

Our own Timothy Cain was smitten after spending a week with the midsize Mazda6. It’s a hard vehicle to hate. With its sexy, sculpted sheetmetal, it’s one of those cars you turn back to look at after you park it.

But the Mazda6, even with its willing chassis and sporting demeanor, is still missing many ingredients, one of them power. Call it the Miata Effect, or simply realize that Mazda doesn’t have its own V6 to stuff under the Mazda6’s long hood. Mazda’s midsize sedan isn’t nearly close to the most powerful option in the segment.

That may change though thanks to the Mazda CX-9 and its 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

(Read More…)

By on June 24, 2016

2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature front

I want you to sit down for this.

The 2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature we’re driving this week costs $45,215.

Mazda USA’s $45,215 sticker includes the destination fee and $300 for Machine Grey Metallic.

Yes, that’s 34-percent more than the next-most-expensive Mazda.

No, there’s not a panoramic sunroof at this price point; no ventilated seats, either. On paper, the new CX-9 produces only 227 horsepower from its 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four when filled with regular fuel. Cargo space behind the third row? Negligible. Third row seating? Technically, yes, there is a third row for the headless and legless among us, like many of its rivals. The eight-inch Mazda Connect infotainment unit is intuitive but not the swiftest operator.

And other than that, the all-new second-generation Mazda CX-9 is pretty much, well … is perfect too strong a word? (Read More…)

By on June 22, 2016

2015 Mazda3 Australia, Image: Mazda

A diesel version of the Mazda3 is dead in Australia, reports CarAdvice, leaving just the gasoline-powered version of Mazda’s compact on the market.

The removal of the diesel model comes ahead of a mid-cycle refresh that will bring Mazda’s hatchback and sedan inline visually with the refreshed Mazda6 and CX-5, and the new CX-9.

A number of circumstances played into Mazda’s decision to discontinue the compression-ignition option.

(Read More…)

By on June 10, 2016

1981 Fiat 2000 Spider Side, Image: © 2016 Kamil Kaluski/The Truth About Cars

The new Fiat 124 Spider may be thought of as a spiritual successor to the classic Fiat 2000 Spider. It’s no secret, however, that the new car is really a re-skinned Mazda MX-5 Miata powered by the same engine as the current Fiat 500 Abarth. The only parts truly new to the Fiat are some exterior panels. That’s not a bad thing as the new Miata seems to be quite amazing in all regards.

The question, despite Jack’s opinions, is whether the Abarth engine and some suspension tuning will give the 124 Spider that much coveted Italian flair, the sales numbers Fiat desperately needs, and the passion and drama that we all love so much. For better or worse, that’s been somewhat absent from the Miata over the years.

To answer that question, and to discover the ingredients in that secret Italian sauce, I recently spent some time in the classic Fiat roadster.

(Read More…)

By on May 23, 2016

2016 Mazda CX-9, Image: © 2016 Alex L. Dykes/The Truth About Cars

When Mazda initially launched the CX-9, it aimed the crossover firmly at American buyers — 80 percent of CX-9 production came to the U.S., and exactly 0 percent stayed in Japan. It was an American under the sheetmetal, too, built on an older platform shared with Ford.

For 2016, Mazda completely redesigned its large, three-row crossover with an eye on improving dynamics, efficiency and giving the brand a near-luxury alternative. Yep, Mazda believes its new Signature trim — featuring such adornments as heads-up display, Nappa leather, and real wood trim — is an alternative to the Acura MDX.

Mazda hasn’t gone completely upscale, however. Most of the CX-9 lineup aims squarely at the Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, and Chevrolet Traverse.

(Read More…)

By on May 6, 2016

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata

After Mazda reported dreadful first-quarter U.S. sales results, this article, which surveyed some of the potential reasons consumers would turn away from specific Mazda products, was read more often than any other TTAC article in April. Even as critics, myself included, endlessly point out the driver-centric ideology that makes Mazdas so fun, first-quarter sales plunged 17 percent, a loss of more than 13,000 sales for Mazda dealers.

Perhaps there’s a reverse TTAC bump. Maybe we were just practicing our latest reverse psychology techniques, attempting to lure buyers into Mazda showrooms. Like parents who tell their constipated toddlers, “You won’t like this bran muffin, no, not one bit,” to develop an inexplicable craving, we may have told you about road noise, odd ride height, poor equipment choices, and cramped rear quarters simply to stoke Mazda curiosity.

It worked. Sort of. “Mazda achieved its best April since 1995 with 26,195 vehicles sold,” the company said on Tuesday. Mazda’s market share climbed to a four-month high. Year-over-year, Mazda’s volume grew more than twice as fast as the industry average. (Read More…)

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