If there is one constant in the automotive world, it is that every redesigned vehicle gets bigger, more powerful, heavier and more complex. Bucking that trend is Mazda’s latest MX-5, one of the smallest and lightest cars sold in the United States.
Since the launch of the Miata in 1989, Mazda’s tiny roadster has been a beacon of light to those who prefer a “pure” driving experience. The MX-5’s core mission of being an affordable, lightweight, two-seat convertible has hardly changed. More impressive: The 2016 MX-5 is about the same size as the original Miata, and the new roadster is only 182 pounds heavier despite producing 50-percent more power and being 30-percent more fuel efficient. The price tag has also been kept in check. The 2016 model still costs about the same as a mid-sized sedan.
Making the MX-5 even more special is that it stands alone in America. Sure, Alfa is now selling their sexy and expensive 4C here, BMW still has a Z4 roadster, and Scion and Subaru are selling their two-door coupé — but none of these are like the MX-5 and that’s a good thing for Mazda.
Today brings Round Two in the “Obscure Project Car That Probably Should Be a Parts Car” series this week. Commenter dwford mentioned the Mazda MX-3 in reply to Monday’s Isuzu, and it reminded me that I haven’t seen one for quite a while as they were prone to rust and rice-ification.
Leave it to Mazda to bring another oddball engine to market in a low-volume sports car. What other company would build and sell a 130 horsepower, 1.8-liter V-6, especially when a four-cylinder engine with similar power was readily available? I thank the iconoclast engineers in Hiroshima for greenlighting the unique “K8-DE” powerplant.
On Monday, Kogai said that the Koeru could get the green light as a sporty crossover, sold alongside the CX-5 as a wagon-esque crossover aimed “to generate more driving pleasure,” Kogai told Automotive News.
Media reports on Tuesday likened the lower, fastback, five-door Mazda wagon to a possible Subaru Outback competitor, which completely forgets what an Outback looks like today.
According to jurors, the finalists for 2016 North American Car of the Year are the Honda Civic, Chevrolet Malibu and Mazda MX-5 Miata. The finalists for the 2016 Truck/Utility of the Year are the Volvo XC90, Nissan Titan XD and Honda Pilot. The winners will be announced at the North American International Auto Show in January.
Let’s review the finalists and definitively state in each capsule why that car will absolutely win: (Read More…)
In Part One of this minitruckin’ history, we covered how the Big 3 provided their dealers with “captive import” minitrucks from Mazda, Isuzu, and Mitsubishi during the Seventies. By 1975 or thereabouts, both GM and Ford were convinced that the small-pickup market was not a fad and began digging their own products out of the parts bin.
The Chevrolet S-10/GMC S-15 was a sort of truck version of the A-body (later G-body) intermediate. While it’s not dimensionally identical to the older sedans, it’s possible to swap much of the running gear between those two vehicles, particularly ahead of the firewall. The Ford Ranger arrived a few months after the S-10, a few inches smaller in most dimensions and looking remarkably ungainly compared to its sleek GM competitor. Those of you who followed the minitrucking hobby in the Nineties will recall that the Ranger was conspicuous by its absence; “domestic” minitruckers were almost exclusively loyal to the S-10/S-15. Part of that was due to the Twin-I-Beam’s reluctance to accept a lowering kit and/or airbags, but much of it was the Ranger’s hokey, hick-ish appearance compared to the S-10.
So what did that mean for the captive import trucks?
I was having a conversation with a female friend a few weeks ago and she admitted to having “fooled around” in no fewer than four different brands of minitrucks during the Nineties and Oughties. I suppose in her case that would be the Noughties — but that’s besides the point. I should also mention that the fourth “minitruck” was really a Colorado, and the incident in question happened fairly recently.
“There’s always some kind of stick shift in the way, in those little trucks, you know?” she said.
“Those are the little crosses that empowered young women have to bear,” was my response.
The conversation could have gone in any number of directions from there, but where it actually went was to A Brief Discussion Of Mini-Trucks In America, 1970-2010. I thought it might be a conversation worth having with all of you, as well, because it showcases a rather unique phenomenon in American automotive history. (Read More…)
You’ll excuse us if the new 2017 Mazda CX-9 photos we took lack a little substance. Mazda’s newest crossover was on lockdown by the automaker in Los Angeles on Tuesday, allegedly because competing engineers were a little to eager to snap pictures underneath the new girl’s sheet metal.
Whether we’re allowed to take pictures of it now or later, Mazda’s newest crossover (presumably) gets a whole host of the automaker’s latest and greatest including its new 2.5-liter, turbocharged SKYACTIV four cylinder that makes 250 horsepower* and 310 pound-feet of torque.
Finally, a Fiat in North America that isn’t a 500.
The all-new 2017 Fiat 124 Spider is what happens when you give a spectacular chassis to the Italians and let them fit it with a torque-happy turbocharged engine.
The new roadster, which is based on the Mazda MX-5 Miata, was revealed today at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show. It will be powered by what we all suspected — a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine with 160 horsepower and 184 lbs-ft of torque. A pair of six-speed transmissions, one manual and the other automatic, will send that turbo power to the rear wheels.
The photos show a sleeker CX-9 than the current model, although not nearly as dynamic as the concept sketch released more than a month ago. A lower belt line and bigger windows should help the three-row SUV be a little brighter inside. We still can’t get much of a look at the car’s grille, but the headlights are clearly much sharper and the bumper has a whole lot going on there.
Toyota said Thursday that the world’s largest automaker would no longer use the beleaguered company’s airbags, joining Honda, Mazda and others, putting in doubt that supplier’s viability, Bloomberg reported (via Fortune).
Reuters (via Automotive News) reported that the automotive supplier, who was hit with a $70 million fine from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration earlier this week, is preparing for the worst.
“We are considering some plans to survive, but it is not at the stage I can talk about yet,” CEO Shigehisa Takada said Wednesday, according to Reuters.