By on February 13, 2015

2016-mazda-cx-3-2014-la-auto-show-09

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 The entire Mazda lineup – including the B-Series, which was an outdated small pickup that moved with the grace of a garage door – would speed recklessly through the desert, uprooting sagebrush and various species of lizards.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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230 Comments on “Question Of The Day: Has Mazda Lost Its Zoom?...”


  • avatar
    J.Emerson

    I would say being a “zoom zoom” brand in the 00’s explains why they’re in the position they are now: going downward slowly. That, and being the last manufacturer to understand that cars that rust out in 5 years aren’t acceptable anymore. And no dealers.

    • 0 avatar
      maestromario

      Yeah, “rust rust”!

      No one had thought that Mazda would bring us back to the early 80’s with disintegrating japanease cars.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Author of this delivers all wrong information to you folks. Just looking at HP make no sense. It is the torque that matters. And Mazda is still compares favorably to other cars and about same as Accord in acceleration. And its engine has 185, not 174 horsepower. I see this article as worthless and inaccurate.

      Mazda rust? – I recently sold my 1998 Protege. It survived.

      • 0 avatar
        MrGreenMan

        “Check the torque” is the last refuge of scoundrels. Remember when VW tried to push the Jetta with that?

        The Mazda 6 was the more exotic sister of the Ford Fusion. It had a V6 that was really fast. It was quirky cool.

        The Mazda 6 now only has the 2.5 L engine making 184 HP. It cannot compare to the Fusion with EcoBoost. The 6 is now a dud.

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        HP is a mathematical function of torque. If You don’t understand the relationship between force and work perhaps I can interest you in a diesel…

  • avatar
    brettc

    Mazda is trying to become mainstream to increase their sales, just like Subaru has done. Can’t really fault them for that but it is too bad that they’ve abandoned their quirkiness. But quirkiness doesn’t sell cars, just ask Subaru of the early 2000s.

    • 0 avatar
      Krivka

      Subaru found a niche and exploited it. Saab could have done the same and didn’t. Mazda is not going to play in the big leagues with what they make now. I would rather drive a Camry than a 6, and do. With the new Miata coming out with 155 HP and wanting to buy one, i won’t. I would get a GTI instead. I know they don’t play in the same sandbox, but they are close enough for me. They need to put some horse power behind their designs somehow. Be it rotary, turbo or supercharged engines, they need people in the showrooms to look at the good stuff, but walking out with the boring.

  • avatar

    It’s all a result of their financial situation. The reality is that hat the performance variants aren’t high volume models and they need to make money and spend as little as they can. I own a 2015 6 touring with the manual. Is it fast and something to compete on a track with? No. Is it “fast” enough for driving around town and sitting in traffic most of the time? Hell yes and it’s a blast to drive. The transmission is great and easy even in Houston traffic. It’s the firs manual I have been able to teach my wife to drive. As much as she wanted to hate the car when I bought it she loves it. It truly is a great car and the gas mileage is very good to go along with it. So is it fast? No. But is it sporty and fun to drive? Yes and that’s what they need more than a turbo variant. Sure AWD might help them sell a few more up north but I don’t need it in Houston.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      “Is it fast and something to compete on a track with? No.”

      You need to go to said track. A “fast” car takes on a different meaning. “Fast” is fun, but its a very small percentage of the track experience.

    • 0 avatar
      eManual

      As many on this site indicate, AWD isn’t needed if you have good snow tires. Having a stick shift FWD in winter IMHO is better than an AWD auto. And I love to get a stick with a light (sand) interior. My hesitation with the Mazda 6 is the (potential) rust problems and NVH.

      • 0 avatar

        +1 to eManual, See 7 up, and kericf

        I don’t understand why some think it’s necessary to have enough power to launch the car into orbit in order to enjoy driving. And don’t forget that power to weight ratio is what’s important.

        • 0 avatar
          eManual

          Thanks for the feedback Dave. And the hotlink in your Avatar/name didn’t work until I entered the following:

          http://www.motorlegends.com/

          I find manuals in snow time to be as much “fun” as others do Canyon Cruising. My 1992 Plymouth Voyager 2.4L 5mt, with it’s small 195-75R14 tires and heavier front end does the job. When wheels start to slip, an immediate clutch depress gives you no engine braking and makes recovery easier. And controlling the torque to the driven wheels gets you out of tough conditions. I have no time in any stability controlled vehicle, but with an auto, it might be a necessity.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Don’t know where you got your 174 hp rating for the 2.5 liter Skyactiv from. But it’s incorrect.

    The Mazda6 is pretty milquetoast and anodyne, but so is the Accord, and just about every other car I’ve tried in the last two years. The Mazda3, on the other hand, is in the lower trim levels by far the nicest small car out there at the moment in my opinion. It obviously steers and handles better than the other small cars, even to people who don’t care much about such things. I’ve had some small ex

    Quite why Americans, but not Canadians, don’t buy Mazdas in any quantity is beyond me, but that’s the way it is.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Why don’t Americans buy Mazdas?

      1. The Zoom Zoom ads: Only a pedophile could like those ads.
      2. The dealers: Every time Mazda had a product I wanted, starting with the first model year Miata, the dealers I visited in multiple states were positively ridiculous.
      3. Rust.
      4. The ownership experience: Circa 2008, I helped two of my friends buy Mazdas. The Mazda3 was beset by check engine lights from about year two, culminating in a blown engine at 80K miles. My friend had learned not to take the warning light seriously by then, so she tried to drive home with the light on after it had been triggered by a headgasket failure instead of the usual sensor defects. The Mazda6 was pretty good until my other friend went to trade it in on something bigger and she was told it was worth less than $2K.
      5. Stench of death: People don’t want failing brands, even if they’re just failing in our market.

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        Pedophiles? Really? That’s a stretch beyond my comprehension.

        If your friend’s 2008 engine failed, I’d say it was a complete anomaly. Ford Duratecs are the same thing.

        As I said, sales of Mazdas in the US are what they are, but these two reasons you give are not reasonable reasons.

        Rust, oh yes I agree, because people are always years out of date in their minds when it comes to remembering rust. Cannot imagine they rust much in California though.

        Dealers are probably the real answer – I had one try to screw me over for $200 for a test drive of a 626 GT back in 1988, before I got my 4000 Quattro. At least they don’t put the parts counter as the first thing you see upon entering the showroom like the VW dealer does.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          The dealer network is small because the sales are low. The dealers are more of the symptom than the problem.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            Agreed, but it is a chicken and egg situation. If there were more dealers (who spent more on better facilities) then there would be more sales. Which in turn would lead to more dealers and/or better facilities.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I don’t care about facilities. In fact, the five worst new Mazda dealers I encountered all had facilities in line with other brands’ dealers in their respective municipalities. What bugged me was that they only wanted to do business with complete lay-downs and were shameless liars. The first time I shopped for a Mazda, the dealer had a Car and Driver cover taped to the floor of the showroom. WTF? “We ran an ad that said we had a Miata on the showroom floor!” Hardy-har-har! When shopping for a Protege5, my then girlfriend and I weren’t allowed to look at the only one in stock because it was sold. I don’t mean take it for a drive, or even sit in it. They wouldn’t let us look at it. Shopping for a new Mazda3 in 2007, when they were everywhere and no longer much of a novelty, I took a test drive of one of the 20+ cars a dealer had in stock. They actually had a bunch with 5-speeds in acceptable trim. I’m a cash buyer and all I wanted to know was what it was going to cost without sitting down with in their back office. No dice. I gave the clown my card and he never followed up. I used Mazda’s website to request bids from every dealer in the state of Virginia. The only follow up I got was from Mazda NA, who asked if I was still looking for a car about a year later. At this point, I was all Mazdad out, but I help my friends shop for cars and there was a time when some of them wanted Mazdas. Actually, the one that got a Mazda6 didn’t want a Mazda, but it was thousands less than any other 4 cylinder sedan when gas first hit $4 a gallon. The California dealers proved to be almost as bad as the Virginia ones.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Doug likes the ads, so is he by your hyperbolic “logic” a pedophile?

        As noted the horsepower rating is incorrect on the 6 and a Civic other than the Si makes <150hp so not comparable.

        The discussion about "sporty" has been had on this site for some time. Some people think it is straight line speed, others that it is how a car drives and handles. By the second measure Mazda is a sporty brand. Every entry they have (CX5, CX9, 2, 3 and 6) is either the best driving or one of the two best driving cars in the category. They improved their fuel efficiency because it was, along with VW, terrible. They now boasts class leading or competitive fuel economy, safety, reliability, style and driving dynamics.

        I would agreed about point 5 except that even Mitsubshi is increasing sales and the stench of death is strong with that brand. Nobody seriously thinks Mazda will pull out of the US when they have six digit sales volume here (unlike Volvo, Mitsu, Lincoln and doing better than Acura, Infiniti).

        • 0 avatar
          Power6

          The debate about the driving dynamics is completely valid, I think Doug didn’t make his case well by focussing too much on HP.

          Except that the Mazda doesn’t have the dynamics it once did. The first gen 6 was a sweet handling car even in base model rental grade trim. Time has moved on though…and the enthusiast whipping boy Camry SE is every bit as dynamic as a Mazda 6 in 4 banger form for those allergic to HP. They no longer offer a car in a mainstream configuration with a harder edge. This is like what happened to Volvo with safety, everyone does a decent job of dynamics now so there is no advantage to the former leader.

          But the Mazda 6 does offer a stick, so there is that, and that is something these days.

          I only got one thing to say to the HP haters…I drove my buddies 05 legacy gt the other week. It is still a great drive, and doesn’t have enough power to launch into orbit, but it sure would run circles around a Mazda 6 and we aren’t talking about a drag race. Too bad nobody wants a car like that enough for Subaru to still offer it.

      • 0 avatar
        zoomzoomfan

        I have owned a 2008 Mazda3 with the 2.3 since August of 2009. I bought it as a former dealer courtesy car with 12,000 miles on it. It sits today with 71,000 miles, and in those miles, I’ve had exactly one problem. One. And it was a leaky hydraulic motor mount that was a Ford-designed product. It didn’t even give out, either. It just started to leak. Fifteen minutes later, I had it replaced.

        I live in a state with little snow but a paranoia about winter and a healthy appetite for road salt. As of today, my car has NO rust showing up anywhere, other than surface rust on the undercarriage that any and all cars of this age will have. Rockers are solid, fenders are solid, it’s all solid. I guess I have the anomally?

        My wife has a 2013 CX-5, which we both really like. We’ve owned it since November 2012 when it had 6 miles on the odometer. It now has 22,000 and we have had zero problems. It delivers 26-27 MPG on a consistent basis, isn’t a total bore to drive (unlike the RAV-4 and CR-V) and was decently priced (cheaper brand new than a used CR-V or RAV-4).

        I don’t get all the Mazda hate. Their vehicles are winning awards and comparison tests left and right, and what they’ve been able to do on their own even as a smaller manufacturer is nothing short of amazing to me. Our CX-5 has been exactly what we wanted and more. So has my 3, hence why I’ve had it for six years now. And when the time comes, my 3 will certainly be replaced by a 6.

        I understand that the Camry may be faster in a straight line, but it’s still a Camry. Straight line speed isn’t the be-all end-all, especially in a family sedan. My 3 isn’t the fastest thing in the world, but it is amazingly fun to toss around some backroads, swallows an unbelievable amount of cargo (it’s a hatchback), still looks good despite being a 10-year-old design, and no, it hasn’t rusted.

        • 0 avatar
          tekdemon

          I see people posting that they’ve owned reliable Mazdas but that’s the case for basically any car brand, a lot of people will get cars that work fine but a certain amount of people will encounter problems. And the statistics do not look great for Mazda. Their cars aren’t Land Rover bad in terms of reliability but they commonly have failures and some crossover/minivan models have huge amounts of motor failures.

          This new study does not make them look good
          http://tradeinqualityindex.com

      • 0 avatar
        JD23

        I had an 04 Mazda6 with the opposite experience: The car was perfectly reliable for the six and a half years I owned it and certainly no worse than the competing Honda or Toyota products. The car also lived its entire life in Illinois and New England without rusting, which is seemingly impossible if the Mazda rust meme is correct.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        So, your engine failed and that makes Mazda bad?

        I had my Protege for 16.5 years and engine never had any issues. 195K miles – original clutch. Hell, all original besides alternator and couple pieces of exhaust. Ah, CD player broke too.
        Now I have 2 Mazda3 iTourings – 2011 and 2010. And one 50K miles – nothing happened. Another I bought with 74K for my son and it is like new.
        If the car was bad I wouldn’t buy it again.
        My niece had 2005 Masda3 and now she and husband have 2 Mazda SUVs simply because they were happy with the previous vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          Power6

          I drove my ’90 Sunbird to 223k does that make it a great car.

          This just in plural of anecdote still not data…

          • 0 avatar
            JD23

            Mazda as a brand is rated well above average in CR reliability surveys. I take that as more valid data than the experience of some dude’s friend.

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          Unfortunately my wife’s MX6 engine blew at 102k, which has tainted our choices for the past 15 years…

          • 0 avatar
            JCraig

            I absolutely loved the MX6 in the 90’s, but that was perhaps Mazda’s rock bottom when it came to reliability. The Protege may have been the only decently reliable car they made in that decade, and it certainly still haunts them today. I know many people that bought into Mazda in the 90’s because they looked great and were fun to drive only to be left disgruntled when transmissions failed early and often and V6 engines were lucky to cross 100k w/out major problems.

      • 0 avatar
        NevadaHotDice

        @CJinSD

        Re: Dealers — Bizarre.

        Anecdotal obviously, but I just bought a car in NoVA… dreaded the process going in even though I knew exactly what I wanted (admittedly was buying used, though a Miata so still a brand car) because this area is pretentious as hell on a good day, and asshole level on an average day, let alone dealing with “the car salesman” mentality.

        I had the paperwork signed in 90 minutes on the second visit (first was to try to see the car but it hadn’t been turned in yet), picked it up 2 days later freshly looked-over and detailed.

        It was everything I never expected a first car purchase to be. A couple of the local salesmen are also members of the local Mazda club.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          Glad you were happy with your experience, but I’m not always looking for three trips to buy a car. I bought a Honda from Landmark in your area. I sent them an email through the Honda NA site asking for a bid.

          Their bid stunk, so I didn’t follow up. They called me and asked what they were up against. I told them they had the same chance to win my business anyone else did, do no dice. As it happened, I was irritated at the winning bidder, because they gave me the great price with 15 minutes to make up my mind about it. Knowing that, I let Landmark talk me into telling them the best ‘on the road’ price I’d been quoted, which they beat by $300.

          They also threw in mudflaps, wheel locks, and other dealer added stuff I told them I didn’t want, all under the quoted price. I drove up there and left with the car the same day, with a check I wrote before I left my house, for about $3K less than others were paying for the same car at the time.

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    “just when I thoiught I was out they pulled me back in” don’t give up too soon. I have driven most of the new vehicles and seen all of them and all that is needed is a turbo. This Mazda can do and has done.

    • 0 avatar
      juicy sushi

      Other than Mazda’s engineers saying they won’t do turbos with the SkyActiv engines, because they disagree with that design philosophy.

      The turbos aren’t coming. There’s no real incentive for them to do it, and it makes even less sense.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      The high CR of their engines doesn’t lend itself to a turbo. Their engineers aren’t saying that they don’t agree with turbos, just that those engines aren’t designed to have turbos. Expect a turbo 4 for the next CX-9, and it’s likely that engine will find its way into a Speed variant of the 3 or 6. There’s also some reasonable thought that the Miata has lower than expected power numbers to save room for a Speed variant of it, too.

      Mazda is a small company without the wads of cash to throw at individual products. They haven’t put out high-output engines because they have to spend their money where it matters.

      For the diesel, Mazda’s original strategy was to design a low CR engine that wouldn’t need after treatment to meet emission regulations. It works well enough in the rest of the world, but it didn’t pass US emissions without serious detuning. They aren’t willing to do that because they feel US buyers expect better performance from that engine. They delayed it once to find a fix, but they missed the target. Now, they won’t state a target date (so they can’t miss it again), but they also said that it IS coming, even if they have to install an after treatment system.

      Will it be here this year? Derek doesn’t think so. They provided one magazine a long-term tester with the promise that for the end of the test, they’d have the diesel. But like Derek, I don’t expect it, but I would only be mildly surprised if it does get released.

      • 0 avatar
        Weezy

        I’m sure the goal is to turbo @ 13.1 with 87 octane. That probably IS too much to ask for in all regions due to heat. The CX-9 will have a turbo for it’s Skyactiv version though, repeatedly they have vocalized no intention of a V6. Until they are able to ensure durability and performance though, they won’t release it. Same with the diesel. Maintaining their reliability and over all COA is a big point for them right now. I see nothing on the horizon that would entice them to slip away from that. They certainly haven’t looked back after killing the 7, tribute and ford 6.

        For all the naysayers, separating from Ford was the best thing to happen for them. The timing was perfect and they did well with the currency fluctuation at the time.

      • 0 avatar
        formula m

        Thanks. The new warranty Mazda has is going to bring high expectations for these new engines to perform and be reliable.

        • 0 avatar
          dtremit

          Only in Canada, and it’s still time limited. Not too many people can wreck an engine in 5 years.

          Mazda used to have a 4/48 warranty in the US, but reduced it to 3/36 in ~2007 or so.

      • 0 avatar
        mechaman

        I was thinking the same thing. To add horsepower, subtract money. From your pocket. Chicago EATS cars that rust, and I haven’t seen a rusty Mazda, in a LONG time around here. Can’t say anything about the other points ..

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        http://articles.sae.org/12696/

        This article makes me very skeptical about any future turbos. I could see a hybrid being a higher-powered option.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Sports cars are supposed to be nimble. They may or may not be quick, but they should handle well. (You’re confusing boom with zoom.)

    Then there’s Mazda, which is closer to doom than either boom or zoom. It occupies a niche that almost nobody cares about, plus it isn’t even alone in that niche. (Can anyone honestly claim that a 6 has some enormous edge over an Accord coupe, for example?)

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      “Sports cars are supposed to be nimble. They may or may not be quick, but they should handle well. (You’re confusing boom with zoom.)”

      Yes, but can they handle well enough to “jump over the candle stick”?

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      The same logic of a car not holding an enormous edge over an Accord Coupe (or some other midsize car) can be applied to everything from the Subaru Legacy to the Ford Fusion.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The point is that it easier to avoid Mazdas than to buy them. They don’t do anything particularly well, but have a lot of disadvantages.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          What are these numerous disadvantages? Also they don`t do anything particularly well – they have class leading or at the very least class competitive (i.e. doing it as well as the others) fuel economy (EPA and real world), reliability, safety, styling and driving dynamics. That seems a pretty long list to me.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            People obviously aren’t buying them. Go ask them why they are choosing other options, and you’ll know the answer.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            PCH – I agree 98% of people are not buying them. The sales figures are there. You usually talk sense and want evidence. So I just asked you what disadvantages they had and questioned your assertion (since it wasn`t backed up by data) that they did nothing well.
            I am surprised by your lazy answer.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The advantages as you perceive them obviously aren’t compelling enough to extract cash from wallets, otherwise they would be selling more cars.

            It’s simply safer to buy a car with a bigger brand and a larger company that is backing it, on a lot of levels. Mazda needs to provide some compelling reason for the consumer to take on some additional risk, but doesn’t bother. Cars are expensive, so risk taking is not something to be taken lightly.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            Even large auto companies only sell <5% of the market in the US (VW, Subaru). Even someone like Honda has 90% of car buyers not buying form them. So Mazda's 2% in the US isn`t a huge issue or sign of impending doom.

            It isn`t me who "perceives" their advantages.
            Fuel economy – look on fuelly or EPA. gov and their cars are amongst the most fuel efficient. Fact not perception.
            Safety – look at IIHS and other independent safety tests and Mazda again scores well. Fact not perception.
            Driving dynamics – multiple reviews and anecdotes that attest to their class leading performance
            Styling – awards including finalist in World Car design of the year for 2014 – fact not perception (as much as something subjective like car design can be).
            Reliability – truedelta and other sites rank them highly. Not top tier Honda and Toyota but close and better than Nissan, Ford, GM and others.

            As for the point that they need something compelling because people only want to buy from large companies. You may have something there but if that is the case then we will only end up with 3-5 car companies around. I don`t know if that will happen but even the juggernaut that is Toyota has <15% of the US market (and much smaller in many other areas). So I don`t see that happening anytime soon.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            As noted, an advantage isn’t really an advantage if people won’t pay for it.

            There’s more of an advantage in having a car that carries a brand that maintains good residuals from a company that won’t be pulling a Suzuki on you.

          • 0 avatar
            WheelMcCoy

            I think Mazda is doing everything right, but sometimes, that’s not enough.

            I couldn’t talk a friend into a Mazda CX-5. She chose the Toyota RAV4 instead mainly because

            1. she’s loyal to the brand
            2. Toyotas are reliable
            3. she has a friend who knows how to repair toyotas, but said friend knows nothing about repairing Mazdas.

            Mazda can survive as a niche company. For it to thrive, however, it needs to keep doing everything right, and wait for the large companies to stumble under their own weight and inertia.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I wouldn’t bet on Mazda being around in 20 years. I’m not saying that it is assured of failure, but its survival is far from guaranteed.

            The company really needs a new relationship to replace the loss of Ford. But that could be tough, as it doesn’t bring much to the table.

            It’s funny that we have two mainstream automakers that operate with an engineer’s mentality: Honda and Mazda. Turns out that being engineering-driven can be a recipe for failure.

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            Writer is trolling for clicks.

            I think TTAC tries very hard to troll for participation these days and the headlines grab but bring nothing.
            This whole article is at the least stupid.
            Those of us who still drive a lot and know what a fun drive is love Mazdas.
            They still have the very best drive of a poor man’s car. They are our BMWs.

            They have the BEST MPG per $ and FUN of ANY manufacturer. And if this isn’t enough for this reviewer…then he is just trolling for clicks.

          • 0 avatar
            WheelMcCoy

            @Pch101

            Mazda is better off without Ford. Had the relationship continued, I doubt Mazda would have produced this recent generation of good looking, fun and fuel efficient vehicles.

            But to help them along, I think Mazda does have a partnership with Toyota by sharing a factory to build a Yaris on the Mazda2 platform. There’s also a partnership brewing with Fiat/Chrysler but that may be a dead end.

            Still, these partnerships may be moot. The Economist writes “Japan’s small-car firms are defying the industry’s get-big-or-die imperative”

            http://www.economist.com/news/business/21627722-japans-small-car-firms-are-defying-industrys-get-big-or-die-imperative-lots-oomph

            It’s not clear what will happen in 20 years, but Mazda is selling more vehicles today than a year ago (from Cain’s articles). Niche can work. BMW has shown us that it’s possible.

          • 0 avatar
            WheelMcCoy

            @ TrailerTrash

            You’re right about this piece being click-bait. Damn, and I clicked too! DM is good at that — an earlier BMW piece did the same.

            I suppose if it inspires an intelligent discussion, it’s not a bad thing. If it provokes flames, well… then I’ll eventually learn to ignore DM. :)

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            Specific disadvantages that I see are:
            * obtrusive road noise across the lineup
            * reputation for rust
            * dealer network
            * lack of power

            HP numbers are competitive on paper, but most reviews aren’t sold. Honda’s 2.4L “EarthDreams” is suspiciously strong, where Mazda’s 2.5L typically leaves reviewers wanting more. Similarly, a 160 HP Focus does not seem to receive the same criticism that the 155 HP Mazda3 does.

            In addition, I’m willing to bet the relative rarity of Mazdas and poor dealer network means parts are harder to come by and surprisingly expensive (though maybe not on VW’s level).

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            burgersandbeer,

            Thanks for providing an actual answer. It’s just sad when someone religiously asserts their position and can’t back it up at all beyond “if people don’t pay for it, then they are deficient.”

            Indeed, Mazda has problems. That’s why they haven’t been more successful despite their glowing reviews and head-to-head wins in magazines.

            The dealership count & sales numbers are not a chicken & egg situation. There are entire swaths of the country that have no access to a Mazda dealership. Low sales aren’t the cause of that. However, their dealerships are often known for being crummy, which does hurt perception & sales.

            I also think they have no idea how to sell a car. Their advertisements since the zoom zoom days have been abysmal–disjointed & confusing. Their current advertising featuring creativity, courage, etc., says too many different things are the “Mazda way” that people don’t have a cohesive idea of what the brand really stands for/delivers.

            Another disadvantage they have is that being so small, they are currently a one-trick pony. The 2, 3, 6, CX-3, & CX-5 all seem to be the same car, just at different points in life. Maybe the new Miata will change that. But they won’t break into new segments & attract different buyer groups with their limited line-up (no trucks, no minivan, no luxury badge, no muscle sports car, etc.).

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “However, their dealerships are often known for being crummy, which does hurt perception & sales.”

            The JD Power CSI survey ranks them as average.

            http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/2014-us-customer-service-index-csi

    • 0 avatar

      My best friend recently shopped the Accord (stick) ***sedan*** against the 6 (stick), and bought the Accord. It was partly the rust issue (he lives in Albany NY) but he just liked the Accord a lot better.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I’m sure that he’s not alone. (The sales figures tell me that he isn’t.) The Accord is a solid car and it’s really difficult to argue that the Mazda is substantially better.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          I agree that Mazda should have some partnerships to help it. But to say it doesn`t bring anything to the table is incorrect. Otherwise why would Fiat get Mazda to engineer a new Alfa for them and why would Toyota (a engineering powerhouse of its own) as Mazda to develop the new Yaris. Toyota wouldn`t have asked Mazda if they didn`t think Mazda brought something to the table.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            What it brings to the table is not exciting to the American customer.

            If the customer isn’t willing to pay for it, then it isn’t much of an advantage.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        I test drove the Accord Sport (6MT) and the manual transmission Mazda 6 and liked the Accord better. I also like the way the Sport looks. That’s not to say the 6 is a bad looking car.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          I was int he same position and went with the Mazda 6. But the Accord is a great car.

          It is amazing how many people say in the midsize class that it is between those two cars. So much for Mazda being a also-ran.

    • 0 avatar

      I did not buy it because it had outdated interior, weak buzzing engine and light steering feel. And it did not look premium enough outside and enough power to justify 30K+ MSRP. Compare that with Accord, Fusion and Sonata.

      • 0 avatar
        Boxofrain

        I test drove both cars and there is no way I would choose a Mazda6 over an Accord. Accord Sport with 6 speed manual is the one to have, although the 18 inch rims are a negative in my opinion. The tires are more expensive to replace and the lower profile doesn’t work in many areas. Other than that, the two engines only seem similar on paper, with the Accord seeming stronger. I couldn’t test drive a 6 speed manual Mazda6, as the dealer never stocked any, and only had a couple of 6’s in stock regardless of transmission. The Honda dealer had anything you wanted. I test drove manuals in LX, Sport and Touring trim in the Accord.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    It’s odd you bring up the Protege5 or the RX8, and then claim that a low-powered lineup means Mazda’s losing its zoom – it’s not as if either of those were memorable for their straight-line speed. For that matter, even the RX-7 was more often than not kind of on the weedy side on paper (3rd gen twin-turbo notwithstanding), and as much as there was a Mazdaspeed Miata, there was a Mazdaspeed Miata, once. This has never been a brand who’s sold themselves on superfluous horsepower.

    I wish they’d sell fewer CUVs, but that’s what the people are buying, and if Porsche can get away with it, why can’t Mazda?

    As far as the 2 vs FiST, that’s not the most fair comparison, as you’re not getting a FiST for $15k, and the Fiestas you can get for that price may have 20 more hp, but also have about 400 more pounds, so it’s kind of a wash.

    • 0 avatar
      ZT

      Even the FD RX-7 was the “weakest” of the ’90s Japanese supercars. The Supra, 300ZX, 3000GT all had HP ratings over 300HP. The RX-7 was “only” 255 HP, but since it was a lightweight, it had equivalent acceleration numbers as the other cars.

      The NSX was also only 276 HP, but that car is a breed apart from those listed above.

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        Oh, absolutely. Or another one – Mazda brought out the original 6, in, what, ’03, ’04, with the V6 packing 20 less hp than the much-hyped ’02 Altima. So even in their prime Zoom Zoom period, they were still often out-gunned.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          I had an 04 Mazda 6 V6 5MT.

          I can confirm, the thing was SLOW.

          • 0 avatar
            ldl20

            Seconded…my wife (coming from a Jetta Wolfsburg 2.0) did not like to drive my 06 6Wagon…..she felt like she had to floor it to move.

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            Was it a hatchback? The hatch was fairly heavy if I remember right. Besides being slow, the V6 was also thirsty.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Mine was the hatch. Amazingly versatile for its sedan shape (I honestly think all sedans should be like that). It provided that feeling of security I like in my sedans, because no one know the parcel shelf was not metal at a glance, but the huge opening was fantastic. Fold the rear seats flat and you could get some surprising things into it.

            It was heavy, and thirsty. A real let down in many respects. It did handle, but also had a pathetic turning circle.

            I still think the 04 Mazda 6 GT (s in the states) was the best looking car I owned, but it was a disappointment in alot of ways.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      I’m agreeing with this.
      When has Mazda ever been known for powerful cars?
      When has anyone who requires sporty to equal powerful ever shopped Mazda?
      I see Mazda cars and CUVs that have livelier driving character than their competitors in every class that they compete in. How is that not zoomy?
      Maybe it’s because they don’t swill fuel like they used to that Doug feels that they’ve lost their zoom.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      As an owner of both a Protege5 and an RX-8, I can firmly attest that neither is fast. But both are plenty fun.

  • avatar
    319583076

    Mazda lost their zoom-zoom because they’re not Ferrari.

    This is possibly the dumbest thing I’ve ever read on the internet.

  • avatar
    ijbrekke

    I’m a Protege5 owner. I’ve driven both the new 3 and 6 models, and while the 6 is a little bland for my taste (and always has been) the 3 is definitely the spiritual successor to the P5. It can’t quite match the steering feel (no electric steering can) and it’s 10 years more refined, but otherwise they feel about the same. I actually DIDN’T buy a new 3 because I decided I’d like to try a different flavor for my next car…it was too similar.

    I say this to point out the continuity in Mazda’s lineup: making economy cars that are slow but have the best handling (re: “sportiness”) in their respective classes. They still do this quite well. They’ve just dropped the “flagship” mazdaspeed models because of budget constraints, which we’re all hoping they bring back soon.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I replaced my P5 with a new 3, but I got the big engine.

      Yeah, there’s quite the upgrade there. I agree, the steering feel is just not there, but the enjoyment still is.

  • avatar
    Weezy

    Not a fair assessment. With their Skyactiv cars, Mazda is designing each model completely ground up. Nothing is getting carried over save the badges. For a smaller manufacturer that’s a tall order. So for them to pace out the way they are is just ensuring they get it all right. So Speed products are on a hiatus, but they are still in the works. Everything points to them having solved the turbo solution for the high compression engines. Reports put a Speed3 and possibly a Speed6 (though I still expect that to be diesel) in the market by around 2017. That and the new MX-5 Miata is inbound this year. It’s a stable roll out, big increases in market share and showroom traffic.
    That said I don’t see an huge increase in the dealer network any time this decade. It wouldn’t make sense, and would just make the business model volatile.

    They currently have the most impressive engine design in the market place, and is working on the performance variants. Once the rotary is brought back into the fold it’s a wrap. Patience is a virtue.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      You touch on something that has largely been overlooked. Mazda is a small company and yet has refreshed their line up and technology (platform, engines, transmissions) in a short period of time and without major reliability issues. That is commendable, and doubly so when on a limited budget. They have definitely shown their engineering chops.

  • avatar
    jimbo1126

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I don’t find the Mazda6 particularly attractive. It’s too long for that kind of design (same could be said for the 3 hatch). And in the lower rental-spec trim levels the 6 just screams “cheap.”

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Nice thought out piece, but Mazda will continue to further wither into irrelevance without partnership or a buy out. I argue Mazda would already be out of the US if not defunct without Ford’s partnership, but Ford’s stake is down to 2.1% and Ford no longer needs Mazda’s small car/motor engineering know-how which it relied on for decades. Ask yourself what does Mazda do well? Miata, ok but this is a niche. RX-8, ok but this is gone. 3/6 sedans? Generic Ford platforms which Mazda probably cannot afford to replace. CX-5/7/9? More generic Ford platforms. You can only tune an old platform so much, you can only change so much sheetmetal, its still a relic of a bygone era. Much like Volvo, Mazda is in a position of having Ford leftovers for most of its product offering and not enough money to drum up anything new. Mazda is ultimately a superfluous brand in the US market and may end up being culled eventually short of partnership or a buy out (like Volvo).

    “From 1979 to 2010, Mazda had a partnership with the Ford Motor Company, who acquired a 7% stake in 1979 and by 1996, owned 33.3% of Mazda. Under the administration of Alan Mulally, Ford gradually divested its stake in Mazda from 2008 to 2010, with Ford currently holding 2.1% of Mazda stock in 2014[13] and severing most production as well as development ties.

    This partnership with Ford Motor Company began due to Mazda’s financial difficulties during the 1960s. Starting in 1979 with a 7-percent financial stake, Ford began a partnership with Mazda resulting in various joint projects. During the 1980s, Ford gained another 20-percent financial stake. These included large and small efforts in all areas of the automotive landscape — most notably in the realm of pickup trucks (such as the Mazda B-Series, which spawned a Ford Courier variant in North America in 1972) and smaller cars. For instance, Mazda’s Familia platform was used for Ford models like the Laser and Escort, while the Capella architecture found its way into Ford’s Telstar sedan and Probe sports models. In 2002 Ford gained an extra 5-percent financial stake.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazda

    • 0 avatar
      fatalexception04

      Not sure where you are getting your information on the new platforms, but the new “skyactiv” platforms for the 2,3,6,cx5 were all developed from the ground up by Mazda. The Skyactiv engines and exhaust headers couldn’t fit into the old Ford platform. The only Ford platform still being used is on the cx-9 which is being replaced soon. The pre skyactiv stuff has Ford stamped all on in it, but not the case with the new models.

      I’ve always thought to set itself apart, Mazda needed to start making affordable RWD sedans for the 3 and 6 and more RWD coupes. Most common people don’t know or care anyways which wheels drive their cars so whats the big deal for moving in that direction. But they are trying to compete with the larger companies, but need to find its own way.

      Additionally, I believe Mazda has said themselves that they are only looking for between 2-4% of the U.S. market share. They don’t believe they’ll gain more than that.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        You are correct on Mazda3/6, I was mistaken. There is limited information however on what the “Skyactiv” platform is exactly. Could this be a refresh of an existing Ford platform as I suspect Volvo’s SPA happens to be?

        Funny how every Mazda I see in these parts is evidently earlier than 2014.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazda3

        CX-9 is Ford CD3

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazda_CX-9

        CX-7 is not clear from a platform standpoint, but it shared suspension with the MPV van and the Mazda5 van.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazda_CX-7

        CX-5 appears to be a new platform but Wikipedia has limited information on that platform as I stated.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazda_CX-5

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    Since Mazda drives sportier than their competitors, yes, they deserve the “zoom zoom” slogan. They aren’t designing sportscars, they are designing sportier normal car.

    That said.

    1. Their ad campaigns are horribly, especially lately. They start by talking about some great athlete or person’s drive/greatness and then transition by stating “just like Mazda…” The person/feat/whathaveyou has NOTHING do with the car or the automobile at all. It is horrible marketing. I don’t understand how a company can get marketing so incredibly wrong.

    2. Power vs efficiency. People want power AND efficiency, and they don’t even need to be in the same model/engine option. But in a commercial it allows one to say “34 mpg” and “275 hp” even though those two figures don’t actually come together in a single car. Mazda has efficient engines, they need a few powerful engines, that may only get 19-21 in the city or actual driving conditions, but can post at least high 20’s low 30’s highway (or in EPA tests) – see Ford for example.

    3. RWD – why doesn’t Mazda make use of the MX-5 drivetrain/platform and extend it to more cars?
    (Not sure this is an actual issue – its just something I’d like to see)

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I like your third point, what I would like to see is more use of the Miata bones since this is really the only genuine Mazda left. Maybe stretch it from a roadster to a coupe, add a hatchback version, and maybe some kind of three door variant (or maybe something with small suicide doors similar to RX-8). Trouble is unless these could be made into volume models the brand would still be weak. If I were in charge, I would license another design not sold in the US (or use a JDM spec platform) as a C-segment replacement. Run the CD3 platforms as 6 and the fake suvs until you legally cannot and sell them CHEAP (but not at a loss a la GM) in order to undercut the competition and gain some volume. This might buy them some time, but ultimately car platform design has become literally a billion dollar plus endeavor I don’t see Mazda surviving long term without help.

      • 0 avatar
        See 7 up

        Although its my dream, I’d think Mazda would be best focusing on the following, but all getting less priority than marketing.

        – MazdaSpeed 2: Heavily marketed as the performance car vs Arbath/Mini. Keep it cheap, make sure it has bluetooth/nav etc. Honda could kill them with the FIT, but Honda seems stupid lately.

        – Mazda 3: Remove base engine. 184 hp becomes base. GTI a upscale version with 210 hp. MazdaSpeed 3 halo model – AWD, 300 hp. Needs to be perfect and beat all competitors (I’d recommend back engineering an EVO, but with Mazda SkyActive efficiency

        – Mazda 6: Place 210-230 hp in. AWD as an option.

        – CX-5 (car is awesome) – needs the 210-230 hp option. Turbo would be best so its torquey. People like that.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          -I can’t speak for other markets where this point may make a heck of alot of sense, but the B segment has limitations in the US. If Mazda could do this on the cheap here I’d go for it, but it would have limited appeal and susceptible to getting blown out of the water if Honda did the same to Fit as you point out (or Kia the Soul).

          -I don’t know if the C1 platform which underpins the Mazda 3 is capable of AWD, but otherwise yes I agree.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_C1_platform

          -On the Mazda Six, I would buy someone else’s V6 and offer it. This would never happen especially since Mazda is pushing Skyactiv, but since the Ford dropped the option in the Fusion a CD3 priced less than Zephyr and offers a V6 might be compelling. The more realistic option is using the bigger Skyactiv which you suggest.

          -Apparently the CX-5 rides on its own platform but I can’t get any information on it. Assuming the engine bay is the same, I would do whatever I did with the Six, in the Cx-5 from a drivetrain POV.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            The Mazda 3 is not based on the C1 platform anymore. How many times do you need to be told by people on here. The core, new Mazda models (3, 6 and CX5) are based on the new “skyactiv” platform.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You are correct. I’ll tell you what, people who love Mazda can go on loving it and I’ll stop caring about it like the rest of the 99.5% of the buying public.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            I assume you mean the other 98% of the buying public since they have a 2% market share. Which when you take out trucks (a category they don`t compete in) goes up.

            Maybe you could ignore Hyundai and the 93% of the public who don`t buy one or Honda and the 90% you don`t buy one.

      • 0 avatar
        Zoom

        “Maybe stretch it from a roadster to a coupe, add a hatchback version, and maybe some kind of three door variant (or maybe something with small suicide doors similar to RX-8). Trouble is unless these could be made into volume models the brand would still be weak.”

        All of the variations you mention are not volume models, by definition.

  • avatar
    stanczyk

    All manufacturers are going like ‘sheeple’ in the same direction ..
    Welcome to ‘one- global-product -order’ ..

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    As a proud former owner of a yellow Protege5, I resemble that remark!! Seriously though, I loved that car. It was really fun to drive every day, low power and all, every time I started it up and blipped the throttle, it sounded like it was saying “c’mon lets play”.

    Mazda has really never been about high HP, it was always more about handling and fun, kind of like a budget BMW. I think they have a very compelling line up right now across the board, and they still offer manuals in most of their products. The Mazda6 Touring, as you said is gorgeous and truly a bargain as well. The Mazda3 was Derek’s top choice for spending his own money. The CX5 is gorgeous too and by far the most fun CUV, the CX9 is a looker, and the a Miata is most likely going to be parked next to my Mustang to replace my wife’s MR2 Spyder.

    For some people the only thing that counts is HP, and I can agree that Mazda is a bit lacking in that department. I’d love to see them offer another Mazdaspeed6, with the new gorgeous body and the turbo/AWD. Who knows, they might do it, especially if they can share components with the upcoming MS3. But I probably wouldn’t buy one. The lower trim levels are fun and affordable. I have my Mustang for the big power.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      HP sells. HP means “sporty” to Americans and on American roads.

      A Mazda MX-5 may just be the ultimate sporty, fun car on the street. But go up to your average American and ask them what is a sportier car: a Challenger or a Miata.

      That doesn’t mean the MX-5 has to change, it just means that most Americans are happy with a car that is solid feeling in turns at relatively low lateral acceleration figures. To them that feels “sporty and solid” or “road hugging”. Add a torquey engine and you get “sporty” in the eyes of 98% of buyers.

  • avatar

    I think they’re making the best products they’ve ever made. Too bad they don’t sell.

    I wonder how much of it is related to their dealer network. They are as abundant in Canada as they are sparse in the United States.

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel J

      This. My girlfriend just traded in a 07 Mazda 3, which at that time was better than anything else in its segment IMHO, for a CX-5. We tested all the CX-5 competitors, and while many had better infotainment setups, room, materials and even pricing, none drove as buttoned down of a vehicle like the CX-5. I still drive a 2010 mazda 6, and while its mostly the previous gen Fusion, it drove 100 percent better IMHO than the same MY fusion. The 6 and 3 look better than anything on the road in their segment today IMHO.

    • 0 avatar
      John R

      “I think they’re making the best products they’ve ever made.”

      Um…FD RX-7?

      • 0 avatar

        As a whole, yes they are. The FD was an anomaly, and also a miserable car to own (notice I said own, not drive).

      • 0 avatar
        Drewlssix

        Sorry but due to the numb heavy steering and punishing suspension the FD for all its otherworldly hotness dose not hold a candle to many other Mazdas I would consider “better Mazdas”. Those include the 1st gen RX7 3RD gen protege 2nd gen MX6 the MX3 RX8 and any gen Miata. Those cars alone or together define what Mazda should be, what BMW and Porsche used to be to an extent.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      Rotary engines aside, I can truthfully say Mazda “is firing on all cylinders!”

      Because they make vehicles that have sharp handling, class leading mpg, and good looks, I’d argue the “zoom-zoom” is still there.

      People bring up rust. I’ve read Mazda has addressed it a few years back, but no one will know how successful their efforts were until a few years forward, so I’ll withhold judgement on that.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Mazda is what Honda was.

      Now, let’s see what they do with it.

      • 0 avatar
        kuman

        Only those with excesses have the luxury to fuss about performance near the edge or leisure driving along some mountain roads… the rest of us worries about how to fulfill our transportation needs with fewest possible resources for as long as possible!!

        I think people are more critical in their spending hence choosing a “safer bet” because bland, boring and utilitarian are most of the time associated with reliability and well utility.

        Accord is a really nice sedan, mazda 6 is even prettier but i find CRV a better purchase for the money than the 2.

        Its not CRV is better to drive than the 2, nor is it prettier nor is it economical to run. but if thats all the money i got, i will definitely want to maximize its potential ( cargo, space, and for whatever reason im unable to think of now ) who knows?

        I can see mazda try to make the compromise with the CX5, CX3 and mazda 2,3,6, zoom zoom on everyday vehicle they say… but honestly, the rest of the worlds cares more about legroom, view out the window, comforts than canyon carving.

        Sorry Redav, but my bet is still with honda. Recently honda bows to the demands of the public, hence the new fit, CRV, HRV n the next Pilot. Thats how they will bounced back up. The accord and the civic is the oddball out in their lineup imho. Sedans are like endangered animals outside the north americas.

  • avatar

    #1 There’s too much competition in America for the low-end segments.

    #2 Why buy a Mazda when Hyundai and Toyota’s ads are better?

    #3 Why buy a Mazda when all the car reviewers say the Accord is the best car you can get?

    #4 Why buy the Mazda when you can get the Ford-equivalent?

    #5 Why buy the Mazda when you could get more-features and better-looking cars from Hyundai?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      All true.

      Mazda’s US market share is 1.8%, same as it’s been since the 20th century.

      The next-lowest standalone mfr in market share is… Mitsubishi.

      As for the Mazda 6 – it’s actually pretty small inside, only a bit larger than a Kia Forte.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Fair pioints except why number 4 – you do know that Mazda and Ford don`t shae (Mazda) platforms anymore. Mazda re-engineered all major components (chassis, engine and transmission). They can get great fuel economy without resorting to a CVT or a turbo. I recall CJ saying he didn`t like CVT’s or turbo and Mazda is one of the few companies not to use either in their mainstream vehicles.

      I have a Mazda 6 and it isn`t “small”. It is a little smaller than the Accord but compared tot he Fusion or others like it it is spacious. It has around 100cu ft or interior space. The Forte and other compacts are around 95cu ft

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        The Focus and Mazda3 are close enough that if they were people, they couldn’t get married (maybe in a cousin lovin’ state). The Fusion and Mazda6 are branches on the same family tree as well. The CD4 and GJ platforms still find their roots in CD3 and GH.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “maybe in a cousin lovin’ state”

          Ah, so like New York and California?

        • 0 avatar
          Zoom

          The Fusion and Mazda6 LOOK very different, though. Are any of the mainstream, mid-size sedan platforms really very different?

        • 0 avatar
          Drewlssix

          When talking about the current gen fusion and 6 you are simply wrong. Both ford and Mazda have abandoned the previous chassis. There is nothing, and I do mean nothing ford about the current Mazda 3 6 or CX5. I have worked on all of them personally. The sky active platform(s) are as different from anything ford as they are from honda or dodge. The only lingering commonality today is the 4 cylinder engine that despite being covered with the blue oval is an almost purely Mazda engineered family of motors.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      @bigtruckseriesreview

      Your points are not entirely correct:

      #1 Ok – fine

      #2 Ads are better? Do we drive ads or cars?

      #3 MotorTrand as Caranddriver appointed Mazda6?

      #4 Ford equivalent? – Ford is no longer same as Mazda. And it shows in reliability. Even when Ford was with Mazda, Mazdas made in Japan were really great cars. It is ones that were made at Ford factories had troubles.

      #5 you could get more-features and better-looking[WHAT?] cars from Hyundai – But then you will have to drive a Hyundai – soul-less Toyota duplicate. As a matter fact, Camry is now more fun to drive than Sonata.

  • avatar
    rnc

    Is jack gone?

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    They are less quirky and self-indulgent than they were in the past, but have to be in order to stay in business. Does that mean they no longer zoom? I don’t know that the era you cite really ever did. A hot hatch, the last gasp of the rotary and a commercial failure of a sports sedan probably didn’t do much beyond earn nice articles in buff mags. It certainly didn’t put enough bread on the table for them to decide to make more of them.

    I think Mazda’s long-term future is either death, or being bought out by someone else. I really hope it’s the later, as I don’t want the company to die before I can get my hands on an ND Miata of my own.

    Mazda is probably the prime example that you cannot make money from being a company of car enthusiasts who focus on selling cars to other enthusiasts.

    When they make cars for everyone, which also appeal to enthusiasts as much as is commercially viable, they seem to have a couple of viable hits (the CX-5 and the 3). I can’t see though how they can really afford to do anything else, and given the issues of being such a small company vs. the cost of developing cars, I can’t see them doing enough volume to survive long-term.

    It’s sad, but it’s also a reflection of where human civilization is going. I’m sure a couple of really good horse-drawn carriage manufacturers suffered the same fate for the same reasons.

    • 0 avatar
      This Is Dawg

      “I’m sure a couple of really good horse-drawn carriage manufacturers suffered the same fate for the same reasons.”

      That’s a little sad to think about. Adapt or die I suppose. Until then, I’m going to keep on looking for different backroads to throw this thing at. :)

  • avatar
    robc123

    -28-Cars-Later

    Wow that would be cool- a volvo mazda merger.
    the MXP-1800

    safe and fun and faster.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Playing devil’s advocate and pretending the Geely deal didn’t go down, both companies lack the same thing: a corporate parent to fund R&D. Combining the two may have worked for a short time but I doubt in the long run if this would have been successful (not to mention the different distribution networks). If Geely or another Chinese OEM wanted to buy its way into Japan and whatever other world markets Mazda excels in, Mazda could be a takeover target.

    • 0 avatar
      kuman

      U would have better luck with Mazda merger with MAN trucks or even John deere. Those truckers / farmers worked really long and hard on their vehicles. They deserve better looking, better equipped, better handling all and all more exhilarating equipment.

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    “But its most powerful engine makes 174 horsepower. One seventy four. This is Honda Civic territory. This is Ford Focus territory.”

    Isn’t this also the beloved Subaru territory. Yeah, they have the FA turbo, but most of their cars, regardless of size, are bought with the NA 2.5 or the dismal 2.0 (with 148 hp!)

    Its all marketing. Mazda sucks at it.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Cars aside, it is the dealer network.

    The only nice Mazda dealerships I have been in have another franchise in the building as the lead dog,

    Stand alone mazda stores seem to be the typical mid 70’s flat roofed, bland tile, back in the good ol days when we could all chain smoke at our desks buildings with the waiting lounge consisting of a couple of chairs from the 90’s complete with duct tape over the rips.

    Why would anyone strap themselves to that hot mess for 36 mos or 36k miles when the Honda, Toy, Buick etal store are nowadays for the most part a decent place to spend ones time while waiting on service work. I totally get the fact that the mazda dealer can’t afford to upgrade their facility because most know they have hitched their wagon to brand going through a slow death.

    So, even if they made a compelling car, why would you buy one? Let alone the fact the current product line up is mediocre when you compare it to what is currently offered.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      Maybe Mazda should hitch up with Tesla and push for dealer direct sales? Not sure they have the cache for that though.
      Or, corporate needs to inject money into their dealers knowing that long term it will pay out.

    • 0 avatar
      Drewlssix

      The one stand alone Mazda dealer in my town recently did a major overhaul and have a pretty nice slick industrial look to the building. They have a display window on the 2nd floor that typically displayed a Miata or R3. But for the longest time they had no new gen cars on the lot. Around here for a while they were so hot they were on back order. The other dealer is part of an Audi Nissan and something else conglomerate in mid town and they eventually had their lot loaded with new gen cars. Anyway, it may just be local perspective but the cars seem to sell here. I see them every day in similar numbers to new camcords and fusions. Oddly “here” is the flat Midwest where trucks rule, so seeing a sporty brand excel is odd. But then I see 500s Minis Velosters and any other quirky model you can think of pretty often also.

  • avatar
    rdclark

    Wasn’t the CX-5 supposed to be the flagship of Mazda’s resurgence?

    A mainstream car in the most mainstream of segments, getting great reviews from the cognoscenti and Consumer Reports alike, and it’s, what, #20 in sales in its segment?

    It’s not the cars. Both Mazdas we’ve owned were great cars, and they didn’t rust, either.

    The previous article mentioned Subaru’s Paul Hogan campaign, the one that put the brand on the map. Subaru eventually transitioned to its current tree-hugging, outdoors-loving, warm & fuzzy eco-friendly marketing image, and is doing very well.

    Mazda’s marketing is floundering by comparison. Is it performance, is it fun, is it economy, is it safety? Even Kia hamsters are better than what Mazda’s doing now

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      CX-5 sold 99K last year, about double its first year sales in 2012.

      Mazda USA annual sales:
      2014 305,801
      2013 283,947
      2012 277,046
      2011 250,426
      2010 229,566

      So, headed gradually upwards, but not yet up to where they were 20 years ago.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    I am so with you Doug on the beauty of the 6. I still remember the first time I went to the lot to look at one. It really tookmy breath away. I circled around it half a dozen times to take it in.

    I do feel it’s the most aesthetically beautiful car for sale today. Maybe in my lifetime. My .02, and it’s worth just that.

    I was smitten; my fiancee quickly remined me of the bad experiences I had with 2 of the 3 Mazdas I had in the past. Still, I want one someday. Go figger.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    I’ll be more persuaded by what journalists have to say about sports cars when I see that their own performance driving skills meet a reasonable minimum. Anybody can stand on the throttle in a straight line with all the nannies holding up their diaper. Don’t even get me started on the MotorTrend weenies saying a manual is just for changing gears and that some roads are too tight for today’s performance cars. That’s right Johnnie L., trolling you too today!

    (that’s right, former Miata owner here)

  • avatar
    VW16v

    Yes and Yes. Mazda needs to work on the quality “interior noise levels” of the cars not just design. And they need to update the dealer network at least in the USA to compete with the other asian brands. We have a Honda and Mazda dealer in town that share a parking lot. The Mazda dealers looks like it is from the 80’s old run down. While the Honda dealer is all new and up to date. Like two different worlds.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I have owned a 2001 Mazda Protege5, 2006 Mazdaspeed6 and 2014 Mazda6…among several other cars. I will say that on balance, Mazda’s offer a more driver oriented experience in their mainstream vehicles than most mainstream brands. The Speed6 was bonkers. I think even in an era where they are trying to hit the largest audience possible with vehicles offering only 4 cylinders in the volume segments, lets not forget. The still build the MX-5. That alone gives Mazda enough cred to keep the zoom zoom tagline if they wanted. I would agree though, some additional performance variants of their mainstream cars and a return of the RX would go a ways toward revitalizing that image.

    PS, Check your HP numbers on the 2.5 Skyactive of the Mazda6. 184 is correct I believe.

  • avatar
    mjal

    The car is great looking, in my opinion, but is otherwise underwhelming. When I test drove one I felt it was underpowered, relatively noisy, and not all that solid feeling. It did handle and ride relatively well. The same week I test drove an Accord, which felt more substantial but was boring. Believe or not, the most solid, quiet and fast car I drove was a VW CC Sport for the same money (discounted) as the mid level Mazda6.

  • avatar
    akatsuki

    Mazda has a lot of problems, a lot. And frankly if it wasn’t for the Miata they would probably have been driven out of the US market.

    (1) Rust. Unacceptable. Flat out.

    (2) Power deficits – they are always underpowered. Apparently they used to make up for it in handling, but handling doesn’t sell in the US, power does.

    (3) Too much time and effort wasted on, yes, the rotary. Just like the FR-S, limited application platforms and engines are losers. If the rotary was used across the line, like in every “Speed” version, you could maybe justify the resources to improve it, but instead it was always an underdeveloped stepchild engine.

    What does Mazda need to turn around? They need a partner to share dev costs with now that they aren’t as tied up with Ford (I hear Tata is into cars ;). They need to get entirely out of rotaries and spend that money on rust-proofing. And they need to offer more than the Camry and Accord in every way at a cheaper price to gain ground. Just like Hyundai did…

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      1. IS that a problem with cars built in the last 5 years, or just on older vehicles and now resolved.
      2. They are not underpowered – the Mazda 6 has the same or more power than it’s competitor mid-size I4 sedan competition. For the >10% of V6 buyers (taken from the Camry) then yes they are underpowered. For the 90% of buyers they are not.
      I can agree that a partner would be good, but they have managed on their own to refresh their platforms, engines and transmissions. So the heavy lifting has been done. Now they can hopefully spend time adding a higher powered engine. I assume they will do this since the next CX9 will need >200hp. That engine can then cascade down to the 3 and 6.

      As for pricing and what they offer. They don`t have to follow Hyundai’s playbook because no Mazda was as bad as the first Excel.

    • 0 avatar
      Drewlssix

      The 3rd gen protege and the 1st gen Mazda3 have real rust issues. But even here in the rust belt finding clean 6s of either past generation is easy, even the best ones are mostly rust free. The rx8 is supposed to have had rust issues early on but I have never seen rusty examples. The older cars don’t seem to fare any worse than normal. The last gen 626 May have some wheel well rot but finding clean examples is still very easy. So over all with a few sad examples Mazda seem as good or better than average with their past rust proofing, the current cars are new enough to be up in the air but I have seen no rust to speak of on the cars I work on.

  • avatar
    John R

    “There was the high-performance MazdaSpeed6, which had more power than the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.”

    OBJECTION! At the time the Mazdaspeed6 debuted (2006) it made 274hp, the Lan Evo of the same vintage (Evo IX – 2005 to 2007) generated 287hp.

    Also, I will add Mazda’s “Zoom zoom zoom” jingle was a cover of the Brasilian capoeira song “Zum Zum Zum” by Jibril Serapis Bey.

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    doug, to make this article even better it would have been nice to see a link to the old zoom-zoom commerical and a link to the ferrari station wagon, or at least provide the model name/number so readers can google it.

  • avatar
    chris123

    To Doug’s point – this is why we went with a Forester TX over a CX-5. We love our CX-9, but now that it’s time to trade it in, we felt the CX-5 was under-powered. The CX-5 is a lovely little CUV, but it needs another 20 or 30 hp.

  • avatar
    ccode81

    The current line up and direction to low emission was planned when the oil price was in it’s high.
    Mazda done more than their best to offer something fun and affordable in that sircumstance. This bashing is not fair.

  • avatar
    carguy

    I would argue the opposite. Mazda is more “Zoom zoom” than ever and they are paying the financial price for this direction. Beyond the Protege and Miata, there nothing really fun in their portfolio at the time of this campaign. Now the Miata, 3, 6 and even the CX-5 CUV drive really well. Unfortunately they all have NVH issues and have found way too few buyers that appreciate their dynamics.

    If I were an investor I would urge Mazda to shift their focus a little bit. But as of right now, they still offers more mainstream fun vehicles than Toyota, Honda and Nissan combined.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      All true. I respect the engineering, but American shoppers seem to want Buicks at heart: big back seats, big trunks, quiet and conpliant ride. Mazdas are lively enough, but the market seems to favor “upscale-esque” over “spritely”.

      I think Mazda lives right now where VW used to. The cars may be attractive but their virtues are hard to square up with the price premium over comparably equipped competitors.

      Having said all that, gosh do I see a lot of CX-5s. I wonder if Mazda wouldnt be best served to make thr Miata and 2 or 3 CUVs and call it a lineup.

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Jaeger

        “All true. I respect the engineering, but American shoppers seem to want Buicks at heart: big back seats, big trunks, quiet and conpliant ride. Mazdas are lively enough, but the market seems to favor “upscale-esque” over “spritely”.”

        I think that’s about right. Mazda is producing their best products ever, and some claim they’ve even addressed the rust issues. Time will tell on that but I certainly hope that’s right.

        Mazdas certainly sell well enough in Canada – they just don’t in the US. I think the difference is largely down to different tastes. American tastes in cars haven’t changed much since the Oldsmobile Cutlass was the best selling car in America in the 80s, and its Buick sibling sold almost as much. Honda and Toyota took that market by making Camcords somewhat more reliable Olds and Buicks, which Americans have continued to buy in large numbers.

        Without being in the pickup business or really being much of a player in the SUV market they’re pretty well doomed to being a niche manufacturer in the US.

  • avatar
    John R

    I’ll just add this one reason of many…

    Mazda has a real talent for missing opportunities to develop brand cache.

    Why wasn’t the Mazdaspeed3 motor shared with the 6 as an answer to the V6/Turbo4 Camcords of the world?

    To generate excitment it would have been neat to have a Miata with the RX-8’s rotory. More power and possibly even better balance.

    Why wasn’t said Speed3’s motor an option in the RX-8 to answer those who worry about apex seals and excessive Mobil 1 consumption?

    Oh, well. Whatever.

    I’ve pretty much given up on Mazda. The Toyota Camry(lo and behold) is the one drifting through the desert now. The Hachi Roku (FR-S) exists, the Lexus RC-F is probably the closest we’ll get to a Supra and the LFA proved the Toyota can make a world class super car when it chooses to.

    When Baruth prefered the SE Camry to the 6 the final nail was in the coffin. Not only does Toyota do reliability than Mazda they do sporty better, too.

    • 0 avatar
      bludragon

      “When Baruth prefered the SE Camry to the 6 the final nail was in the coffin. Not only does Toyota do reliability than Mazda they do sporty better, too.” Even if he said it, I don’t believe it. Do you have a link?

      Here’s what I found under “jack baruth camry se mazda 6”: https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/review-toyota-camry-se-2-5l-track-tested/#more-489910

      No comparison to the 6 there.

      Here’s what came up when I searched for “jack baruth mx-5 fr-s”: https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/boomerang-basement-bolides-third-place-scion-fr-s/

      Oops, the FR-S came 3rd in that test, which was won by the mx-5.

      • 0 avatar
        John R

        We need to work on your Google skills…

        “The Mazda6? You can get it with a stick but it’s actually not as good on a racetrack as a Camry.(Unfortunately, I drove the Mazda for another outlet so I can’t give you all the details here, but suffice it to say that I’d take the Camry.)”

        https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/last-look-2014-camry-se/

        I’ll give you the Miata…what else does Mazda with regards to the RC and LFA?

        • 0 avatar
          bludragon

          You got me… that is interesting, thanks. I still don’t believe the camry would be a better drive though. There’s not enough commentary there to overcome my own experience.

          Honda and brakes – he got that one spot on. It could be the mazda suffered a bit of the same issue, but that is a track specific issue and can easily be fixed if you want to track the car on a regular basis.

      • 0 avatar
        Drewlssix

        The speed 3/6 engine couldn’t be used in a red chassis due to the fuel pump placement. It also wouldn’t be ideal for the rx8. But that platform developed with more funds into something else might have been.

      • 0 avatar
        Drewlssix

        The speed 3/6 engine couldn’t be used in a rwd chassis due to the fuel pump placement. It also wouldn’t be ideal for the rx8. But that platform developed with more funds into something else might have been.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      When the Speed3 was still around, the 6 had the 3.7L from the Mustang as its upgrade engine–less torque, more power, IIRC.

      The new 6 was supposed to have the diesel as its upgrade engine. Obviously, that hasn’t happened. I don’t think it was ever Mazda’s intention to not have a competitive engine, but given that the vast majority of buyers don’t pick that one, I think they figured they could make do without it for a short time. However, that short time has gone on too long.

      Rumors are that they are developing a turbo 4 for the next CX-9, and it likely will be shared with the next Speed3. It could also find its way into the 6.

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    Marketing people – that is all. The vast majority (90%+) of people don’t really know what they want in a car or even what cars are out there. They buy what they see, what they are told to know. Heck most BMW owners thought their cars were FWD.

    Commercials: Horrible. What are they even trying to say? What are they selling?
    Technology name: “SkyActive” ? Efficient Dynamics – sounds intelligent right. EcoBoost – eco, good. boost, exciting. SkyActive? What does that even mean to the ignorant public that never read a car magazine or comment on a car site. SkyActive needs to be explain, unlike the others above. Its a horrible name.

    Will Mazda be #1 with more marketing? No. But it may very well pull people that otherwise would have bought a competitor just because they are more common.
    It really doesn’t matter if they handle better or are “sportier”. All modern cars fell like they handle very good to the vast majority of people that dont and wont push them. All modern cars are pretty good. Marketing makes the sale to the majority. We, on this site, are the anomaly.

    • 0 avatar
      superchan7

      I don’t think anyone buys a BMW because it says “Efficient Dynamics” on the window.

      I see plenty of Mazda3s and CX-5s out on the streets, but I’ve been told my community is somewhat of an isolated bubbly dream in the US (San Francisco area).

      • 0 avatar
        See 7 up

        Nobody buys it because of “efficient dynamics” but its a marketing slogan that at least has some inkling as to what its about, and it helps recognition – that is what marketing does. SkyActive doesn’t do this. Why in the world would you name a technology that is designed to increase vehicle efficiency and performance “skyactive”.

        Try this. Ask someone (non car person) what they think “efficient dynamics” is in relation to a car. Or EcoBoost. Or better yet “Ultimate driving machine” – (to the point huh?)
        Now ask same person what “skyactive” means.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    I have to disagree with you Doug. Yes Mazda doesn’t have the flagship performance models that they used to. The loss of Ford’s $ surely doesn’t help with that. However, Mazda always marketed the zoom zoom philosophy as not being about the Mazdaspeed line so much as that little bit of Miata in everything they made. In that regard, they are still the zoom zoom brand. Most Mazdas are generally regarded as among the most fun to drive models in their respective classes. A standard Mazda 3 or Mazda 6 are about as much fun to drive as their equivalents ten years ago. Mazda has stated that part of their skyactive philosophy is that the improvement of fuel efficiency doesn’t have to come with a loss of fun to drive. They are trying to improve volume but have no delusions about ever being best sellers in their respective markets. All of these traits are a distinct contrast to the subject of another similar article you wrote recently, BMW, who I agreed there had lost their edge, who’s bread and butter cars are no longer ultimate driving machines nor the most fun to drive in their classes, who have sacrificed fun for fuel economy, and who are pursuing volume with no regard to brand dilution.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    It’s just too bad cause the 3 the 6 and the CX5 as well as the Miata are very well reviewed and now with a better 2 coming along, it has to either be the dealer network or the reliability issue.

  • avatar
    bludragon

    I’ve only read the headline, but my immediate thought is that they have not. I quite recently test drove a mazda3 2.0 auto, a 2.5 manual, a mazda6 2.5 manual and a golf gti (mk7).

    The mazdas, in comparison to their competition, are “zoom zoom”. They have a lightness of touch and a sense of feedback that is a step above what I have experienced in competitive models. Combined with their fuel economy, this makes them a really compelling purchase.

    I had more fun in my short drive in the 2.5 mazda3, than in the VW GTI. Yes, the VW had more power, and likely more ultimate grip, but it was the mazda3 that tingled my fingertips, reacted instantly to throttle inputs, and had the pedals positioned perfectly for heel and toe.

    Actually, I think it is really smart of Mazda to add fuel economy to their competitive story, since it goes hand in hand with the approach of building light weight, fun to drive cars. I’d like to argue that fuel economy should have been part of the zoom zoom requirements from the start, as that was a miata trait, and they are really on to something now that they have added it across the board.

    In my mind, zoom zoom is all about fun to drive on a normal car budget and I think Mazda are the only company really delivering that.

    Now, having read the article, I would argue that your concluding paragraph is exactly what “zoom zoom” is all about. Cars that are designed by people who enjoy the feel of driving, for people who enjoy the feel of driving. Zoom zoom is not about power, there are plenty of other brands that offer that. Perhaps it is that old ad, or your take away from it that is not right.

    Is the mazda6 a sports car? No it is not. It is a volume selling midsize sedan, and for my tastes lost too much feel in delivering to that market, but you can’t argue they should not sell the car because of that, and it still had some feel, I’m willing to bet much more than any competitor.

    Finally, when I check the user manuals for the recent cars I drove, they all mentioned zoom zoom in the opening pages.

  • avatar

    Well, I’m waiting to see the next Mazdaspeed3…

  • avatar
    honda_lawn_art

    What kind of article is this? Mazda was the funnest manufacturer then, and still is, even if only slightly.
    It’s like being mad at the BMW Mini for being larger than the original mini.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I don’t know if Mazda needs “zoom zoom” to sell. What they do need is a niche they can exploit because the average appliance buyer isn’t likely to even make it to a 3rd string automaker’s showroom before buying a Camcordusionibunata200. Subaru has been making their bones and sales increases on their AWD niche. Their cars are fairly comeptitive in the core segments, but what’s the draw that more mainstream cars don’t offer? Mazda needs to figure that out in order to grow.

  • avatar
    70Cougar

    Totally disagree with the author. Mazda is adding lightness, which is the essence of “zoom zoom” to me. I’d much rather own and drive a Mazda6 than a V6 Camry or the like. I can appreciate rocket ship acceleration as much as the next guy, but how often can you enjoy that and hold on to your license? Running through the gears in a reasonably quick 4 cylinder, stick shift sedan is something you can enjoy day in and and day out.

    And I wish those darn kids would stay off my lawn!

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    I jumped in the 6 grand touring expecting memories of my beloved Honda Prelude…instead of I’m greeted with a loud weak motor, road noise and punishing ride and in come memories of my loathed olds achieva. Not good mazda.

    another lesson from mazdas crappy sales…auto magazines print garbage. All reviews rave about the 6 and how awesome it is. It’s not awesome it SUCKS and a test drive will tell you that. All auto journalists want is all cars to be a bmw 3 series and they rave about the car in each segment that’s most marketed to that….even if it’s a pile of poo.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      “All auto journalists want is all cars to be a bmw 3 series”

      If I had a dollar for every “Its almost like an old BMW!” comment I see in the mags, I’d be rich.

      When I see a new Mazda I cant figure out what makes them so danged fun to drive, they’re very wide (the new Mazda 3 being comically fat), almost the size of a minivan, and FWD.

      I can see the fun in a Miata though.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Oui, this is basically a sloppier written sequel to “When did BMW lose its edge?”.

    I don’t think Mazda ever “zoomed”, those who fondly think of the RX-7 they raced in Gran Turismo forget the hoards of forgettable rusty Mazda 323s and transmission killing 626s that were pumped out.

    I’m just not a Mazda guy, whenever I see them its a “MANNED-UP” Miata thats far too low for urban driving, a battered RX-7 awaiting an LS1 swap that’ll never come, or a derp-face Mazda 3 with tasteless mods.

    First gen RX-7s and pop-up light Miatas make some great track cars though.

  • avatar
    brett_murphy

    Mazda’s redesign to the Skyactiv platform cost them a bundle- they staked the future of the company on it. They are banking this massive R&D dump to carry their fleet forward in meeting CAFE standards. CAFE is huge, and one of the reasons why the rotary was put on hiatus. I’m interested to see what the new Mazdaspeed models bring, but I doubt they are going to have insane horsepower numbers. I’m betting they are going to be warmed over versions with different styling and suspension. If they get crazy, maybe they will reduce curb weight, too, but that’s pretty difficult.

    As it has been said, I think their main problems are marketing and brand identity. Everybody knows what an Accord or Camry is, but a 6? The cachet they had with the name Miata was abandoned by the company for the MX-5, but people still call them Miatas. Mazda should pick up on that.

    The one thing that Mazda does to keep their Zoom-Zoom is support amateur racing. Two race results a year will get you access to their parts catalog, and they still sponsor plenty of drivers.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      Sure. But besides industry followers, who knows what SkyActiv is? Lots of prospective shoppers could identify the EcoBoost concept, or the Synergy Drive, or (maybe) even Nissan’s PureDrive. What the hell is SkyActiv to the average consumer? And why does it make comparably equipped Mazdas more expensive than than the competition? The CX-5 can sell on the basis of being so much better looking and sharper handling than other CUVs, but the advantage of SkyActiv as applied to compact and mid size sedans seems to be less apparent. As DD implies, mostly the cars just seem a little pricier, louder, and slower. A sedan or hatch can be two of these things, not all three.

  • avatar
    caldwa

    I drive a 2013 CX-5, because I wanted a car that could fit stuff (camping gear, mountain bikes, people, etc), had great handling dynamics, and was efficient. The CX-5 was one of the few CUVs that was able to offer all of these things.

    I think Zoom-Zoom means something different today than it did 10-15 years ago. I still ascribe to the adage that its better to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow. I don’t track my car, and I’m guessing 99% of Mazda buyers (or any car buyers, for that matter) don’t either. My car doesn’t have amazing acceleration, but that’s not what I was looking for in a car. Every one of Mazda’s new offerings (CX-5, 6, 3) offer top-of the class driving dynamics and fuel efficiency. They may be missing high-performance offerings, but was the Protege-5 ever a high-performance offering? No.

    Mazdas today offer ‘Zoom-Zoom’ in the way that they drive, and it doesn’t cost a hit at the pump. In 2015, that works for me.

  • avatar

    Doug, I love you, but this is the Hottest #HotTake in quite a long lull of Hot Takes.

    Your argument that Mazda has lost any sporting pretense is based on two things:

    1. the Mazda 6, a family sedan for boring families, doesn’t have much power.
    2. the “zoom-zoom” kid went to law school.

    Well, horsepower isn’t everything, as any Miata owner will tell you, and the kid from the Star Wars movies grew a goatee and got a psychology degree, presumably to make some understanding about the first prequel movie. (DAD JOKE ALERT.) But you rip through Mazda’s web site, and mention the RX-8’s oil burning (and for good reason), before answering your own question. Reread that again:

    “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?”

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    As a Mazda owner of their least “zoomiest” product, the 5, I think Doug is just a little off.

    We weren’t in need of a large minivan, we didn’t have the kids yet.But we were expecting to have at least one and we knew we needed a capable vehicle. The closest thing to our 5 was the Kia Rondo. While the V6 in the top trim Rondo had more power, it suffered the usual problem with Korean cars. especially of that time. It didn’t feel well-made, it didn’t have sliding doors and the ride/handling was terrible compared to the Mazda. We didn’t want a CRV or similar vehicle.

    So, we are at 5 years (we bought in 2009, ours was a leftover 08) and only 43k. I don’t regret the 5, but I might rid myself of it sooner before later.

    Some thoughts:

    The 5 would have been better served by at least 20 more horses, if not 40. My 08 2.3 powered 5 is only 153 hp. Barely adequately powered in todays world. Another 20 hp would have made a big difference. Sadly, with the limited take on the 5, getting some more power through the aftermarket(economically) is tough. Fewer 3 mods fit the 5 as a bolt on then you might think, as the 5 is not straight-up a 3 with a van body.

    This goes with Doug’s argument on power and I feel it’s valid. It’s not winning the drag race, it’s making that passing maneuver a bit less arduous. It’s that extra margin when you need to hammer it out of an emergency situation (your fault or someone elses).

    We liked the general feel of the vehicle and still do. The steering is just a bit too light, but rather responsive and fairly direct considering what it is. The 5 spd auto is responsive as well and the manual mode works enough to keep the revs up. The 08 was the last year before stability control and traction control we standard, so the only “nanny” is ABS. So if Zoom-Zoom means light,direct and responsive, then even the minivan gets some of the “sports car soul”. I still feel all Mazdas have a light touch. I feel a bit of my brothers 96 Miata in my 5.

    It’s really plasticky inside, but it has aged fairly well. Nothing is broken and going with the Grand Touring with leather, heated seats and moonroof has made a big difference in livability. The flex in the body has caused one of the doors to creak, especially in cold weather. Not many other squeaks and rattles, but that makes this one noticeable.

    Rust has been mentioned and it’s slowly beginning in the rear wheel arches. Why Mazda can’t get a grasp on this, I don’t know. Earlier 5’s and 3’s were way worse. This is inexcusable in a car that is garaged, hand washed and waxed except in the winter when it visits the car wash once a month at least.

    Had they bumped up the power or not gone with the smiley mouth on the 5, we might have bought another after the redesign. I would have gone for a diesel (cliche, I know) because the 2.3 isn’t great on fuel and I could use the extra torque in the hills. We’ve seen 31 mpg all highway and as low as 15 around town. But the Nagare styling didn’t work on the 5 and it’s not as unique looking as our 08 IMHO. The interior is the same way. Some improvement, but not as unique and not enough to warrant another one.

    I don’t know if Mazda has totally lost its Zoom. But I think some of it has been lost to refinement and the need to compete. I’m not sure if I’d buy another Mazda, because of the durability of some things and because they don’t offer anything I really want except the Miata. If I want a small hatch, I’m going to the Golf. I don’t want a sedan, so no 6.

    I realize I’ve rambled a bit. Maybe Mazda has moved “downhill” like BMW according to many, but it just had less room to fall and without the profits/products to weather the storm.

  • avatar
    Demetri

    Give it some time; they’re currently in the middle of a redesigning their entire model lineup and adding a brand new model (CX-3). That takes priority over performance trims. When they finish up sometime around the end of the year with the new CX-9, we may see that engine, which rumors are suggesting to be turbocharged, trickle down to the other models.

    Also, with each redesign cycle, you’re going to see them try to move the brand into more premium territory. The idea is to stay viable by increasing prices instead of selling more cars, because the reality is that there isn’t any room for a sporty mainstream brand. Buyers in that market don’t want sporty; they may want it to look sporty, but not drive sporty (with the sacrifices that come with that, like a stiffer ride and NVH penalty). As a semi-premium brand, they may be able to find a niche as sort of a mini-BMW.

  • avatar

    Zoom Zoom depends on how you define it. The author seems to think that zoom zoom only means straight line acceleration. Mazda cars have the best handling in their respective segments, they are also typically the lightest, have great steering feel and have lively engines that are not turbocharged. Turbo charged cars don’t have the instant power delivery as a NA car and are far more responsive in daily driving.

    Take the current Mazda3 with the 2.5 engine. That is a very lively car. 185hp is nothing to sneeze at especially when the car weighs under 3000 pounds.

    Mazda is far from having lost its mojo and you can make a stronger argument that their Zoom Zoom has never been better. They will have MazdaSpeed cars soon anyway.

  • avatar
    maxxcool7421

    yeah no more zoom.. that curb weight + a fat driver + that really high TQ curve is not engaging anymore.

    if they made a sport tune, or a speed version I;d be interested in a kodo ..

  • avatar
    tsoden

    Zoom-Zoom is not dead yet… They still use it at the tail end of their commercials… at least they do for the current Mazda 3.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Pointing out Mazda’s distinct lack of high-output engines seems like a valid point to me. In the Miata I can understand keeping the power low to focus on handling.

    But the 6 isn’t a Miata, it’s a family sedan that C&D writes effusive praise over and Jack Baruth considers inferior on the racetrack to a Camry SE. A Camry. Toyota and Honda are squeezing sub-6 0-60 times and over 30mpg from their V6 offerings and for me, mazda’s hp deficit here is more important in daily driving than a comparatively modest increase in driver involvement.

    The 3 is another matter, the 2.5 is a lovely engine for a compact car and provides plenty of power. The only problem is an MSRP far too close to the GTI.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      “C&D writes effusive praise over”

      Thats only natural when Mazda advertises like mad in their magazines, gotta keep those sponsors happy.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Gotta keep the 10-Best awards rolling to the same candidates over and over again as well. Honda Accord for how many years now, even after the 2008+ generation? Love to know what the real fiscal/cultural relationship is between that magazine and Honda.

    • 0 avatar
      mechaman

      Do most buyers in the market (USA) care about 0 to 60? I doubt it. They’ll buy Accord/Camry for reliability, Hyundai/Kia for cost, and so on for whatever reasons, the rest is just for the gearheads (us). Seeing the way some folks drive, a little LESS power might be a GOOD thing. If I were financially ready to buy a family sedan now, I’d buy what I LIKED and damn all the rest. I’ve never had a car, new or used, that didn’t need to be worked on (outside regular maintenance), so unless it’s a fail like the ignition switches or the air bags, so what it. Right now I’d buy a Fusion because I LIKE it, and it would piss off a couple people I know to boot.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    My Mazda BT50 lost much or most of it’s zoom when the gearbox let ago in the beginning of the new year.

    The new gearbox has given it’s zoom back.

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    In 2003 Union Oil (Unocal in California) had a billboard campaign with the word ZOOM in it. Mazda had to add another ZOOM to be legal…
    I don’t care what Mazda does to update their line; I only buy American.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    It’s zoom got caught in the same guillotine that chopped off the front end of all their cars.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I was interested in a used Mazdaspeed6 but ownership experiences I read made it sound only slightly more reliable than a V12 Jaguar and they apparently could only be serviced at Mazdaspeed “certified” dealers.

  • avatar
    bd2

    Mazda still pretty much has the handling/steering feel down – but at the same time, their lineup is down in power, which has a large part to do with Mazda being a smaller auto-maker with more popular markets being in places like Europe and Australia where smaller/less power-full engines rule due to emissions and price of gas.

  • avatar
    KindaFondaHonda

    Mazda is the most overrated car company there is.

    The auto “media” has been wet over Mazda since the 1983 Mazda 626. I know, because I remember very clearly when that car came out and the positive press was unending at the time.

    It was stated in every publication that the Accord and newly created Camry were complete also-rans compared to the 626. But of course we all know how that turned out. Every new 626/6, 323/Protege/3, CX-whatever is always touted as “a shot across the bow” that Honda, Toyota, and Nissan have been dreading. Every new Mazda intro since the early 1980’s has been declared by the “media” that Honda, Toyota, and Nissan need to go back to the drawing boards. Eh… not so much.

    Happens like clockwork… or mailed-in talking points.

    I think some of their cars have been pretty sharp looking (’81-’85 RX-7, Miatas, current 6) but there has to be a huge reason why they sell like crap. Something that the “media” is unable or unwilling to discern when “testing” Mazdas. I’ve come away a few times in the past noticing that Mazdas feel like second-tier Japanese cars. But, that’s just me… or is it?

    Me thinks there are lots of me’s out there who think Mazdas are decent-looking second-tier Japanese vehicles… without the requisite lower price.

    In other words: Overrated.

    • 0 avatar

      People don’t buy Mazda because the average car consumer in the US buys a car the same way they buy a washing machine. In white and with a well known brand name. If the US consumer was more aware the Mazda would be at the top of the sales charts like in Canada. All cars are reliable these days and Mazda’s latest cars are mid to upper pack in reliability.

      You have to be as blind as a bat to sit inside a new Mazda3 and then sit inside a Corrola or most any compact car and then go home with the Toyota.

  • avatar

    I wonder how Nissan can possibly more popular than Mazda. It is inferior to Mazda in every aspect – just name it. It has a weak buzzing engine, ugly looks, rental grade interior and even less refined. Nevertheless people prefer Nissans. Okay may be it is dirt cheap. But also most people do not even know that Mazda exist. Do not ask my why. May be bigger marketing budget and more dealerships.

  • avatar
    Eyeflyistheeye

    The damn problem is most of Mazda’s advertisements are trying to sell cars to people like us. All of us know Mazda and most of us like them for recognizing that cars should be fun.

    When I went to the LA Auto Show this year, I had a friendly chat with a Mazda representative, who I remember talking with 10 years ago about the then just-introduced Mazda6.

    I good-naturedly told him and the other reps at the booth that “I’m an Internet car geek, we all love Mazda.” Each of them looked at me with a mixture of appreciation and disappointment, happy that someone loves their work, but it’s the same damn crowd – much like the time I saw LeVar Burton and Brent Spiner at a Reading Rainbow anniversary party open to the public, where half of the adults were firmly there to see Geordi and Data.

  • avatar
    mr_min

    No Mazda is not losing its Zoom.
    Its all about power to weight, the weight comparisons to competitors are surprising. Mazda 3 vs Cruze there is 180kg difference IIRC.

    I cross drove all Mazda 3 competitors in Australia, and I get the zoom.
    Mazda 6 is in a different segment which seems to thrive on big and bland.

    Maybe Mazda marketing and dealerships is off the mark in the USA, but elsewhere they are succeeding.
    – Their Diesels have been a big success in Japan according to locals I talked to recently.
    – They consistently rate as one of the best mainstream dealers in Australia according to JD Power.
    – According to insiders, the secret Australian customer survey for problems they are consistent the highest ranked vehicle.
    – The whole 16:1 high compression engines which stop/start using spark/fuel is brilliant and I prefer lag free engines.

    The only negative I can see with Mazda at the moment is road noise which can be traded off against weight. But I’d prefer a noisier car for better fuel economy and performance, I’d just turn the radio up..

  • avatar
    LeeK

    Mazda is a niche brand in the US, like Subaru and VW. “Zoom zoom” didn’t work for Mazda any better than “Fahrvergnugen” or “German engineering” did for VW. Enthusiast propensities don’t sell point A to point B cars. Sure, the 3 and 6 might drive a little more nicely than an equivalent Civic or Camry, but most buyers simply don’t care. There are more Honda and Toyota dealers around, the reputation for reliability is just as good as Mazda’s, and the prices are the same. 95 times out of 100 the Honda and Toyota wins.

    So, why is Subaru on a tear? “Symmetrical all-wheel drive”. We enthusiasts can debate all we want about whether anyone needs AWD for day-to-day commuting, but the average safety-minded customer thinks it’s what they want. So Subaru has become the brand that quirky VW and Mazda fans now flock to.

    • 0 avatar
      SpecialVisitor

      I’ve had VW’s, Mazda’s and Subarus (among others) – the appeal of a Subaru is not necessarily the AWD, it’s more intangible. VW’s are very nice cars, but are dower and serious. Mazda’s feel light, but ultimately insubstantial and brittle. Subarus are cheap and cheerful. They just make me happy in a way that VW’s and Mazda’s don’t.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      “So, why is Subaru on a tear? “Symmetrical all-wheel drive”.”

      Yeah, the snowstorms of today and from the past couple of years have fueled insecurities, and thus sales of Subaru — especially in the North-east. Also, their (radio) advertising has been brilliant, playing on those very fears.

      Given the choice of AWD or winter tires, I’m sure all here would go with winter tires. AWD adds about $1500 to the car, and that more than covers a set of winters and wheels. But the average driver doesn’t want to deal with the fuss of storage and changing them out twice a year.

      Back in 2011, I test drove a Subaru Outback. The interior was nice, the engine was P-ZEV (important for tree huggers), but the handling was too floaty boaty for me. I’d take a Mazda with winter tires any day.

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        “Given the choice of…” So tired of this. Snow tires fit very well on AWD cars. Here’s your sign.

        • 0 avatar
          WheelMcCoy

          >> Snow tires fit very well on AWD cars.

          I never said snow tires don’t fit AWD cars. Ideally, we would all put winter tires on AWD, but how many people do this? Doing both adds time and money.

          If you are a first responder, I recommend both. If you are an educated winter driver, you’d opt for winter tires. If you don’t want to think about it, you go for AWD on all seasons.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            Now that I think of it, between my six closest friends – and excluding RWD summer-only sporty cars – there are nine AWD/4WD vehicles and 2 FWD vehicles. Studded winter tires are used on all eleven.

            Of those, I didn’t even include the two Hakka7-shod Subarus when cons!dering my previous post.

            There are plenty of people out there who realize the benefits of combining AWD with winter tires.

          • 0 avatar
            WheelMcCoy

            >>There are plenty of people out there who realize the benefits of combining AWD with winter tires.

            That’s great. Now have them educate the knuckleheads in the AWD SUVs that make their own lanes, blow past me, but eventually end up in a ditch.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            We’re trying! We have lots of winter tire converts between us. I dream of a winter utopia where enough people use winter tires that it’s assumed that people can be intelligent enough to look after their own traction needs and dumping salt and dirt all over the roads is no longer necessary. Our vehicles would stay clean all winter with minimal corrosion, and the city would remain nice and white instead of becoming a disgusting brown mess a day or two after the snowfall. Plus, it’s a lot more fun to drive in winter conditions than on gritty wet roads, provided you have decent tires.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          I’ve seen more Hakka7s on Subarus than all other vehicle manufacturers combined.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, you forgot fans of Volvo who simply cannot see paying $50k for reduced reliability.

  • avatar
    bludragon

    So I have not done a count, but just lpoking at the show of hands, I think the answer is no :)

  • avatar
    05lgt

    I’m going to propose a new nick name for this guy. Instead of DDM, how about “Cheap Click”? Think about the big hit.

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    To clear the air on one thing about the Mazda. Their dealer parts are way overpriced. From what i understand is that back around late 1995 Mazda knew their parts were overpriced and they cut their price list around 20-25% and the dealer,s were advised to do likewise. The dealers of course disregard the discount and do business as usual. I have no bone to chew and i own a Mazda Miata and 2 VW,s. I am very happy with all three but if i can avoid the Mazda dealer i will. I will go to the VW dealer if i need something right away or its a factory item. They always give me a good discount and most times are better then a local jobber. My buddy,s son-in-law works for a local Mazda dealer and told me many times to avoid them at all costs or else call him and he will get me the part with his discount.

  • avatar
    spw

    well they do have nice turbo diesel in Europe… As to stronger than 200hp engine in USA, unfortunately since it is only sellable in USA and since competition like V6 Camry sells in tiny numbers, i guess that it was not the priority.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    good news/bad news for Mazda is they seem to do a better job of keeping prices up, maybe through good inventory management. There are still 2014 Focuses (and I would imagine Darts and others as well) available within a couple hundred miles of me, but only 2015 Mazda3’s, plus Ford generally has more generous financing. Even if we agree with Car and Driver that the Mazda is the better car, the Focus is still a good one, and a few thousands $ difference is hard to ignore. Although it looks like I’m getting something different than either, if I was set on that class of car, I’d probably have ended up with the Focus based on it’s market price advantage, even though I think they’re pretty close in MSRP. Ford also has more a la carte options and less inventory control generally means better selection and availability.

  • avatar

    Yeah, but their numbers are up so this article is about as valuable as all of us in America begging the boys in Cherry Hill and promising our first born for a Spec.B wagon with a 6-speed.

  • avatar
    blackcayman

    “consider the Mazda6, which is the single most attractive midsize sedan in human history”

    I agree.

    There should be a Speed6, I would buy it.

    (2012 Mazda3 GT Hatchback 6-MT)

  • avatar
    kinogod

    I currently own a 2008.Mazda speed three with sport springs and camber offsets and that’s it. The cars is a hoot, the torque steer is fun but with 130,000 miles on it I’ve been waiting and waiting for a new iteration of the Mazda speed three… Something other than that Animae version that was the last speed 3. Don’t like the ST Foci, questions of reliability there. Don’t care for the Subie WRX as there’s no hatchback version and the rally car roots feel like a rough truck. In the US that leaves me with the GTI w performance pack. But getting ahold of that car has proved difficult….despite $1000 down so a dealer tries to snag one just like I want it. I’m sad to leave Mazda. Before this mazda I had a great little protege5. Loved that go cart! Not fast but with a manual you could throw that sucker around like a toy! Really bummed that Mazda has lost its roots. In underpowered Miata is not a savior. And the gorgeous 6 is anemic as far as power goes. But I think we are seeing Mazda attempt back when gas was high to save their company. They just don’t have the cash and now not the will power to create magic. Sad. I so don’t want a GTI, but it’s on a slow boat from Mexico

    • 0 avatar
      Eyeflyistheeye

      The Focus ST has the same basic engine your Mazdaspeed 3 does along with the same basic chassis.

      Don’t really meet too many folks who like one and not the other regarding the 3/Focus.

    • 0 avatar
      bludragon

      Patience… I fully expect a speed3 will be coming sometime between summer 2016 and summer 2017. It should be competitive with the focus ST/golf GTI, so somewhere around 240-280hp and fwd (awd and 300hp are wishful thinking): http://blog.caranddriver.com/footloose-and-fancy-three-mazda-3-refresh-mazdaspeed-3-coming-for-2017/

      It’s the car I’m waiting for as potential replacement to a 2008 Civic Si.

      If you can’t wait that long, then within 6 months expect the 2015MY refresh of the ST and the Golf w/powerpack to be plentiful and discounted. As an alternative to those, I would suggest trying (and pricing) a mazda3 2.5 w/manual. You can get one fully loaded today for less than the price of a base GTI, the running costs will be much lower too, and they are fun even without the extra tq of a turbo.

      There might even be a WRX back in hatchback form at some point in the next year or two as well.

  • avatar
    fronch

    After many Toyotas my first Mazda 6 in 2003 was a revelation, it did Zoom Zoom!!!. Then after 7 years with a VW Passat diesel (lovely car, slow pickup, eye watering service and repair costs) went back to Mazda with a CX5 Max Sport diesel (129KW, 420NM, twin turbo)that has rekindled my smile. Fantastic pickup, great response passing and cornering for an SUV.
    Will Mazda bring the diesel to the US?

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