Till the Wheels Fall Off: Mazda Recalls 2019 Mazda3 for Risk of Wheel Departure

Mazda has filed a recall for 25,003 of its 2019 Mazda3 cars due to a risk of the wheels falling off. Lug nuts were found to have loosened and come off the car, though there have been no reports of accidents or injuries thus far. Having personally had wheels depart my cars more than once, I can attest to this leading to a less-than-ideal day and hope to encourage affected customers not to wait on this one.

Wheel bolts, or studs, on the car are pressed in from the back of the wheel hub. When the lug nuts are tightened on the studs, they essentially sandwich the hub, rotor, and wheel together. Mazda found that the studs where not fully seated in the back of the hub as the vehicles left the factory, allowing them to be drawn in the remainder of the way as the forces on the wheel were naturally applied through driving. This, however, would also gradually reduce the torque on the lug nuts.

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Junkyard Find: 1994 Mazda Navajo LX
Mazda and Ford go way back when it comes to the badge-engineering game, what with all those Mazda-built Ford Couriers, Mazda-based Ford Escorts, Mazda-badged Ford Rangers, and so on. Since I love weird examples of badge engineering in the junkyard, I’m always on the lookout for the likes of a Saab-badged Chevy or Acura-badged Isuzu, and so I have been keeping my eyes open for a rare Mazda-ized Ford Explorer for quite a while. Most of them got crushed long ago, as the early Explorer has very little value today (due to its laughably small size and lack of luxury features, by 21st-century American-market suburban commuter-truck standards), but this ’94 just showed up in a Denver self-service yard.
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Why a Joint Toyota-Mazda RWD Platform and Inline-6 Engine Makes Sense

A Mazda inline-six cylinder engine developed for a rear wheel-drive-based platform has been industry knowledge since news broke in May. But new reporting from Best Car in Japan confirm that Toyota/Lexus and Mazda will share that rear wheel-drive platform and inline-six engine.

Mazda’s inline-six engine development will include Skyativ-X (gasoline) and Skyativ-D (diesel) variants, mounted longitudinally. Additionally, a 48-volt mild-hybrid electrical system and all-wheel-drive variants will be offered. The question is what this has to do with Toyota.

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Rare Rides: The Gran Turismo Dream - a 1990 Mazda Eunos Cosmo

Today’s Rare Ride is a sporting luxury coupe with a complex rotary engine. It’s a car which was destined for America, but never quite made it.

It is, of course, the Eunos Cosmo. By Mazda.

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2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature - Inching Ever Closer to Perfection

Does a crossover really need to be good to drive, or is mere competence good enough to win buyers? Most carmakers settle for “good enough,” and yet they keep selling.

Mazda, of course, doesn’t settle. Performance is baked into everything it offers. I’m certain that if Mazda offered a panel van, some fool out there would start racing a Mazda Los Pollos Hermanos truck.

Thus, I had high hopes when a turbocharged crossover was announced. Already the best-driving crossover available, the 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature adds power and class to family hauling perfection.

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2019 Mazda CX-9 GT AWD Review - Style, Substance

Yet another three-row crossover. Yawn.

It’s even painted white, like the appliance it’s certain to be.

But people keep buying these things, like it or not. Since few want my ideal family hauler – the minivan – this genre is the best way to haul more than five people. And I’d argue that this 2019 Mazda CX-9 is the best of the breed.

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2019 Mazda 3 AWD First Drive Review - Holding It All Down

Earlier this year, Mazda showed off its all-new 3 sedan in Los Angeles. The new compact’s intent is to impress a revised, upscale image on the brand. While the 3 delivered in quality, overall refinement, and driving enjoyment, it managed only middling marks with regard to power.

Now, Mazda has upped its game with a more stylish hatchback variant and the additional capability of an all-wheel drive system. But do style and substance mesh in the more expensive hatchback? We went back to California to find out.

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Where Your Author Eliminates a Couple of Coupes

In an introductory post last week, I detailed a couple of cars I was considering as a replacement to my decade-old Infiniti M. The comments (some filled with unusual anger) prodded me to add another car to the list.

A week later, I can tell you that two of those former options are absolutely out of the question.

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Rare Rides: A 2003 Mazda Roadster Coupe That's Not for Americans

Mazda has always been fond of making special edition trims of the MX-5 Miata. In 2003, the engineers in Hiroshima decided to put together something a bit more unique than the usual colored trim/new wheel design combo. Presenting the 2003 Roadster Coupe.

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2019 Mazda CX-3 GT AWD Review - Napoleon Complex

The Napoleon complex, of course, is where those of smaller stature overcompensate by being overly aggressive. Named for the legendarily short French emperor (who may or may not have actually been all that tiny), those so afflicted may be excessively loud, with a temper matching their height.

We car enthusiasts tend to anthropomorphize our four-wheeled friends, at the very least giving them names, if not attributing characters and personalities. The original Mini, for example, is frequently compared to an English bulldog.

Thus I feel compelled to toss the Napoleon complex label on the 2019 Mazda CX-3. It’s appropriately tiny, but with spirited handling well beyond the typical in the class. It’s also quite loud.

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2019 Mazda 3 First Drive - A Cohesive Compact?

We travelled to the small and traffic-free city of Los Angeles last week to check out the newly revamped 2019 Mazda 3, the first product launched under the automaker’s equally new premium philosophy. The next-gen compact apparently heralds the introduction of other higher-end models.

So, is this all-important foundational compact car any good? Let’s find out.

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Mazda Doesn't Want to Run Low on Crossovers, Plans Accordingly

Like most automakers, utility vehicles make up the bulk of Mazda’s sales, and the ratio is only swinging further in light trucks’ favor. While the new 3 hatch and sedan may be the freshest products on the automaker’s plate, freshly minted CEO Akira Marumoto knows what butters Mazda’s bread.

To keep the adorably midsized automaker in good standing with customers and accountants, the company is taking great pains to ensure the flow of crossovers never stems. Anywhere Mazda builds cars, Marumoto also wants crossover capacity.

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2019 Mazda CX-5 Turbo First Drive - Alternative to Italy

If a gearhead is asked for car shopping advice, there’s a pretty good chance one of their recommendations will be a Mazda. The little Hiroshima Highway Hawks generally land on the sporty side of the segments in which they compete, whether one is talking about compact cars or SUVs.

For ages, the CX-5 has been a stylish entrant in the compact crossover class and is Mazda’s best-selling vehicle in America. It is a car notable for not being imbued with “Handling by Novocain (TM)” like so many of its competitors. For 2019, the CX-5 gains an optional 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four, meaning the CX-5 finally has a mouth to match its trousers.

And, oh yeah, the guy in charge captained one of the most prolific racing teams in the 24 Hours of Lemons.

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The Next Mazda 3: Zooming Right Along

It’s pretty common for automakers to talk a big game when it comes to building cars that provide pleasure during everyday driving situations. Generally speaking, Mazda has backed it up.

The Mazda 3 compact sedan and hatch have long been considered among the best of the small-car segment for those who enjoy driving. Mazda knows this and is looking to live up to that reputation with the new global 3, while also boosting fuel economy.

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Teaser Vid Heralds a New Mazda 3 and a New Way to Burn Gasoline

“A new era begins” in November, Mazda’s YouTube video announces, but the automaker is likely referring to more than just the car seen in the teaser.

The next-generation Mazda 3, snippets of which can be seen in both hatchback and sedan form, will be joined by a new gasoline engine that’s far more monumental than any revamped compact car.

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2018 Mazda 6 Signature Review - Serenity And Soul

Mazda has long been an enigma within the Japanese automaker realm. Never quite the volume player of Toyota or Nissan, Mazda targeted enthusiasts via the RX-7 and Miata — models that cast a echo of driving enjoyment over the rest of the lineup. While Mazda attempted to go after the premium end of the market in the early Nineties with the stillborn Amati brand, the automaker has generally left the high end alone.

Until now.

Much like the Denali line within GMC’s lineup, Mazda has unleashed its Signature trim, which adds a layer of lux upon an already impressive midsizer. This 2018 Mazda 6 Signature melds plush and performance into one.

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Turbocharged 2.5-liter Appears in Japanese-market Mazda CX-5

According to California Air Resources Board (CARB) certification documents, the Japanese won’t be the only ones enjoying the gutsy turbo 2.5-liter that just landed in that country’s CX-5 crossover. The hotter inline-four would be just the thing to bring additional customers to Mazda’s best-selling model, and it seems the automaker’s U.S. arm has done the groundwork for a potential launch.

Getting the kids to daycare faster is nice, but the changes coming to Japan’s CX-5 aren’t solely about horsepower.

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In With the Old, In With the New: Mazda's Rotary Return Might Leave RX-7/RX-8 Fans Disappointed

Mazda, an automaker that lacks even the mildest of hybrid vehicles, has announced a plan to change its gas-obsessed image. In doing so, the “fun” Japanese brand will return a novel internal combustion engine to the automotive landscape: the rotary engine.

We’ve talked up this possibility ad nauseum in the past, but the plan’s now official. Announced Tuesday, Mazda will add a rotary engine as a range extender for its electrification program, with the first rotary-equipped hybrid production vehicle appearing in 2020.

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2019 Mazda CX-3 GT AWD Review - Size Small

People, pets, and cars all arrive on this planet in different shapes and sizes. Alert readers know this author’s proclivity for Large Machines which bend the macadam with their shocking curb weights and lot-hogging girth. I remain unrepentant.

It was a surprise, then, for the diminutive little roller skate you see here to spin my crank in a positive direction. Yes, it measures several sizes smaller than most other crossovers — smaller, even, than some of its direct competitors.

Like a Jack Russell terrier, what the Mazda CX-3 gives up in size it more than makes up for with excited exuberance. It’s like a Miata with a backpack.

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2018 Mazda 3 GT 5-Door Review - The Crossunder

Imagine a world in which the crossover SUV, the blight of our roadways, was the default transportation option. Where most vehicles are tall, bloated, with poor handling.

Some might say that we’re already there — heck, we’ve been saying that.

But in our imaginary world where the crossover has been the standard for decades, consider what the impact of a marketplace disruptor like this 2018 Mazda 3 GT could be. All of the utility of a CUV, but with better fuel economy and handling. In this bizarro world, this revolutionary compact hatchback might indeed be all the rage. Thus, I’m calling the Mazda3 “The Crossunder.”

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Spinning in Circles: Mazda's Rotary Ambitions Still Very Much Alive

It seems like we get a new update about Mazda’s plan for the rotary engine every few months. The automaker kept tinkering with the technology after the RX-8’s demise, but efficiency mandates left the high-revving Wankel on the sidelines, prohibiting the introduction of a true successor to the rotary coupe. Yet the motor hung around as the company’s likely solution for hybrid cars, recharging the battery while electric propulsion takes care of forward momentum.

While that makes the probability of an RX-9 sound rather bleak, the company doesn’t want anyone to give up hope. Mazda still desires such a vehicle and the company’s European vice president of communications, Wojciech Halarewicz, has basically said it will be a done deal if they can find enough money in the budget for a flagship sports car.

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Japan's Minor Scandal: Mazda, Suzuki, Yamaha Apologize for Improper Vehicle Testing

Japan’s automotive industry finds itself in the midst of a minor scandal. Last year, the Japanese government ordered manufacturers to investigate their operations after it was revealed that Subaru and Nissan conducting improper testing for decades. Initially, the issue seemed to revolve around a widespread laziness that allowed uncertified employees to conduct final inspection procedures. However, Subaru later admitted to employees falsifying emissions data.

While the problem does not appear to be an outright corporate conspiracy, some inspectors still decided to implement a policy they knew was against the rules to avoid questions from top brass. Likewise, senior employees advised inspectors to change test results for each vehicle that failed to meet internal quality control standards.

On Thursday, the Japanese government announced the inspection issue haS also touched Mazda Motor Corp, Suzuki Motor Corp and Yamaha Motor Co (which builds motorcycles and automotive engines). All three companies are now faulted for improper testing procedures and compliance failures.

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Mazda CX-5 Diesel: Is This Fuel Economy Enough to Get Buyers In Line?

The diesel version of Mazda’s wildly popular CX-5 crossover was originally supposed to land on these shores in late 2017, but the plan hit a snag. As such, we’re still waiting. But the model’s appearance now seems imminent.

Having cleared the Environmental Protection Agency’s stringent testing regimen, we now know exactly what fuel economy to expect from the CX-5 and its compression ignition 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D inline-four. The question is: is the CX-5 diesel thrifty enough?

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2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata First Drive - Tuned By Tufnel

Take a good look at the photos throughout these virtual pages. A really good look. If you haven’t been obsessively reading about the refreshed-for-2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata, you are no doubt puzzled by the “First Drive” tag in the title.

Indeed, Mazda didn’t change anything visually significant in this, the fourth model year of the fourth generation of the legendary Miata. From the outside, the only real clue is the appearance of a gash in the rear bumper for a rear-view camera. But under the hood, it becomes clear that Mazda engineers channeled the storied fictional guitarist in turning the already excellent Miata to eleven.

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Rare Rides: The Autozam AZ-1 From 1992 Is Either Suzuki or Mazda

Tiny, mid-engined, and featuring those all-important gullwing doors, the Autozam AZ-1 has it all. And now you, too, can enjoy the things Japan was tired of in the 1990s.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Japanese Sports Cars From 1995

Today we decide which of three legendary and sporty Japanese coupe gets the flamethrower. Will it be the Toyota, the Mazda, or the Nissan? All of these vehicles are the last in their line, so this one might be a bit difficult.

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Better Late Than Never: 2018 Mazda 6 Gets Free Tech Upgrade

Mazda is upgrading the infotainment system of the 2018 Mazda 6 with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Starting in September, the company will even allow owners who purchased one earlier in the year bring their vehicle into the dealership and have it upgraded, free of charge.

While that’s incredibly kind of them, there’s a catch. You have to own the Touring trim or above. If you bought a lesser Mazda 6, you’ll be out left out in the cold. But the automaker previously said it wouldn’t include the popular phone integration setup until 2019, making this a nice gesture. The 2019 CX-9 is supposed to be the first vehicle to see Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard equipment, though we’ve also heard Mazda talking about future dealer upgrades for all models equipped with Mazda Connect for a small fee in other parts of the world.

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A New Headache for Automakers: Train Robberies

Let’s face it: there’s few things more romantic than trains, and robberies of said trains have formed the backbone of great novels and films for over a century. The modern reality is not quite Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, however. It’s impoverished and not quite moral bandits piling rocks onto tracks in a bid to derail a train, then making off with whatever they can sell. No dynamite and bank vaults here.

In Mexico, the rising popularity of such robberies is proving an expensive headache for automakers shipping cars from Mexican assembly plants.

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Selling My 2004 Mazda MX-5 Miata Was Remarkably Difficult, and Also Remarkably Easy

There comes a point in the lives of most MX-5 owners when an inevitable question is asked. How do you solve a problem like Miata?

In my case – which is similar to many Miata owners, at least according to Miata lore – the Mazda itself is certainly not the problem. Acquired in May 2017 and driven 5,000 miles over the course of 8 months, the Miata’s only costs involved around 200 gallons of premium fuel, a few hundred bucks for insurance, two oil changes, two MVIs, some Autoglym convertible top maintenance spray, and a headlight defogging kit.

Oh, and zero dollars in depreciation.

In 40 years, I may well look back on this 2004 Miata as the best car I ever owned. How does one replace such a car? Why does one replace such a car?

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Mazda's New Engines Will Test Whether Buyers Can Still Stomach a 'Car'

Showroom visitors in June continued carrying Mazda in a positive sales direction, even as those same buyers continue to shy away from the brand’s car portfolio. Hold on — that’s not necessarily correct.

On a year-to-date basis, all of Mazda’s passenger cars sit in the red, but the sensuously styled Mazda 6 sedan, fresh from yet another, um, refresh (this one designed to push the model upmarket a bit) barely qualifies. Since the massaged 2018 model went on sale in April, year-over-year sales increases in that month, May, and June mean the model now posts only a 0.9 percent YTD sales decrease. Almost back in the black, for this year, anyways.

Despite it outward appearance staying nearly the same, the 2018 refresh brought a long-awaited turbocharged engine to the Mazda 6 line. As well, there’s upgraded powerplants destined for the two remaining cars in Mazda’s barn. Nothing sweetens the pot like extra power.

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Trade War Watch: Mazda Joins Toyota in Condemning U.S. Tariff Proposals

Automakers are not thrilled with the White House’s current interest in automotive tariffs. With factories scattered across the globe, no major manufacturer would go untouched by the proposed increases in import duties or the retaliatory tariffs foreign governments may issue in response.

There’s a lot to lose from a financial perspective. According to a recent analysis from Evercore ISI, Fiat Chrysler would take an annual hit of $866 million if the United States placed a 25-percent import tariff on cars. Considering that other automakers stand to lose at least that much, it’s unsurprising they’ve begun raising their corporate voices over the matter.

Granted, the FCA example is a worst-case scenario for that particular brand, but even a lesser tariff would see a profit loss of hundreds of millions. For an automaker like Mazda, the loss would be far worse.

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Is the Mazda CX-5 About to Go Turbocharged?

Where would Mazda be without the hot-selling CX-5? Of the 29,980 vehicles Mazda sold in the U.S. last month, 47.3 percent of them were CX-5s. Suffice it to say the stylish compact crossover is the brand’s most important model, regardless of what MX-5 fans would have you believe.

Parents everywhere applauded when a crisper, better-handling CX-5 appeared for 2017, content in knowing a family vehicle existed that wouldn’t relegate them to a world of bland conformity. Our own Chris Tonn was enraptured by the sight of his Grand Touring tester as it sat in an Ohio parking lot. Still, despite its on-road prowess, the zoom-zoom brand’s most popular offering isn’t exactly a pavement scorcher. That might not be the case for long.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Affordable Convertibles From 2005

This edition of Buy/Drive/Burn was inspired by the comments some of you left on the recent QOTD Crapwagon Garage post on coupes. Though roadsters and convertibles were off limits there, the conversation turned to them wistfully. Don’t worry, convertible week is coming.

In the meantime, we’ve got a ragtop from 2005 to burn. Which one will it be?

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Zoom-Zoom: Mazda MX-5 Gets More Power and a Higher Redline for 2019

Affectionately known as the Miata, Mazda’s MX-5 roadster is a throwback to an era when fun cars were simple. While its evolution included obligatory tech and safety updates, that’s about all the manufacturer added. The recipe for the spry little convertible has always been to deliver a mechanically simple, lightweight, and sporting automobile that adheres to the regulatory mandates of its era.

The end result is a reasonably reliable and totally livable sports car that can be driven enthusiastically at moderate speeds, delivering a pleasurable experience for less than $26,000. It may lack the amenities and passenger occupancy of a larger automobile, but it’s better than a motorcycle — and serves a similar purpose in an infinitely more practical way. Like any sport bike, you purchase the Miata for the visceral and engaging experience it provides. You just have to pay a little more for the benefit of being able hide from mother nature while you’re flicking down the backroads.

If the MX-5 has a single shortcoming, it’s that it is debatably down on power. While many would argue that its sub-2,400 pound curb weight makes the 151-horsepower 2.0-liter more than adequate for delivering a good time, there are vehicles in Miata’s price range that are faster in a straight line. Mazda seems to have a solution to this problem.

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Severe Corrosion, Steering Failure Sparks Investigation of Older Mazda 6 Models

Mazda can’t seem to shake a recent history that saw its vehicles fall victim to the flesh-eating disease in embarrassing numbers. We’ve seen corrosion issues crop up in a myriad of recalls issued by the automaker over the past several years, and it’s raised its flaky brown head once again.

This time, it’s just a preliminary investigation, but probes conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have a way of turning into recalls in a hurry. The model in question is the 2009-2010 Mazda 6, and the issue is a subframe that can become so corroded, you might have trouble staying on the road.

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Mazda Taps Americas Boss As New CEO; No Shortage of Risk Lies Ahead

The man who spent the last five years overseeing Mazda’s North American operations will soon lead the company. Akira Marumoto, 60, takes the helm of the automaker on June 26th, the company announced Friday.

The moves comes as Mazda prepares to introduce a revolutionary type of gasoline engine, the Skyactiv-X, in the hopes of proving its complete reliance on internal combustion cars does not make it a dinosaur.

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Upmarket Mazda: 2019 CX-3 Adds Standard Equipment for Not Much Extra Dough

Mazda has released pricing details for the 2019 CX-3. Refreshed for the upcoming model year, the subcompact crossover doesn’t change its already handsome looks all that much, but it does include more standard tech. This translates into a higher MSRP.

However, we doubt many buyers will mind a modest increase in price when the new CX-3 goes on sale later this month. All models now receive direct tire pressure monitoring, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control as standard equipment. In addition to the gently touched-up visuals, tacking on an extra $290 to the pre-destination base price doesn’t sting all that badly.

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Can It Be? Mazda's Long-awaited CX-5 Diesel Gets California Green Light

We’ve been talking about the Mazda CX-5 diesel for a long time, and with good reason. It’s been a long time coming. Originally promised for a U.S. introduction in the second half of 2017, a quick scan of of Mazda’s consumer website reveals no mention of a popular compact crossover with a 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D four-cylinder under the hood.

This could soon change. The California Air Resources Board has certified the engine for sale in that ecologically sensitive state, making a similar thumbs up from the Environmental Protection Agency a near certainty.

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Rare Rides: The Mazda Navajo of 1992, O Brother of Explorer

The rarely seen (any time post-1999) Mazda Navajo was the oft-forgot smaller sibling of Ford’s incredibly popular first-generation Explorer. An example has popped up for sale in Wisconsin, and it’s about as new as can be. We need to check it out.

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2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD Review - Crossing Over In Style

The look back. That longing glance at your beloved ride as you walk away is a rite of passage for car enthusiasts. One more gaze at the car’s beautiful lines before you walk into the office can help that first cup of coffee kickstart another day of work.

Until I drove the 2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring, I’ve never looked back at any crossover. Never had the need or desire, since most CUVs have all of the style and personality bred out of them in an effort to attract the widest variety of shoppers. Not the Mazda. The design of this compact crossover is nothing short of stunning.

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2019 Mazda MX-5: More Power and a Steering Wheel That Zooms?

For 2019, Mazda seems ready to offer two things MX-5 Miata buyers have long demanded: more power, plus a steering wheel that reaches towards the driver, instead of just tilting. These are big changes for a model where every minor detail is fussed over by engineers and enthusiasts alike.

The changes are detailed in a document — apparently originating from Mazda Canada — that details the changes coming for 2019. That doc found its way onto Reddit, which was then shared by joyful members of the Miata.net forum. How does an extra 26 horsepower sound?

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Mazda's New 'Feel Alive' Campaign Has Us Worried About Brand's Upmarket Push

Mazda’s new “Feel Alive” advertising campaign places consumers as its focal point as the company tries to market itself as an upscale and hip, enthusiast-oriented brand. On Monday, Mazda launched the first commercial — a borderline insulting collection of superficial phrases intended to get you excited about the brand’s new identity.

The spot itself is about as boilerplate new-millennium luxury car commercial as it gets. It opens with a series of attractive actors, all on the cusp of an important moment, as the narrator offers bizarrely simplistic lines of encouragement like “do that thing” and “take that step.” Granted, auto ads became far getting far less chatty about specs during the 1990s. But, over the last decade, too many car spots seem to be copying perfume ads — strange adventures in abstraction that say nothing about the product and cost a fortune to produce.

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Adventures in Marketing: Mazda Wants You to Feel Alive

Mazda recently dropped a very brief teaser video suggesting a reveal of some sort during the New York auto show. Only the smallest of glimpses were given of a Mazda-esque headlight and grille edging, leaving speculation running from a CX-9 crossover refresh to an all-wheel-drive 6 sedan.

Well, wonder no more, as Mazda has just shown a new RX-9 coupe with twin rotary engines, a rear-drive 929 sedan, and an importation of the Bongo Friendee.

No, wait, hang on. What I meant to say was Mazda spent nearly 30 minutes talking about a new marketing campaign and about how its customers aren’t customers — they’re fans. Sigh.

At least the tantalizing Mazda KAI Concept, a vehicle which this author has dubbed “Son of Brera,” was in the background during the TED Talk press conference.

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Uptown Living: Mazda Dealer Council Boss Says Brand Is a 'Strong Seven or Weak Eight' on the Classy Scale

There’s still a ways to go, but the transition of Mazda’s image into that of a semi-premium automaker is well underway. The latest interiors — and exteriors — emerging from the brand boast extra refinement, better materials, and a subdued elegance you won’t find on, say, a Nissan.

Mazda’s getting there, but in the meantime, sales remain an issue. Between the brand’s recent U.S. sales pinnacle in 2015 and the end of 2017, volume fell 9.3 percent. There’s a plan to turn it around, and it doesn’t all have to do with the automaker’s looming mystery crossover.

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Mazda and Toyota's Joint Venture Is Official, Tons of Corollas and a Mystery Model Await

There’s 4,000 new jobs coming to Huntsville, Alabama, but there’ll also be 150,000 unnamed Mazda crossovers rolling out to dealers across North America each year — assuming the model’s a success. Our money’s on Mazda giving its new child a name starting with “CX-.”

Mazda and Toyota made their 50-50 joint venture official this week, creating a business entity called Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, U.S.A., Inc. and boosting the presence of car manufacturing in the South. Production begins in 2021. For Mazda, it will be the company’s first assembly facility in the U.S., though it’s technically not a wholly-owned, standalone operation. There’ll be just as many Toyota Corollas leaving the factory as Mazdas.

While there are scant clues about the nature of Mazda’s mystery vehicle, the brand’s recent sales, plus a revealing loyalty report, suggest the company could have a hit on its hands.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: It's 1995 Again, and You're Buying a Sporty Luxury Sedan

In our last Buy/Drive/Burn entry, we traveled to the heady year of 1995 to peruse a trio of alternative luxury cars. One American and two Swedes vied for a place in the fantasy garage. The comments seemed to indicate a desire for more Japanese cars in the running, and commenter JohnTaurus suggested a trio we might discuss.

The year is 1995 (again). The cars are three unsuccessful Japanese luxury sedans that time forgot. Are you feeling… Vigorous?

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Yes, There's a Rotary Engine Coming to a Mazda Vehicle Next Year, but It's Not the Main Event

If you’re prone to daydreaming about slinky roadsters and curvaceous coupes powered by a high-revving rotary engine, this news might disappoint.

Mazda, one of a dwindling handful of automakers not in possession of an electric (or even hybrid) vehicle, plans to change that status next year with the introduction of a small battery-powered car. Coming along for the ride — at least in one variant — is a rotary gas engine designed to go unnoticed by the driver.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Alternative Japanese Minivans From 1997

In the first van edition of Buy/Drive/Burn, we inquired which luxurious minivan from 1994 you’d relegate to each category. Using typical One Simple Trick methodology, I lured everyone in with a picture of the Previa (above). Then, when the Previa was not a choice in the transportation trio, you all doused me in Haterade.

Well, here you go. Import vans — including the Toyota Previa. Douse me in clicks!

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Mazda Skyactiv-X Prototype First Drive - Is the Future Highly Compressed? [UPDATE]

In an era where just about every automaker is talking about electrification of its powertrains to some extent or another, Mazda is taking a different tack — remaining heavily focused on the good ol’ internal combustion engine.

This doesn’t mean electrification isn’t part of the company’s future powertrain strategy – it is – but in the nearer term, the company is working on ways to increase power while boosting fuel economy in its small gas-powered engines.

(Before we get to that, yes, the company’s long-promised diesel is still coming to America, though there’s still no official date.)

In order to show off its new tech, Mazda invited journalists to its research and development HQ in Irvine, California to drive prototypes outfitted with the Skyactiv-X engine.

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Ace of Base - 2017.5 Mazda 6 Sport
I’ll be the first to freely admit that I am completely befuddled when an automaker officially markets a car as a “.5” model year. Barring a vehicle receiving notable updates six months before a complete overhaul, I profess to not seeing the point of half a model year. In this case, a new turbocharged engine is on tap for 2018, hence this car’s odd relationship with the calendar.We’ll round this one up, then. The Mazda 6 sedan is an attractive car, offering a decidedly non-wallowy driving experience and – ye gods! – a manual transmission. It doesn’t hurt that one of our scribes just paid his own hard earned money for one. We’ll let you guess who in the comments.
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6 Appeal: Mazda's Newly Turbocharged Midsize Reveals Its MPGs As Automaker Hopes Upscale Push Pays Off

This is the sixth model year for the third-generation Mazda 6 which, despite its age, remains arguably the best-looking midsize sedan on the market. Mazda belatedly answered long-standing cries for more power by offering a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-four for 2018, giving the model the grunt it needs to back up its sporting pretentions.

We now know what drivers can expect at the pumps from this engine, borrowed from the CX-9 parts bin. However, can the emergence of a true Mazda 6 sports sedan rekindle waning interest in the model?

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New Vehicles Are More Powerful and Efficient Than Ever, but the Greenest Automaker Only Sells Gas Models: Study

Every year, the Environmental Protection Agency tabulates all available data for new vehicles sold in the United States and prints colorful graphs showing the country’s progress — or in some cases, regression — in key areas of autodom. Areas like average fuel economy, vehicle weight, horsepower, and emissions.

It’s a tradition dating back to the heady, wide-lapelled days of 1975.

The most recent report on light-duty vehicles in the U.S. shows definite, albeit incremental, progress towards many environmental goals. While the auto landscape may not be advancing at the rate preferred by many environmentalists, urbanists, and the Tesla fan base, there’s cause for celebration within the report’s pages. There’s also a special prize in there reserved just for Mazda.

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Mazda's Rotary Engine Might Appear in a New Toyota Project, But You're Going to Be Disappointed

With news of Mazda’s rotary engine development surfacing throughout the past year, we’ve been actively following its progress. Of course, die-hard rotary fans have been less enthused, as all information points to the powerplant continuing on as a gas-driven range extender for EVs — rather than the heart and soul of a high-performance coupe. It could still happen, but it’ll be a long wait.

The prognosis recently became more interesting, though enthusiasts aren’t likely to feel any better about it. Toyota is hinting that Mazda’s rotary could be the perfect solution to a concept vehicle it’s currently working on. Unfortunately, that unit is the e-Palette — an autonomous box riding atop the company’s new battery electric platform, with more applications as a mobile store than as a personal conveyance.

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Joint Toyota-Mazda Assembly Plant Headed to Alabama: Report

It looks like Alabama has won out over North Carolina in the battle to secure a massive, $1.6 billion joint assembly plant. The factory, a partnership between Toyota and Mazda (which, as of last summer, Toyota owns a 5 percent stake in), is reportedly headed to Huntsville, Alabama, and should give the smaller automaker the American capacity it needs to boost crossover sales.

Sources tell Reuters that company officials and government representatives will make an announcement today at the future factory site. Not only does the new plant herald lots of new jobs, it also means a new model.

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Mazda's MX-5 Available With Cherry On Top For 2018

Mazda is offering driving enthusiasts a late Christmas gift by touching up the Miata for 2018 with a bevy of welcome options and a handful of all-inclusive improvements.

Even though nobody complained about the fourth-generation MX-5’s on-road behavior, the manufacturer still tweaked its rear suspension and steering for 2018. It also says it made efforts to reduce undesirable cabin noise. However, the most noticeable alteration for the next model year is the addition of an optional red soft top for the North American market.

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When the Open Road Soothes Your Existential Angst

The year was 1992. Your mullet was uncomfortably shaggy, your jeans unfortunately baggy, your personality unbecomingly braggy.

And Admiral Stockdale famously asked a vice presidential debate audience, “Who am I? Why am I here?”

Midst massive life transitions over the last 10 months — a website sale, a house sale, a much bigger TTAC role, a move to another province, a real job, a smaller TTAC role — I have more than once asked the very same questions, though often to myself, with nothing more than the sound of a Spalding clanging off the rim as I practice free throws in the driveway. These are not easy questions to answer, but I have discovered that jumping into a car and driving into the darkness is a great way of sourcing internal feedback.

I learn by asking questions. I often find answers tucked away somewhere between a perfectly timed downshift in a 2004 Mazda MX-5 Miata and a jaw-dropping upshift in a 2018 Honda Civic Type R.

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Americans Are Gonna Love Our New Crossover, Mazda Claims

There’s no automaker with an American dealer network that can’t make do with another high-riding utility vehicle.

If you’re Ford, four is most definitely not enough, so there’s two more on the way — one exciting, the other decidedly not. If you’re General Motors, you’ve already green-lit the import of a Chinese-built crossover to fill a hole in a lineup. If you’re Hyundai, well, you’ve just s ummoned a product army.

Mazda needs a new crossover. There’s simply too many sales going unrealized in the United States, where the brand is on track to record a second yearly sales decline. Knowing there’s only one surefire way to boost volume these days, Mazda is placing its hopes on a new crossover made for America, made in America, that somehow won’t gobble up sales of its existing utility lineup.

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2018 Mazda 6 - The Turbo Lands at Last

Mazda had already promised a turbocharged four-cylinder would be available on the refreshed 2019 Mazda 6, and the company delivered.

Upper trims gain the 2.5-liter turbo four, while the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter remains on lower grades. Mazda promised an announcement on specs closer to the on-sale date in the spring of 2018.

Mazda may not have listed figures for the 6’s Skyactiv-G 2.5T during the model’s unveiling at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, but the engine makes up to 310 lb-ft of torque and 250 horsepower in the CX-9 crossover.

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Interested in More Power? Mazda Drops a Turbo Into a Troubled Sedan

Underpowered. Not as refined as the competition. Fantastic looks. Excellent handling. It’s hard to find a review of the Mazda 6 midsize sedan that doesn’t include at least two of these observations.

For 2018, Mazda’s hoping the first criticism goes the way of disco (or of the midsize sedan segment). Ahead of its November 29th debut at the L.A. Auto Show, the zoom-zoom brand is letting everyone know that buyers enamored with the 6’s flowing lines needn’t suffer from mediocre grunt. Mazda’s blowing the 6’s 2.5-liter four-banger for the upcoming model year.

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Place Your Bets: Toyota, Mazda Narrow Factory Site to Two States

Alabama and North Carolina are the final states left in the running for Toyota and Mazda’s $1.6 billion collaborative production venture. Tennessee, Texas and South Carolina are now out of the running but, as you know, there can only be one.

Which state is the smart money on? Your guess is as good as ours, but Toyota does already have an engine manufacturing plant in Huntsville, Alabama. It might make sense to keep things centrally located, especially if it NAFTA falls through and Toyota has to shift Corolla production back to Mexico and bring the Tacoma into the states. Of course, if that doesn’t happen, a factory closer to West Virginia and the little 2ZR-FE DOHC might be preferable.

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  • Terelaad The entire plant is just a toy for the rich.
  • Seanx37 If it made economic sense, it would have happened decades ago. No one would insure such places. And few are going to take $60-150k electric cars off road unless they are very wealthy
  • MaintenanceCosts Seems pretty obvious that they're leaving room for a SRT with the 2.0T and the electric motor. The R/T will probably be slower than the GT given the extra weight, but without the 9-speed it will be a much nicer drive.
  • Art Vandelay Lawyers would Eff it up. That and the NIMBYS. I agree with you, but it ain't gonna happen
  • EBFlex They are getting rid of the Charger and Challenger for a modern day Neon?just end it Dodge, you had a great run