Tag: Mazda

By on March 10, 2020

Our last two Buy/Drive/Burn entries reflected compact truck offerings in 1972 and 1982. We know you all love talkin’ trucks, so we bring you a subsequent entry in the series today. It’s 1992, and you’ve got to buy a compact Japanese truck.

Hope you can bear the 10-percent interest rate on your loan.

(Read More…)

By on March 6, 2020

2019 Mazda Skyactiv D CX-5 Diesel - Image: MazdaWhen it was rumors and innuendo, when it was delayed, when it was confirmed but unattainable, when it was launched, when it was actually under the hood of a vehicle we could drive on this continent, we’ve covered the story of Mazda’s diesel engine.

It’s a 2.2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with a measly 168 horsepower but a stirring 290 lb-ft of stump-pulling torque. It resides not in the Mazda 6 for which it was originally intended but rather the highly acclaimed Mazda CX-5. It’s available only in the CX-5’s top-spec Signature trim, and only then at a $4,110 premium that drives the price up to an eye-watering $41,000. Its fuel economy gains are so minimal that the economic case for the CX-5 diesel is nonexistent.

And after one model year and just enough demand to help (in some small way) propel the CX-5 to yet another record sales year, the Mazda CX-5 diesel is missing. Truant. Unaccounted for.

Moreover, there’s no timetable for the CX-5 diesel’s return. (Read More…)

By on February 12, 2020

At first blush, the confusingly-named 2020 Mazda CX-30 might seem to be simply a CX-3 appended with an errant naught. They do, after all, appear similar now that Mazda has adopted Audi’s different-lengths-of-sausage styling credo. Fortunately for us, the look is a good one.

About 4 inches of length, 40 horses of power, and about 400 pounds of weight separate the CX-30 from the CX-3 (makes it easy to remember, eh? Maybe they shoulda called this the CX-4). As always, the Ace of Base meter is primarily concerned with the entry level model, simply called the “CX-30.”

(Read More…)

By on February 11, 2020

The road to America is often a long one, and the 2.2-liter diesel four-cylinder that finally set up shop in the Mazda CX-5 last year took a Donner Party-like detour after leaving Japan.

The Skyactiv-D engine was over half a decade late in arriving on these shores, and when it finally did — cleared by the EPA after certain modifications — journalists were underwhelmed by its power and economy. Now, it’s the midsize Mazda 6’s turn to try ditching gasoline. Will anyone be in line to greet it? (Read More…)

By on February 5, 2020

2020 Mazda 3 hatchback grey - Image: MazdaFinally, Mazda appears to be on something of a roll. After U.S. volume at the underdog automaker tumbled to a seven-year low in 2019, January 2020 sales at Mazda jumped 18 percent.

Better yet, January marked the fourth consecutive month of year-over-year gains at Mazda, an essential turnaround for a marque that kicked off 2019 with seven consecutive months of decline. Over the last four months, Mazda’s U.S. sales actually grew by nearly 9,000 sales, a 10-percent uptick.

So, all is well? If Mazda sustains this level of volume growth over the next 11 months, Mazda would follow up its seven-year low from 2019 with a 26-year annual sales high.

The chance for major growth will most definitely fall on the shoulders of the new CX-30, because the fourth-generation Mazda 3’s tragically awful 2019 was followed up by a January in which the 3 rolled over and played dead.  (Read More…)

By on January 29, 2020

There are many things difficult to fathom in the automotive industry, with the story of Carlos Ghosn exiting Japan in a musical instrument case being but one of them. Another is Mazda’s seemingly perpetual streak of diminutive (compared to other brands) sales numbers. When someone asks your author for a recommendation, be it compact car or crossover, the zoom-zoom brand is invariably on the list. They’ve also been enjoying success in endurance racing, taking a podium at this year’s Daytona soirée. Go figure.

But I digress. The mystifyingly named CX-30, apparently picking up an errant “0” on its way to America, is fresh off the boat for 2020. Does it stack up in terms of feature content like other offerings in the showroom?

(Read More…)

By on January 24, 2020

2020 Mazda 3 Hatchback grey - Image: MazdaThere are three main criteria for measuring the degree to which 2019 was a disastrous year for the Mazda 3 in the United States small car marketplace.

First, judge the Mazda 3 based on key competitors. Mazda 3 sales tumbled 21 percent to 50,741 units during a year in which the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla levelled off north of 300,000 units, in excess of six times the Mazda’s total. The Nissan Sentra, Hyundai Elantra, and Volkswagen Jetta were all at least twice as popular as the Mazda 3; the Kia Forte nearly so. The Subaru Impreza outsold the Mazda, too.

Second, consider how the Mazda 3 fared in comparison with its own historical impact. Over the course of the previous 29 years, Mazda USA averaged nearly 84,000 annual compact Mazda sales – 2019’s total was 39-percent shy of that average; 59-percent below the 3’s 2012 peak performance.

Finally, there’s a method that involves adding a rider to either one of the first two functions: the Mazda 3 accomplished these ignominious feats as a highly regarded, all-wheel-drive-available, new-generation car. Imagine Ford launching an all-new F-150 and watching sales plummet to a 29-year low.

And yet, could 2020 be even worse for the Mazda 3? An Outback-ified version of the 3, the CX-30, is sliding into the lineup at a time when sales of small crossovers are surging. The Mazda 3 can’t compete with the Civic and Corolla. It can’t compete with its own memory. What if it can’t compete with its own sibling? (Read More…)

By on January 20, 2020

While other manufacturers are downsizing engines and sticking turbos anywhere they’ll fit, Mazda has attempted to maintain a home for naturally aspirated motors — engines it believes should be sized appropriately for their intended application. On paper, this appears to be giving the competition an edge. Yet Mazda remains committed to offering the right tool for the job, introducing naturally aspirated Skyactiv engines with unusually high compression ratios. The latest, Skyactiv-X, combines spark-controlled gasoline combustion and compression-ignition diesel tech with a 24-volt mild-hybrid system.

The system delivers 178 horsepower and 164 lb-ft of torque in 2.0-liter guise, plus MPG improvements of up to 20 percent vs the old Skyactiv-G. But there’s a problem. With Mazda attempting to go upmarket, an economy-focused powertrain has to deliver in whatever region it’s sold, and introductory Skyactiv-X units are now viewed as too small for the United States. The result? The technology’s delayed arrival in North America, despite its deployment via the new 2.0 liter found in the 2020 Mazda 3 and CX-30 sold in Japan and Europe.  (Read More…)

By on January 9, 2020

Mazda bigwigs and engineers are still on the fence when it comes to the next-generation MX-5 Miata’s powertrain, but the current generation is still capable of learning new tricks.

The automaker’s European-market MX-5s, at the very least, will take on a standard energy recovery system for the 2020 model year that carries some of the trappings of a hybrid. What the system can’t do is send any amount of electric power to the drive wheels — though it can reduce the load on the conventional gasoline engine. (Read More…)

By on January 6, 2020

Too bad about the others. After admitting that it probably should have reconsidered the new-for-2019 Mazda 3’s U.S. pricing strategy, the Hiroshima-based automaker can sit back and look at last year’s results in full. Topping that page is a 7.2 percent sales decline — the result of volume slippage among all nameplates but one.

Nothing beats a compact crossover for surefire popularity. (Read More…)

By on January 2, 2020

2019 Mazda CX-3 rear quarter

The smallest Mazda crossover, which happened to be too small for a friend of this writer, enters the new decade with a greatly reduced presence. Not just in America, but overseas, too.

While the U.S.-market CX-3 subcompact stands to lose all but one trim in a carefully calculated move by Mazda brass, a different plan is afoot on the other side of the Atlantic. (Read More…)

By on December 23, 2019

2020 Mazda 3 Hatchback - Image: Mazda

One of the bigger stories this year, albeit one that occurred mostly in the background of splashier news, concerned a fun-to-drive compact car that did pretty well for itself over the past decade. For 2019, that car got a makeover and a push upmarket, aligning it more closely with other models in the lineup. That car was the Mazda 3 — and the 2019 model year brought big changes not only to its content, but also its price.

Gone was the American-market’s base 2.0-liter engine and most of the model’s manual transmission availability, and these omissions played an obvious role in inflating the model’s entry price by roughly three grand. Looking back on the sales decline that marked the new 3’s entry to the market, Mazda’s leadership is expressing regret. (Read More…)

By on December 20, 2019

2019 Mazda 3 sedan - Image: Mazda

A system designed to detect obstacles on the road ahead and automatically apply the brakes is acting up in current-generation Mazda 3 vehicles. Seems it’s seeing things that aren’t there.

On Friday, Mazda announced a recall of 35,390 Mazda 3 sedans and hatchbacks in the U.S., spanning the 2019 and 2020 model years. (Read More…)

By on December 19, 2019

The roadster news just keeps getting worse for British drivers. As hyper-stringent Euro 6 emission standards come into effect in the new year, drivers in the UK will have a harder time getting their hands on a vehicle we all know and love on this side of the Atlantic.

That vehicle is the Mazda MX-5. Available with a standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder on this side of the pond, Brits can have theirs in two flavors: 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter. Come 2020, the automaker will do its best to dissuade buyers from choosing the larger mill. (Read More…)

By on December 13, 2019

2020 Mazda CX-30 lead image

Keen observers of the new car market have taken note of the proliferation of compact and subcompact crossovers, with new models shoved into niches seemingly too small to fit yet another jacked-up hatchback. Where once there might have been but a single model, today there are four or more edging more traditional cars off the showroom floor.

Mazda is no different. The CX-5 and CX-9 have won accolades as the driver’s choice among the myriad indifferent blobs clogging the lanes of every interstate and supermarket, while the subcompact CX-3 has proven to be a decent entry choice. But much like that one person behind you in the left lane who is determined to win the race to the exit half a mile ahead, Mazda is wedging its shield-shaped grille into any gap it can find.

Thus, the 2020 Mazda CX-30. Logically, this would be the CX-4, but a different vehicle exists in other markets (China, mostly) using that badge – and since so many consumers cross-shop dealerships between Beijing and Bay City, it pays to minimize badge confusion.

Where does the CX-30 fit on the Mazda lot? And does it fit in your garage?

(Read More…)

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