Ouch: Mazda Doesn’t Benchmark Against BMW Anymore Because the Toyota Camry Handles Better
A Mazda engineer has admitted that the Japanese automaker used BMWs as benchmarks in the development of its models. That’s no longer the case, though, because Mazda has turned to another model to use for benchmarking purpose. That model is the Toyota Camry, a car that has had its own history of ignominious handling capabilities. But the script has recently flipped. In Mazda’s mind, BMWs are no longer the “Ultimate Driving Machines” that they used to be.
Mazda introduced the 6 nameplate in 2002 as a replacement for the highly successful Mazda 626. Offered as a near-premium mid-size four-door model, the 6 is now considered Mazda’s flagship model. Three generations have arrived since the 6 first hit the scene, the latest of which showed in 2012. Back in November, Mazda brought out a refreshed iteration at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show (LAAS), dropping cover on a tweaked exterior style, a newly updated interior, fresh technology and equipment, and even a new turbocharged engine package. Suffice to say, we thought the whole thing looked great, so much so that we gave it a spot on our Best In Show list for the 2017 LAAS. Given the extensive updates seen for the 2018 model year, you could consider this latest iteration as the 3.5-gen vehicle. Now, the 6’s more practical Tourer wagon body style looks set to receive the same good stuff when it arrives in Switzerland with a debut at the 88th Annual Geneva International Motor Show.
All told, the 2018 Mazda6 Tourer should look and feel more premium than before, just like the latest sedan version that appeared in Southern California. Full details are still forthcoming, but for now, read on for the lowdown on what we know, plus a splash of speculation along the way.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Mazda6 Tourer.
New Mazda6 Tourer Heading To The Geneva Auto Show!
Mazda just introduced the refreshed Mazda6 sedan at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November, and with its unveiling, the brand also dropped a long list of updates and upgrades. Long story short, we like what we see. In fact, we like it so much, we decided to give it a spot on our Best In Show list. Now, Mazda is giving us a look at the refreshed wagon Tourer model, which is headed to this year’s Geneva Motor Show sporting several of the sedan’s various updates.
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Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Gets an Update For The 2018MY
Two years after unveiling the Mazda MX-5 RF at the 2016 New York Auto Show, Mazda is giving the raunchy sports car a new update ahead of its 2018MY release. The updates are subtle, but with a car like the MX-5 RF, even the smallest of changes can go a long way in giving the sports car a fresh perspective in the eyes of prospective customers.
Mazda Thinks its Skyactiv-3 Engines Will Rival EVs on the Economy Front
Mazda is diligently working to save the internal combustion engine from a slow death brought on by electric vehicles. The independent Japanese automaker has been perfecting the ICE for decades with its Skyactiv line, including the Skyactiv-G and new Skyactiv-X. The latter is particularly interesting as it combines the strong points of both a gasoline- and diesel-powered engine without either of their weak points. Skyactiv-X is set to arrive in showrooms sometime in the next year. Nevertheless, the automaker isn’t resting on its laurels.
Mazda is already looking at the next project – Skyactiv-3. It’s a new gasoline engine designed to increase thermal efficiency by roughly 27 percent, making the engine 57 percent thermally efficient. That’s far better than even the most effacement engines out there. By comparison, Toyota’s new 2.5-liter Dynamic Force four-cylinder is said to have a thermal efficiency of 40 percent. Mazda says the Skyactive-3’s efficiency means it will achieve well-to-wheel emissions similar to an EV.
What’s well-to-wheel emissions? It’s the overall CO2 emissions emitted from the time oil leaves the well to the time it propels a vehicle. This includes the mining and processing of crude oil.
There is still much work to be done on the Skyactiv-3 powertrain, of course. Mazda is just now launching its gasoline compression-ignition engine, Skyactiv-X, to market, so it will be at least several years before the third-generation of Skyactiv engines are ready for the road.
2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring- Driven
Mazda has always been an interesting automaker. Its combination of sportiness and affordability has given the car-buying public a good value for their dollar. Vehicles like the MX-5 Miata quickly come to mind. But the Miata isn’t Mazda’s only major success story. In fact, the Mazda3 has proven extremely successful since its introduction in 2004 thanks to is sedan and hatchback versions offering a fun-to-drive character with a reasonable sticker price. Now in its third generation, the 3 continues to offer those same attributes, but with an added level of refinement and class.
I recently spent a week behind the wheel of a 2018 Mazda3 5-Door equipped with the range-topping Grand Touring trim to see how Mazda’s “Zoom-Zoom” attitude was holding up. Happily, I can report the little car is a blast to drive and is impressively practical. See how the details shake out below.
Continue reading for more on the 2018 Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring.
Does the Mazda3 5-Door Make a Good Daily Driver for the Family?
The Mazda3 5-Door is an interesting car. It’s an economical hatchback with seating for five, 47.1 cubic feet of cargo room with the seats folded, and a naturally aspirated four-cylinder under the hood. On paper, it sounds like a dull choice in today’s extremely completive automotive landscape. Yet the magic is in the Mazda name – an injection of indescribable goodness that somehow makes the car drive more ferociously than it should, feel more expensive than it costs, and return better fuel economy than spirited driving should allow.
In other words, the Mazda3 5-Door is impressive by all accounts. But that begs the question: how well does it handle daily driving for family duty?
To find out, I spent a week with a 2018 Mazda3 5-Door fitted with the range-topping Grand Touring trim. My tester came with nearly every available feature and option, making this little hatchback surprisingly well equipped. Things like adaptive headlights, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, and navigation graced the spec sheet. While that did increase the as-tested price by $3,075, the end result seems worth it.
Keep reading for how the Mazda3 5-Door handles family life.
Price Check: Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring vs the Competition
The 2018 Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring under our evaluation this week is equipped with all the bells and whistles. Not surprisingly, that means its price tag might seem a bit hefty for a compact hatchback with a naturally aspirated four-cylinder. As such, I decided to look at the Mazda3’s competitors and their comparable trim levels and optional equipment.
I settled on the 2017 Volkswagen Golf, the 2018 Honda Civic Hatchback, the 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT, and the2018 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback. For each, I selected their range-topping trim and added the appropriate options for an apples-to-apples comparison. Here’s how things shake out.
Continue reading for the pricing break down.
NHTSA Briefly - And Mistakenly - Lists Mazda6 as an AWD Model
One of the biggest disappointments surrounding the new U.S.-spec Mazda was the absence of an all-wheel-drive system. To make matters worse, our hopes were raised when the NHTSA created two listings for the 2018 Mazda6 on its website, one that came with the standard front-wheel-drive and another with all-wheel drive. Turns out, it was nothing but a mistake by the agency because clicking the link to the Mazda6 AWD now reveals an "error message."
2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring Quick Specs
The Mazda3 has been around since 2003, but the current version debuted for the 2014 model year. Thankfully, Mazda hasn’t let it trudge through the last four years unchanged. Small updates each year have kept it fresh. The same is true for the 2018 model year, which is exactly why I wanted to test the latest version. Parked in my driveway is a 2018 Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring coated in Soul Red Metallic and equipped with the six-speed automatic and the well-equipped Premium Package.
Like before, the Grand Touring trim is the highest of the Mazda3 range, and when combined with the Premium Package, offers some pretty nice features, creature comforts, and a strikingly classy ambiance for well under $30,000. But before I dive into my subjective thoughts and impressions, I wanted to cover the objective stats and specs of this Japanese hatchback.
Continue reading for more information.
The Mazda3 Grand Touring 5-Door Gives New Meaning to Affordable Luxury
Mazda has made a name for itself by offering affordable cars and crossovers with high-class styling and impressively put-together interiors. I’m reminded of that thanks to the 2018 Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring parked in my driveway this week. It’s fitted with just about every bell a whistle Mazda offers, which is just about everything you’d want in a sub-$30,000 hatchback.
As for the interior quality, the Grand Touring trim includes some rather soft leather seats with three-way heating and a heated steering wheel. The door panels and center console enjoy the same soft leather, making elbows happy. What isn’t leather is made from high-quality plastics. Piano black plastic surrounds the gearshift and door panel switches, while the dash, steering wheel, and infotainment controls are made from a low-sheen, soft touch material. A few metal accents are scattered through the cabin for a nice touch.
The Grand Touring trim, especially when combined with the $1,600 Premium Equipment Package, brings a ton if active and passive safety items, too. My tester has Adaptive Front lighting that follows the steering angle, radar cruise control, traffic sign recognition, automatic high-beams, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, and lane keep assist. The Mazda3 will even stop itself in low-speed traffic situations thanks to the Smart Brake Support.
But the Mazda3 is more than just a nice interior, safety systems, and a sculpted body. The driving experience feels more high end than its price would suggest. The steering is nicely weighted and the 2.5-liter SkyActiv’s 184 horsepower feels more like 200, especially in sport mode. The six-speed automatic transmission is well sorted and makes the most of the engine’s 185 pound-feet of torque. Holistically, the Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring offers tons of amenities with a price that’s well placed in its class.
As for cost, The Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring starts at $24,945. My tester stickers at $28,020, which includes several options and the $875 destination fee.
We will be covering the Mazda3 5-Door Grand Touring this week, so post your questions and we’ll answer them.
Update: Toyota and Mazda To Build $1.6B Plant in Alabama
Mazda and Toyota just announced that Huntsville, Alabama, has been selected as the location for a new auto manufacturing plant. The two Japanese companies are pooling their resources to build the facility, investing some $1.6 billion with the aim of producing 300,000 units annually.
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Father Of The Mazda Rotary, Kenichi Yamamoto, Passes Away at 95
On December 20th, Kenichi Yamamoto, a true icon in the world of Japanese automobiles, passed away at his home in Japan. He was 95 years old. Yamamoto is often credited as the driving force behind the creation of such incredible Mazdas as the Cosmo, the RX-2, the RX-3, the RX-4, the RX-7, and the 787B race car, earning him the nickname “Father of the Mazda Rotary.”
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Mazda Ends Long-Standing Partnership With The Laguna Seca Race Track
A lot of us often refer to it as Laguna Seca, but over the last 17 years, the Monterey, California-based racetrack was officially called "Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca." The name was part of a naming rights sponsorship the track had with Mazda. If you’re not used to calling it by its official name, don’t start now because the Japanese automaker has decided to end its naming rights agreement with the facility. The partnership expires on March 31, 2018, and unless Mazda has a change of heart, the track will go back to being officially known as Laguna Seca.
Mazda Updates the MX-5 For 2018; Adds Dark Cherry Soft Top Color
The current Mazda MX-5 Miata isn’t old. In fact, it just debuted for the 2016 model year. Well, Mazda isn’t letting the icon age without change. The retractable fastback option came in 2017, and now for 2018, the standard MX-5 gets a few key updates.
New body and top colors bring fresh life while new interior leather options come to the range-topping Grand Touring trim. Mazda’s design team wasn’t the only ones to work their magic. The engineers retuned the rear suspension and power steering, likely matching the changes given to the Miata RF in 2017.
Owners of the performance-minded Club model can now get the Brembo/BBS Package, which comes with several items including – you guessed it – Brembo brakes and BBS wheels. The Club also now has upgraded 17-inch wheels, a better Bose sound system, and heated cloth seats for those chilly nighttime drives with the top down. And last but not least, the base Sport model now comes standard with the Mazda Connect infotainment system with the 7.0-inch display.
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Mazda Wants To Sequentially Stack Two Turbos Together For Compact Packaging
In the search for increasingly efficient internal combustion, the zoom-zoom brand is once again turning to the tried-and-true turbocharger to up power levels without killing mpg. This time, though, it’s returning to sequential turbos, a technology it first used with the FD-generation RX-7.
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First arriving in North America for the 2003 model year as a replacement for the Mazda 626, the Mazda6 was billed as the Japanese brand’s premium midsize four-door offering. Hailed as Mazda’s flagship sedan model, the nameplate has seen three generations throughout its career, with the most recent getting a debut at the Moscow International Motor Show in August of 2012. Now, it’s time for a refresh, with Mazda dropping details on the 2018 model year at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show. The updates this time around are extensive, and include a more upscale interior, improved chassis refinement, and most importantly, the addition of a turbo 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood.
All told, the 2018 Mazda6 gets a rather impressive list of revisions, much more than we’re accustomed to seeing in a simple mid-cycle refresh. And that’s great, especially when you consider how impressed we were with the older model. By all accounts, it looks like Mazda is vying to instill the 6 with a sense of elevated quality and luxury, leveling its crosshairs at more expensive competitors in the segment. At the same time, that requisite Mazda fun gets a boost thanks to forced induction. So then, what’s the end result? Read on to find out.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Mazda6.
After many years of rumors, Mazda has finally confirmed that the beloved RX-7 will get a successor by the end of the decade. The confirmation came at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, where the Japanese brand unveiled the RX-VISION, a front-engined, RWD concept that sports an aggressive interpretation of Mazda’s KODO design language. What’s more, the company also confirmed it will have a new-generation rotary engine under the hood.
Mazda didn’t say when the production car will arrive in showrooms, but it seems that the next-gen RX-7’s development depends on how fast the engineers can come up with a reliable and fuel-efficient Wankel powerplant. More details should become available in 2016, but until that happens, we created a rendering of the production vehicle, as well as a speculative review about what the next-gen RX-7 might bring to the table.
Update 12/07/2017: Mazda has been caught testing the next-gen Wankel engine. Unfortunately, it was being testing in an older RX-8 shell instead of a full-body prototype of the next-gen RX-7, but it’ll do for now. The good news is that it is practically confirmation that a next-gen RX is, indeed, on the way. Check out our spy shots section below to see the RX-8 prototype with the next-gen Wankel and to hear what we know.
Continue reading to find out more about the 2018 Mazda RX-7.
Mazda Could Bring AWD to the Mazda3 and Mazda6 in the U.S.
There’s a lot to like about the new Mazda6. It has a fresh look and a new 2.5-liter turbocharged engine that has an output in the range of 250 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. All that power is sent to the two front wheels courtesy of a standard SkyActiv-Drive automatic transmission. The setup is impressive, but if Mazda really wants to elevate the status of the 6, the next logical step would be to throw all-wheel drive into the mix.
A Quick Look at how the Mazda6 Has Changed for 2018
Sometimes, in the smallest of updates can make a big difference for a car. The new Mazda6 is proof of that. It still looks like the same attractive sedan, but take a closer look at it, and you’ll notice a few subtle tweaks that give the sedan a more refined appearance. Part of the changes is tied to Mazda’s “Mature Elegance” styling, a design language that the automaker first unveiled in its Vision Coupe concept. The new Mazda6 receives some hints of the new aesthetic architecture. That’s on top of the car also receiving a more powerful turbocharged engine. It’s a new day for the new-and-improved Mazda6.
Toyota Gives Mazda the Shaft on Battery Technology
Despite the partnership between Toyota, Mazda, and Denso to develop structural technologies for electric cars, Toyota showed up at the Tokyo Auto Show with news that its new solid-state battery technology is a “game changer,” but that it would not share the new technology with its partner Mazda. Apparently, the two brands will still share a platform that can support either current Lithium-Ion batteries on the new solid-state units that Toyota has developed in-house and will keep in-house.
This news comes just a few months after the initial deal between Toyota and Mazda was announced that included an investment from both automakers to build a $1.6 billion plant in the U.S. to develop “electric vehicle technology.” A month later, Denso was added into the mix, and a new contract was signed. The new plant will reportedly be built in the south and employ 4,000 people that will have a hand in producing 300,000 vehicles annually. Essentially, the companies will be sharing factory space and pulling certain parts – now, apparently, EV platforms – that they can all use in their vehicles, something that should help both companies shed a little bit of production costs.
Of course, we haven’t heard a word from Mazda as to whether or not it was expecting to get Toyota’s battery tech as well, but there certainly could be some drama flying around if it was an expectation of the deal. On the other hand, the move should help keep the companies competitive and hopefully Mazda has something up its sleeve as well. At this point, both companies really need to step up their EV game as stricter emissions laws are forcing automakers to shift into delivering more and more EVs in the coming years and some countries are outright banning the ICE altogether. There’s no word as to when Mazda will put its first EV on the road, but Toyota plans to launch its first EVs (probably SUVs or Crossovers) in the first few years of the next decade. Exciting stuff to say the least.
2017 Mazda Vision Coupe Concept
Mazda has had quite a few good years since 2012, introducing not only a very appealing design language but also a solid lineup of crossovers and SUVs. In addition, it came up with two wild Vision concepts, one that pays tribute to the Le Mans-winning 787B and one that previews a successor to the iconic RX-7 and a new-generation rotary engine. But it appears that the Japanese firm isn’t stopping here. At the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda unveiled the Vision Coupe, a sleek four-door that may become the company’s larger sedan yet.
Based on the RX-Vision design-wise, the Vision Coupe is unlike any other Mazda we’ve seen on the road. Not only larger than the Mazda 6, it also has a decidedly sporty attitude and a coupe-like roof that reminds of the Mercedes-Benz CLS, the car that started this whole trend. And while there’s no official word on what Mazda will do with this concept, a full-size sedan is very likely in the future. With Mazda having offered such a model for only a few years in the 1980s and 1990s (remember the 929?), a full-size sedan would be a big deal for the Japanese automaker. But until we find out more about that, let’s take a closer look at Mazda’s most exciting sedan yet.
Continue reading to learn more about the Mazda Vision Coupe.