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Mazda's Rotary Engine Returns, But You Probably Won't Like It

Mazda’s Rotary Engine Returns, But You Probably Won’t Like It

The Mazda MX-30 will feature a rotary engine as a range extender starting 2022

Mazda has been talking about reviving the rotary engine for several years now and back in 2018 it confirmed that it’s finally on its way back into a production model. Come 2020 and the Japanese automaker confirmed that it will offer a rotary engine in the Mazda MX-30. However, it won’t be the sole provider of power, but a range extender on the electric version of the said crossover.

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We Know You Want a Mazda 3 Hot Hatch to Take on Your Buddy's Ford Focus RS - Here's Why It Won't Happen

We Know You Want a Mazda 3 Hot Hatch to Take on Your Buddy’s Ford Focus RS - Here’s Why It Won’t Happen

Sometimes you need stability in life over fun and enjoyment - Mazda

The performance hatch segment is one of the hottest markets right now. There are a plethora of options to choose from, for instance, Honda Civic Type-R, Volkswagen Golf GTI, Ford Focus RS, and so on. However, this one particular automaker from Japan is adamant on not launching a performance version of its hatch for some reason. The Mazda 3 is a perfect hatch that could be launched with a supplement of steroids. But the automaker is steering clear from this fat-profit segment. This is pretty sad considering that Mazda has the means and the tools to launch a pocket-rocket that can give stiff competition to the existing players.

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Mazda's Program Manager Exposes 2019 Mazda 3 Development Secrets

Mazda’s Program Manager Exposes 2019 Mazda 3 Development Secrets

How Mazda brought the new 3 to life

Given what we’ve seen from models in the past, we all know the Mazda 3 is an epic little compact, combining fun dynamics with a practical, well-appointed cabin and head-turning good looks. Now, we’re getting an inside look at the new 2019 Mazda 3’s development secrets, which look to bring all the good stuff as the old model, but on a fresh platform.

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Caving Under Pressure: The Detroit Auto Show May, In Fact, Move to October

Caving Under Pressure: The Detroit Auto Show May, In Fact, Move to October

Because weather, CES, and automaker influence

The Detroit Auto Show is on the cusp of a long-overdue decision that will effectively move the show out of the winter doldrums of January into a later month with a far more inviting climate. Nothing is official yet, but there’s growing momentum that America’s most esteemed auto show will be moved from January to October beginning in 2020. A decision is expected to be made in the coming weeks as the Detroit Auto Dealers Association is scheduled to vote on uprooting the show from its winter roots and moving it to the fall.

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2018 Mazda6 Prices announced

2018 Mazda6 Prices announced

Going high-class without breaking the bank

We’re big fans of the Mazda6 here at TopSpeed, even awarding the new wagon Tourer model a spot on our Best In Show list for the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show. Now, Mazda just released full pricing info on the latest 6 sedan headed to these shores, and we’ve got all the vital info right here.

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Mazda Confirms the Rotary Engine's Return but it Doesn't Mean What you Think

Mazda Confirms the Rotary Engine’s Return but it Doesn’t Mean What you Think

The world has been begging Mazda to bring back the Wankel Rotary engine since they killed it off along with the RX-8 back in 2012. And, it’s finally happening, but not in the way we wanted. Instead of being the misunderstood performance beast that it once was, it will be reduced to nothing more than a range-extender for Mazda’s all-electric car that’s due sometime next year.

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Ouch: Mazda Doesn't Benchmark Against BMW Anymore Because the Toyota Camry Handles Better

Ouch: Mazda Doesn’t Benchmark Against BMW Anymore Because the Toyota Camry Handles Better

Snow has fallen in the summertime!

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.

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Mazda Thinks its Skyactiv-3 Engines Will Rival EVs on the Economy Front

Mazda Thinks its Skyactiv-3 Engines Will Rival EVs on the Economy Front

The next engine milestone after Skyactiv-X

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.

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Update: Toyota and Mazda To Build $1.6B Plant in Alabama

Update: Toyota and Mazda To Build $1.6B Plant in Alabama

New investment down south to employ 4,000

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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Mazda Ends Long-Standing Partnership With The Laguna Seca Race Track

Mazda Ends Long-Standing Partnership With The Laguna Seca Race Track

A 17-year relationship is about to come to an end

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.

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Mazda Could Bring AWD to the Mazda3 and Mazda6 in the U.S.

Mazda Could Bring AWD to the Mazda3 and Mazda6 in the U.S.

Better late than never

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.

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Don't Believe the Hype – Mazda's New SkyActiv-X Engines Aren't Really Sparkless

Don’t Believe the Hype – Mazda’s New SkyActiv-X Engines Aren’t Really Sparkless

You can’t believe everything you read on the internet – some journalists just don’t have all of the facts.

Let’s look at the big picture for a moment. EVs are coming in full force, and the internal combustion engine will slowly fade away (unfortunately) with a number of nations already talking about banning new car sales on anything that’s not electric within the next 20 years. Mazda had previously said that it wasn’t jumping on the EV bandwagon and, despite its recent partnership with Toyota to develop EVs, we can now see why. See, Mazda is so sure its newly developed SkyActiv-X engine will be so efficient, that the company won’t really need a whole lineup of EVs to meet the stringent emissions and fuel economy regulations of the future. It seems pretty crazy to think about, but Mazda has managed to take the basis of diesel engine ignition and applied it to gasoline engines. Apparently, this can improve efficiency by as much as 30 percent over that of Mazda’s current engine lineup and increase overall torque delivery by anywhere between 10 and 30 percent, depending on the application.

This new engine lineup will start making its way into Mazda’s cars starting in 2019, but what vehicles will get the technology first remains to be seen. Mazda doesn’t have too many new models on the docket for 2019, with the most prominent one being the new Mazda3, so if I were a betting man, I’d put my money on seeing it in that car first, with it eventually trickling over to the Mazda6, CX-3, CX-9, and maybe even the new successor to the classic and iconic RX-7. So, between this new gasoline engine technology, and the plan to build hybrids and EVs (with gasoline-powered range extenders,) Mazda should be able to maintain a low emissions footprint for the foreseeable future without having a full lineup of EVs. It’s all part of the brand’s Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030 vision and isn’t likely to go away anytime soon.

So, what exactly can we expect from the SkyActiv-X range of engines? A lot of folks seem to think it’s a truly sparkles gasoline engine, but is that the truth? Let’s move down the page and talk a little more about it.

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Toyota Partners With Mazda to Develop EVs

Toyota Partners With Mazda to Develop EVs

Duo also set to build new stateside assembly plant for $1.6 billion

Toyota and Mazda just announced a new partnership wherein the Japanese automakers will jointly develop electric vehicles. The partnership also includes a forthcoming $1.6 billion assembly plant at an as of yet unannounced location, with production scheduled to ramp up by the year 2021. The plant will create upwards of 300,000 vehicles annually and employ roughly 4,000 U.S. workers, prompting a Tweet from President Trump, who praised the announcement as a “great investment in American manufacturing.” The plant will initially build models of the Toyota Corolla and a new Mazda SUV, with the possibility for EVs sometime in the future. The partnership includes a 5 percent stake in Mazda for Toyota and a 0.25 percent stake in Toyota for Mazda, with the possibility for expansion in the future. Toyota and Mazda will also work together in developing infotainment tech and autonomous driving tech.

The partnership is framed as a major step forward for EV development for both companies. “There will be new rivals appearing – Apple, Google – these are IT companies, we also need to compete with them, too,” said Toyota President Akio Toyoda, according to Reuters. “What’s different from the past is that there are no nautical charts for us to follow. It’s without precedent,” he added with regards to EV tech and alternative vehicle power sources. Without a doubt, this new partnership marks further expansion of the EV segment as a whole and the expectation of widespread EV adoption in the near future.

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Mazda Introduces Virtual Reality Test Drives At U.K. Dealers

Mazda Introduces Virtual Reality Test Drives At U.K. Dealers

Technology promises to change the car buying experience

Mazda is giving its U.K. customers a chance to wring some zoom zoom out of the new CX-5 on the Longcross test track in Surrey, no helmets required. Sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen, right? Not when the experience happens via virtual reality.

“With virtual reality our aim is to create a sense of oneness with the car through an immersive experience,” says Kim Crawford, Mazda U.K. Marketing Communications Manager. “You literally get a test drive experience on a track, whilst sat inside the all-new Mazda CX-5 without leaving the building.” U.K. residents are encouraged to check out the new tech at four select Mazda shopping centers, including Bullring, Birmingham, August 5th and 6th, Trafford Centre, Manchester, August 12th and 13th, Bluewater, Kent, August 19th and 20th, and Braehead, Glasgow, September 2nd and 3rd. And while the 175-horsepower SUV isn’t exactly the Japanese automaker’s most adrenaline-inducing model on offer, the virtual experience should be a big step up from the normal test drive routine on public roads. Which begs the question – how will technology change the car buying experience in general? Read on for our take.

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Mazda MX-5 RF Set To Arrive Two Months Earlier Than Scheduled

Mazda MX-5 RF Set To Arrive Two Months Earlier Than Scheduled

Prospective owners can get their hands on the targa-style MX-5 Miata a little earlier too

Mazda is in a giving mood this Thanksgiving and fans of the Mazda MX-5 Miata RF should be indebted to the company after it announced that the special edition MX-5 would arrive in the U.S. two months earlier than anticipated. Initially scheduled to hit dealerships on February 2017, the first wave of shipments are now expected to arrive in Tacoma, Washington by the first week of December, according to Mazda spokesman Jacob Brown.

Brown explained that a production shift in the company’s factory in Japan expedited the production of these models. Instead of waiting for the initial timetable, Mazda apparently decided to ship the cars to the U.S. earlier than expected. All told, a total of more than 500 MX-5 Miatas are expected to arrive in Tacoma in the coming days. Most of the models that will be arriving are Launch Edition models, but there are a handful of MX-5 Miata RFs that are also included, including some that are going to be delivered to customers in Canada.

There’s no timetable yet on when the cars will be delivered to their owners, but with the cars already in the US, it is expected to also happen much sooner than the initial schedule. That said, at least one owner has already taken delivery of his MX-5 RF. That owner is noted Miata collector David Putter, who received the keys to his Miata RF at the Los Angeles Auto Show after Mazda personally air-freighted his car all the way from Japan to Huntington Beach Mazda, making Putter the first ever paying customer to take delivery of the newest MX-5 Miata.

Soon enough, more owners will be handed the keys to their targa-style Miata RFs, which separates itself from all other MX-5 Miatas in existence because of its retractable roof panel and rear window. It still carries the same powertrain as all standard soft-top Miatas — a 2.0-liter inline-four engine that produces 155 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque — but its unique configuration is definitely unmistakable, and those who bought one can now enjoy being the proud owners of the new Miata RF much sooner than they expected.

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It Only Took a Week for all 1,000 MX-5 Miata RF Launch Editions to Sell Out

It Only Took a Week for all 1,000 MX-5 Miata RF Launch Editions to Sell Out

The targa-roof sports car is quite popular with American enthusiasts

The new Mazda MX-5 RF, essentially a targa version of the current Miata, is a big hit in the U.S., where the initial allocation of 1,000 Launch Edition units sold out in just a week. According to the Japanese brand, "more than 500 loyal customers" put down deposits to buy the RF when the Launch Edition was first offered on September 26. When ordering opened to the general public on October 3, the remaining cars sold out in only 13 hours.

“The 2017 MX-5 RF Launch Edition preorder program was created to reward loyal Mazda customers with exclusive access to some of the first MX-5 RF models to be sold in the U.S., as well as to ramp up anticipation for what was arguably the star of the 2016 New York International Auto Show,” said Robert Davis, senior VP of U.S. Operations. “By every measure, this program was a success, and we’re excited to be that much closer to getting these cars into the garages of customers from all over the U.S.”

Customers who have purchased the RF Launch Edition will take delivery of their cars beginning early 2017. Once all Launch Editions are built, Mazda will begin production of the standard MX-5 RF in Club and Grand Touring trims.

As a brief reminder, the RF Launch Edition is equipped with three exclusive features for the 2017, including Auburn Nappa leather seating, a hand-painted black roof, and special badging. All 1,000 examples will be painted Machine Gray Metallic and shipped with a serialized Tourneau MX5 RF Launch Edition watch. The Launch Edition was the most expensive RF model, fetching $33,850 before options with a manual transmission and $34,925 with the automatic gearbox. For reference, the base model retails from $31,555 for the 2017 model year. Mazda says that 67 percent of customers opted for manual transmissions. It’s important to note that the manual gearbox also gives buyers access to a Brembo/BBS Package that includes a front shock-tower brace, side sill body extensions, lightweight BBS 17-inch wheels, and Brembo front brakes with wider pads.

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Mazda Still Hopes to Bring Diesel Models to the U.S.

Mazda Still Hopes to Bring Diesel Models to the U.S.

New SkyActiv-D engine could cross the pond to the U.S. in 2019

Starting 2011, Mazda began to introduce a new family of engines known as SkyActiv. The technology debuted on the Mazda2 in 2011 and spread to several nameplates by 2016, including the Mazda3, Mazda6, MX-5, and the CX-3 and CX-5 crossovers. Consisting of four-cylinder units the SkyActiv-G and SkyActiv-D powerplants deliver great fuel economy and exceptional driving dynamics no matter their displacements. Although the 1.3- and 1.5-liter engines didn’t make it Stateside, Mazda brought both the 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter gasoline mills to the U.S. Unfortunately, the 2.2-liter powerplant, the sole representative of Mazda’s diesel SkyActiv technology, is not yet available in North America.

That could change soon according to Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai.

Automotive News reports that Mazda still wants to bring its SkyActiv-D engine to the United States, and that Kogai even has an internal timeline for the launch. Although he refused to say when it will happen, chances are the diesel powerplant will cross the pond when Mazda introduces its second generation of SkyActiv technologies in 2019.

“We are not giving up,” Kogai said about the U.S. diesel engine, adding that Mazda still has certain regulatory hurdles to overcome. "Environmental performance must be compatible with driving dynamics."

Available in the Mazda6 and CX-5 outside the U.S., the 2.2-liter SkyActiv-D engine actually made its debut in North America, but not in a road-going vehicle. An upgraded version of the oil burner was run in the 2013 Rolex Sports Car Series season and helped Mazda win the GX manufacturer’s championship. Not a bad debut, huh?

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Mazda Celebrates Production Of 1 Millionth MX-5 Miata

Mazda Celebrates Production Of 1 Millionth MX-5 Miata

Legendary two-door sports car will receive a global tour to commemorate the occasion

Mazda’s 100th anniversary isn’t until 2020, but 2016 has turned out to be a year of celebration for the Japanese automaker as it commemorates reaching 1 million production units for the iconic MX-5 Miata.

It goes without saying that the MX-5 Miata is, without question, one of the most successful cars in the history of the automotive industry. In the 27 years that it’s been around, it’s won over 200 awards from all over the world, including the status of being the only car in history to win both World Car of the Year and World Design of the Year at the 2016 New York International Auto Show. It’s also considered the world’s best-selling two-seater sports car, a record certified by no less than the Guinness Book of World Records. Suffice it to say, the MX-5 Miata is a big deal. A really big deal.

That’s precisely why Mazda is pulling out all the stops to celebrate this momentous occasion and it’s doing so by giving the “One-Millionth MX-5” a global tour befitting its status. First up on the list is the car’s participation in the Flower Parade of the Hiroshima Flower Festival on May 3, 2016. From there, the sports car will be displayed in a number of fan events in Japan before making the trip across the Pacific Ocean to the US in September. Once it arrives on our soil, the One-Millionth MX-5 will continue making numerous stops before concluding its US tour at the Miatas at Mazda Raceway on October 1, 2016.

It’s unclear what Mazda’s plans are for the One-Millionth MX-5 once its global tour reaches a conclusion. A popular guess would be for the car to end up in Mazda’s museum or more improbably, though still likely, an auction house sometime in the future. Whatever the case may be, it’s a tremendous milestone for Mazda and certainly one worth celebrating.

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Mazda Offers First Details On The Refreshed BT-50

Mazda Offers First Details On The Refreshed BT-50

Mazda has just released the first details on its mildly refreshed BT-50 mid-size pickup truck. The BT-50 is Mazda’s global pickup that competes with the Toyota Hilux and Chevrolet Colorado. Based on the global Ford Ranger, the BT-50 carries all the Ranger’s mechanicals but provides truck buyers with what Mazda calls, an “active lifestyle vehicle.”

In other words, the BT-50 has a sportier style than the Ranger.

This marks the first major refresh for the Mazda truck since its introduction back in 2011. Designers were modest in the restyling, only concentrating on the front grille, headlights and taillights. The interior also features a new feel that Mazda says is higher quality than before. A rear-view camera also makes its appearance for the first time on the truck.

More specifically, the grille now has Mazda’s current corporate design, with the large horizontal bar backing the Mazda logo. Smoked headlights now have a more premium look. Similarly, the taillights share the smoked look, imparting a more premium feel to the exterior. Finally, a new set of aluminum wheels replace the outgoing design.

All the greasy bits carry over unchanged. That means the truck’s base engine is the 2.2-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel making 158 horsepower. Optional is the 3.2-liter inline five-cylinder turbodiesel making 197 horsepower. The truck can be had with a manual or automatic transmission, as well as two- or four-wheel drive.

The Mazda BT-50 will go on sale in the third quarter of 2015 starting in Thailand and Australia, with sales expanding beyond that in time.

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Mazda2 Won't Be Offered In The U.S.

Mazda2 Won’t Be Offered In The U.S.

Subcompact hatchbacks such as the Ford Fiesta have plenty of things to brag about. They have excellent fuel economy and they’re easy to park and drive around town due to their small size. And despite being quite small, they have plenty of room for a family of four. When it comes to looks though, subcompacts weren’t made to win beauty contests. Except for the new Mazda2, which borrows its well-proportioned KODO design language from the larger Mazda3 and Mazda6. Styling-wise, I think the Mazda2 is the most appealing subcompact hatch out there. Unfortunately, U.S. enthusiasts who agree with me won’t be able to buy one anytime soon, because Mazda doesn’t want to bring it Stateside.

What a shame, huh?

Although Mazda has sold the outgoing Mazda2 in the U.S. until 2014, the redesigned model won’t follow suit, despite the fact that the new hatch will be built in Mexico. That’s because the Mazda2 was never a big seller in the U.S. and launching a new car wouldn’t make sense with more profitable Mazda products around, said Robert Davis, senior vice president of Mazda USA in an interview.

"We could have had it, but we would have had a number that didn’t make much sense with 600 dealers and with the marketing it takes to launch a new car. I wanted to allocate resources to those products that make us and our dealers considerably more profit than a Mazda2 does," he said according to Auto News.

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Toyota and Mazda Officially Announced Agreement

Toyota and Mazda Officially Announced Agreement

The partnership between Toyota and Mazda is now official, as announced by Toyota President Akio Toyoda and Mazda President and CEO Masamichi Kogai. The specifics of the agreement are vague at this point, but Toyoda described the relationship as an engagement rather than a marriage. The first step will be setting up a joint committee to review each companies’ strengths and then evaluate how best to integrate to two.

Going by comments made by the two company heads, the agreement will impact both companies’ core products. Toyota currently licenses its hybrid expertise to Mazda, which is an agreement that could expand to fuel cell technology. On the flipside, Mazda is supplying the Mazda2 as the underpinnings for the upcoming Scion iA. Expect more of this sort of thing moving forward.

During the announcement, Toyoda expressed admiration for Mazda’s SkyActiv engine tech and current KODO design language, while Kogai praised Toyota’s leadership in hybrid technology and commitment to cleaner cars. Both stressed that the primary goal of the agreement will be to make better cars.

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