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2018 Mazda CX-8

2018 Mazda CX-8

Why not just offer the CX-9 in Japan?

In a world where SUVs have pretty much taken over the automotive market, Mazda is actually coming up quite short with its offerings, thanks to its current lineup featuring no more than the CX-3, CX-5, and CX-9. Over in Japan, Mazda’s home market, the offerings are even smaller with just the CX-3 and CX-5 making up the only options available to drive in SUV segment. Well, that latter fact is about to change, as Mazda has now introduced the Mazda CX-8. Essentially a slightly smaller CX-9 (we’re talking about inches here, folks) the CX-8 is designed specifically for the Japanese market, giving it something special from the brand that it helped produce so long ago. It takes on the same styling DNA as it’s taller, foreign sibling, while the power to go is derived from the 2.2-liter Diesel that Mazda has been using since 2012, but upgraded to deliver 140 kW or 187.74 horsepower or about 11 horsepower more than pre-2017 models.

Now, the CX-8 is being billed as an SUV that brings new style and depth to the KODO design language, with new “one of a kind” SUV styling. Well, go ahead and take a deep breath and sit down, because you just been taken for a long, hard ride. Mazda is about as bad as the German three when it comes to tooting its own horn, and the CX-8 is the proof. For the most part, the CX-8 is identical to the CX-9 that we have here in the states. The only real difference is the car’s size, which combines a drop in length of 6.49 inches with a drop in width of 4.76 inches, and a drop in height of just 0.89 inches. But, maybe it isn’t all the same as the CX-9 that you can find here in the States, so let’s take a better look at it to see what all Mazda is working with. Either way, it’s certain to be a plus for the Japanese market – those folks have been needed something larger than that CX-5 for a long time.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Mazda CX-8.

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2016 Mazda MX-5 RS

2016 Mazda MX-5 RS

Anyone considering Mazda MX-5 ownership is probably concerned with one overarching attribute – fun. Not fun in the sense of tire-melting acceleration or space-time-denting speed, but the kind of fun that can only be had in taking a turn at the limits of adhesion as each contact patch talks directly to the driver’s spine. You could call it driving dynamics, or tossability, or even just handling if you want to be clinical about it. Either way, Mazda knows all about this kind of fun, and nowhere is it more prevalent than in the MX-5. Now, Mazda is offering the new MX-5 RS, which adds suspension upgrades and better interior equipment to the iconic drop-top, all with the aim of upping the fun factor to even loftier levels.

We’ve seen RS’ed versions of the MX-5 in the past, but this is the first time the badge has made it to the latest fourth-generation roadster. Mazda says the new suspension changes make for better control at high speeds, with cleaner weight transition when sailing through the corners. It’s also very affordable.

Sounds awesome, right? Well, I might as well break it to you now – the new MX-5 RS won’t be sold anywhere outside of Japan. Commence the waterworks.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mazda MX-5 RS.

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Japan Eyeballing the 2020s for Introduction of Automated Vehicles

We do our best to keep you in the loop when it comes to new and cool developments in the automotive world. One of the hottest topics going right now in the U.S. is automated driving. Though it is still several decades away from being a national reality, although some states are legalizing autonomous cars, we are still seeing some progress. The leader in this technology to date in the U.S. is the Google Prius, but other automakers - such as Cadillac and Ford - sniffing around the automated car sector.

In Japan, however, they are taking the bull by the horns and setting up an outline for national implementation of an autonomous driving system. According to a report from Tech-On, the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) is starting to piece together how to make automated driving a reality in as little as eight years.

Starting immediately, the MLIT will start piecing together the problems related to automated driving and neatly package it in an interim report that is due for release in March of 2013. Some of the issues at hand have to include: driver attentiveness, driver override ability, handling of accidents, and infrastructure development.

The MLIT has already employed the help of Toyota, Nissan, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (A.K.A. Subaru), Honda, and Mazda in this project. Heading up the entire team is Yasuo Asakura, a professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

For now, this is all just talk and we will see if anything ever comes of it. If this is actually a serious deal, it could drastically accelerate the timeframe that we in the industry have set for automated cars. We will keep a close eye on this situation and update you if any new details come up. Until then, enjoy your steering wheel, while you still can.

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Fiat Squashes Speculation of Buying into Mazda, but will Increase Chrysler Ownership

Last week, we reported that Fiat was open to allowing Mazda to use U.S.-based Chrysler factories to manufacture U.S.-bound Mazda models. Before that, Fiat and Mazda officially announced a partnership in building the MX5 Miata and Alfa Romeo Spider. These two announcements brought about a lot of speculation of Fiat taking the same approach that Ford did, by buying into the struggling, but slowly recovering, Mazda.

After hearing plenty of these rumors, Fiat Chairman, John Elkann, had enough and announced at a shareholder meeting that Fiat is not interested in acquiring any percentage of Mazda in the future. Fiat does plan on adding a Japanese partner in the future to help expand its global reach, but there is no mention of what companies Fiat is considering.

We would not be surprised to find out that this is simply a rouge to not tip its hand too early. It only makes sense for the two to partner up in a larger sense, as Mazda needs some help getting over the recovery hump and Fiat needs a Japanese partner. It would be a win-win situation, so we’ll see if Fiat’s tune changes after testing out Mazda’s abilities with the Mazda Miata-Alfa Romeo Spider production deal.

Fiat is planning a little bit of expansion soon though. In July 2012, Fiat is planning to expand its ownership in Chrysler by an additional 3 percent, bringing its total ownership to over 60 percent. Over the course of time, Fiat plans to jump its overall Chrysler ownership to 100 percent, giving it complete control over the recovering automaker’s operations and profit.

It definitely looks like Fiat is on the right track here so far. We will keep you updated as its expansion continues.

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2011 Mazda RX-8 Spirit R

2011 Mazda RX-8 Spirit R

The Mazda RX-8 is set to run off into the sunset in a year’s time, but for one of Mazda’s most popular models, the inevitable end only means being given a proper swan song before officially saying goodbye.

Before the curtain drops on the RX-8 next summer, Mazda is preparing one final special edition model called the Spirit R. The car will be based on the manual version RX-8 Type RS and the automatic Type E and will be limited to only 1,000 units.

The two model variants of the RX-8 Spirit R will carry distinct styling features, including unique badges, fog lights and rear combination lights decked with black bezels, red painted brake calipers, a piano-black trim for the transmission tunnel, and a choice of three exterior paint finishes: Aluminum Metallic, Sparkling Black Mica, and Crystal White Pearl Mica.

On top of that, each model will have their own features. For the RX-8 Type RS trim, the added goodies include Recaro bucket seats and a special set of 19" bronze alloy wheels. For the RX-8 Type E trim, the changes include a black leather treatment on the interior with contrasting red stitching, a new sports suspension, larger brakes, and a set of 18" alloy in gun metallic finish wrapped in 225/45R18 91W tires.

The special edition RX-8 will drop in dealerships beginning November 24, 2011. So if you’re a fan of the RX-8 and you want to give it the send-off it deserves, here’s your chance to prove it.

UPDATE 05/02/12: Initially limited to only 1,000 units, the growing demand for the RX-8 Spirit has prompted Mazda to extend production of the special edition RX-8, adding another 1,000 models in the pipeline, thereby doubling the total number of this model to 2,000 units. So if you missed out on the first 1K, be happy that you get another shot of getting your very own RX-8 Spirit.

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Is Mazda planning on a revolutionary new engine system?

Is Mazda planning on a revolutionary new engine system?

40 years after Mazda first introduced its then innovative new rotary engine power source, the Japanese automaker is looking into breaking new ground with their latest powertrain system.

According to Autocar, the next-generation engine, codenamed the ‘16X Renesis’, has been in development since 2007, but it was only recently that a new wrinkle was divulged about this new powertrain. Instead of the long-held practice of using traditional spark plugs to ignite the engine, Mazda is looking into using laser beams to serve the purpose of igniting the fuel and air mixture inside the engine.

With the increasing advancements being made in the country on the controlled use of high-powered lasers, Mazda is looking into tapping into this new breakthrough by using these ceramic-made lasers. These lasers measure only 9 mm in diameter and 11 mm in length, measurements that can easily fit into a car engine and take up less space than the space-mongering spark plug.

While full-scale testing on this new system is still far from finished, the belief is that by using lasers instead of spark plugs, the engine would be able to run leaner and control the timing of the engine’s ignition. This, in turn, could dramatically cut down on emissions and, thus, improve the car’s fuel economy.

Full story after the jump.

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2011 Mazda MX-5 to use rotary power?

2011 Mazda MX-5 to use rotary power?

One of the greatest, if not the best roadster to ever come out of Japan is the focus of a few rumors. The next-generation Mazda MX-5 could weigh around 2,200 pounds and be able to manage 50 miles per gallon without losing any horsepower. While most people already know about these numbers and the new SKY-G engine, Best Car Japan is reporting that the SKY-G may not be getting the job.

The Japanese magazine reports that the 2010 Mazda Miata will be getting the old fashioned rotary engine. The 1.2-liter or 1.3-liter will also help keep the cars weight down. What makes us question this rumor is the rotary engine’s past. These motors have been less than fuel-efficient over the years so it seems a bit strange that it would be able to get 50 mpg.

We think that the new rotary will be paired with a hybrid, like we find in the Fiat 500 prototype by FEV. That car has a rotary motor that acts as a generator for a lithium-ion battery pack.

While all this talk is fun, we put all our chips in favor of a four-cylinder with a turbo. This will help keep the cars price down and the fun at an all time high.

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2010 Mazda3 Sport 90th Anniversary Special Edition

2010 Mazda3 Sport 90th Anniversary Special Edition

This is what happens when you’re company is celebrating a milestone anniversary. Mazda Japan has revealed today yet another special edition vehicle - the Axela Sport 90th Anniversary, or as its more popularly known on this side of the world, the Mazda3. This special edition is based on the Sport 1.5 S Style trim and comes to celebrate the company’s 90th anniversary.

The new Mazda3 Sport 90th Anniversary Special Edition is distinguished by 15- or 16-inch alloy wheels, side spoilers, LED rear combination lights and dark tinted glass and on the interior discharge headlights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a 4.1-inch multi-information display.

Press release after the jump.

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Video: Walk-around of cars headed to Tokyo Motor Show

Video: Walk-around of cars headed to Tokyo Motor Show

Those of us who can’t wait for the Tokyo Motor Show to open its doors in a week’s time, here’s a video that can satiate our appetites for the time being.

The video walk-around features a number of cars that will be unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show. Among those included in the video are the Toyota FT-86 Concept, the Honda CR-Z Hybrid Concept, the Nissan Leaf EV, the Mitsubishi PX-MiEV, and the Mazda Kiyora.

Now if you’re the type that can understand Japanese, then you’re in luck; you’ll be able to understand the video from beginning to end. But if you’re like a lot of us that don’t speak nor understand the language, then we can just admire the cars while not paying attention to the voice-over. Don’t worry, it can be done.

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2010 Mazda2

2010 Mazda2

The Japanese automaker Mazda has commenced production on their compact hatchback the Mazda2 at their AutoAlliance factory in Thailand. Although the diminutive city car may not seem so impressive, you have to remember that it did win a few car of the year awards in its previous form and that the new car comes with an all new enticing feature, an even wider grin. The new Mazda2’s smiley face is not only more inviting than the generation that came before but it also gives the 2010 model year small city car a fun face that adds to the Japanese automaker’s Zoom-Zoom spirit of car building.

Just like the new MX-5, the Mazda2 has undergone a design refreshening and features a new front bumper that incorporates a set of larger larger vertical air intakes as well as the new happy face five point lower grill that is going into all of Mazda’s fun to drive vehicles. A new Mazda2 also gives hope that a new open air roadster inspired version could be in the works, especially after consumers have adjusted to the new car’s playful front end. As for now, these images are pretty much all we have to go on, but we promise to get back to you with more details as they become available.

UPDATE 08/05/2010: Check out our review of the 2010 Mazda2 by clicking here!

Press release after the jump.

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Mazda celebrates 20th anniversary of the Miata with car rally

Mazda celebrates 20th anniversary of the Miata with car rally

In celebrating the 20th year anniversary of one of its most successful vehicles, the MX-5 Miata, Mazda staged what can only be described as a full-on MX-5 car-fest at the Miyoshi Proving Ground in Japan.

Over 2,500 owners of the best-selling roadster of all time showed up for the event, in addition to over 1,600 of the said Miatas.

1,600 MX-5s; Porsche and Ferrari can’t hold a candle to that.

While the car’s were the unquestioned stars of the show that day, the day was also filled with a number of exciting programs, quizzes, and the introduction and getting-to-know-you of all of the Miata auto clubs scattered all across Japan.

The participants also penned their John Hancock’s on a special edition 20th anniversary Miata, which, from what we’ve heard, will be auctioned off sometime in the future.

The true highlight of the event was the closing parade where all the Miatas lined up for an enormous parade that had to have at least over 1,600 Miatas.

Press release after the jump.

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2009 Mazda MX-5 Roadster 20th Anniversary Edition

2009 Mazda MX-5 Roadster 20th Anniversary Edition

Mazda of Japan has just revealed a special edition MX-5 in celebration of the lightweight roadster’s 20th Anniversary as a member of the automaker’s lineup. Since its inception, the Mazda Miata has been awarded the title of world’s highest production two seater roadster by the Guiness Book of World Records. All of the double decade Miatas will be covered in Crystal White Pearl Mica, a color that is being used for the first time on the fun to drive roadster that will be sold for around $30,000.

The new special edition MX-5 is is offered in two flavors, the first example is based on the Roadster RS version featuring a rag top and six speed manual transmission, while the other will be built upon the VS platform taking full advantage of the vehicle’s power assisted retractable hard top and six speed automatic gearbox.

Setting the 20th Anniversary Miata apart from the rest of the crowd are a set of functional Recaro racing buckets wrapped in red and black leather, exclusive 20th Anniversary badges, clear fog light covers, a glass window for the soft top model and a set of stylish multi spoke 17 inch aluminum wheels

Press release after the jump.

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Mazda RX-8 gets new standard features

Mazda RX-8 gets new standard features

Mazda’s rotary powered rocket, the RX-8, has been given a few updates by the Japanese automaker in order to keep their sports car current and a bit more user friendly. The four-door, four-passenger sport compact has received rain-sensing windshield wipers, Mazda’s auto-light system and an audio-less option, all standard. However the most striking of the recent upgrades comes in the form of two new color choices for the exterior: Aluminum Metallic and Metropolitan Gray Mica.

Mazda has left the lovable 13B alone; the two-rotor motor still makes 232 HP in manually shifter vehicles. However, we are still awaiting word of a turbocharger.

Press release after the jump.

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2008 Mazda Atenza

2008 Mazda Atenza

Mazda launched today the all-new Atenza (Mazda6) in Japan. It will come in three body styles - Sedan, Sport (5-door hatchback), and Sport Wagon. Developed in line with Mazda’s Zoom-Zoom evolution concept, the all-new Mazda Atenza’s design theme is "Bold & Exquisite."

The new Atenza is powered by a newly developed MZR 2.5-liter in-line four-cylinder engine, mated to five-speed and six-speed automatic transmissions which are newly combined with Active Adaptive Shift (AAS) control.

One of the safety features found in the new Atenza is Japan’s first rear vehicle monitoring system. When driving at speeds over 60 kilometers per hour, this system uses radar to detect vehicles approaching from behind and alerts the driver.

The new Mazda Atenza price starts at 2,070,000 yen for the entry level Mazda Atenza Sedan and goes up to 2,670,000 yen for the Mazda Atenza Sport Wagon.

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2008 Mazda Axela

2008 Mazda Axela

Mazda Motor Corporation has released updated versions of the Mazda Axela sports compact in Japan. Known as the Mazda3 in overseas markets, the Mazda Axela has earned high praise both in Japan and abroad. All models in the range – including the four-door Axela, five-door Axela Sport and Mazdaspeed Axela – feature fresh improvements and are available from today at all Mazda, Mazda Anfini and Mazda Autozam dealerships nationwide. Two new special edition versions of the Axela Sport, the 23HS and 20HS, which come outfitted with equipment to enhance their sporty pedigree, also go on sale from today.

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2008 Mazda MPV

2008 Mazda MPV

Mazda Motor Corporation has announced the launch in Japan of the upgraded Mazda MPV minivan. Known for its excellent drivability and sporty dynamic design, the freshened Mazda MPV is available from today at all Mazda, Mazda Anfini and Mazda Autozam dealerships nationwide.

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