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Best Used 2016 SUV for Fuel Economy

Best Used 2016 SUV for Fuel Economy

Who said these big boys can’t run efficiently?

The market trend is quickly shifting from sedans to crossovers and SUVs. However, SUVs have two major cons when compared to their segment counterparts - high retail price and poor fuel economy. Even though they are a practical choice thanks to additional cabin and cargo space, it’s a little difficult for everyone to afford an SUV. So why not go for a used SUV instead? You don’t take the depreciation hit that first owner does, and since SUVs are built to last a lifetime, you can get an almost-new SUV at half the original price.

Now that we’ve planted this seed in your head, let’s have a look at the best used SUVs from 2016 with high fuel efficiency.

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Mazda Enters the Modern Ages by Offering Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

Mazda Enters the Modern Ages by Offering Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

Long time coming, but better late than never

Unlike most automakers, Mazda is one of the few companies that have yet to offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. That’s about to change, though, because the Japanese car brand is finally relenting. Beginning with the 2018 Mazda 6 that will hit dealerships this summer, Mazda will finally offer either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. In the case of the 6, all trims except for the base Sport model will carry the apps as standard equipment.

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Mazda Aims to Create Lithium-Ion Starter Batteries in the Name of Efficiency, but Are You Willing to Pay the Cost?

Mazda Aims to Create Lithium-Ion Starter Batteries in the Name of Efficiency, but Are You Willing to Pay the Cost?

It’s a trade-off Mazda needs to consider

Mazda is diving deep into the pool of lithium-ion batteries with the intent to develop 12-Volt lithium-ion batteries to serve as replacements for lead-acid starter batteries in cars beginning in 2021. The Japanese automaker is teaming up with ELIIY Power Co., Ltd. and Ube Industries, Ltd to develop the technology that can be used in creating a new battery solution that has the potential to make its models lighter, faster, and more fuel-efficient.

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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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Mazda Wants To Sequentially Stack Two Turbos Together For Compact Packaging

Mazda Wants To Sequentially Stack Two Turbos Together For Compact Packaging

Double dose of boost, anyone?

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.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Toyota Gives Mazda the Shaft on Battery Technology

Toyota Gives Mazda the Shaft on Battery Technology

Seems like Mazda got a raw deal on this one

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.

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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.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Patent Application Reveals Mazda's Plan To Bring Back Rotary Engine

Patent Application Reveals Mazda’s Plan To Bring Back Rotary Engine

Is the Wankel’s return really as close as it’s ever been from happening?

This may be jumping the gun a little considering that Mazda itself hasn’t made any confirmation past promises that it’s “doing all it can to bring a rotary to the market” but if this recent patent application by the Japanese automaker tells us anything, it’s that the rotary’s return could happen sooner than later. Granted, nothing has been confirmed yet and there are enough reasons to believe that this patent, as clear and concrete as it looks, should still not be treated as gospel. At least not yet.

About the engine, a long and thorough look at the patent reveals a few important things about its particular design. For starters, Mazda has swapped the locations of the intake port and the exhaust port. Older designs of the Wankel had the intake port at the top of the engine, while the exhaust port resided down low. The rationale behind the switch seems to be catered on Mazda’s desire for easier engine mounting, which in turn helps improve the car’s overall center of gravity.

You’ll also notice that the space from the exhaust port to the turbocharger is a little shorter now. It’s unclear why Mazda designed it like this, but my guess is that it has something to do with ensuring less turbo lag while also allowing for a close-mounted catalyst to sit on top of the engine and help overall emissions, arguably the most glaring problem of the old Wankels.

Clearly, Mazda designed this patent with the intention of using the rotary engine in a future model. That’s the exciting part. What’s less certain is which model it’s going to use it on. Could it be on a production version of the RX-Vision Concept that we saw at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show? All signs seem to point to the returning RX as the car-of-choice that’ll get the new rotary engines, but until Mazda gives the official word, it’s important to remember this is still just a patent application, and more importantly, that Mazda’s plans are still unknown.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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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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Mazda to Offer SKYACTIV-D Engine in Grand-Am GX Class

Mazda to Offer SKYACTIV-D Engine in Grand-Am GX Class

In the last year, we have seen Mazda’s SKYACTIV technology make its way into various vehicles in an effort to increase fuel efficiency without reinventing the wheel. These technologies include advanced weight reduction, reduced friction, forced induction, and ultra-high compression ratings. All of these advancements combine to boost the fuel economy ratings of Mazda’s street cars.

Now Mazda is ready to take SKYACTIV to the next level, and introduce it into racing, via the Grand-Am Road Racing Series. The first engine that Mazda will offer to race teams is the 2.2-liter SKYACTIV-D engine, which is an ultra-high-efficiency diesel engine. Now, before you start wondering how Mazda expects this engine to be competitive in the Grand-Am series, keep in mind that this engine will only be raced in the GX class, which is a class dedicated to alternative fuels and highly fuel efficient vehicles.

The SKYACTIV-D that is currently being developed will boast a 14-to-1 compression ratio, a two-stage turbocharger and a 5,200 rpm redline. In comparison to the current Mazda 2.2-liter diesel engine, the SKYACTIV-D is 10 percent lighter, has 20 percent less internal friction, and gets 20 percent better fuel economy.

The production numbers are not out yet for this racing engine, but we do know that the production SKYACTIV 2.2-liter diesel produces 173 horsepower at 4,500 rpm and an impressive 310 pound-feet of torque at just 2,000 rpm. We will update you with the official base numbers once Mazda completes the dyno phase of its testing.

Click past the jump to read the full press release.

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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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Mazda Announces Next Generation SKYACTIV Technology

Mazda Announces Next Generation SKYACTIV Technology

The Japanese carmaker has bold claims about its ground-breaking technology with efficiency at its forefront. With a statement like that you’d be expecting news about a novel EV or hybrid, but that is not the case with Mazda’s SKYACTIV tech. Instead they have somewhat re-engineered conventional platforms and technology that make up basic internal combustion. It’s safe to say then, that the results are quite impressive. SKYACTIV centers around optimizing all aspects of a vehicle: chassis and suspension, engine and transmission, and of course, the body.

Takashi Yamanouchi, President and CEO, said, "Mazda is renewing its entire powertrain and platform lineup at the same time as revolutionizing every manufacturing process from R&D through to mass production. There have been no compromises in addressing conflicting goals. Instead, we have implemented a ’breakthrough’ approach to technical innovation in all areas that has produced incredible, unexpected results. One of our success stories is the next-generation engine that will first appear in the Mazda Demio (Mazda2 elsewhere). Achieving an outstanding 30 kilometers per liter fuel economy, the SKYACTIV Demio will be a fun-to-drive fuel sipper that will satisfy anyone’s desire for driving pleasure. And there will be many more exciting new products coming to the Mazda lineup in the years ahead."

Hit the jump for details and the full story.

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Ford's Duratec 35 Engine (V6 3.5)

Ford’s Duratec 35 Engine (V6 3.5)

FORD’S DURATEC 35 ENGINE: AS FLEXIBLE AS THE PLANT THAT MAKES IT
Ford’s new award-winning V6 engine is all about flexibility. The Duratec 35 will be used in a number of vehicles, and the plant that makes it will be a model for flexible manufacturing at Ford.
Ford’s Lima (Ohio) Engine Plant is producing 325,000 of the 3.5-liter 265 horsepower engines that are being introduced in the Ford Edge, Lincoln MKX and MKZ, Ford Five Hundred and the Mazda CX-9. The company projects the engine will (...)

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