2013 Mazdaspeed3 Touring Review

Saturday February 9th, 2013 at 8:22 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Precise and Responsive Steering, Handling, Throttle
Gripes: Redline on Tach Indistinguishable

The Mazdaspeed3 is Weapons Grade Technology. Mazda can spend all its advertising budget touting how green SkyActiv Technology is, but what this company really does best is go fast. More drivers race more Mazdas in more US races than any other make of car. This relatively small company has dedicated itself to building a racing ladder here that starts with showroom stock MX-5 (Miata) competition and works its way through ever more committed levels of production and formula racing. So Mazda knows fast better than anyone. In fact, they’re so dedicated to the concept of speed that they run Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. If you too want fast, the Mazdaspeed3 is definitely your speeding ticket.

What’s the formula here? Take an unprepossessing Mazda3 sedan and swap its anemic 148hp engine for a 263hp turbocharged and intercooled MZR motor that loves to run hard. Next, junk the stock 3’s wimpy wheels and tires for a set of gunmetal alloy rims mounting ultra sticky Dunlop SP Sport 225/40R18 rubber. Recalibrate the steering rack so it’s ultra responsive, stiffen the suspension to formula car levels of precision, scoop the front seats out for better body retention under g-loads, and add a new two-tone rear liftgate spoiler for 2013 that adds downforce. The sum of these tweaks is a sizzling hot hatchback that will roll your eyeballs into your skull when you light the throttle, and challenge your equilibrium when you pitch it into a corner.

But you don’t have to behave like a delinquent when driving the ‘Speed3, because it’s happy to putter along at sub-warp speeds if you are. That superb 2.3 liter, direct-injection powerplant spools up so fast and produces so much torque down low in its rpm range (280 lb.-ft.) you almost never need to swap gears with the 6-speed manual transmission. So feel free to dawdle along in 3rd or 4th gear around town because the long stroke/small bore architecture of this engine (87.5mm bore x 94mm stroke) favors torque over high rpm operation. That’s just as well, because its virtually impossible to distinguish the redline on the tachometer face since ALL the numbers on the gauge are inexplicably backed by a continuous crimson band.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Expert Reviews, Feature Articles, Mazda |Tags:, || No Comments »


2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD Review

Wednesday February 6th, 2013 at 4:22 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Small But Spacious, Unexpected Standard Features
Gripes: Slippery Steering Wheel Rim, Puny Power Output

Mazda introduced this replacement for their discontinued Tribute model back in April of 2012, making the CX-5 one of the first 2013 model year offerings to debut. This petite crossover SUV is based on the Mazda 3 platform, with an additional 2.4 inches spliced into its 106.1 inch wheelbase. But its length of 178.1 inches is actually 2 inches shorter than the Mazda 3. For such a short, compact SUV, the CX-5 is surprisingly efficient at accommodating bulky loads. I had no difficulty hoisting my mountain bike into the spacious rear cargo area created when by flattening the 40/20/40 folding rear seats. The hatchback loading floor is low enough to preclude hernias, and rear door actuation light enough to make closure pleasurable rather than painful.

With the rear seat backs raised, aft passengers will find themselves with just enough leg and headroom to make short trips acceptable. The rear of a CX-5, however, will not be your first choice for a 5 hour jaunt down Interstate 5. For that undertaking, you’ll want to sit up front, where Mazda has invested considerable attention to comfort and detail. For example, how many vehicles in this base price range ($28,595) offer heated driver and passenger seats as standard fitment? A 5.8 inch color display screen with rear facing camera is also part of the CX-5’s basic architecture. Likewise, a deafeningly loud Bose 9 speaker AM/FM/MP3/CD/SAT receiver is part of the base outfit here. The only extra cost option you might want to consider is the bargain-priced ($1,325) Grand Touring Tech Package, which not only adds Navigation to the infotainment mix, but also throws in adaptive, self-leveling headlights, a burglar alarm, and an advanced keyless entry system that unlocks the vehicle as you approach it. This GT Technology package is definitely prime value for the money.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Expert Reviews, Feature Articles, Mazda |Tags:, || No Comments »


2012 Mazda3 5 Door Grand Touring SkyActiv Review

Sunday March 25th, 2012 at 11:33 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

For: Efficient engine, Loaded with expensive interior features
Against: Zoom-Zoom free zone

Mazda bills itself as the “Zoom-Zoom” car company, with such tag lines as “Always the soul of a sports car” and “At Mazda, we believe if it’s not worth driving it’s not worth buying.” The company’s biggest selling model, the Mazda3, in the newly available Skyactiv form we tested, leaves plenty more room for zoom. If this hatchback hides the soul of a sports car, its location is a mystery.

Granted, Mazda offers the Mazdaspeed3 for dedicated sporting enthusiasts. This delightful pocket rocket boasts 263hp from its turbocharged 2.3 liter engine. But what about the 155hp engine in our test Mazda3? On paper, the new SKYACTIV-G formula looks good, with super high compression ratio (12:1), 4 into 2 into 1 exhaust, and special anti-knock design measures. But the 2 liter, four cylinder engine simply doesn’t produce enough urge to make this Mazda fun to drive. Is it worth sacrificing performance for stupendous mileage? The SKYACTIV engine returns 28 MPG in city driving, and 39 MPG on the highway, but it does so at the cost of indifferent straight line performance. Step on the throttle in any of the 6 gears provided and the Mazda3 responds with a disconcerting lack of action. If acceleration is important, order your 3 with an available 2.5 liter, 167hp engine, or opt for the Mazdaspeed3.

For those of you unconcerned by such shortfalls in advertising promise, the Mazda3 5 Door GT is an otherwise pleasant excursion into practical motoring. You can carry 5 adults in the airy and spacious cabin. The two up front find themselves lounging in comfort unheard of in this price class. Both front seats have 5 position rheostats for heating, and both are finished in glove leather. The driver’s seat features 8-way power adjustment, and the leather wrapped steering wheel telescopes and pivots through a full range of travel. The Grand Touring package also includes a small Navigation screen, a 265 watt Bose Surroundsound system, and Bluetooth phone connection. For a car costing just $22,800, the amenity li st is surprisingly well padded and complete.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Expert Reviews, Feature Articles, Mazda |Tags:, , || No Comments »


2012 Mazda CX-9 Review

Wednesday January 11th, 2012 at 3:11 PM
Posted by: aquadog

Sean reviews the 2012 Mazda CX9
YouTube Preview Image

I’m a sports car guy. And therefore the prospect of a week in a massive SUV with third-row seating carries just slightly more appeal than stabbing myself in the leg with a dinner fork. But when the CX-9 showed up at our offices I was intrigued. After all, it’s a Mazda, built by the same great minds who created the iconic Miata and RX-7, and they promise ‘the soul of a sportscar’ is instilled in their line of SUV’s.

Pros:

  • Sleek, understated styling in and out.
  • Handles and drives like a slightly smaller, lighter vehicle.
  • Seats seven comfortably.

Cons:

  • Still not small or light.
  • Modest gas mileage.
  • Sleek and understated may also be bland.

Driving Impressions

Mazda’s lofty claim that a seven-seat, 4,000lb pseudo-truck is designed to handle well is not far from saying a sumo wrestler was trained as a ballet dancer—it might be true to some degree but you still shouldn’t get your hopes up. And this definitely applies to the CX-9. With big wheels and tires, tall ride height and seating position, there’s no denying that you’re behind the wheel of an SUV–body roll and brake dive are still present–but Mazda worked hard to sharpen the reflexes of the CX-9 to a more acceptable level. Good visibility and a better-than-average sense of where the CX-9’s corners are help with tight mall parking situations. Compared to many vehicles in this class, the CX-9 felt almost as smooth and plush but notably less cumbersome.

Read the rest of this entry »

page 1 page 2

Posted in Feature Articles, Mazda |Tags:, || No Comments »


Mazda MX-5 Miata Essential Buyer’s Guide

Thursday October 6th, 2011 at 2:1010 PM
Posted by: Derek

Mazda MX-5 Miata (Mk1 1989-1997 & Mk2 1998-2001) – The Essential Buyer’s Guide by Carla Crook

The iconic Mazda Miata has been around for 22 years offering a true, top-down, sports car experience. With its 50/50 weight distribution, nimble handling, and simplistic approach to engineering, the Miata MX-5 is inexpensive, easy to maintain, and fun to drive.

Now available is the Essential Buyer’s Guide for the Mk1 (1989 – 1997) and Mk2 (1998 – 2001) generations of the Miata MX-5. The MX-5 is a true testament to itself as the ‘world’s best-selling sports car,’ and with the earlier MkI and MkII available for modest prices, it is the perfect choice as a fun and enjoyable daily driver, a weekend track car, or a project base for a kit car. This book will help you get the MX-5 of your dreams.

Key points about the book:

  • Like having a real marque expert at your side – benefit from years of real ownership experience
  • Coverage of the MX-5 (Miata/Eunos Roadster) 1989 – 2001 models including special, limited editions and desirable upgrades
  • Where and how to buy an MX-5
  • Advice on choosing the right model and condition, including those with modifications
  • Key checks – how to spot a bad car quickly
  • Comprehensive inspection guide with unique scoring system
  • In-depth analysis of strengths and weaknesses
  • Key technical specifications
  • Photo illustrations of the important areas to check and foibles to be aware of
  • Details of clubs, forums, suppliers and specialists dedicated to the MX-5
  • MSRP $19.95

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Mazda, Press and News |Tags:, , || No Comments »


2011 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring AWD Review – Zoom-Zoom for 7?

Wednesday June 15th, 2011 at 8:66 AM
Posted by: berrichondanny

2011 Mazda CX-9
By Danny Chang

Pros

  • Spacious interior for 7 passengers + luggage
  • Sliding second row seats that recline
  • Standard equipment list longer than Snoop Dog’s rap sheet

Cons

  • Exterior is too similar to the less expensive CX-7
  • Interior materials and designs are boring
  • The nav screen is hard to read in sunlight
  • Improved MPG, but not stellar

I always thought the pair of Mazda crossover SUVs, the CX-7 and CX-9, to be some of the most handsome ones on the market when they were introduced back in 2006 as 2007 models. Even in today’s crowded crossover SUV market, the Mazdas are still lookers although the styling is getting a little long in the tooth. While the larger CX-9 shares styling cues with the CX-7, it shares almost nothing else with its smaller sibling. The CX-9 is based on the same platform and shares the same 3.7 liter V6 engine as the Ford Edge/Lincoln MKX, an example of the long-term partnership between Ford and Mazda, which continues even after Ford reduced its stake in the Japanese car maker back in 2008.

Read the rest of this entry »

page 1 page 2

Posted in Expert Reviews, Mazda |Tags:, , || 1 Comment »


2012 Mazda3

Friday May 13th, 2011 at 11:55 AM
Posted by: aquadog

2012 Mazda3

The refreshed 2012 Mazda3 features an all-new SkyActiv-G 2.0-liter, 155-horsepower engine and a SkyActiv-MT six-speed manual transmission or optional SkyActiv-Drive six-speed automatic transmission for sedan or hatchback models. The Mazda3 is the first to include SkyActiv fuel-saving and performance-oriented technologies, achieving 40-mpg on the highway and a potential 540-mile range. The MZR 2.0-liter engine will continue to be available, along with a Mazda MZR 2.5-liter engine.

Mazda says that the new 2.0-liter, direct-injection four-cylinder is good for 155 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque, which offers modest increases over the old, non-DI 2.0-liter engine.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Mazda, Press and News |Tags:, , , , || 1 Comment »


2011 Mazda MAZDA2 First Impressions Review

Wednesday April 20th, 2011 at 1:44 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

2011_mazda_mazda2_101
By contributing editor David Colman

Hits:

  • Great value
  • Exemplifies the virtue of simplified engineering
  • Spacious and comfortable

Misses:

  • Tinny doors
  • Correct gear selection crucial to acceleration

There isn’t a superbike worthy of the name that doesn’t have more horsepower than this Mazda 2. And most of those motorcycles cost as much or more than this $16,185 car. But what can you really do with a superbike besides wheelies and stoppies that scare you silly? This Mazda, on the other hand, will suffice perfectly well as your one and only family car. That’s right, for less than the price of a stellar motorcycle, you can acquire this do-everything sedan. Granted, its 100hp won’t scintillate your adrenal gland, but thanks to the Mazda 2’s light curb weight (just 2,306 lb.), the output of the 1.5 liter, 16 valve four banger is perfectly adequate in city and freeway traffic. Provided you choose the 5-speed manual transmission and not the 4-speed automatic that is optionally available. With just 98 lb.-ft. of torque, you can’t afford to lose that crucial 5th cog that the automatic lacks.

Read the rest of this entry »

page 1 page 2

Posted in Expert Reviews, Mazda |Tags:, , || No Comments »


40 MPG Cars – Affordable and Fuel Efficient

Tuesday March 29th, 2011 at 12:33 PM
Posted by: aquadog

2011 Chevy CruzeWith fuel prices continually rising, 40+ mpg cars are looking like a great option for consumers who can’t afford or don’t want hybrid technology. Without breaking the bank, these affordable fuel efficient cars range from $15,000 to about $20,000 and all provide 40 mpg or more highway mpg driving. Companies that have joined the 40-mpg club are Ford, Honda, Kia, Mazda, Hyundai, Chevrolet, and Smart.

Automakers are achieving the 40 mpg mark by using lighter-weight materials, modern gasoline powered engines with direct injection and six-speed automatic transmissions along with additional fuel-saving technologies such as low-rolling-resistance tires.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Audi, Chevrolet, Feature Articles, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Press and News, Volkswagen |Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , || 4 Comments »


Japanese Automakers Resume Limited Output

Monday March 21st, 2011 at 10:33 AM
Posted by: aquadog

Japanese Automakers Resume Limited OutputJapan is slowly taking steps to resume auto and parts production after the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit on March 11, with auto companies starting limited production throughout the week. Due to aftershocks, rolling blackouts and infrastructure problems, Japanese auto factories have remained idle costing Japanese automakers an estimated $150 million a day, according to Goldman Sachs.

The IHS Automotive Insight states that “lost production outside of Japan is so far about 10,000 vehicles, but that number will rise ‘exponentially’ as more parts suppliers are affected, reducing stockpiles of components for cars and trucks built overseas”. The U.S. is starting to feel the effect, as General Motors Co. will shut down production at its 900 employee pickup plant in Shreveport, La. next week, which relies on Japanese made transmissions.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Press and News, Suzuki, Toyota |Tags:, , , , , , , , , , || No Comments »


« Previous Entries Next Entries »



Latest Reviews



Select a Category