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First Look: 2014 Mazda3

Some big news out of a small package.

by on Jun.26, 2013

The 2014 Mazda3 is the maker's newest model to use Skyactive technology and the Kodo design language.

It might not come as a complete surprise considering the number of recent leaks emerging from inside Mazda, but the first official images of the new Mazda3 nonetheless live up to expectations as the maker rolls out its latest Skyacti model.

The 2014 Mazda3 also becomes the latest in the Japanese maker’s line-up to adopt the new Kodo, or Soul of Motion, design language, following such recent entries as the Mazda6 sedan and CX-5 crossover. That includes the oversized grille – which conceals wind-cheating grille shutters — headlamps that flow back over the front fenders, and subtle sculpting of the side panels. The profile gives the hatchback an almost coupe-like curvaceousness.

Maintain Your Love Affair with the Automobile!

The 2014 Mazda3 adopts a 2.4-inch longer wheelbase than the outgoing model but it’s actually two inches shorter, nose-to-tail.  Meanwhile, those active grille shutters help deliver a claimed best-in-class drag coefficient of just 0.255.

The new hatchback reportedly weighs in about 200 pounds lighter than the old model, in part due to a focus on so-called lightweighting – one of the key elements in the maker’s Skyactiv strategy.  Nonetheless, by switching to high- and ultra-high-strength steel in key locations the new model also is 30% stiffer, Mazda notes.

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Lexus CT 200h: Slow-speed Driving Fun

Luxury automaker's latest hybrid is more than a dressed-up Prius.

by on Feb.25, 2011

The Lexus CT 200h is fun to drive, but it doesn't accelerate quickly.

It would be easy to write off the Lexus CT200h is just a gussied up version of Toyota’s hybrid poster child, the Prius.

It’s true that the CT 200h shares its platform and most of its hybrid mechanicals with the Prius, but where the Prius is a snooze to drive, the Lexus is fun. Can an underpowered hybrid that’s geared for mileage, not performance, be fun? In a word, yes.

Fun to Read!

If you need eye-popping acceleration, look elsewhere. In fact, if you expect average acceleration, look elsewhere. With a combined 134 horsepower between its 98-horsepower 1.8-liter four cylinder and 80-horsepower electric motor, the CT isn’t going to win any stoplight grand prix. Well, unless, the competition is a Prius.

But the CT is one of those cars that make spouses complain “What, do you think you’re Mario Andretti?” The hefty steering begs for you to take corners a little faster than normal, clipping apexes with the precision of a sports car. So there’s a Prius lurking under the CT’s sheetmetal? No one will ever know.
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