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Mazda Debuts SkyActiv Powertrain With ’12 Mazda3

Maker bills drivetrain as hybrid alternative.

by on Apr.22, 2011

The 2012 Mazda3 will introduce Mazda's SkyActiv technology.

Mazda is making significant changes to its powertrain platform, starting with the 2012 Mazda 3 sedan and hatch grabbing the spotlight at the New York Auto Show. Subtle styling changes are in store, as well.

The grinning grille has a somewhat reduced happiness quotient, but the big news is that the 3 receives the first application of Mazda’s SKYACTIV technology.

SKYACTIV is the official name for a whole suite of technology and powertrain packages that aim to improve fuel economy – without having to resort to hybridization or related battery-based technologies.

Mazda's Minagi concept will return as the CX-5.

In the case of the 2012 Mazda3, SKYACTIV-G is the name of the game. This 2.0-liter four-cylinder direct-injection engine makes 155 horsepower and mates to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. Available on both the sedan and hatchback models, the engine could produce up to 28 mpg city/40 mpg highway when paired with the automatic, according to Mazda.

The 148-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder and 167-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder carryover unchanged. So does the Mazdaspeed 3.

There are other changes, such as a stiffer body structure. But otherwise, outside the new engine and the slightly changed styling, the 3’s changes are evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

The car goes on sale this fall, and pricing will be announced closer to that time.

Mazda’s other big news was two-fold: The company expects to bring a diesel engine using SKYACTIV technology to the American market during the next year or so, and the company also plans to build the Minagi crossover SUV, which will be renamed the CX-5.  (For more, Click Here.)

Details are sparse, but we expect to see this CUV in calendar 2012 sporting SKYACTIV engines (including, perhaps, a diesel) and available 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions.

Right now, the Minagi is a styling exercise, but with the exception of a few outlandish bits, it looks showroom-ready. We expect to see it positioned below the larger CX-7 and CX-9 crossovers in Mazda’s fleet.

Mazda Minagi Concept Returning as CX-5

Taking new Kodo design language, SkyActiv powertrain technology into production.

by on Apr.19, 2011

Mazda will put the Kodo design language of the Minagi concept into production with the new CX-5.

Mazda’s Minagi concept vehicle made quite a splash at the Geneva Motor Show, earlier this year, which is good news for the maker considering the underlying design theme is set to return in a downsized crossover vehicle to be dubbed the CX-5.

Minagi served to preview an all-new design language Mazda calls Kodo, the soul of motion.  It “captures the energy of the moment,” explained Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi, following the show car’s debut.

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Back at the preview, Minagi was described as a “pure design exercise,” but while the Mazda CX-5 won’t be an absolute replica, it will carry over many of the basic elements of the concept crossover.

We’ll get a better look when the new CUV makes its formal debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show, this coming autumn.


First Look: Mazda Minagi

The “soul of motion” rolls into Geneva.

by on Mar.02, 2011

Mazda will put its new Kodo design language into production when a version of the new Minagi reaches market next year.

Mazda is a manufacturer that has often gone its very own way, from its early rotary engines to the distinctive design of the new Mazda5.

That newly updated microvan brings to the street what the maker dubbed its Nagare design language.  Yet even as those flowing forms migrate to the manufacturing process, Mazda has already moved on – as it demonstrates at the Geneva Motor Show, with the unveiling of its new Minagi concept crossover vehicle.

The Mazda Minagi goes a step beyond the Shinari show car unveiled late last year, in the process introducing an all-new design language the Japanese maker dubbed Kodo, or “the soul of motion.”

The Minagi, suggested Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi, “captures the energy of the moment.”

With its cabin notably pressed rearward, there’s a muscular, cat-like quality to the Minagi, which Mazda appropriately compares to a cheetah.”


First Look: Mazda Minagi

Newest Mazda fantasy in chrome coming to Geneva.

by on Jan.19, 2011

Mazda introduces its new "Kodo" design language with the Minagi concept CUV.

Mazda has a tradition of revealing some undulating automotive designs at major auto shows.  And the wave-like designs of show cars like the popular Nagare have clearly influenced what we now see in production from the Hiroshima-based maker.

Past prototypes have tended to focus on sports car or sporty coupe body styles, so perhaps it’s a telling hint that the next big Mazda fantasy in chrome will come in the form of a slick crossover.

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The sleek Mazda Minagi – shown here in an official rendering — will take its formal bow at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.  The concept CUV evolves to reflect what Mazda calls its new “Kodo” design theme, Japanese for “soul of motion,” it suggests.

It may have a new name, but the images suggest an evolution, rather than revolution, with Minagi revealing some of the flowing, wind-in-the-sand shapes of Nagare and its past brethren.  But the overall look is a little simpler and less strained.