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Mazda Brings New CX-3 City SUV to LA Auto Show

Japanese entry playing against an increasingly crowded field.

by on Nov.19, 2014

Mazda's new CX-3 will be about five inches shorter than the maker's current CX-5 model.

Mazda is the latest player to enter the fast-emerging and increasingly crowded market for so-called city SUVs with the launch of its new CX-3 crossover.

It’s one of the globe’s fastest-growing segments, and it’s also gaining traction in the U.S. market where these pint-sized multi-purpose vehicles barely even existed five years ago.

Think of the CX-3 as “”a vehicle to suit the customer’s creative lifestyle in any scene, from inner-city driving to enjoying the great outdoors,” Mazda noted as it took the covers off the new crossover during a Los Angeles Auto Show preview Tuesday night.

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Sharing its basic underpinnings with the earlier Mazda2 hatchback, the 2015 CX-3 is the fifth new Mazda model to adopt the maker’s SkyActiv technology and its Kodo “Soul of Motion” design language. That translates into heavily sculpted body panels and a bold, 5-pointed front grille with integrated headlamps.


First Drive: 2014 Mazda3

Not your old econo-box.

by on Sep.20, 2013

The new 2014 Mazda3 is the latest model to pick up on the Kodo design language.

The Mazda3 has been around for a while now and familiarity has no doubt bred an array of preconceptions about the car.

With the launch of 2014 Mazda3 with SkyActiv technology, however, Mazda3 is going to force a lot of buyers to drop their pre-conceived notions about compact cars. The new Mazda3 is definitely not your aunt’s econobox.

Instead it’s sleek and nimble, as well as comfortable, efficient and versatile. In fact, the exterior design of the new Mazda3 — which carries on the distinctively sculpted Kodo design language the automaker has highlighted with recent concept vehicles — makes it one of the most stylish vehicles in a crowded segment.

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That’s no faint praise when you consider the alternatives include the Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus, Honda Civic and the new Toyota Corolla.

But while some of those competitors are content with a single body style, the new Mazda3 will be offered in both four–door sedan and five-door hatchback form.


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.

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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.


First Drive: 2014 Mazda6

A standout in a crowded segment.

by on Feb.05, 2013

Mazda's new 2014 Mazda6 sedan.

It’s a great year for consumers looking to buy a midsize sedan.  The market is awash with brand new offerings from manufacturers like Ford, Chevrolet Honda and Nissan, never mind still-fresh entries from Toyota and the Korean makers.

Imagine the challenge for a smaller brand, like Mazda, just to get noticed.  But the Japanese maker has come up with the sort of package that should guarantee it some attention from smart shoppers looking for a mix of striking design, solid mileage and spirited driving.

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Handsome, economical and fun to drive, the 2014 Mazda6 doesn’t disappoint, we discovered during our first drive of the new sedan,

Simply put, the exterior styling is gorgeous, delivering a refined and sophisticated interpretation of the maker’s aggressive new styling language first seen on the well-reviewed Takeri concept vehicle revealed at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show – which itself borrowed heavily from Mazda’s so-called Kodo, or Soul of Motion, design language.


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 Drive: 2012 Mazda5

Mini to the max.

by on Feb.28, 2011

For 2012, the Mazda5 gets its most complete makeover since its '05 introduction.

American waistlines aren’t the only things getting bigger and bigger by the year.  Perhaps fittingly, our automobiles have steadily grown in size, so many models that once fit comfortably into the compact category are now classified midsize – or even larger.

That’s especially true when it comes to minivans, today’s models having grown to such massive proportions that the modifier, mini, no longer accurately applies.

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Parked side-by-side, Mazda’s newly redesigned Mazda5 seems downright puny compared to industry mainstays like the Honda Odyssey or Dodge Grand Caravan.  But, in reality, the 2012 Mazda5 remake is a full four inches longer than the original 1984 Caravan and just one inch narrower.  And like those early minivans, Mazda’s offering makes surprisingly good use of its seemingly limited space.

Packing in three rows of seats, and plenty of cargo – including some trick storage beneath the sliding center row seats – the Mazda5 puts a premium on flexibility.  But it also emphasizes styling in a segment where form usually takes a back seat to functionality.


First Look: 2012 Mazda5

Updating the microvan

by on Nov.22, 2010

Mazda aims to hold its lock on the microvan market with next year's launch of the new 2012 Mazda5.

L.A. Auto Show-goers are getting a first look at Mazda’s next-generation people-move, which is sharing the stage with the Japanese maker’s future Shinari concept vehicle.

With the Shinari providing a longer look at Mazda’s design direction, the Mazda5 gives a more immediate sense of where the maker believes the market is going – and how it plans to keep building on its momentum.  So far this year, noted Jim O’Sullivan, the maker’s senior American executive, Mazda sales have risen 10%, while residual values have also been rising rapidly.

In approaching the development of the all-new 2012 Mazda5, program manager Hideki Matsuoka said he combined the best features from the current model and set out to further evolve it.  The goal was to create a new multi-activity vehicle combining superior environmental performance with a new expression of stylish design.

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“This expresses our goal to build a new family mover for the global market that offers a smart solution to the user’s every need by establishing a balance between diverse functionality and outstanding performance,” said Matsuoka.

Five key values drove the development of the 2012, which is due in showrooms during the first half of next year, including smart and emotional design, easy to use functionality — particularly in the interior — great quality and a refined, dynamic driving performance coupled with excellent fuel economy.


First Drive: 2011 Mazda2

Getting out of the penalty box.

by on Aug.23, 2010

No penalty box this; the 2011 Mazda2.

Unless you’re talking about an exotic sports car, driving something small has typically been an act of endurance – repayment for bad karma, perhaps.  But there’s no reason a subcompact has to “feel  like a cheap penalty box,” insists Dave Coleman, the product development engineer behind the new 2011 Mazda2.

The 5-door hatchback is the Japanese maker’s latest-generation subcompact, and the first Mazda2 to make it to American shores.  A not-too-distant sibling of Ford’s new Fiesta, the Asian offering aims to tap into the growing demand for smaller, more affordable, more fuel-efficient vehicles.  And if our time behind the wheel is any indication, Mazda just might pull it off.

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In recent decades, Ford and Mazda have cooperated on a variety of vehicle programs, the Mazda2 just the latest.  But those who believe Fiesta and Mazda2 are effectively the same car are in for some surprises.  The two projects diverged early on, insists Coleman, who claims there are now only four parts shared between the two.