Is it a Morgan a Mazda or a Himiko?

December 5th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Mitsuoka Himiko fq

Mitsuoka the Japanese company that is famous for transforming existing cars into wannabe classic British-style rides is at it again. It’s latest effort is an instant classic, it’s called the Himiko and it clearly wants to be a Morgan. The source for this unique vehicle is the Mazda MX-5, itself a throw back to British roadsters of old. The conversion is amazing and the Himiko gives little clue to its MX-5 base, except for the doors. The car even comes with a retractable hardtop. Totally brilliant.

Mazda wins LA Design Challenge

November 25th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

MAzda Kaan concept fq

Mazda has managed to take the top honors at the LA Design Challenge with its KAAN concept. The design itself is a look into a future where roads are paved with an electro-conductive polymer, which provides juice to the electronic tyres that allow the KAAN to reach speeds of up to 250 mph. Up to 30 KAANs would travel together in formations that would cheat the wind, so Mazda designed the vehicles so that they could fit tightly together.

The theme of the competition was to depict what motorsports would be like in 2025. Chuck Pelly, director of Design Los Angeles, said that the choice was made because Mazda’s entry was “the most innovative and artistic design,” and that the KAAN “ultimately brought unique styling back to motorsports.”

Great concept, a little ambitious for 2025 but it’s all good fun. The other finalists were very unique too.

Click here to see the news item of all the LA Design Challenge finalists

2010 Mazda3 – more details released

November 19th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Mazda 3 fq

Mazda has released a few more details on its 2010 Mazda3 just two days ahead of its official unveiling at the LA Auto Show later this week.

As with the out-going model there will be a base 2.0-litre engine that comes standard along with an optional larger unit, now enlarged to 2.5 litres. The displacement increase matches up to a power increase, raising power output to 167hp from 156. Both engines sit under a newly-domed hood and breathe air from a grinning front grille that seems to be the new car’s most controversial styling feature.

Both a four-door hatch/wagon and a sedan will be offered, but only the sedan will go on show this week in LA. Check back as we bring you more news from the LA Auto Show.

Mazda’s hydrogen powered rotary goes to Norway

October 17th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Mazda RX7 Hydrogen fq

Mazda Motor Corporation announced today that is has introduced the Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE (Rotary Engine) vehicle to Norway’s public roads in collaboration with the Hydrogen Road of Norway, (HyNor) project. This marks the first time that a Mazda hydrogen rotary vehicle has been put into regular use on public roads outside Japan.

HyNor is a national project in Norway that aims to establish a clean energy transport system based on hydrogen fuel. Beginning in the fiscal year 2009, Mazda will provide approximately 30 RX-8 Hydrogen RE vehicles for the HyNor project under commercial lease contracts.

The RX-8 Hydrogen RE validation vehicle is being delivered in advance so that Mazda and HyNor can jointly assess its driving performance in Norway. It will also be exhibited at environmental and other events for potential customers who are interested in leasing a hydrogen vehicle.

“Up to now, real world use of Mazda’s hydrogen rotary vehicles has been limited to Japan.  Participation in the HyNor project marks our advancement to the next stage,” says Akihiro Kashiwagi, Mazda Program Manager in charge of hydrogen RE development. “After we validate the first vehicle on Norwegian roads, we intend to deliver 30 more units under commercial lease contracts.”

HyNor is a unique Norwegian initiative to demonstrate the implementation of a hydrogen energy infrastructure along a 580 km route from Oslo to Stavanger in Norway. Hydrogen filling stations are being established along this transport corridor to enable refuelling of hydrogen vehicles. The project aims to revolutionize transportation in Norway by encompassing buses, taxis and private cars, and varying types of transport systems, including urban, inter-city, regional and even long-distance transport.

Mazda3 to make world premiere in Los Angeles

October 10th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Mazda 3 fq

The all-new Mazda3 sedan will have its world premiere at the Los Angeles Auto Show to be held from Wednesday November 19 through to Sunday November 30, 2008.

Following the release of the 2nd-generation Mazda2 and Mazda6, the all-new Mazda3 sees the first full redesign of Mazda’s big-selling sports compact in 5 years.

Mazda claims that every element of the all-new Mazda3 has been developed for heightened exhilaration, with a more refined sporty ride, top class fuel economy and quietness. Environmental and safety features, based on Mazda’s “Zoom-Zoom” vision, aim to achieve a balance with the fun-to-drive personality.

The brand new version of Mazda’s sports compact carries forward the legacy of the current Mazda3. Since its launch in 2003, the current Mazda3 has sold approx. 1.8 million vehicles in over 100 countries and has won global motoring awards, including awards in New Zealand.

Andrew Clearwater, managing director, Mazda New Zealand says the all-new Mazda3, due for release next year, represents another critical step forward for Mazda, “The new Mazda3 embodies Mazda’s latest car-making philosophy and engineering technology, making it a striking statement of the evolution of Mazda’s Zoom-Zoom promise.”

“From day one, the Mazda3 has been one of the most popular vehicles for Kiwi car buyers and even today, five years into its life cycle, sales have performed well above our expectations. With the continuing trend toward smaller more efficient vehicles, I’m absolutely convinced that the all-new Mazda3 will extend upon the success of the current generation.”

Following the world debut of the North American specification sedan with 2.0- and 2.5-litre engines at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show, the five-door hatchback version of the all-new Mazda3 will be revealed in line with Mazda’s global sales schedule.

Revamped Mazda RX-8 launched at Pukekohe

September 22nd, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Mazda RX-8 launch 1

The new Mazda RX-8 sees better fuel economy, more power, new gearboxes (6-speed auto, or the 6-speed manual derived from the MX-5), and is a full $6,500 cheaper than the outgoing model.

Improvements to the chassis have given the RX-8 an excellent mix of track aggression and road manners as the 1300cc rotary howls away or purrs gently, depending on the angle of the throttle.

We’ll have a full review of the RX-8 in a few weeks when we’ve had a chance to drive it on the road.

In the interim, our sister publication NZ Performance Car features the RX-8 in its latest magazine, in the shops now.

Mazda makes leap in fuel economy

September 16th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Mazda has independently developed an idling stop system, called the Smart Idle Stop System (SISS), which improves fuel economy by about ten percent (in Japan’s 10-15 mode tests*).

The SISS uses direct injection technology to achieve an excellent engine restart, ensuring drivers do not experience any discomfort with the new system.  Mazda plans to begin progressively introducing this core environmental technology to the marketplace in 2009.

Andrew Clearwater, managing director Mazda New Zealand says the Smart Idle Stop System will be an important addition to Mazda’s vehicles.  “Mazda is focussed on improving fuel efficiency across our vehicle line up.  The new smart idling stop system will benefit motorists in busy urban areas where vehicles frequently stop at traffic lights or in heavy traffic.”

Idling stop systems save fuel by shutting down the engine automatically when the car is stationary, and restarts it when the driver resumes driving.

Conventional idling stop systems restart a vehicle’s engine with an electric motor using exactly the same process as when the engine is started normally. Mazda’s SISS, on the other hand, restarts the engine through combustion.  Mazda’s system initiates engine restart by injecting fuel directly into the cylinder while the engine is stopped, and igniting it to generate downward piston force.

In order to restart the engine by combustion, the pistons must be stopped at exactly the correct position to create the right balance of air volume in each cylinder. The Smart Idle Stop System provides precise control over the piston positions during engine shutdown to accomplish this.  The SISS indexes each cylinder and initiates fuel injection before the engine begins to rotate.  This enables the engine to be restarted in just 0.35 seconds for vehicles with an automatic transmission, roughly half the time of a conventional electric motor idling stop system.

In addition to saving fuel, Mazda’s Smart Idle Stop System ensures that the engine will restart quickly and with exactly the same timing every time.  Drivers will feel no delay when resuming their drive, which means they can enjoy a comfortable and stress-free ride.

* The 10-15 mode test is the Japanese standard for emission certification and fuel economy for light duty vehicles.  It consists of two separate drive cycles.  The 10-mode drive cycle is a low speed drive cycle test, while the 15-mode is a higher speed assessment.

Kia ora! Mazda Kiyora concept

September 5th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

mazda-kiyora-concept-fq

Mazda Kiyora (and we’re assuming it’s said like kia ora), is a lightweight, next generation, urban compact concept car, will be revealed at the 2008 Paris International Motor Show in October.

Mazda Kiyora (meaning “clean and pure” in Japanese) represents the harmony between driving pleasure and environmental and safety features aspired to in Mazda’s long-term technology development vision, “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom.”

The concept of Kiyora (which we’re assuming helped the designers to imagine a city car cutting cleanly through an urban landscape, with water as the design theme. Kiyora’s aerodynamic Nagare design and next-generation four-cylinder direct-injection engine contribute to excellent fuel economy and low CO2 emissions.

The new Mazda Kiyora concept car is based on an all-new platform designed to minimise weight and maximise safety and driving pleasure. According to Mazda it also features an interior design and new functions that support a youthful lifestyle – slouching and listening to an iPod (another assumption on our part).

oining the Mazda Kiyora concept car on Mazda’s stand at the Paris show, the Mazda MX-5 facelift will make its world debut together with the Mazda6 equipped with Mazda’s newly developed MZR-CD 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine, and the Mazda2 powered by a MZ-CD 1.6-litre diesel.