Mazda Europe builds special edition ‘Karai’ MX-5

July 6th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Mazda knows the current generation MX-5 is a tidy piece of kit and what better way to prove it than with another special edition. Mazda’s European division has handled the mods on this latest limited MX-5 naming its creation the ‘Karai’ which apparently means ‘sharp’ in Japanese.

The Karai is based on the MX-5 Roadster coupe, meaning it’s equipped with a retractable hardtop. Its defining paint work is a lime-green hue named “Metal Green Metallic” on the body and a gloss black finish for the metal top, exterior mirrors, and various trim. Packing out the wheel guards are 17-inch multispoke alloy wheels cloaked in low profile performance rubber.

In the Karai cabin there’s a pair of black leather Recaro sport seats, aluminum pedals and leather steering wheel with white stitching also feature. Mazda has painted all the interior trim pieces that are usually finished in silver, with a gloss black. Continue reading “Mazda Europe builds special edition ‘Karai’ MX-5” »

Mazda2 gets mild facelift and new SkyActiv engine

June 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Mazda Demio is big in Japan, and while we know it as the Mazda2 it does alright here in NZ as well. To keep things going strong the 2 has just received a minor facelift and one of Mazda’s new eco-friendly motors – a direct injection 1.3-litre SkyActiv gasoline engine.

While the updates are only for the Japanese domestic market at this stage, they show some serious intent from Mazda to lower its fuel figures. With a compression ratio of 14.0:1 and an advanced start/stop system that requires less fuel to re-initiate the combustion cycle, the 1300cc four-cylinder is set to be one of the most frugal mills around. Apparently the SkyActiv equipped Mazda2 can achieve fuel consumption as low as 4.0l/100km on the JC08 combined evaluation cycle. Continue reading “Mazda2 gets mild facelift and new SkyActiv engine” »

Mazda releases fresh images of new BT-50 ute

June 13th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Mazda has just dropped a couple of images of it’s upcoming BT-50 Freestyle ute. The Freestyle is an extended-cab version of the standard BT-50, offering a smaller cabin and a slightly larger deck than its double cab stablemate. To get crew into the back the BT-50’s cab features two reverse-hinge half-doors in addition to the two standard front doors. There is a pilarless design to make things a whole lot easier for those attempting to squeeze in the rear seat.

Mazda’s new design language has been used extensively on the exterior of the BT-50, but it retains traditional cab proportions giving it a good balance. Like the Ford Ranger, which uses the same chassis, the BT-50 was designed in Australia. It will be exported to numerous countries including NZ with first deliveries expected later this year. Continue reading “Mazda releases fresh images of new BT-50 ute” »

Mazda builds milestone 3 millionth Mazda3

June 1st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

After exactly seven years and ten months, Mazda has reached an important milestone in the production of its popular Mazda3 small car.

Recently, at Mazda’s Hofu Plant in Yamaguchi, Japan, the three-millionth 3 rolled down the assembly line ready for transporting. The smiling-faced Mazda3 has been a success story for the Japanese carmaker and has proved the fastest-selling vehicle in Mazda’s current range. Global sales have been huge with over 1.1 million units have been sold in North America alone.

In addition to the Hofu plant, the Mazda3 is also built at the Changan Ford Mazda Automobile (CFMA) plant in Nanjing, China, and AutoAlliance in Thailand.

Next for the Mazda3 is a switch a new SkyActiv-powered engine shortly.

Click here to read a Car and SUV review of the Mazda3.

New Mazda RX-9 could use Toyota’s hybrid drivetrain

May 26th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Mazda’s next rotary powered machine is often the subject of rumour and speculation with claims that the RX-Series of vehicles may end with the RX-8. But fresh reports are suggesting that there will be an RX-9 and what’s more, it will use a hybrid drivetrain borrowed from Toyota.

These latest rumours have some weight behind them because last year an agreement was signed between Mazda and Toyota that would have the Zoom-Zoom company licensing the same hybrid tech that powers the Prius. Back then, Mazda announced that its first hybrid vehicle would reach the market in 2013. But nobody really thought it would come in the form of an RX-9.

Naturally a rotary engine will still spin under the vehicle’s bonnet, but it will likely take on a low-powered form with the hybrid system adding extra grunt. Doesn’t sound so flash right? Well not when you consider the rotary motor’s traditional design flaws of weak torque at low rpm, leaky seals and high fuel consumption. If the borrowed hybrid system can solve these issues it may be what saves the rotary engine from production car extinction. Continue reading “New Mazda RX-9 could use Toyota’s hybrid drivetrain” »

Mazda confirms new small crossover to be called CX-5

April 19th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Mazda has announced that its upcoming smaller crossover vehicle will be named the CX-5. It only makes sense really and keeps in with the Japanese carmakers current naming conventions.

Apparently the small crossover will take many design cues from the Minagi Concept (pictured) that Mazda unveiled in March at the Geneva Motor Show, and it will be the first Mazda vehicle to use the automaker’s new Kodo design language.

Mazda says the CX-5 will make use of the automaker’s SkyActiv technologies, which will include new engines, transmissions, body and chassis. SkyActiv refers to Mazda’s green technologies which means more efficient powertrains and lower overall body mass for improved fuel efficiency and performance in the new CX-5.

Morgan Threewheeler officially returns! (+video)

February 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Morgan three-wheeler is officially back and it looks like a whole sack full of fun. Set for its official unveil at this week’s Geneva Motor Show, preview photos and a video clip have been released.

The new Morgan Threewheeler is fully road legal in both the States and Europe and represents a modern interpretation of the classic model that was built between 1909 and 1953.

It looks like nothing else and rides on a tubular chassis featuring an aluminum body, gloss black wheels, and a matte black dual exhaust system. If that isn’t special enough for you, optional extras  include a polished engine, stainless steel tailpipes, and additional brightwork.

Inside, the cabin is suitably spartan but there’s leather upholstery, aircraft-inspired instrumentation, and a trick ‘Bomb release’ starter button.

Power for the Morgan 3 Wheeler will come by an 86kW S&S V Twin engine. It’s mated to a Mazda five-speed manual transmission that puts power to the rear wheel via a V-belt. Morgan claims the Threewheeler is a fun drive and there is nothing to suggest otherwise. It weighs just 500kg and will accelerate from 0-100kph in 4.5 seconds with a top speed of 185kph.

Following it’s debut at the Geneva Auto Show the Morgan Threewheeler will be launched later this year and pricing in the UK is starting at £25,000 ($53,700 NZ).

Check out images in the gallery below and a short promotional clip. Continue reading “Morgan Threewheeler officially returns! (+video)” »

Mazda MX-5 sets new production record – 900,000 units

February 7th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Mazda MX-5 has just reset its own Guinness World Record for the “Best sellling two-seat sports car”. To achieve this feat the little Mazda needed  21 years and to endure countless jokes about it being a girl’s car, but no one is laughing now. The 900,000th MX-5 has just rolled off the assembly line in Hiroshima, Japan.

The MX-5 originally achieved the new world record when it reached 531, 890 units back in May, 2000. The Guinness World Record has been updated every 100,000 units since and Mazda is now going to reapply to have the record updated to 900,000.

Originally created to capture the essence of classic British roadsters, the 1989 MX-5 won over critics with its simplicity and engaging driving dynamics.

Nobuhiro Yamamoto, the program manager of the current MX-5 said, “Since Mazda launched the original MX-5, it has undergone two complete product redesigns and a series of upgrades. Its enduring success is due to the strong support it enjoys from MX-5 fans around the world. Going forward, I will strive to keep the MX-5’s spirit alive while evolving it into a car that will be loved by even more people.” Continue reading “Mazda MX-5 sets new production record – 900,000 units” »