September 8th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
The rotary engine can, at times, divide car enthusiasts, it has its serious fans who wouldn’t drive anything else but it also has its doubters. But however you look at it, Mazda’s rotary unit is a fascinating piece of engineering, brilliantly simple and compact but very inefficient and currently struggling to keep up with modern piston power.
Mazda knows if its next rotary engine is to have any chance of survival a radical redesign is required for it to achieve better fuel economy and less emissions while still offering what rotary fans really want – performance.
Mazda’s director of R&D, Seita Kanai, held a press conference in Germany this week, and announced that a new rotary engine is being designed or rather redesigned. Kanai said that the redesign was going as deep as the most fundamental elements of the rotary concept. He went on to say that the rotary remains important to Mazda as a point of uniqueness amongst the increasingly generic car market, but if it can’t meet current emissions targets and fuel economy regulations, it’ll have to be dropped.
While Kanai didn’t confirm any technical details, rumours about the new engine centre around a 1.6-liter displacement (up 0.3 liters from the current but soon-to-be-deceased RX-8’s rotary) and a power output of close to 300 horsepower (223kW). Some reports have suggested the boost in power and efficiency would come courtesy of forced induction, including using an electric supercharger.
Continue reading “Mazda’s next-gen SKY rotary heads into development” »
September 7th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Mazda has take the media by surprised with the unveiling of a new four-door coupe concept.
August 31st, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Mazda has surprised the world’s motoring press by unveiling a new four-door-coupe concept named Shinari which is set to debut Mazda’s new Kodo design language.
With the departure of head designer Laurens van den Acker to Renault, Mazda’s polarizing Nagare design language has been displaced. Now it’s all about the new Kodo design, Kodo means ‘soul of motion’ in Japanese.
Set to debut at the Paris Motor Show later this month, the Shinari concept reveals the new front end design as well as the overall design language for all future Mazda vehicles. The massive grin currently found on the Mazda3 and other models has been toned down, while there’s new aluminum accents that are expected to be used throughout Mazda’s future products.
The Kodo design language was created in a joint effort between Mazda’s design studios in Japan, U.S. and Germany.
Check back as we bring you more concepts for the upcoming Paris Motor Show. Check out photos of the Shinari in the gallery below.
August 27th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
It’s a fact that not all crossover vehicles are created equal, not just in terms of quality and appeal but also in their focus and job description. It’s a broad market segment with some crossover’s spinning all four wheels almost equally well on tarmac as on dirt tracks. Others are far more directed at suburban duties relying on looks and ride comfort to build a loyal fan base. Then there’s Mazda’s CX-7 which has been an enigma since its release back in 2007. With curvaceous styling and a focus on performance and dynamics the CX-7 blazed its own trail and built its own niche. Now for 2010, the CX-7 has received a mid-life facelift and is rediscovering its slot in the competitive crossover market. Car and SUV got into the driver’s seat of the reworked CX-7 to find out exactly what makes it tick.
Aesthetically, the CX-7 defies any SUV squareness, instead opting for full-figured curves and swooping lines. The 2010 refresh uses some minor styling changes to bring the CX-7 into line with the rest of Mazda’s current lineup. The most obvious change is the redesigned front end that boasts a larger five-point grille and new fog-light housing. On our lower-spec tested GSX model there were some classy touches like silver trim framing the windows and indicator repeaters in the side mirrors. The GSX has 17-inch alloys that are an attractive design but struggle to fill the arches. The top model CX-7 Limited comes fitted with 19-inch wheels which are better matched to the pumped up sheet metal.
Inside the CX-7 there’s a new high-grade dark cloth trim lining the supportive and well positioned front seats. The instrumentation has also been reworked to include Mazda’s latest display screen that shows fuel usage, audio information and doubles up as a monitor for the onboard reversing camera. All switchgear is sensibly laid out and the orange/blue nighttime illumination is a real feature. Stereo and cruise control buttons are neatly housed in the leather-wrapped steering wheel which will prove handy for shorter drivers who will have to stretch to access the centre control stack. Everything feels well screwed together and while interior quality has improved, the contrasting silver trim may not have the same long-term durability as the main surfaces. In terms of occupant space there is plenty of shoulder and leg room for front passengers, the back seat provides ample head room and leg room is adequate but not class leading. Standard equipment for the CX-7 in GSX trim includes a tilt and rake adjustable steering wheel, remote central locking, climate air-con, one-touch power windows and a 6-disk CD player with aux input. A Bluetooth hands free phone kit is available as a dealer-fitted accessory.
Continue reading “Mazda CX-7 GSX 2010 Review” »
August 13th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
It’s no secret that the second generation Mazda6 is a very good car. It’s known for being dynamically proficient, well equipped and sharply dressed. So when it came time for a mid-lifecycle facelift how could Mazda fix a car that just ain’t broke? Car and SUV spent a week with the refreshed top-spec Mazda6 Limited to get all the answers.
In an attempt to enhance the 6’s successful formula rather than complicate it Mazda has kept the facelift light with some subtle cosmetic and mechanical updates. Exterior styling sees the inclusion of the current Mazda corporate face. This includes new raked-back headlights, matching fog lamps and a new grille with a more prominent Mazda badge. Plenty of hints from Mazda’s sports cars are in place on the Mazda6 with angular shapes and strong character lines. At the rear there are minimal changes but the clear LED two-piece taillights, and the curved boot lid spoiler extend the highly styled appeal. Our tested 6 in Limited trim came with a new 18-inch alloy wheel design that set off the vehicle’s lines well and matched up nicely with the elegant ‘Clear Water Blue’ paint work. Overall, the Mazda6 styling is class-leading and while it may be too curvaceous for timid tastes, its fluidic design demands attention.
Inside, the Mazda6 receives revised materials including new main plastics and contrasting silver trim. Piano black plastic surrounds the centre stack and the dashboard is nicely tactile and symmetrical. The instrument cluster is now easier to read with larger numbering on the silver rimmed dials. Although the 6’s interior looks great uniformly illuminated in orange, the main centre digital display is still cluttered and can be difficult to read without taking your eyes off the road despite its high position. The leather-wrapped steering wheel is also very busy with the integration of more than a dozen buttons and toggles that function well but a simplified approach could have created a more upmarket feel. That said, the build quality feels excellent and there is generous head and shoulder space for front occupants. The back seat allows for excellent legroom and in hatchback form can be split 60:40 and folded forward by simply pulling a latch in the boot. Cargo capacity is 519-litres in the hatch; fold down the backseat and this increases to an impressive 1,702-litres.
Continue reading “Mazda6 Limited 2010 Review” »
July 27th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Back in 2008 Mazda spoke of expanding its range with a small crossover, it followed up with the striking Kazamai Concept. Now, according to reports, Mazda is preparing to have it’s new small SUV ready for sale by the end of 2011. When it was first suggested two years ago the idea was that the vehicle would better position Mazda as a growing brand but now it sounds like it could be a mixture of radical design and very frugal economy.
For Mazda, a CX-5 would give an entry into a segment it knows buyers are moving toward, and the vehicle being discussed could prove extremely thrifty. Mazda is reportedly boasting of a 100kg weight savings vs. the competitors, as well as greater power from the company’s already frugal Sky engines. Both three- and five-door versions have been rumoured, but for now, they remain just rumours.
Check out images of the Mazda Kazamai concept below.
May 10th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
May 6th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
According to recent reports, Mazda’s ageing RX-8 is preparing an exit from the American market after the 2011 model year. The rotary-powered sportscar is scheduled to do the same in Europe because of its inability to meet new Euro V emissions standards.
There are a number of issues that all manufacturers that have chosen to borrow the rotary engine design from Felix Wankel have had to deal with, but the most troublesome have been poor fuel efficiency, high exhaust emissions and excessive oil consumption. Now, these same long-running issues are set to kill off yet another rotary-powered model from Mazda.
It seems unlikely that Mazda will simply give up on rotary power but in terms of a replacement Mazda has not made any formal announcements. There has been much talk of a new RX-7 to take over but that would be unlikely until at least 2013. If that goes ahead the high-winding Wankel 1.3-litre RX-8 will likely be replaced by a two-seat coupe RX-7 instead of the RX-8’s unique almost-four-door, four-seat layout. The engine in the new RX-7 is expected to grow in size to 1.6-litres, to better help low-end torque while delivering even more top-end power. How exactly the new RX-7 will get around the emissions controls in Europe and America is, for now, a mystery. However, Mazda has championed the rotary engine for so long, it will be determined to find a way.