Mazda – Automobile Magazine http://www.automobilemag.com No Boring Cars! | Reviews, Auto Shows, Lifestyle Sat, 27 Aug 2016 17:17:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.3 Mazda “Formally” Approves Rotary-Powered RX-9 for 2020: Report http://www.automobilemag.com/news/mazda-board-directors-formally-approve-rotary-powered-rx-9-2020-report/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/mazda-board-directors-formally-approve-rotary-powered-rx-9-2020-report/#respond Wed, 24 Aug 2016 20:00:19 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=982646 If you’ve been waiting on that new car purchase in hope of a new rotary-powered sports car from Mazda, it looks like you might just get your chance in a few years. According to a report from Motoring, Mazda big-wigs “formally” approved both the production and design of the next-gen RX. Motoring expects the unrevealed,...

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If you’ve been waiting on that new car purchase in hope of a new rotary-powered sports car from Mazda, it looks like you might just get your chance in a few years. According to a report from Motoring, Mazda big-wigs “formally” approved both the production and design of the next-gen RX.

Motoring expects the unrevealed, unnamed car to carry the “RX-9” badge, contrary to previous reports predicting the return of the RX-7 nameplate. Motoring cites an older report from a Japanese publication, which claims the RX-9 will debut as a prototype in 2017, and in production form in 2019. The car is slated to enter dealer lots in 2020.

Mazda RX VISION Concept rear three quarter 03

Again, we have had no official confirmation from Mazda, so the design, power, performance, and specs are completely unknown at this point. However, reports regarding performance and horsepower metrics have slipped out, pegging the output right around 400 hp with a weight around 2,800 lbs.

Power will probably come from a twin-turbocharged 1.6-liter twin-rotor rotary engine, sending power to the rear wheels through either a manual or automatic transmission. Visually, look for cues and components lifted from the mighty Mazda RX-Vision concept from earlier this year. (Pictured above)

Look for more updates on the return of the rotary-powered Mazda RX sports car as we inch closer to 2020.

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2017 Mazda6 Priced at $22,780 http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-mazda6-starts-22780/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-mazda6-starts-22780/#respond Tue, 23 Aug 2016 23:00:27 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=981846 The 2017 Mazda6 will start at $22,780 when it goes on sale next month, a $450 increase from the previous model. Buyers who choose the base Sport trim with the optional six-speed automatic transmission, however, will pay the same $23,830 price as last year. Sport models come standard with an electronic parking brake, push-button start,...

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The 2017 Mazda6 will start at $22,780 when it goes on sale next month, a $450 increase from the previous model. Buyers who choose the base Sport trim with the optional six-speed automatic transmission, however, will pay the same $23,830 price as last year.

Sport models come standard with an electronic parking brake, push-button start, backup camera, and 17-inch alloy wheels. The Mazda Connect infotainment system is now standard on Sport models with the standard six-speed manual transmission.

Stepping up to the Touring trim, buyers receive leatherette seats, keyless entry, dual-zone climate control, rear air vents, 19-inch alloy wheels, and a six-way power driver seats. The trim also comes with a host of safety features, including blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and the newly standard Smart City Brake Support automatic braking technology. For 2017, the model also now comes standard with automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers. Prices for this trim have gone up $250, starting at $25,030 when paired with the manual transmission or $26,080 with the automatic. A Touring package adds a moonroof, satellite radio, and BOSE sound system for an extra $1,325. A Premium Package with extra goodies goes for $1,425.

At the top of the line is the Grand Touring trim, which begins at $31,530. Prices have gone up by $500, but the model also receives new standard features including lane keep assist, high beam control, traffic sign recognition, and memory seat that’s integrated to work with the height of the new full color head-up display. Other standard features include adaptive cruise control, navigation, leather-trimmed seats, eight-way power driver seat, six-way power passenger seat, and LED fog lights. A new Premium package goes for $2,500, bringing i-ELOOP regenerative braking, heated steering wheel, Nappa leather, and other features.

Also, buyers will be able to choose a new Machine Gray Metallic premium paint color for $300. The color joins other special hues in the Mazda6 range, including Soul Red Metallic ($300) and Snowflake White Pearl Mica ($200).

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2017 Mazda6 Adds Nappa Leather, Other Small Updates http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-mazda6-gains-nappa-leather-small-updates/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-mazda6-gains-nappa-leather-small-updates/#respond Wed, 10 Aug 2016 17:30:07 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=976798 The Mazda6 received a full redesign for the 2014 model year, and every year since then, it has added some thoughtful updates. The upcoming model year is no different, and the 2017 Mazda6 returns with just a few changes. Mazda says the new model features an improved interior. Nappa leather seats with contrast stitching are...

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The Mazda6 received a full redesign for the 2014 model year, and every year since then, it has added some thoughtful updates. The upcoming model year is no different, and the 2017 Mazda6 returns with just a few changes.

Mazda says the new model features an improved interior. Nappa leather seats with contrast stitching are available on Grand Touring models with the Premium Package, which also brings a black headliner, metallic accents, heated steering wheel, heated rear outboard seats, and regenerative braking. Meanwhile, all entry-level Mazda6 Sport models now come standard with the Mazda Connect infotainment system.

2017 Mazda6 steering wheel 1

Other updates include tighter door seals, thicker front glass, and increased sound insulation materials to reduce cabin noise. An improved head-up display now features full color, and Grand Touring models also receive a 4.6-inch full-color TFT meter display. Drivers benefit from a host of new safety features, including Traffic Sign Recognition, lane-keep-assist, and Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring.

As we previously reported, the 2017 Mazda6 gains G-Vectoring Control, which uses the car’s onboard computer to minimize steering inputs made unconsciously, correct understeer, minimize roll, and reduce jerkiness. The Mazda6, along with the updated 2017 Mazda3, will be the automaker’s first model in North America to receive the technology, which first debuted in Japan on the updated Mazda Axela.

The new Mazda6 arrives in U.S. dealerships this September. Prices will be announced at a later date.

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One Week With: 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Automatic http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-automatic-one-week-review/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-automatic-one-week-review/#respond Fri, 05 Aug 2016 10:00:20 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=971073 For those of us of a certain age, a first drive of the automatic version of the new ND 2016 Mazda MX-5 conjured up memories of a time when automatic transmission options first started appearing in the sort of European sports cars that inspired the Miata. Here is our story… A one-page advertisement with a picture...

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For those of us of a certain age, a first drive of the automatic version of the new ND 2016 Mazda MX-5 conjured up memories of a time when automatic transmission options first started appearing in the sort of European sports cars that inspired the Miata. Here is our story…

A one-page advertisement with a picture of a couple driving along in a red Fiat Spider 2000 [nee’ 124 Spider], along a scenic coastal road ran in all the monthly enthusiast magazines during the summer of 1979.

“So many times you’ve watched it go by and said, ‘I wish they’d make one with an automatic transmission, just for me.’ We just did.”

For the 37 years since I first saw that ad, I’ve pondered the same question, over and over.

Who the hell are you?

If one was made just for you, the saving grace would be that it’s the only “classic Fiat Spider 2000, now with a 2-litre engine and optional automatic transmission.”

But life isn’t fair, and there are a lot more automatic-shifting roadsters. A third of a century later, the modern affordable drop-top, the Mazda MX-5 Miata and its partner in product development and manufacturing, the Fiat 124 Spider, can boast pretty big take rates for their optional Aisin six-speed automatic.

Fiat had even planned to offer the 124 Spider Lusso, the “luxury” model, with only an automatic, until a few auto hacks, including yours truly, objected. This isn’t like arguing for import of that cool, diesel stick-shift station wagon, complete with brown paint. This is a sports car, and Porsche PDKs aside, it’s best suited for three pedals. They are not hard to figure out if you’re willing to put down your smartphone.

2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring rear three quarter 01

Our slushbox Miata tester came looking the part of a wannabe luxury grand touring roadster. In fact, it was equipped in the Grand Touring trim (though automatics can be had with even the Club model), painted Meteor Gray with a tan interior and an all-in, manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $32,090. Something of a bargain for a sports car with a European countenance to it.

Unlike Miatas with the six-speed manual, the automatic includes a Sport switch on the center console on your elbow’s side of the gearshift. This switch programs the Aisin automatic to hold a gear — usually second, sometimes third — as you power out of a turn. In manual mode, the six-speed holds your chosen gear, with the rev-limiter bumping redline until you shift.

2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring seats 02 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring shifter 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring infotainment 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring media selection knob

It helps, but it’s not enough. Go into a turn “slow in, fast out,” and the automatic’s Sport mode prevents the stumbling that the normal, more fuel-efficient mode provides. Even then, you’ll want to combine Sport mode from the button with manu-matic shifting via the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Even then, the automatic’s shifts aren’t as quick as the manual’s.

You might think this is an argument for a dual wet-clutch automated transmission. It’s not. It’s an argument for a drivetrain that remains as direct, simple and instinctive as it has always been. With a bit of practice, anyone with a modicum of hand-feet coordination can become a proficient Miata heel-and-toer and get through tight turns much more quickly than the automatic in manual control/Sport mode. There’s no comparison.

2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring badge 03

Choose the automatic, however, and your MX-5 gets an extra 2 mpg on the highway according to the EPA, and equals the manual’s city and combined numbers. You’ll likely have to avoid Sport mode and the paddle shifters to improve your chances of matching the fuel efficiency estimates. The $1,075 automatic transmission option (same price whether you buy a Miata Sport, Club, or Grand Touring) includes advanced keyless entry, a $130 option on manual-equipped Miatas.

To be fair, the same great and predictable handling, quick steering, and polar moment of inertia that make the manual Miata one of our favorite cars do not disappear with the automatic option, so a novice enthusiast willing to seek out a sparsely traveled country road can have some fun with the slushbox, which adds just 49 pounds to the MX-5’s light weight. But he or she will probably remain a novice for a long, long time.

2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring front end 02

Shortly before Fiat added the General Motors-built automatic option to the Spider 2000, it ran ads in enthusiast magazines explaining how most every convertible, domestic or foreign, had been removed from the U.S. market, so its roadster was one of the few such choices remaining. This advertisement featured a male model wearing an impossibly tall, yet fashionable (circa the Malaise Era) hat that would never fit under a hardtop.

Nowadays, men with fashionably tall hats who refuse to drive manuals might be their own special interest group in heavily congested cities like Los Angeles. For them, there are Mini Cooper, Volkswagen Beetle, Audi A3, and even Buick Cascada convertibles, all of them ragtops with useful trunks and some back seat space. Why would you choose a Mazda Miata, or for that matter, a Fiat 124 Spider automatic over one of those, if you’re not going to take it out and throw it around some s-curves from time to time? For the fashion statement these two two-seat sports cars make?

Oh. That’s who you are.

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2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring Specifications

On Sale: Now
Price: $31,270/$32,090 base/as-tested
Engine: 2.0 DOHC 16-valve I-4/155 hp @6,000 rpm, 148 lb-ft. @ 4,600 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Layout: 2-door, 2-passenger, front-engine, RWD convertible
EPA Mileage: 27/36 mpg (city/highway)
L x W x H: 154.1 x 68.3 x 48.8 in
Wheelbase: 90.9 in
Weight: 2,381 lb
0-60 MPH:  5.8 sec. (mfr)
Top Speed: 125 mph (mfr)
2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring front three quarter 01 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring badge 02 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring front three quarter 02 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring side profile 01 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring front three quarter 06 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring rear three quarter 02 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring front three quarter 05 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring front three quarter 08 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring front three quarter 07 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring wheel 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring front end 01 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring badge 01 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring front three quarter 03 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring headlamp 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring steering wheel 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring sport mode 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring seats 01 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring interior detail 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring engine 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring door trim panel 03 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring door trim panel 02 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring door trim panel 01 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring climate vent 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring climat control 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring center console 02 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring center console 01 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring cabin 02 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Grand Touring cabin 01

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A Brief History of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca http://www.automobilemag.com/news/brief-history-mazda-raceway-laguna-seca-2016-mmr/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/brief-history-mazda-raceway-laguna-seca-2016-mmr/#respond Tue, 02 Aug 2016 04:48:40 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=974520 Laguna Seca wasn’t always the iconic and bustling race circuit we know and love today. On the eve of the 2016 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, let’s take a dive into the history of California’s world-class race venue. Initially, all motorsport local to the Pebble Beach area was held during the Del Monte Trophy, a road-race...

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Laguna Seca wasn’t always the iconic and bustling race circuit we know and love today. On the eve of the 2016 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, let’s take a dive into the history of California’s world-class race venue.

Initially, all motorsport local to the Pebble Beach area was held during the Del Monte Trophy, a road-race staged among the local winding roads that snaked through developed areas. At its zenith, the Del Monte attracted nearly 50,000 onlookers who stood alongside the dusty forested course. As cars became faster and risks became greater, the roads were less and less suitable for motorsport. Racer Ernie McAfee died when his Ferrari smashed into one of the many trees lining the course in 1956, signaling the end of the Del Monte Trophy.

To augment the momentum of the Del Monte’s popularity, ground was broken for the track now known as Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 1957, funded by $1,500,000 raised by local businesses and citizens on a portion of the Ford Ord army base. Ownership of the track has since been handed over to the Monterey County Parks Department, and operates under legislation of the U.S. Parks department.

Since the first race in 1957, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca has remained a landmark venue for some of the greatest cars, drivers, and teams in the past half-century, including Can-Am, Trans-Am, IMSA GT, CART, American Le Mans Series, and MotoGP. To remain up-to-date and competitive, the track has gone through a series of renovations and layout changes, the most major of which occurred in the late 1980s, when a large infield was added, along with the elimination of a straight portion.

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Flyin’ Miata V-8 Conversion Now Available for ND Mazda Miata http://www.automobilemag.com/news/flyin-miata-v-8-conversion-now-available-for-nd-mazda-miata/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/flyin-miata-v-8-conversion-now-available-for-nd-mazda-miata/#respond Mon, 01 Aug 2016 19:15:57 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=972605 It was only a matter of time before the mad scientists at Flyin’ Miata put together a V-8 conversion for the fourth-generation ND-chassis Mazda Miata. That time has come, and the muscle-infused minimalist sports car is just as glorious as we could hope for. Flyin’ Miata has been offering go-fast solutions for the Mazda Miata...

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It was only a matter of time before the mad scientists at Flyin’ Miata put together a V-8 conversion for the fourth-generation ND-chassis Mazda Miata. That time has come, and the muscle-infused minimalist sports car is just as glorious as we could hope for.

Flyin’ Miata has been offering go-fast solutions for the Mazda Miata since 1989 and has been shoehorning V-8s into Miata engine bays for the past eight years. The company says it took lessons learned from previous swaps and applied it to the newest Miata, addressing weak points from earlier conversions to make this one “the best yet.”

Flyin Miata ND Mazda Miata V 8 front three quarter

The Flyin’ Miata V-8 conversion endows a 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata with a GM LS3 6.2-liter V-8, offered in three flavors. The base kit sources a stock engine found in a previous-gen Chevrolet Camaro or Corvette and is good for 430 hp. A step up from that is the LS376/525, a crate engine with a hotter camshaft. Lastly, an LS3 E-Rod equipped with emissions monitoring gear is offered for customers in less hot rod-friendly states. All engines come backed by a T56 Magnum six-speed manual transmission with a custom shift lever. Flyin’ Miata says it can also perform the conversion on the upcoming power targa-top Miata RF and the Miata-based Fiat 124 Spider.

All parts used in the conversion are new, and Flyin’ Miata says it tries to use as many OEM parts as possible to make future part replacement easier. As you might expect, the V-8 comes with some extra weight. The conversion adds roughly 250 pounds to the Miata’s curb weight, but the tuner says the car maintains a similar weight distribution (53/47 front/rear versus 52/48 stock). Flyin’ Miata says the conversion will produce a “fully integrated car and not just a big engine rammed into a little car.”

Flyin Miata ND Mazda Miata V 8 front three quarter 2

To that end, the company strived to keep the Miata’s handling characteristics intact. It also hopes to improve feel by replacing the standard electric power steering system with a variable-ratio hydraulically assisted unit. All other features that come stock with the Miata will continue to work, including the push-button start and original gauges. Traction control, however, has been removed.

How much will this marriage made in heaven cost you? The turn-key conversion starts at $49,995, not including the car. You could argue that you could almost buy a new Corvette Stingray for that money, but Flyin’ Miata believes it’s selling more than just a Miata with an engine swap. “The guys buying them aren’t buying a Miata, though,” company rep Keith Tanner told us in an email. “They’re buying a hand-built V-8 sports car based on an excellent chassis.”

Below is the company’s full list of specs and options for the Flyin’ Miata ND conversion.

Specifications

  • 430 hp 6.2L LS3 V8 engine with a two year warranty – a 2015 Camaro SS engine
  • 6-speed T56 Magnum transmission with a custom shift lever
  • FM spec Moroso steel oil pan with baffling
  • LS7 clutch and flywheel
  • AAM differential from a 2015 Camaro
  • custom-built dual pass crossflow radiator
  • dual Spal fans on a custom shroud
  • new aluminum driveshaft
  • heavy duty halfshafts
  • stainless steel headers and dual exhaust with a lifetime warranty
  • Magnaflow high-flow dual catalytic converters
  • upgraded fuel system
  • new GM-built engine wiring harness and engine management
  • Flyin’ Miata custom engine dyno tune for more power and improved drivability with our specific parts
  • OE-style motor mounts for good NVH control
  • custom air intake system with hot air baffle
  • rear mount Odyssey battery with kill switch and engine bay jump start terminal
  • Corvette C6 starter
  • fully functional stock gauges
  • FM sway bars front & rear with adjustable end links
  • Flyin’ Miata FOX Racing suspension
  • ABS
  • FM four wheel little big brake kit
  • air conditioning
  • Hydraulic steering conversion
  • relocated washer bottle
  • many custom stainless brackets required for a clean installation
  • Flyin’ Miata alignment

Options and upgrade prices:

  • LS3 E-Rod engine (better emissions compliance), $640
  • LS376/525 (525 hp, 489 ft-lb), $1780
  • carbon fiber driveshaft, $520
  • aluminum oil pan, $70
  • 6-piston front, 4-piston rear brake upgrade, $725
  • Swain Tech White Lightning ceramic coating for the headers & cat pipes- $925
  • Hot Rod Therapy DBW cruise control- roughly $1000, price TBD
  • wheel and tire packages – please speak to us for recommendations and pricing
  • Hard Dog roll bar – please speak to us for recommendations and pricing

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We Hear: Next-Generation Mazda MX-5 Miata to Lose Even More Weight http://www.automobilemag.com/news/hear-next-generation-mazda-mx-5-miata-lose-even-weight/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/hear-next-generation-mazda-mx-5-miata-lose-even-weight/#respond Sat, 23 Jul 2016 19:30:26 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=970395 It has only been over a year since the fourth-generation ND Mazda MX-5 Miata went on sale but word about the next-generation of the automaker’s iconic roadster has already started surfacing. Speaking with Autocar, MX-5 Miata program manager Nobuhiro Yamamoto said that the next-generation car’s size will stay the same but it will lose weight and improve...

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It has only been over a year since the fourth-generation ND Mazda MX-5 Miata went on sale but word about the next-generation of the automaker’s iconic roadster has already started surfacing. Speaking with Autocar, MX-5 Miata program manager Nobuhiro Yamamoto said that the next-generation car’s size will stay the same but it will lose weight and improve efficiency via extensive use of lightweight materials in the construction of the car.

“The size is right,” Yamamoto said to Autocar. “But in the future, lightweight materials will be very important and will be used in this car. Now carbon fiber is very expensive, but we have in development affordable carbon fiber, so the MX-5 will be lighter in the future.”

When asked about powertrains for the next-generation MX-5, Yamamoto told Autocar that smaller engines and tires will be used since there won’t be that much mass to move. Outside of the U.S., Mazda sells a base model MX-5 Miata with a 1.5-liter I-4 rated at 129 hp and 111 lb-ft of torque, which slots below the 155-hp 2.0-liter I-4. Yamamoto also revealed that the Speedster and Spyder concepts shown at SEMA last year won’t be produced.

The current-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata weighs 148 pounds less than the car it replaced and is currently the quickest version of the car to date. Compared to the previous-generation NC Miata, the ND Miata was also a leap forward in fuel efficiency at 27/34 mpg city/highway with the manual and 27/36 mpg with the automatic, which is an improvement of 25 and 30 percent respectively. Earlier this year, Mazda revealed a power retractable hardtop version called the MX-5 Miata RF (retractable fastback).

2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata right hand drive front side view in white tall 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata right hand drive front side view with curving road 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Spyder and Speedster concepts 2017 Mazda MX 5 Miata RF roof in place

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http://www.automobilemag.com/news/hear-next-generation-mazda-mx-5-miata-lose-even-weight/feed/ 0 2017 Mazda MX 5 Miata RF roof in place 2017 Mazda MX 5 Miata RF roof in place 2017 Mazda MX 5 Miata RF roof in place 2017 Mazda MX 5 Miata RF roof in place
2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth vs. 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-fiat-124-spider-abarth-2016-mazda-mx5-miata-club/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-fiat-124-spider-abarth-2016-mazda-mx5-miata-club/#respond Mon, 18 Jul 2016 10:00:01 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=967359 The new 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth and 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club Sport are the best antidotes for the coming onslaught of autonomous vehicles. No lane-departure controls, no adaptive cruise controls, no cross-traffic alerts, nor blind-spot information systems. Say “hell no” to automatic braking systems. Autonomy? We don’t need no stinkin’ autonomy. The...

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The new 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth and 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club Sport are the best antidotes for the coming onslaught of autonomous vehicles.

No lane-departure controls, no adaptive cruise controls, no cross-traffic alerts, nor blind-spot information systems. Say “hell no” to automatic braking systems. Autonomy? We don’t need no stinkin’ autonomy. The Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth and the Mazda MX-5 Miata Club are cars to drive, not to be driven in. The only concession to such modern automation gadgetry is the navigation system in the Spider Abarth and the rotary knob that controls infotainment screens in both, poorly located too close to the gearshift.

The Miata and Spider Abarth—Spiata, if you will—are your first defenses against the onslaught of these building blocks towards driverless cars. If you accept the theory that autonomous vehicle technology will soon begin accelerating the way computers and the internet have, then it won’t be long before you’ll have to trailer your sports car to a private racetrack just to experience the joys of cranking a steering wheel and executing a perfect heel-toe downshift.

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As we approach that cold, automated future, the last roads in the U.S. to be coordinated for autonomous driving comfortably inside your compact sport/utility vehicle’s navigation system will be those like California Highway 58 between McKittrick and Santa Margarita: remote, twisty, and hard to map precisely. Highway 58 and its ilk are perfect for cars like these. They’re not heavily traveled, and the twisty mountain bits play to their handling rather than to their power and torque. Pairs of eyes, hands, and feet will be fully involved in the drive.

This could well end up an AUTOMOBILE Collectible Classic feature circa 2040, but it’s our first opportunity to compare the new 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth head to head with our Four Seasons 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club on the type of road for which these cars were built. Of course, the first thing you’ll ask is, which do we prefer?

The short answer is that either of these two represent top-of-the-list choices for navigating the driver’s roads hidden from the coming throngs of multi-camera, LIDAR-equipped, rolling, driverless, wireless hotspots. One nice advantage of the Miata and Spiata is that they don’t have adjustable chassis that demand you complete the final suspension tuning. Their relative simplicity of controls just requires you to get in the car and go. After serious study on 17.4 choice miles of Highway 58 (see Trip Notes), it’s easy to conclude this is a good thing. And when it comes to chassis tuning, there is as much difference between the two roadsters as between the Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86, which is to say, degrees.

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Like the Scion FR-S-slash-Toyota 86, the 124 Spider Abarth is set up to be the bigger drifter of the two. Prior to Highway 58, we had the chance to autocross three Spider Abarths—two six-speed automatics and a six-speed manual—as part of Fiat’s introduction program at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. The autocross course was loose enough to allow a third-gear straight along with mostly second-gear turns, and it revealed a sports car that could dance around the cones like Gene Kelly shuffling on and off the curb in “Singin’ in the Rain.”

As on the autocross, you want the traction/stability control off for both cars on Highway 58. Stability control allows a bit of snap-throttle oversteer that’s quickly blunted after a short slide, but turn it off (it defaults to “on” with every push of the ignition button) and oversteer is as catchable and predictable as ever, so you can snap the tail into the apex more quickly. But there’s a clear difference in the way the Miata and the Spider behave.

2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club front three quarter in motion 04

2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club cabin 01 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club instrument panel 02 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club gear shifter 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club badge 01

First, the Miata has sharper steering, reacting immediately to inputs. We’ve heard complaints the MX-5’s steering feels “nervous” and needs constant corrections. This is not quite true: The Mazda suffers some bump-steer, reacting to every imperfection in the road. Find a rare bit of virgin highway pavement and the car tracks steady. The upside is the quick turn-in and perfect feedback, which makes it easy to tackle a tight second-gear turn with precision and casually collect the car when the tail snaps out.

The Spider’s steering is perfectly fine. It’s a Fiat-tuned variation of the Mazda’s electrically assisted power steering that feels a bit more relaxed. It’s such a subtle difference that you wouldn’t notice it if you’ve never driven an ND Miata.

All Fiat 124 Spiders feature exclusive Fiat tuning of the Mazda’s double-wishbone front/multi-link rear suspension, and the Abarth manual adds a limited-slip differential and Bilstein shocks, like the Miata Club. As with the Miata, there’s some initial compliance at turn-in, with springs becoming stiff as the body takes a set. The difference is that the Spider Abarth feels a bit stiffer in its initial compliance and a bit softer after turn-in. Again, it’s a subtle difference that requires back-to-back drives to discover. Hard work, that, especially on Highway 58.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth front view in motion

2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth cabin 01 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth instrument panel 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth gear shifter 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth badge 01

Powertrain differences are not as subtle. Aside from the short-lived NB Mazdaspeed Miata, Mazda has left turbocharging of the Miata’s inline four to the aftermarket, even the original NA model’s 116-hp 1.6-liter. That number is now 155 hp and 148 lb-ft, from a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, naturally aspirated engine from the Skyactiv family with direct gas injection. For the 124 line, Fiat ships its 1.4-liter MultiAir turbo-four to Hiroshima for installation in the Spider. In the Abarth, the engine is rated 164 hp (4 more ponies than in the Classica and Lusso trim levels) and 184 lb-ft.

Both engines arrive at 30 mpg combined EPA fuel economy averages, with the Skyactiv 2.0 doing so with 27/34 mpg city/highway, and the MultiAir 1.4 achieving 26/35 mpg city/highway. Similarities end there.

While Miatafisti will recognize the naturally aspirated 2.0’s linear power delivery, the turbo 1.4 in the Spiata features a strong mid-range with lag at the low end and lack of steam at the high end. When Mazda first unveiled the ND Miata at Laguna Seca, a few of us bristled at the Sport button placed at the bottom of a prototype’s gearbox shifter. We feared it was a suspension adjustment.

“It’s for holding upshifts with the automatic,” a Mazda product planner explained. But it’s also for the 124 Spider, manual or automatic, in which a Sport button lowers the 184 lb-ft peak torque’s kick in to 2,500 rpm, from 3,200 rpm, likely at the expense of reaching those EPA numbers. Loping around town, non-sport on the Spider Abarth is sufficient. You’ll want it on for the Highway 58s of the world, but there’s still that lack of linearity you’ll find in the Mazda’s bigger, naturally aspirated four. This becomes most obvious when double-clutching or heel-toeing a downshift. The Miata matches high rpms easily and naturally, while the Spider Abarth requires a more deliberate throttle blip. Fiat pairs the MultiAir engine with the previous generation, NC Miata’s six-speed box, by the way, to handle the turbo four’s greater torque.

2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 19

Features editor Rory Jurnecka says the Fiat is “a bit more playful on the throttle” and finds its mid-range torque useful around town. “Unfortunately, when you’re trying to keep the momentum on a hilly, winding section of a road like 58, the car feels outside of its ideal operating range much of the time. You’re either waiting for boost in the lower rev range or running out of steam on the high end.”

The famously dieted ND Miata is about 125 pounds lighter than the Spider. Some of this is the Fiat’s turbocharger and its nearly 5 inches added length and filled-out body form. It’s also better at sound insulation, thanks to an acoustic windshield, which pays off with improved sound attenuation with the top up (the Spider Abarth’s exhaust note, sampled with the top down, is disappointingly unlike the Fiat 500 Abarth’s). The Fiat’s interior is a better place to be, anyway, with more upper- and lower-dash panel padding, unique door panels eschewing the Mazda’s body-colored door inserts, and better seats, though Jurnecka prefers the palm-fitting sphere of the Miata’s gearshift knob to the “irritating” square knob on the Spiata. The 124 Spider Abarth’s optional suede-trimmed Recaros are perfect in the way they hold you in place, and offer this author’s back just the right degree of lumbar support without need for adjustment. Clearly, Fiat didn’t have time to decontent an interior originally designed for Alfa Romeo.

So which should you choose?

2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 23

It’s not—really, it’s not—a cop-out to say that both the Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth and the Mazda MX-5 Miata Club deserve to be at the top of your list for surviving post-autonomocalypse driving pleasure. Drivers who favor a European sensibility and style can buy the Spider safe in knowing that the Fiat Chrysler engineering and Centro Stile design blend well with the “Made in Hiroshima” stamp.

Those of us who might be described as overly familiar with the Miata as a modern and reliable European-style sports car will prefer the MX-5’s natural power delivery and the way its very capable steering and handling can push the driver to improve his or her skills on challenging roads.

Unlike the NC Miata, the ND cannot be had with the Grand Touring package’s luxuries combined with the Club Sport’s Bilsteins and LSD, but a properly optioned Spider Abarth essentially solves that issue. Both sports cars suffer Germanic paint palettes; they could use brighter, happier color choices.

“My perfect car would be the Fiat with the Miata engine,” Jurnecka says.

Indeed, the problem with two distinct cars off the same excellent sports-car platform is you’re unlikely to find the perfect setup. But it’s clear that without Fiat’s partnership in this program, not only would there be no Spiata, there would be no ND Miata, two modern, efficient, and affordable sports cars that will help us survive a bleak enthusiasts’ future of roads filled with zombie automobiles.

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Trip Notes

President Obama called in to Garrison Keillor’s last “A Prairie Home Companion” broadcast as host last summer. The first question the nearly retired Minnesotan asked the soon-to-be former president was, “Will they let you drive?”

“I’m working with the Secret Service on that,” Obama told Keillor, “perhaps on certain roads.” He’s not interested in getting stuck in urban rush-hour traffic or blasting across I-80 but perhaps cruising something more picturesque, like the Pacific Coast Highway.

We’ve got news for you, Mr. President. PCH is over. Done. If there was any chance of finding some free, open bit of PCH before you took office in 2009, that isn’t true anymore. May we suggest something a bit more open and out of the way?

2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 26

California Highway 58 essentially connects the desert town of Bakersfield with the Central Coast wine country of San Luis Obispo County, but the salient part is 17.4 miles of constantly twisting mountain road west of the small town of McKittrick. Start there, drive 18 miles or so, then turn around to enjoy the opposite direction, then make the westward drive all over again before continuing on to Santa Margarita for about 69 miles total. If the rare truck or SUV that gets in your way turns out to be a local, the driver will probably pull over to let you pass. Turns and switchbacks allow aggressive speeds, though you don’t need to get anywhere near 10/10ths in the right car, whether Miata, Spider Abarth, Subaru BRZ, Toyota 86, or even Porsche 718 Boxster/Cayman (you won’t need an S model) to have fun and improve your motoring skills.

In Santa Margarita, try The Porch Cafe for breakfast until 11:30 a.m. if you start with an eastbound run, or stop for espresso, burgers, sandwiches, salads, or wraps at the end of your drive. Tell them the AUTOMOBILE Anti-Autonomy Brigade sent you.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth side profile 02

2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth Specifications

On Sale: Now
Price: $29,190/$37,870 (base/as tested)
Engine: 1.4L turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4/164 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 184 lb-ft @ 3,200 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Layout: 2-door, 2-passenger, front-engine, RWD convertible
EPA Mileage: 26/35 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H: 159.6 x 68.5 x 48.5 in
Wheelbase: 90.9 in
Weight: 2,477 lbs
0-60 MPH: 6.8 sec. (est)
Top Speed: 140 mph (est)

2016 Mazda Miata Club Specifications

On Sale: Now
Price: $29,420/$32,820 (base/as tested)
Engine: 2.0L DOHC 16-valve I-4/155 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 148 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Layout: 2-door, 2-passenger, front-engine, RWD convertible
EPA Mileage: 27/34 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H: 154.1 x 68.3 x 48.8 in
Wheelbase: 90.9 in
Weight: 2,332 lbs
0-60 MPH: 6.0 seconds
Top Speed: 140 mph (est)

2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club side profile 03

2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club front three quarter in motion 01 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club front three quarter in motion 02 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club front three quarter in motion 03 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club rear three quarter in motion 01 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth front three quarter in motion 01 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth front three quarter in motion 02 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth front three quarter in motion 03 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth rear three quarter in motion 01 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 01 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 03 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 04 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 05 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 06 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 07 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 08 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 09 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 11 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 12 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 13 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 14 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 15 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 16 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 17 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 18 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 20 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 22 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 24 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 25 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club front three quarter in motion 05 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club front view in motion 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club side profile in motion 01 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club side profile in motion 02 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth front three quarter in motion 04 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth rear three quarter in motion 02 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth side profile in motion 01 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth side profile in motion 02 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 28 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 29 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth badge 02 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth cabin 02 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth cabin 03 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth climate control 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth engine 01 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth engine 02 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth engine detail 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth exhaust 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth front end detail 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth infotainment display screen 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth seat detail 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth sport mode 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth wheel detail 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club badge 02 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club cabin 02 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club engine 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club exhaust 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club front end 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club infotainment display screen 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club instrument panel 01 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club steering wheel and center stack 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club wheel detail 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 31 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club cargo space 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club front three quarter in motion 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club front three quarter 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club side profile 01 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club side profile 02 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth front three quarter in motion 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth side profile 01 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth side profile 03 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 31 1 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 32 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 33 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 34 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 35 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 36 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club 21 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory

Four Seasons 2016 Mazda Miata Club Specifications

Overview

  • Body style 2-door front-engine RWD convertible
  • Accommodation 2-passenger
  • Construction Steel unibody
  • Base price (with dest.) $29,420
  • As tested $32,820

Powertrain

  • Engine 16-valve DOHC I-4
  • Displacement 2.0 liters (106 cu in)
  • Power 155 hp @ 6,000 rpm
  • Torque 148 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm
  • Transmission 6-spd manual
  • Drive rear-wheel
  • EPA Fuel Economy 27/34/30 (city/hwy/combined)

Chassis

  • Steering Electrically assisted
  • Lock-to-lock 2.7 turns
  • Turning circle 38.8 ft
  • Suspension, Front control arms, coil spring
  • Suspension, Rear multilink, coil springs
  • Brakes F/R Vented front discs, solid rear discs
  • Wheels 17-inch aluminum
  • Tires F/R Bridgestone Potenza S001
  • Tire size F/R 205/45R 17

Measurements

  • Headroom 37.4 in
  • Legroom 43.1 in
  • Shoulder room 52.2 in
  • Wheelbase 90.9 in
  • Track F/R 58.9/59.17 in
  • L x W x H 154.1 x 68.3 x 48,8 in
  • Cargo capacity 4.6 cu ft
  • Weight 2,332 lb
  • Weight dist. F/R 52/48 %
  • Fuel capacity 11.9 gal
  • Est. fuel range 404 miles
  • Fuel grade 91 octane (premium)

Equipment

  • standard equipment

    • Sport suspension with Bilstein shocks, shock tower brace
    • Limited-slip differential
    • LED headlights with LED daytime running lights
    • Manual air conditioning/climate control
    • Black cloth bucket seats with red stitching and manual adjustment
    • 3-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel
    • Leather-wrapped shift knob and parking brake handle
    • Mesh-board windblocker
    • Touchscreen infotainment with rotary knob control
    • Remote keyless entry
    • Bose 9-speaker audio system
    • Bluetooth phone and audio, AUX port, CD player, USB connectivity
    • 17-inch aluminum wheels
    • Cruise control
    • Pushbutton start

Options

  • options for this vehicle:

    • Brembo/BBS Package ($3,400)
    • Brembo front brakes with red calipers
    • 17-inch forged aluminum BBS wheels
    • Advanced keyless entry
    • Aero kit: side sill extensions and rear bumper skirt
    • Ceramic Metallic paint: $0
    • Appearance package for Club ($0)
    • Front air dam
    • Rear lip spoiler

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profile 03 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory 2017 Fiat Spider Abarth vs 2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata Club Todd and Rory
2017 Mazda3 Refreshed With Visual Tweaks, G-Vectoring Control http://www.automobilemag.com/news/updated-mazda3-revealed-goes-sale-japan-first/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/updated-mazda3-revealed-goes-sale-japan-first/#respond Thu, 14 Jul 2016 15:25:12 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=967337 Mazda revealed an updated Mazda3, offered for sale in Japan now with gas, diesel, hybrid, and all-wheel drive variants. Perhaps the biggest highlight of the refresh is the addition of Mazda’s trick G-Vectoring Control, which  Mazda says will find its way across the entire lineup. In North America, the Mazda6 will be the first vehicle to...

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Mazda revealed an updated Mazda3, offered for sale in Japan now with gas, diesel, hybrid, and all-wheel drive variants. Perhaps the biggest highlight of the refresh is the addition of Mazda’s trick G-Vectoring Control, which  Mazda says will find its way across the entire lineup.

In North America, the Mazda6 will be the first vehicle to receive G-Vectoring Control. This new technology uses the car’s onboard computer to minimize steering inputs made unconsciously, correct understeer, minimize pitch and roll, improve steering precision and reduce jerkiness. The system is essentially a step forward in Mazda’s quest to make all of the cars it offers fun to drive by using the car’s computers to help you drive better.

While the exterior styling changes are subtle, they’re not so minor that you need a magnifying glass to see them. The front fascia, for instance, is slightly revised. The grille is rounded, the headlights are larger, and the lower front fascia features a more horizontal appearance. LED headlights and fog lights also look like they’ll be available on higher trim levels, at least for the U.S. The Mazda3’s rear end, however, only received minor tweaks such as a restyled lower bumper.

 

2017 Mazda3 front end three quarterMazda president and CEO Masamichi Kogai said in a press release that the automaker “is striving to become an irreplaceable presence in the lives of our customers, to create a special bond with them and to be a ‘one-and-only’ brand they will choose again and again.” He also noted that Mazda will continue to update its models with the latest innovations without timing them with a car’s redesign.

Expect the refreshed Mazda3 to be offered with the same engines as the current pre-facelift model in North America. A 155-hp 2.0-liter I-4 should be standard while a 184-hp 2.5-liter I-4 is optional. Expect a six-speed manual and automatic transmission to be offered across the entire lineup. What you shouldn’t expect is a hot-hatch Mazdaspeed variant, as Kogai-san has noted we won’t likely see one on the current generation.

2017 Mazda3 front three quarter 2017 Mazda3 rear end 2017 Mazda3 rear three quarter 2017 Mazda3 rear side 02 2017 Mazda3 side 2017 Mazda3 rear three quarter in motion 2017 Mazda3 front end 2017 Mazda3 front side 2017 Mazda3 front three quarter in motion 2017 Mazda3 rear three quarter in motion 03 2017 Mazda3 rear three quarter 02 2017 Mazda3 rear side 2017 Mazda3 interior 2017 Mazda3 interior view 2017 Mazda3 interior door handle 2017 Mazda3 interior seats 2017 Mazda3 interior 02 2017 Mazda3 gear shifter 2017 Mazda3 front interior seats 02 2017 Mazda3 front interior seats 2017 Mazda3 driver view in motion 2017 Mazda3 cockpit 2017 Mazda3 climate controls 2017 Mazda3 center stack screen 2017 Mazda3 center console 2017 Mazda3 center console gear knob 2017 Mazda3 center console 02

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http://www.automobilemag.com/news/updated-mazda3-revealed-goes-sale-japan-first/feed/ 0 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 front end three quarter 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02 2017 Mazda3 center console 02
IIHS Says All Small Crossover Headlights are Inadequate http://www.automobilemag.com/news/iihs-headlights-small-crossover-dont-cut/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/iihs-headlights-small-crossover-dont-cut/#respond Tue, 12 Jul 2016 21:01:42 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=966827 The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s new headlight safety test has revealed that not a single subcompact or compact crossover received a Good rating, and only four received Acceptable scores. Earlier this year, the IIHS tested the headlights of midsize cars and only the Toyota Prius V emerged with a Good score, which is the...

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s new headlight safety test has revealed that not a single subcompact or compact crossover received a Good rating, and only four received Acceptable scores. Earlier this year, the IIHS tested the headlights of midsize cars and only the Toyota Prius V emerged with a Good score, which is the highest possible.

According to the IIHS, the type of headlight doesn’t guarantee the best illumination. “Manufacturers aren’t paying enough attention to the actual on-road performance of this basic equipment,” said IIHS senior research engineer Matthew Brumbelow, in a release. Brumbelow believes now that automakers have a goal, they’ll be able to make improvements on their headlights quickly to meet standards. For 2017, the IIHS requires vehicles to receive a Good or Acceptable score in the headlights safety test in order to be eligible for a Top Safety Pick+ rating.

In the current crop of subcompact and compact crossovers tested, the Mazda CX-3 in Grand Touring trim with adaptive full LED headlights and high beam assist was considered the best performer of the bunch. However, the IIHS notes that on gradual left-hand curves the lamps didn’t provide adequate lighting. Other crossovers that received an Acceptable rating include the Hyundai Tucson, Honda CR-V, and the refreshed 2017 Ford Escape.

The IIHS also pointed out that the worst performing headlights were those in the Honda HR-V, which was found to have inadequate illumination on curves and on straight roads for both low and high beams. Vehicles that offer multiple types of headlights are rated differently, and in the case of the Hyundai Tucson, the Limited trim without the optional adaptive HID headlights earns the Acceptable rating while the rest of the lineup is rated Poor.

Excessive glare was the reason why three of the 17 crossovers tested missed out on an Acceptable rating. “Glare issues are usually a result of poorly aimed headlights,” according to Brumbelor who believes the headlights in crossovers and SUVs should be aimed lower since they’re positioned higher than car headlights. He also notes that many crossovers and SUVs they’ve tested have headlights that are aimed higher.

Testing for headlight performance occurs at night at the IIHS’ Vehicle Research Center’s track where special devices are utilized to measure the distance of light projection while a car is being driven. Five approaches are used: travelling straight, a sharp left curve, sharp right curve, gradual left curve, and gradual right curve. Evaluators also measure glare during testing for each of the five scenarios. In the event that a car’s headlights produce too much glare, it can’t score higher than a Marginal rating. High beam assist, on the other hand, can earn a vehicle bonus credit.

Here is the scoring breakdown among subcompact and compact crossovers tested by the IIHS for headlight safety:

Acceptable: 2017 Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, and Mazda CX-3

Marginal: BMW X1, Mazda CX-5, Mitsubishi Outlander, Toyota RAV4, and Volkswagen Tiguan

Poor: Audi Q3, Buick Encore, Chevrolet Trax, Fiat 500X, Honda HR-V, Jeep Patriot, Jeep Renegade, Jeep Wrangler, 2017 Kia Sportage, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Nissan Rogue, and Subaru Forester.

2017 Kia Sportage SX Turbo front three quarter 01 2015 Jeep Renegade Latitude front end 1 2015 Volkswagen Tiguan front three quarters in motion 2014 nissan rogue front three quarter motion 2015 Buick Encore front three quarter in motion 02 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid MT homepage 2016 Fiat 500X front three quarter 2016 Subaru Forester front three quarters 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander front three quarter 02 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport front three quarter static1 2016 Audi Q3 front three quarter in motion 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited front three quarter2 2012 Jeep Patriot front three quarter 2016 Mazda CX 3 front three quarter1 2017 Ford Escape Titanium front three quarters 2016 Honda CR V front three quarter in motion 04 2016 Chevrolet Trax front three quarters 03 2016 Mazda CX 5 front three quarters in motion 04 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i promo1

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http://www.automobilemag.com/news/iihs-headlights-small-crossover-dont-cut/feed/ 0 IIHS: The Headlights on Your Small Crossover Don’t Cut it - Automobile The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s new headlight safety test has revealed that not a single subcompact or compact crossover received a Good rating, and only four received Acceptable scores. Earlier this year, the IIHS tested the headlights of midsize cars and only the Toyota Prius V emerge IIHS 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i promo1 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i promo1 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i promo1 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i promo1 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i promo1 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i promo1 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i promo1 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i promo1 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i promo1 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i promo1 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i promo1 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i promo1 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i promo1 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i promo1 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i promo1 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i promo1 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i promo1 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i promo1 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i promo1