Archive for the ‘Mazda’ Category

2013 Los Angeles Auto Show Day One #LAAutoShow

Posted: November 20, 2013 in Acura, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Automobile Manufacturers, Bentley, BMW, Cadillac, Car Shows, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, Infiniti, Jaguar, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Jeep, Lamborghini, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Los Angeles Specific Issues, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Ram, Range Rover, Volkswagen, Volvo
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The Campagna T-Rex. These three-wheeled wonders are from Canada and are very expensive - $60 - 70,000. I have it direct from an owner that they are fun beyond belief. Nice toy if you can afford one!

The Campagna T-Rex. These three-wheeled wonders are from Canada and are very expensive – $60 – 70,000. I have it direct from an owner that they are fun beyond belief. Nice toy if you can afford one!

LAAutoShow Day 1 005 Porsche 911 Turbo S Rear

All new, if you can afford it, is the Porsche 911 Turbo and Turbo S. Available in both coupe and cabriolet form. When you choose options, it’s usually in $10,000 increments.

LAAutoShow Day 1 006 Porsche 911 Turbo S int

The interior of the Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet. Red leather is my favorite interior for just about any sports car.

LAAutoShow Day 1 007 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet

This is the “lesser” 911 Turbo Cabriolet. It’s missing the S, but I’d still love it and give it shelter.

LAAutoShow Day 1 013 Porsche 918 Spyder rear

This is the production Porsche 918 Spyder. There is NO BAD ANGLE on this fantastic super hybrid.

LAAutoShow Day 1 014 Porsche 918 Spyder Int

The interior of Porsche’s 918 Spyder Hybrid is just as futuristic as the exterior. I’m sure Jay Leno already has one.

LAAutoShow Day 1 016 Lincoln MKC front

This is the all-new Lincoln MKC (C for crossover, compact). It’s based on the Ford Edge, but with lots of upgrades and changes. It’s not just a badge-engineering job. I think it’s handsome and will find some traction in the very big compact SUV/CUV market.

LAAutoShow Day 1 017 Lincoln MKC rear

The rear doesn’t work as well for me. The MKC kind of has a fat ass and the “signature” taillights that sweep across the whole rear just make it look larger.

LAAutoShow Day 1 022 Lincoln MKC int

The interior of the Lincoln MKC is more successful. With a combination of MyLincoln Touch and physical buttons and knobs, this is the direction Ford and Lincoln are taking to try and appease pissed-off consumers who hate the touch controls.

LAAutoShow Day 1 024 Ford Transit Connect Titanium Wagon Cross Country by LGE CTS Motorsports (2014)

I think the new 2014 Ford Transit Connect family of wagons and utility vans will find many new customers as it comes in different sizes with much more car-like interiors.

LAAutoShow Day 1 029 Ford Edge Concept front

This Ford Edge Concept is very close to the upcoming production 2015 Edge Crossover. I like the bold look.

LAAutoShow Day 1 030 Ford Edge Concept

That’s quite the in-your-face grille, isn’t it? The 2015 Ford Edge Concept

LAAutoShow Day 1 031 2014 Ford Focus ST

The lighting just doesn’t do justice to this neon yellow 2014 Ford Focus ST. It’s really quite arresting – and you might get arrested driving far too fast in it.

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Have you seen the all-new 2014 Mazda 6? If you haven’t you really should. The new 6’s “Kodo” design language instantly vaults it from a forgotten mid-size family sedan to a flashy alternative to the likes of the ho-hum Big Three from Japan – the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima.

The 2014 Mazda 6 in Soul Red (its signature color, according to Mazda).

The 2014 Mazda 6 in Soul Red (its signature color, according to Mazda).

Previously joined at the hip with Ford (Ford owned 1/3 of Mazda), the last-generation Mazda 6 was based on the Ford Fusion. Both were rather unremarkable and, by all accounts, the lucrative mid-size market had passed over Mazda.  In 2012, for every Mazda 6 sold, Toyota sold 12 Camrys and Honda sold 10 Accords.

Introduced for the 2013 model year, the Fusion represented a quantum leap forward in styling for mid-size, mid-price family sedans. This is a 2014 Fusion.

Introduced for the 2013 model year, the Fusion represented a quantum leap forward in styling for mid-size, mid-price family sedans. This is a 2014 Fusion.

Last year, Ford shook up the mid-size family sedan segment with its sensational 2013 Fusion. Sporting an Aston-Martin inspired nose and swoopy 4-door “coupe” styling, the Fusion instantly vaulted Ford into mainstream consciousness. Great styling can sell a car without spending a dollar on marketing.

While the rear of the 6 looks similar to other Japanese sedans, it manages to be distinctive with all those creases and curves.

While the rear of the 6 looks similar to other Japanese sedans, it manages to be distinctive with all those creases and curves.

Together with the new Fusion, the 2014 Mazda 6 represents a new paradigm in what was once the blandest segment of the automotive industry: The mid-size family sedan. The corporate fleet car. The airport rental.

The 2014 Mazda 6 in Blue Reflex

The 2014 Mazda 6 in Blue Reflex

Left to its own devices, without the development dollars or meddling influences of outside managers, Mazda’s engineers cooked up the company’s SkyActiv smorgasbord of technologies to create a complete automotive banquet.

The umbrella term “SKYACTIV” (I hate the all-caps) includes the use of ultra-high tensile steel, lighter and stronger wheels, direct gas injection, high compression, lower-friction materials, i-Eloop (yeah, another loopy name) regenerative braking and the new SkyActiv-Drive 6-speed automatic transmission with faster shifts, lower friction and smarter software.

Mazda's 2.5L SKYACTIV-G engine.

Mazda’s 2.5L SKYACTIV-G engine.

All you really need to know is that it works in perfect harmony.  The new 2.5L 4-cylinder Sky-G direct-injected gas engine makes 184 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque. (It’s also the only engine currently available.) Coupled with the 6-speed SkyDrive automatic, the Mazda 6 is rated at 38 mpg on the highway (26/30/38). If you opt for the Grand Touring model with the Technology Package (that includes i-Eloop regenerative braking), all the fuel economy numbers are pushed up by 2 mpg, which allows the Mazda 6 coveted 40 mpg bragging rights.

The styling is muscular and sleek, like a cheetah waiting to pounce. The designers used some slick tricks to make the hood look longer – like a rear-drive car. The roof slopes in like those far more expensive 4-door coupe models such as the Volkswagen CC or the Mercedes-Benz CLS. The taut metal is creased and molded with evocative purpose under Mazda’s Kodo design theme – which Mazda says loosely translates to “Soul of Motion” to showcase the “graceful movement of nature.” Yeah, I can see eyes rolling now.

If you skip all the designer hyper-babble and just step back and enjoy the view, you know it all works beautifully. This great design starts at $21,000 – proving that mass market, mass segment transportation doesn’t have to a boring appliance.

Mazda only has two choices for the interior: Somber Black or Bright Almond (which looks white) . Something in between like grey or tan/saddle would be nice.

Mazda only has two choices for the interior: Somber Black or Bright Almond (which looks white) . Something in between like grey or tan/saddle would be nice.

The Mazda 6 feels and drives lighter than other mid-size sedans. The new electric power steering was light, but communicative and you could easily toss it into curves and turns. The leather-wrapped steering wheel felt great in my hands.

The chassis seemed tight but flexible. It was able to soak up road imperfections with ease and without fluster. I didn’t feel punished like I do when driving a BMW with its rock-hard run-flat tires.

I don’t love everything about the new 6. I found the engine a bit lacking in low-end torque and it had to be pushed hard to move quickly. A turbo would perk up this excellent engine and I’m sure Mazda engineers are working on one (even if they say they aren’t).

Inside, some of the plastics felt cheap, particularly in the base model. The 5.8” full-color touch-screen infotainment and navigation screen worked well, but felt small compared to the 8” MyFord Touch unit in the Ford Fusion or the 8.4” U-Connect screen in my Dodge Charger.

This is the "Almond" interior. It looks off-white in person and while I like it, I think it would show dirt quickly.

This is the “Almond” interior. It looks off-white in person and while I like it, I think it would show dirt quickly.

There were lots of dead buttons and I hate that. Of course the answer to this problem is to pop for the top-of-the-line Grand Touring (GT) model with all the option boxes ticked. Then there are no dead buttons to remind you that something was missing.

I think that the $30,490 GT with the $2,080 Technology package is a real bargain, considering the raft of cool tech all bundled together. In fact, for many years now, Mazda has led the way in loading expensive luxury technology into affordable mainstream products like its volume-leader Mazda 3.

The list of useful, affordable high-tech features is long and impressive:

  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with premium finish
  • 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar adjustment and memory settings
  • 4-way power-adjustable passenger’s seat
  • Dual power side mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators
  • Power windows with driver’s one-touch-down/up feature
  • Tilt and telescopic steering wheel (manual)
  • Steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls
  • Advanced front air bags, front side-impact air bags and side-impact air curtains
  • Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)** & Traction Control System (TCS)
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink
  • Auto-dimming driver’s side mirror
  • Rear seat heat and A/C vents
  • Blind Spot Monitoring System
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Hill launch assist
  • Bluetooth® hands-free phone and audio streaming
  • 5.8″ full-color touch-screen display
  • Back-up camera
  • HD Radio
  • Pandora Internet radio
  • SMS text message audio delivery and reply
  • Power sliding glass moonroof
  • Bi-Xenon headlights with auto on/off
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Auto rain-sensing wipers
  • Steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters
  • Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry with push-button start
  • Navigation system with real-time traffic updates
  • Heated front seats
  • Leather-trimmed seats
  • Bose® Centerpoint® Surround Sound Audio System with 11 speakers (including subwoofer)
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio with 4-month trial subscription to the Sirius Select Package
  • Smart City Brake Support
  • Advanced Technology Package (Grand Touring trim level) $2,080:
  •      Radar Cruise Control
  •      Forward Obstruction Warning
  •      I-Eloop regenerative braking system with capacitor storage
  •      Lane departure warning
  •      Automatic high beams
  • Remote Engine Start – $575
  • Rear Parking Sensors – $475

There are only a couple of things I’d like to see on this list. Cooled front seats would be nice, particular in warmer climates like we have in Los Angeles. All four windows should be one-touch up/down – it costs nearly pennies.  A thinner smart key would be better for pants pockets.

Do I want it? No, but that’s just me. I’m waiting for a different power plant. Before the end of 2013, Mazda will introduce its first diesel engine in the U.S. market. The all-new SkyActiv-D is reported to be a gem, boasting the world’s lowest-compression ratio. The low compression ratio cuts emissions enough to eliminate the need for expensive exhaust treatments and it meets both European and U.S. standards.

The 2.2 liter engine gets a two-stage turbocharging system with a small turbine that boosts low-end torque while a larger turbo increases high-end horsepower.  It should produce around 173 hp and a whopping 310 lb-ft of torque. The diesel should deliver stellar mpg. Car and Driver reported an estimated highway 43 mpg while Popular Science predicted 56 highway mpg.  With the 6’s 16.4 gallon tank, it could have a hybrid-busting 700+ mile cruising range. That’s what I want!