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” »

Mazda Minagi concept car uncovered before Geneva debut

January 19th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Like so many concept cars the Mazda Minagi may never see production but that doesn’t mean it’s not an important machine for the Japanese carmaker. The Minagi design will likely influence many of Mazda’s next-generation of production cars and one look at the front shows that Mazda’s new ‘Shinari’ design language is already in full bloom.

If the Minagi is produced, it will be positioned below the CX-7 within Mazda’s lineup. In fact, test mules for this new small CUV have already been spotted testing. Provisionally called the CX-5, Mazda is showing genuine intent to build a smaller crossover machine.

Little else is known about the Minagi concept vehicle at this stage but official information is expected to be released leading up to the Geneva Motor Show in March. Continue reading “Mazda Minagi concept car uncovered before Geneva debut” »

New 2012 Mazda BT-50 to have Dynamic Stability Control

December 17th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Mazda has just announced that the all-new 2012 BT-50 ute will be fitted with its own brand of stability and traction control technology – Dynamic Stability Control (DSC).

Mazda’s DSC system is already included as standard fare across the company’s passenger car range, but hasn’t been offered with the 2010 BT-50. The current model BT-50 does have Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, which increases stopping power while maintaining control of the vehicle.

Expected for sale in New Zealand at the end of next year, the next-gen BT-50 is currently undergoing testing in Australia, including calibration of the new DSC system.

“If you consider how the new BT-50 is likely to be used, it becomes clear just how many situations have to be taken into account to ensure that the Dynamic Stability Control system meets the needs of each and every driver,” Mazda Australia Engineering and Compliance Manager, Wayne Watson said.

“Mazda engineers have spent months calibrating and fine tuning the Dynamic Stability Control system to ensure maximum safety and durability.”

Check back for more news on the new Mazda BT-50 as it becomes available. Continue reading “New 2012 Mazda BT-50 to have Dynamic Stability Control” »

Mazda releases fresh images of 2011 BT-50 ute

December 8th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Over the ditch, Mazda Australia has just released a swag of new images for its upcoming 2011 BT-50. Unfortunately the Japanese carmaker is staying tight-lipped on the details like powertrain options and performance figures and an official launch date in NZ or Australia is yet to be announced.

The new BT-50 was officially unveiled a couple of months back at the Australian International Motor Show to a mixed reception with opinion polarized by the ute’s radical exterior styling. The production debut is expected sometime next year with both single and dual-cab variants in cab chassis and veilside configurations.

Despite the secrecy Mazda has revealed that production for the new BT-50 will begin in June 2011 and the range is expected to be diesel only. Mazda’s will be launching both its Sky-G petrol and Sky-D diesel engines in 2011, making it very likely the new BT-50 will be powered by the new Sky-D diesel engine.

Check out the new images of Mazda’s BT-50 in the gallery below. Continue reading “Mazda releases fresh images of 2011 BT-50 ute” »

Mazda getting formula right for next-gen rotary RX-9

November 8th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

More info is slowly leaking out about Mazda’s much speculated work on a rotary-powered successor to the old RX-7 and the current RX-8. Like usual, nothing has been officially confirmed but the new machine in development is believed to carry the RX-9 nameplate. It is also expected to ditch the the innovative but odd four-door layout of the current RX-8, and will make use of a reworked platfrom from the current model MX-5 roadster. But what all you rotor heads out there really want to know about is the new engine.

Called, at this stage, the 16X project, the new Renesis rotary engine is expected to grow in size considerably over the RX-8’s and come packing around 230kW — that’s significantly more power to play with than the 173kW that exists in the current car. But it’s not getting big power from the engine that is the tricky part, Mazda is hard at work keeping the engine as clean and efficient as possible. This is a necessity in these environmentally-friendly times, particularly as the current RX-8’s high fuel and oil consumption have driven it out of some markets already.

Stay tuned as we bring you more updates on Mazda’s progress in keeping the rotary engine alive.

Mazda teases new BT-50 ute interior before Sydney debut

October 5th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Leading up to Mazda’s all-new BT-50’s launch that will take place at next week’s 2010 Australian International Motor Show in Sydney, a second teaser sketch has been released. This time, it’s the interior design of the new ute that we get a look at.

From the sketch, the cockpit looks more like a sports car than a utility vehicle,  featuring a modern design with a wrap-around dashboard layout and a ringed instrument panel with two prominent and deeply set gauges.

Mazda has said this about the new BT-50’s cabin: “The interior of the All-New Mazda BT-50 has been designed to complement its athletic and refined exterior design and offers a comfortable and sporty environment to rival Mazda’s current passenger car standard.”

The model was designed in partnership with Ford and its sister model the Ranger. The BT-50 will be both wider and longer than the current model, providing greater stability thanks to its wider track. Interior space will also benefit, with the rear seats likely to prove more spacious.

Mazda has revealed little in the way of technical details for the new BT-50, so far, although the new model is sure to be offered in dual-cab and king-cab form. The two companies recently announced plans to invest US$350 million in the AutoAlliance (AAT) plant in Thailand which will handle production of the BT-50.

The BT-50 will be joined in Sydney by its Ford brother, the new 2011 Ranger. Both utes are scheduled to go on sale globally in the second quarter of 2011.

Click here to read a Car and SUV review of the current model BT-50.

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