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14. Acura ZDX
As 2012 winds to an end, AutoGuide looks back at all the vehicles that received the axe this year, some that will be missed, while others surely won’t be.
Starting it off is the Acura ZDX, a crossover that had a very tough time breaking into the market. Priced at around $51,815 including delivery, the ZDX was hardly a hot seller for the Japanese automaker, and it’s clear that Acura can’t wait to move forward from it.
There’s a pretty common stereotype that if it’s an American-built pickup, it’s nice and strong. Not only is it built to last, but it’s built to withstand any major accidents and safely protect its occupants.
The new Mazda CX-5 will replace the CX-7, at least in the American market according to Mazda USA. Even though the CX-5 is slightly smaller than the outgoing CX-7, it has more cargo capacity and overall interior volume.
“[The] CX-5 has a clearer competitive set, unlike CX-7, which was in the middle of two segments,” said Mazda product communications specialist Beverly Braga.
The new CX-5 also sports Mazda’s new 2.0-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder engine (155-hp) that has much better fuel economy than the 2.5L four-cylinder (161-hp) found in the CX-7. The CX-5 boasts 26/32 mpg city/highway compared to the CX-7′s 20/28 mpg city/highway. In 2007, CX-7 sales peaked at 41,653 units but in 2009 the Japanese automaker only sold 20,583. Updates were scarce through the vehicle’s production, with a front-end redesign being the only major change.
The CX-7 will be discontinued in America after the current 2012 model year as the company plans to refocus its goals to better compete with Honda and Ford.
[Source: Motor Trend]
10. Mini Cooper S Clubman
Cars can be bad for your health, and we’re not just talking about tailpipe emissions. The Ecology Center has published a list of the least and worst toxic vehicles from 2011-2012 after testing 205 different models with the aid of an x-ray fluorescence analyzer.
The tests consisted of scanning interior components such as the seats, dashboard, carpets, headliner, and door trim, and identifying the elements in each material. Based on the size of the item and the amount of contact a person would have with it, the numbers were crunched and the car given a score from a scale of 1-5, with a low score showing the chemicals being tested for weren’t detected, while a 5 would indicate high levels of the chemicals were detected.
Items commonly found in car components include elements like bromine, chlorine, antimony, mercury and lead.
Coming in as the 10th worst pick is the MINI Cooper S Clubman with an overall score of 2.84. The Cooper S Clubman is the MINI for those that wish to have a little more room than the standard Coopers. The Clubman is 9.4 inches longer overall than the standard MINI with a 3.2-inch longer wheelbase.
Mazda is planning to close down their assembly plants again, while stopping orders from dealers in the United States for their made-in-Japan vehicles.
The Mazda2, Mazda3, Mazda5, MX-5, RX-8, CX-7, CX-9 are all affected. Only the Mazda6 and Tribute will remain in production at their American plants, although the situation could change in light of the parts suppliers affected by the earthquake. As of March 1st, the company had a 94-day supply of vehicles, but the automaker declined to comment on specifics.
In 2010, imported cars accounted for 83 percent of Mazda sales, a much higher number than other Japanese automakers, who build a significant proportion of their cars in North American plants. Mazda’s factories in Japan are located in Hiroshima and Hofu, at the opposite end of the country from where an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear incident are taking place.
[Source: Automotive News]
Mazda will resume production of vehicles on March 22nd, an encouraging sign for the Japanese auto industry as it battles a catastrophic series of events that has seen most automakers in the country suspend production.
With Mazda based in Hiroshima, hundreds of miles away from the earthquake, tsunami and on-going nuclear incidents, the company has fared better than other car companies, Mazda said it will resume production on March 22nd, with a focus on spare parts and vehicles using “in process” inventories. Mazda said that it will announced medium and long-term production in the near future, but is unable to decide at this point in time.
[Source: Left Lane News]
The results are in and a host of new SUVs have made the cut. Joining the list for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick Award recipients are the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the 2011 Kia Sorento, and the 2010 Toyota Highlander and Venza.
It takes a sturdy vehicle to become an IIHS Top Safety Pick. To drive off with one, a vehicle must earn Good ratings in front- and side-impact tests, as well as head restraint design for rear crash protection, and roof strength. As well, it has to come standard with electronic stability control. Vehicles are rated on a scale of Good, Acceptable, Marginal, and Poor.
Roof-strength is the most difficult test to pass, and the SUVs tested at this time demonstrated a roof strength-to-weight ratio of 4-to-1 or greater (meaning roofs held up under more than four times the vehicle’s weight before the top is compressed five inches). Some examples of outcomes for this test: the Toyota Highlander roof withstood a force equal to 4.74 times its vehicle weight, while the Toyota Venza’s roof withstood 4.70 times its vehicle weight.
Some SUVs that didn’t make the cut were the Ford Edge, Honda Accord Crosstour, Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-7, Mitsubishi Endeavor, and Nissan Murano. The Edge earned an Acceptable roof-strength rating, while rest were rated Marginal.
The IIHS is an independent non-profit research and communications organization funded by auto insurance companies.
[Source: Consumer Reports]