AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Previewing the next-generation Mazda2, Mazda has unveiled its Hazumi concept today the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.
Color Me Surprised
Automakers have come a long way from the days of Henry Ford’s Model T. While many colors were available over the “Tin Lizzy’s” long production run, this rugged and bare-bones vehicle was only offered in black for many years. Talk about choice!
Today, car manufacturers offer more hues than there are colors of the rainbow. But that’s not all. Depending on the product, customers can get shimmering metal flake or even special pearlescent paint jobs that seem to change color under different lighting conditions.
Spurning the basics like black, white and beige, even mass-market companies are offering buyers ever more assaulting hues. These days you don’t have to pony up the cash for a Lamborghini to drive something bright. Here are the Top 10 Craziest Paint Colors Available Today.
Each week, we recap the most popular videos from AutoGuide‘s YouTube channel just in case all seven days passed you by and you missed out.
Affordable and Practical
When it comes to the most affordable hatchback, there’s quite a few options out there. Unlike the Honda GEAR concept pictured above (which could preview a new affordable subcompact for the Japanese brand) all the cars on this list are easily attainable, and are competitively priced. Our top ten is seperated by a slim $4,000 margin from cheapest to most expensive. Check out the whole list, and see which cheap hatchback is the right choice for you!
Five-Point Inspection: 2013 Mazda2
Over the last five years, the battle of the subcompacts has been heating up in North America, and it now features no less than seven competitors, including the Mazda2.
Starting at $14,720, the 2 substitutes some features compared to its competitors, in favor of staying cheap. Fully loaded with an automatic transmission, and the Mazda2 ends up at $17,050.
Offering a fun to drive frame, and some bubbly design features, does the 2 stack up to its competitors?
Read on the find out.
10. Mazda2: 1.5L (1498 cc)
The motors in these vehicles don’t pack much power, or torque, and are all aimed to use the least amount of fuel. These cars are all ranked in order, right down to the cubic centimeter from most displacement, to least, so take a look below, to see the list of smallest engines available today.
The subcompact Mazda2 is the first on our list, with the biggest engine here. Thanks to its 1498cc four-cylinder engine, the Mazda2 makes 100-hp at 6000 rpm. Of course, that’s not much but what else do you need in a 2300-lb city car? The Mazda2 starts at $14,530 which isn’t too much for a car that gets 29/35 mpg city/highway with the manual or 28/34 mpg city/highway with the auto.
Mazda has been having some financial troubles recently and need something new to help them recover. The company hopes that this savior is a mini sized CX-5 (shown above) SUV offering. A miniature CX-5 is now under development, a Mazda insider told car advice, and is looking to capitalize on the current boom in small SUV sales.
The pint sized CX-5 will likely be called the CX-3, and will aim to take on the Ford Ecosport and the Opel Mokka on the global markets.“It is common sense [to build it]. We have to develop this vehicle, whether we call it CX-2, CX-3 or CX-4,” said a Mazda spokesperson. The CX-3 will share its platform with the Mazda2 city car.
The baby Mazda will be designed primarily for the European market, although Americans have shown that there is a demand for this type of vehicles on our shores as well. “We are now developing a more compact SUV [than the CX-5] – more for Europe and we must imagine emerging markets … Eastern Europe, South America, India,” said Mazda. The CX-3 may make its way to the US, but it will start its sales in Europe.
A small company like Mazda needs to be very pro-active in its vehicle market placement, and because of its recent economic downturn, there is no margin for error on this newest small SUV venture.
After its fourth straight year resulting in a net loss, Mazda is now looking for partners to help bolster their capital.
Mazda has had a net loss $1.29 billion this fiscal year, and is now actively seeking any way possible to help out with its uncertain financial future. This is the worst slide Mazda has been in since 2001, when it showed a $2.0 billion net loss.
Mazda’s struggles come thanks to the strength of the Yen. Since Mazda exports such a large percentage of its cars from Japan, it’s becoming more and more difficult for the automaker to reap the benefits from the sale of those vehicles.
In response, Mazda is setting up a factory in Mexico to build the new Mazda2 and Mazda3 for the U.S and Latin American markets.
Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi has stated that he must raise capital and is “considering every option” when it comes to getting money for Mazda.
Yamanouchi is looking to gain the interest of other car makers with their environmentally friendly technology such as Skyactiv engine’s.
One of numerous Mazdas on display at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon, the Demio (sold as the Mazda2 in North America) Smart Stylish, delivers as promised with a classy look that adds some luxury appeal to this sub-compact.
Based on the new ultra-efficient Skyactiv 1.3-liter model, the Smart Stylish gets a complete aerodynamic overhaul, with new front and rear bumpers as well as side skits and some large BBS wheels. Bringing the package together is a lowered suspension.
GALLERY: Mazda Demio Smart Stylish
Although it’s providing a fleet of some 100 Demio (Mazda2) all-electric vehicles to select lease customers in Japan (see above), Mazda doesn’t currently offer any other EV passenger vehicles.
However, that may soon change, as Chief Engineer Mitsuru Fujinaka has said the Hiroshima based automaker is looking to get regulartory approval so it can eventually offer EVs for sale in the United States, particularly California. “Sooner or later we will have these electric vehicles,” he said. “At least by 2018 though we will try to do it earlier.”
The JDM Mazda Demio models currently under test, sport a 70 kW electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack that adds approximately 220 lbs in extra weight. Fujinaka says the goal was to offer a zero tailpipe emisisons vehicle that delivered comparable performance to the regular 1.5-liter gas engined Demio and thanks to instant torque (equivalent of some 148 lb-ft), the electric version can scoot from 0-62 mph in less than 10.7 seconds and reach speeds of 87 mph. Range maxes out at approximately 125 miles.
Although the current Demio (Mazda2) EV likely won’t be sold in export markets, there’s a good chance that similar size successors could be. If and when that happens, it’ll be interesting to see both Mazda’s pricing strategy and rollout program, particularly here in the US.
MINI has announced that they will be entering the B-Spec racing class in 2012, with MINI of Charleston, a franchise owned by Hendrick Automotive Group.
The B-Spec car will be a base Mini Cooper Hardtop with a 1.6L 121-horsepower engine. The car will weigh 2,535 lbs and KW Variant 1 coilovers, upgraded brake pads and lines and a full roll cage system. The MINI will go up against the Honda Fit, Mazda2, Fiat 500 and other subcompact cars when racing begins next year.