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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.
Cross-Country in a Roadster
At AutoGuide we love road trips. Any chance there is to drive somewhere instead of walk/fly/boat, we take it.
I may be the guiltiest party here. Aside from my yearly adventures with the charity organization Rally North America, I’ll take any opportunity to get behind the wheel and drive.
Yesterday we took eight fun-to-drive performance vehicles under $30,000 and put them through their paces on the street.
After much deliberation, we chose the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST as the king of the street. Despite a somewhat harsh ride, nothing else matches the raw, hilariously fun driving experience behind the wheel.
Day One: Street Test
Sporty cars are not dead. Rumors of their demise are premature. Thrill-packed machinery litters the automotive landscape, available to suit nearly every budget.
When it comes to motoring fun, one of the most intriguing segments is the under $30,000 price bracket, where several enticing choices can be found in a variety of shapes and sizes.
The Beginning of a Legend
In 1990 Mazda introduced a back-to-basics sports car. Utilizing the same philosophy as British roadsters did in the 1950s and 1960s; the MX-5 Miata was a lightweight, front engine roadster that offered moderate power, a well-balanced chassis and top down motoring fun.
The Mazda MX-5 Miata turns 25 this year. So does the car Road Test Editor Mike Schlee calls his daily driver. A few years back he purchased a first year Miata. Far from leading a pampered life, it’s lived a hard 25 years and seen more miles than any sports car should. In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Miata’s introduction, here is Mike’s story of how we came across his car and what it’s like after all these years.
My dad was coming over one warm spring Saturday morning to help with our latest home improvement project. Having arrived in town a bit early, he decided to indulge in one of his favorite pastimes, perusing yard sales.
Mazda’s severed ties with Ford and recent shift to a single, scalable platform have birthed a series of noteworthy products, but there’s one major question mark left in the company’s portfolio.
It still isn’t clear what Mazda plans to do for either of its performance nameplates. Information on the next MX-5 is still scarce, but a new report suggests Mazda plans for its new roadster to weight in 220 lbs lighter than the current car.
That’s significant considering the current car only weighs 2,447 lbs when equipped with the soft top and a manual transmission. Both the convertible hard top and the automatic transmission add weight.
SEE ALSO: 2015 Mazda MX-5 to Get 1.3L Turbo
Mazda will partner with Fiat to build the car, which will lead to both a new MX-5 and a new Spider for Alfa Romeo. While Mazda hasn’t made details about the car availble, past speculation suggests the car will be powered by a turbocharged 1.3-liter four cylinder rather than the 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four it uses today. That, at least in part, could help account for the weight savings.
[Source: Automotive News]
Discuss this story at MazdaWorld.org
AutoGuide Five-Point Inspection
Winter: the perfect time to test crossovers, snow tires and convertibles, right? Well, maybe not that last one, but anyone who wants to buy a convertible, like this 2013 Mazda MX-5, should know how it fares in all four seasons, not just in drop-top temperatures.
Rumors have been brewing on the 2014 Mazda MX-5 for some time now. What we do know from last year, is that the Japanese automaker plans on going back to the basics, lightening the weight, and throwing in a more potent powerplant.
It appears that Mazda still hasn’t settled on which engine will make its way into the next-generation MX-5. Apparently a naturally aspirated 1.5L four-cylinder with Skyactiv technology didn’t cut it, and neither did a version of their current 2.0L four-cylinder. The 1.5L didn’t meet Mazda’s performance requirements while the 2.0L didn’t have the fuel efficiency they wanted in the new MX-5.
So a compromise could come in the form of a 1.8L Skyactiv four-cylinder, or either a 1.3L or 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder. Back in December of last year, we reported that the front-runner for the MX-5 would be a 1.3L turbo, but it appears a final decision still hasn’t been made.
Regardless, the automaker plans on having around 150-hp and a 10-percent increase in fuel economy compared to the current MX-5 which has 22/28 city/highway mpg. Combine that with the fact that their weight goal is 2,200 lbs and the next-generation MX-5 should be loads of fun.
Mazda hopes to keep the 2014 Mazda MX-5 priced under $25,000.
[Source: Road & Track]
The highlight on Mazda’s stand will be the MX-5 NR-A ‘Jimba-Ittai’ (translates to: rider and horse as one) track special. Apart from the funky paint schemes, the MX-5 NR-A will feature 16-inch Enkei alloy rims with Bridgestone tires, 20-mm lower height, Endless brake pads and Takata four-point racing harness, among some other changes.
Sharing the stage with the MX-5 NR-A (not to be confused with the National Rifle Association) will be a special edition CX-5 crossover, the RX-8 Spirit R, which is the final version of this sports coupe, and the MX-5 Black-Tuned, which is a regular MX-5 with some black color features, such as its special BBS rims. Oh, and it also features some rather green seats.
The Tokyo Auto Salon will be held in the city of Chiba from January 13 to 15.
GALLERY: Mazda Auto Salon Preview
To go with the supposed 1.3L turbocharged powerplant the next-generation MX-5 will be getting, Mazda‘s MX-5 development boss Hirotaka Kanazawa also revealed that the 2014 MX-5 will go to a back-to-basics approach towards being a fun sportscar, just like the 1989 original model.
“We will return to the original. It will be lightweight and the cost will be lightweight too. It will be easy to handle and fun to drive,” he said in an interview with What Car?
The next-generation convertible will also utilize Mazda’s new Skyactiv technologies and as we reported before, it’ll shed some weight – though now it’s a more believable figure of 2,200-lbs. Originally Mazda hoped to get it around 1,780-lbs but now it appears that the next-generation MX5 will be more in line of the original which weight 2,178-lbs.
Mazda is also exploring the idea of multiple models in order to appease all the MX-5 enthusiasts out there. Whether they want power or comfort, they’ll be able to make a choice rather than being alienated. Design boss Ikuo Maeda also hinted that the company’s new Kodo design language could find its way onto the MX-5′s design.
[Source: What Car?]
A while back, we reported that the next-generation Mazda MX-5 would be going on a major diet and could be powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged powerplant rather than the 1.8L or 2.0L naturally aspirated motor used today. Now reports are coming in that the new MX-5 will likely sport a 1.3L turbocharged four-cylinder, with Mazda’s SkyActive technology.
Scheduled to be released sometime in 2014, the 1.3L turbocharged motor will feature variable cam phasing, lighter, low-friction reciprocating parts and possibly a new exhaust manifold to achieve better exhaust gas evacuation. Mazda is also looking to lighten the load in the transmission as well as reducing the friction in order to make each shift short and snappy on the manual. For the automatic fanatics, Mazda will probably offer a paddle-shift, torque-converter auto with a lock-up clutch.
The next generation MX-5 has been confirmed to be built on a new rear-wheel-drive SkyActive platform called the S-platform, and Mazda engineers continue to work towards their goal of making the sports car weigh in at a scant 1,765-lbs or so.
Reports are coming in that Mazda is planning to overhaul four of its existing models by 2014. The four models up for redesigns are the Mazda3, Mazda6, MX-5 and CX-9. We’ve already seen the new patent drawings for the upcoming MX-5 refresh, which will hopefully come in 2013 along with a new Mazda3 and CX-9.
The big news, however, is an all-new Mazda6 that is expected to be introduced before the end of next year. There’s a strong possibility that the new Mazda6 will resemble the Takeri Concept. All of the upcoming new Mazdas will sport Skyactiv technologies and ride on lightweight platforms that are being developed in-house at Mazda.
Mazda also stated that they have plans to add stop-start, regenerative braking and hybrid technologies to their models by 2016.
GALLERY: Mazda Takeri Concept