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MAZDA

Mazda's new CX-9 downsizes the engine but keeps the 'Zoom-Zoom' intact

The bad news is that you can no longer get a V6 engine in Mazda's biggest SUV. The good news is that you may not care.

I must admit that I was worried when I heard that Mazda was dumping the V6. I liked the old CX-9 a lot - I have yet to drive a Mazda I didn't like - and I was concerned that trimming it down to a turbocharged four cylinder engine would lead to a vehicle that wouldn't be as much fun to drive. But I needed have worried! After spending a week in the new CX-9, I commend Mazda for their choice because the new CX-9 loses nothing important in the way of performance, yet it shed weight and undoubtedly upped its fuel mileage in the process.

Therefore, we have a new turbo four, the first turbocharged SKYACTIV engine from Mazda, and while its horsepower rating of 227 may not set the world on fire considering the size of the CX-9, its 310 lb.-ft. of torque, available at a nice and low 2,000 rpm, makes up for it very nicely. more...

Mazda's smallest ute wins Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year

Hot on the heels of Honda's Civic being named the 2016 Canadian Car of the Year comes the news that Mazda has copped the crossover cup, beating out utility vehicles costing more than twice as much.

That's a pretty neat trick, and I agree completely with my fellow members of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada in their assessment. In fact, I called this one right after last fall's TestFest, which must be a record since I'm usually proven wrong in such prognostications.

But the Mazda really stood out - though I must admit that had I driven the Kia Sorento at TestFest (there wasn't time to drive absolutely every vehicle on hand in what's basically an automotive salad bar for car nuts) I might have put it on top. But the Mazda is still a deserving winner and the fact that it's available for 30 grand or less makes a powerful argument in favour of it. more...


Mazda's new small SUV's a real winner

Chalk up another hit for the "Zoom-Zoom" folk, if there's any justice left in the world. That's because Mazda's brand new CX-3 SUV/crossover is a terrific vehicle that should compete well in its market niche.  It's a fun little beastie that, like most Mazdas, is a relative blast to drive.

The new CX-3 occupies the "subcompact crossover" segment, so it's competing with things like the new Honda HR-V, which I have yet to drive but look forward to opining about, as well as the Nissan Juke and others of that ilk. And of the ones in this niche that I have driven so far, the Mazda is easily the best "driver's car" of the bunch. more...


Mazda6 gets a 2016 update but same "Zoom-Zoom"

After debuting to much hullaballoo from enthusiasts, the Mazda6 sedan has soldiered on in near anonymity in its current generation - I see oodles of 3's on the road but it's rare to see a 6 around here, and that's a darn shame because the 6 is pretty well everything the 3 is, but bigger (though no hatchback or V6, alas).

Despite having no hatch or V6, the Mazda6 is a fine car. In fact, it was named the 2014 Canadian Car of the Year after competing in the Automobile Journalists of Canada Canadian Car of the Year TestFest. And it was a deserving winner. more...


Mazda3 Sport continues its winning ways

Last year's award-winning Mazda3 enters 2015 mostly unchanged, and that's just as well because the 2014 version was an outstanding car that needed little work. Heck, I named that car my "TechnoFile Car of the Year" last year.

This rant recounts my rematch with the Mazda, a report on how my second week-long experience with this great little hatchback/wagon worked out. Naturally, it worked out fine. Heck, I didn't even run afoul of the law this time!

Mazda Canada sent the Mazda3 Sport GT version, the top trim level, and it starts at $26,995. more...


Mazda MX-5 still a blast - but at what cost?

Mazda's little bundle of joy has been putting smiles on enthusiasts' faces for more than 20 years, and it's still about the best iteration of the classic British sports car you can get without being left on the side of the road.

The car was an instant hit and since then has gone on to sell more than 900,000 units, which Mazda claims makes it by far still the best-selling two-seat roadster in the world.

What was in earlier versions called the Miata (and I have to admit I still think of it as that) has grown over the years, like every other car. And while that growth and the addition of new technologies have also made the car heavier, Mazda also upped the oomph ante so that today's MX-5 packs very nearly the same poop aspirated normally that the old Mazdaspeed Miata did with a turbocharger. more...


TechnoFile's Car of the Year: 2014 Mazda 3 Sport

Mazda's bread and butter car, the 3 (click on the image to open a slideshow), is back with a terrific new edition that ups the already successful little car's ante substantially over its previous generation. It's an excellent car that looks, drives and feels more expensive than it is.

The 3 is available in two versions, sedan and hatchback, which Mazda calls, respectively, the Mazda3 and the Mazda3 Sport. They're both very nice, but the Sport is a five door hatchback (a.k.a. a "wagon"), so it's also a tad more practical for those who like to haul stuff.

The Sport is also the better looking of the two styles, in my never humble opinion. The front end is pretty well the same on either version, but the Sport's rear end somehow seems to finish off the car's bum better. more...


MX-5 soldiers on, putting smiles on faces

Mazda's MX-5 is all about the driving experience and it does a fine job of carrying out its mandate. When Mazda single handedly resuscitated the two seat roadster segment, the little roadster hearkened back to such classic sports cars as the MGB, Triumph Spitfire, Alfa Romeo Spyder and Fiat 124 Spider.

Except that Mazda upped the ante by adding to the fun factor the reliability for which Japanese carmakers had become known. The rest is history: a beloved segment was reborn.

Since then, the MX-5 Miata became simply the MX-5 and went through some evolution that has left the car larger and heavier, equipped better, but still an absolute blast to drive. And they even added an optional retractable hard top that buttons the car up as tightly as a coupe – remarkably, without truncating the trunk.

The current MX-5 is still small inside, but not quite as cramped as it was originally. And it's still a joy to drive, though you can feel the extra weight the car has put on over the years (ensuring that art mimics the human experience!). more...


Mazda crafts a new Skyactiv 6

The Mazda6 is back, wearing a brand new set of clothes and with a new heart as well. And it's a great new version, even in its four cylinder Skyactiv livery.

It's a good thing the four cylinder's such a delight, too, because Mazda no longer offers a six cylinder option. I think that's a mistake, but at least the configuration is entertaining enough not to water down the "Zoom-Zoom" quotient excessively.

You may have seen this new 6 on TV, in commercials showing a bright red Mazda six zipping around behind a couple of cellists – yet another example of excessive violins on TV! – and Mazda Canada sent one exactly like that for my test. And I had a wonderful time living with it. more...


Mazda's CX-5 gets "Zoom-Zoom," while the CX-9 gets rhinoplasty

Call one an important upgrade, the other a minor update. And between them both, you have a couple of very nice SUV's.

The CX-5, Mazda's entry-level SUV, came out last year as the first of the company's "Skyactiv" vehicles, which are designed to up the gas mileage substantially while supposedly not minimizing the "Zoom-Zoom" for which the company is rightly famous.

It was handsome, pretty good to drive, and it did get better mileage than may have been traditional for a Mazda. But despite its plentiful goodness, I thought it was underpowered and therefore a disappointment.  And that was a surprise; I was a big fan of the turbocharged CX-7, which the CX-5 replaced, and I'm a big fan of Mazdas in general, exactly because of "Zoom-Zoom" – they're generally a lot of fun to drive.

But last year's CX-5 only came with Mazda's two liter Skyactiv engine, which is rated at 155 hp @ 6,000 rpm and 150 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,000 rpm, and while it's a reasonable power plant in the Mazda3 Skyactiv, it just doesn't cut it in the heavier CX-5. more...


Mazda3 Sport SKYACTIV: great car, still with "Zoom"

Mazda's "SKYACTIV" technology is designed to up gas mileage and lower emissions while preserving the company's well-earned "fun to drive" quotient. And while those two goals may seem contradictory – or as unobtainable as perpetual motion – Mazda has done a pretty decent job with its top selling 3. 

First introduced with the 2012 model year, SKYACTIV technology is described by Mazda as "the next generation of advanced vehicle performance and efficiency" that "embodies Mazda's philosophy of engineering only vehicles that are fun to drive, satisfying to own and environmentally responsible." I've dumped on SKYACTIV before, especially when it came to the CX-5 crossover/SUV, which I found lacking in "Zoom-Zoom" when I drove it several months ago.

And even though my first experience with the 3 SKYACTIV sedan about a year ago left me missing some of the "Zoom" lost inevitably when one panders to the greens (or, to be a little more charitable, tries to meet ever more stringent government regulations), an experience since then put Mazda's move more into perspective. more...


Mazda MX-5, Toyota Venza mostly stay the course

They may be very different in form and market niche, but the Mazda MX-5 and Toyota Venza are both excellent vehicles that offer a lot of value and/or fun to their owners. And that's nothing to sneeze at.

Both cars are also inching toward the end of their life cycles in their current forms, so their respective manufacturers are adding new content to keep potential clients interested – not that there isn't plenty of incentive to love these cars already. more...


Mazda CX-5 – Economy and Style, Hold the "Zoom-Zoom"

"For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul?" - Matthew 16:26

Okay, that may be a bit of an overstatement, but that's how I felt about Mazda coming out of my week with their new "Cute ute" niche SUV/Crossover, the 2013 CX-5. I love Mazdas, and a big reason for that is "Zoom-Zoom," which the company has not only used as its catchphrase for many years, but which it has backed up with a succession of vehicles that are more interesting and engaging to drive than much of the competition. more...


Mazda CX-9 Meets Honda Pilot

They're both big, three row SUV/Crossovers, from Japan, and both sell for about the same price. But are they mostly the same, or are they two distinct variations on the theme? Clearly, just to look at the two vehicles you can tell it's the latter, that each of these big family haulers is its own man, so to speak.

The Mazda comes across as, well, "Zoom-Zoom," but it's also more stylish than the rather boxy Pilot – not that beauty is anything other than in the eye of the beholder, of course. The Honda appears clearly as more utility-oriented than the CX-9, with nifty storage areas throughout and a much more "workman-like" mien.

Yet they have so much in common, right down to their "as tested" prices of just over $48,000 Canadian ($48,270 for the Mazda versus $48,520 for the Honda). more...


Mazda3 Promises Earth-Friendly Zoom-Zoom

You might think Mazda using a word like "SKYACTIV" to describe its products might mean it has come up with a practical flying car. You'd be wrong, of course – not that Mazdas can't fly along the road in their own right. They do, after all, offer "Zoom-Zoom."

But for 2012, Mazda is adding SKYACTIV technology to its line, the first example to come across our driveway being the wonderful 3, the small four door sedan I've come to know and love over the years. SKYACTIV promises to add more eco-friendliness to the "Zoom-Zoom" equation, through reduced emissions and better gas mileage. more...


Mazda's Fun Fours – SPEED3 and MX-5

Mazda's MAZDASPEED3and MX-5 are definitely a couple of "Zoom-Zoom" treats for fine, summer driving. And what could be more fun than that after a seemingly endless winter and wet spring?

The nice thing is that, thanks to the SPEED3's "conventional" four door wagon configuration, and the MX-5's snug retractable hardtop, they'll also provide entertaining drives in the winter. more...


Mazda6 V6 Ups the "Zoom-Zoom" Ante

Mazda's largest sedan continues to be a compelling drive as it reaches about the middle of its life span.

The Mazda6, like the Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata and about a thousand other models, actually occupies the "mid-size" rather than the "full-size" niche – and is, in my never humble opinion, one of the most attractive sedans on the market these days. It's not only easy on the eyes, though, it also performs its function as a practical four door family car very well.

It's fun to drive, too. more...


Mazda CX-9 "Crossover" SUV – Big and Comfy, with "Zoom"

They've upgraded its looks and features a bit for 2010, but at heart the Mazda CX-9 is the same big SUV it has been since its introduction. And that's a good thing.

Not a lot needed to be changed. Heck, my chief complaint is that they still use red illumination on the instruments, and that is not only about as minor a beef as you can have, but whether or not it's even a beef at all is something clearly in the eye of the beholder.

So what we're left with is a 2010 CX-9 that's still big, still roomy, still comfy, and still fun to drive. Okay, it doesn't give the driving joy of a Porsche Cayenne, but it's definitely a Mazda and that means it has their famous "Zoom-Zoom" in its DNA, even if the vehicle is the size of a guest house. more...


Mazda CX-7 and Mazda6 – Can Less Zoom-Zoom Be a Good Thing?

Can downsizing a vehicle's specs supersize its appeal? Mazda hopes so.

For a company that has prided itself on the concept of "Zoom-Zoom"  for many years, Mazda may seem to be doing a silly thing by "down-powering" its CX-7 SUV. Yet that's exactly what it has done for the 2010 model year. Likewise, Mazda's lovely 6 sedan is also available with engine choices – either a four banger or a V6. What surprised me was just how competent its four cylinder engine is; the V6 would really be a case of gilding the lily, not that I mind gilded lilies! more...


Mazda 3 and MX–5 A little – and a lot of – Driving Fun

Mazdas are a blast, even if you don't go beyond their most basic entries. And if you do go beyond –  to the fabulous MX-5 roadster, for example – it's a blast heard around the world.

The most basic entry is the Mazda 3, the Sport version of which I reviewed a few months ago and fell madly in lust with. more...


2010 Mazda 3 - Long Live "Zoom-Zoom"!

You certainly can't accuse Mazda of false advertising for using "Zoom-Zoom" as their slogan.

The phrase captures the Mazda driving experience beautifully, whether you're behind the wheel of the RX-8, MX-5 Miata, the CX-7 and CX-9 crossovers or, the topic of this piece, the little Mazda 3.

The previous 3 was a huge success for Mazda. According to them, it sold nearly 1.8 million vehicles in over 100 countries since its 2003 launch and won more than 90 automobile awards, including the 2004 "Canadian Car of the Year".  

So it was with gusto that I tackled the brand new Mazda3 Sport, the souped up, wagon version of the base 3. It sports a fresh new look and a list of standard and optional equipment that made my head spin considering the car's price. more...


Acura RDX Vs. Mazda CX-7 – a Head to head Matchup

Which is better, luxury performance, or classic "Zoom-Zoom"? Or perhaps more accurately, which of these popular SUV's turned my crank the most after spending back-to-back weeks with them: the Acura RDX or Mazda CX-7?

I drove the Acura RDX first, a vehicle I like very much and which would be on my short list if I were looking for a machine in this class. It's a little higher end than the Mazda CX-7, with more technology and stuff. Naturally, it's also a few grand dearer. Not that the CX-7 is some kind of dinosaur. more...


Mazda 5: A little Van with a little "Zoom-Zoom"

Other than some tweaking of options, Mazda’s little six seater hasn't changed much for 2009 – and that may be 'cause this miniature minivan didn't need much changing anyway.

Although if I had my druthers (and obviously I don't), I'd like to see the 5 come with just a little more "zoom zoom." more...


New Sedan Ups Mazda's "6 Appeal"

One of the best looking and most fun to drive Japanese sedans is even better for 2009.

It's the Mazda6 , which the company says is all new from stem to stern and top to bottom – and which surely looks and feels that way. In fact, so far as its looks are concerned, this is one of the best-looking sedans on the road today, sporty and modern and lovely to behold. And that's saying something; the previous 6 was one of the nicest styling jobs around, yet park it next to the fresh 6 and the previous generation looks positively frumpy. more....


Mazda Tribute a Blast from the Past

Mazda's Tribute small SUV is one case in which the manufacturer's famous "zoom zoom" slogan doesn't quite apply. It's probably because the vehicle is a victim of time – it's from an era now past. more....


Mazda MX-5 Tops Its Own Act!

Mazda's little bundle of joy was reborn about a year ago, moving beyond the loveable and classic Miata with a new look, new power, and a new, shorter name: just plain MX-5. At heart, it's still the joyful little Miata, and now, with the addition of an optional power-operated retractable hard top, it's even better. more....


Mazda CX-7 Hauls People, Stuff, Butt

Minivans are out, at least if you're Mazda, and that may not be too bad a thing. more....


Big Mazda "Crossover" SUV - "Zoom" with a Bird's Eye View

It's big, it's comfy and it's roomy. Oh yeah, it's also a Mazda and that means it's pretty nice to drive.

"It" is the Mazda CX-9, the company's new flagship SUV, er, crossover. It's basically a bigger version of the CX-7, and features a windshield raked steeply, big, multi-spoked wheels and three rows of seats meant to hold up to seven people. Mazda describes the CX-9 as being aimed at "couples and families who want to drive a stylish, smart vehicle that fits their lifestyles" and says the CX-9 combines "the practicality of an SUV with the outstanding performance and luxury of a sports car." more....


Mazdas 3 - a Zoomy Sedan and a ZOOMY! Wagon

No matter what flavor you choose for it, Mazda's 3 is a slick little car that offers a lot of fun wrapped up in a lot of practicality.

The 3, nee Protégé, is available in three flavors: four door sedan, five door sports wagon (the Mazda3 Sport) and the Mazdaspeed3, the really hot version of the wagon. Mazda claims on its website that the 3 is a combination of "exhilarating driving performance, emotional styling and high levels of craftsmanship". more....


Mazda MX-5 - Talkin' 'bout Regeneration

Once it was called the Miata, and it turned the automotive world on its ear. The little two seat roadster took all that had been great about open top motoring as personified by the classic British sports cars and added new technology and the legendary dependability of Japanese cars. It was an instant hit and has continued to be a wonderful and popular fun-mobile ever since then.

But nothing stands still, and now the Miata's just the MX-5 and, though it probably won't have the impact on automobiledom that its previous self did, Mazda's little bundle of joy has been reborn as an even more terrific open top sports car. more...


Mazdaspeed 6 – Family Sedan or Road Rocket?

Take one of the best looking four door sedans on the market, add a turbocharger and a bunch of other tweaks and what do you have?

Very nearly driving heaven, if sporty performance is the Holy Grail for which you’re searching.

So it is with the Mazdaspeed 6, the hottest version of Mazda’s terrific mid-sized sedan. Like the Mazdaspeed Miata I drove last summer, the hopped up Mazda 6 loves to perform – and this time it does it without forcing you to leave the kids and the luggage back home. more...


Mazda 5: A People and Stuff Mover with “Zoom-Zoom”

Mazda’s new six seater looks like a mini-minivan (a microvan?), but Mazda prefers to call it “the Zoom-Zoom MAV.”

MAV is yet another in a long series of acronyms or nicknames companies use, perhaps to avoid the “soccer mom” image minivans and other utility vehicles have gotten over the years.

Thus we have “sports tourers” such as Mercedes R class, “CUV” Crossover Utility Vehicles such as the Subaru B9 Tribeca, “CSV” Crossover Sport Vans such as the Saturn Relay, “SAV” Sports Activity Vehicles such as BMW’s X5. Next maybe we’ll get “PASH-V’s – People And Stuff Hauling Vehicles. more...


Turbocharger Widens the Smiles as Miata eats up the Miles

Well, is my face red. For a happy reason: a week spent under the hot summer sun behind the wheel of Mazda’s turbocharged Mazdaspeed MX-5 Miata. I spent so much time roaring around the back roads with the roof down that I ended up being broiled medium well, which for a guy who doesn’t go outdoors except to drive cars, is quite something. And, other than the sunburn, I loved every minute of it!

The Mazdaspeed Miata takes everything that makes the basic Miata wonderful and ups the ante to move the little critter from being a great fun car to being a great and fast fun car. more...


Mazda RX-8

Well, they certainly aren’t kidding.

I mean, Mazda’s “zoom zoom” slogan can be applied in the real world to the experience of driving such fun cars as the Miata and even the 6 sedan. But take it to its ultimate expression and you have to be talking about the RX-8, the latest generation of the company’s rotary-powered sports cars and an absolute blast to take out on the highway.

The gorgeous RX-8 follows on the heels of the popular RX-7, but ups the ante over that great car in several ways. First, it features a new generation of the rotary engine, which Mazda calls “RENESIS.” This power plant is nothing short of remarkable: in my top-of-the-line test RX-8, Mazda manages to get 238 horses and 164 lb.-ft. of torque from an engine comparable to 1.3 litres! Incredible – and don’t let those power/torque specs fool you; they may not be as high as some of the competition, but this car is no slouch by any means. more...


Mazda 6 Sports a Cool Wagon

Can a station wagon be cool? Can it be sporty?

You bet! The days of a station wagon being a stodgy family hauler are long gone and some of today’s wagons are wonderful blends of function with form. Take the Mazda 6 Sport Wagon, for example.

The Mazda 6 has been winning awards ever since it was introduced for the 2004 model year, and the new wagon version copped the 2005 AJAC (Automobile Journalists Association of Canada) Car of the Year Award for “Best New Station Wagon”. I can see why. The 6 Sport Wagon is a blast to drive – and you can haul stuff with it, too!

For what more could anyone ask? Well, possibly a manual transmission for those who don’t want to be accused of being shiftless – but even there Mazda has thrown “purists” a very nice bone in the form of a terrific 6 speed automatic with a pretend manual mode that’s almost as good as an honest to goodness manual tranny with a clutch. Almost. more...


Mazda 6 Happy to Handle

In a market segment that features such venerable Japanese entries as the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, carving out a market share is going to require more than just a great car.

It has to be a great car that's different from its direct competition.

And that’s what Mazda has done with its terrific 6 four door sedan. It goes head to head with Accord and Camry (and others, of course), but whereas those other two models are refined and fully featured and all-round excellent, the 6 also adds its own substantial measure of “fun to drive” to the mix. And that makes a big difference. more...


Mazda Tribute and B4000

Mazda's "cute ute" Tribute is a nice small SUV with good performance both on and off the road, plenty of features, and good value overall.

I first had a chance to drive the Tribute when it debuted, at a media event where they sent us out off roading up a "road" I probably wouldn't have even tried walking up if given my druthers. That experience showed me that the Tribute is truly happy to perform off road as on city streets.

Most people don't do serious off roading in their SUV's however, so my recent week with the 2005 Tribute was spent on asphalt, in urban and rural driving that would probably match most of what the Tribute would experience in the real world. And it reinforced my earlier opinion that the Tribute is a good SUV. more...


Entry Level Mazda Still a “Zoom Zoomy” ride

The Mazda Protegé is far more fun to drive than it has any right to be.

After all, it’s Mazda’s entry level vehicle, a supposed econobox that competes with the likes of the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Accent and the rest. Yet when you get behind the wheel and take off, even if the car’s handicapped by an automatic transmission as my tester was, you find yourself having a really good time driving the thing. Go figure.

Actually, this is exactly what Mazda wants you to discover about the car. The first page inside its brochure for the Protegé reminds you, however ungrammatically, that “fun” is both a noun and a verb, and that it’s time to put your foot down. more...


A Shiftless Existence in a Protegé 5

Mazda's Protegé 5 is a definite success story.

After having driven a bumblebee-colored sample when the car was brand new on the market, I was very impressed and figured the car would sell boatloads. And it has; it's hard to drive very far near where we live without seeing multiple examples of the little wagons “zoom zooming” around. And deservedly so; Protegé 5 is a nice car.

For those who may not have yet experienced such sightings, the Mazda Protegé 5 is the attractive five door hatchback/station wagon that appears to have spawned (or at least beaten to market) a host of imitators including the Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe and Suzuki Aerio. It's probably the most subtle and attractive of them all, styling-wise, and that isn't a bad thing – though beauty, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. more...


Zoomy Little Mazda Rocks

The brand new 2002 Protegé 5 is a cute five door hatchback/station wagon that appears to be aimed at the youth market.

How do I know? Well, the bright "vivid yellow" model I drove, which came complete with black racing stripes running its length (giving the overall impression of a giant bumblebee), pulled in more stares per mile than any vehicle I've driven recently, and most of the admiring gazes came from teen and twentysomething females.

So if you want to be a real babe magnet, this may be your car, but I felt like a mid-life crisis guy trying to look cool. It was quite embarrassing…

The bright yellow would also be a magnet for traffic cops, especially if you drive the Protegé 5 with any kind of elan. more...


Mazda’s First Sport Ute a Legitimate “Mazda-piece”

Mazda’s first time at bat in the SUV market has resulted in a home run. The Tribute feels as at home on the mountainside as on the city streets. I know this because, while the weather (and my nerves) didn’t allow for any off-roading during my week and a half with the 2001 Tribute ES, I had the opportunity to go four wheeling in one at a media junket last fall.

At that event, we were given a mountainside – you can’t call it a road – on which to test the Tribute’s mettle. To make a long and humiliating story short, I chickened out long before the Mazda did; in fact, the Tribute never lost a beat as it handled the mud, gravel, boulders, and inclines of what turned out to be a real torture test. more...


Mazda Miata - Going Topless with a Fair-weather Friend

Any car that's this much fun must somehow be bad. But Mazda's MX-5 Miata sure feels good!

The Miata has been around for over a decade, and has almost single-handedly re-carved the niche made famous by those honored British sports cars of decades past. Except the Miata has the advantage that it not only gets you where you're going, IT GETS YOU BACK AGAIN!

What a concept! I've owned three MGB's and loved them very much, though since I'm not mechanically minded I ended up on the side of the road with a dead "B" so many times that I finally gave up on such junk. My last "B," bought brand new, was by far the worst and turned me off British cars for years. I've never owned a Miata, unfortunately, because when it was introduced the kids had come along and the Miata wasn't practical for our lives. more...


New Millennia for the New Millennium - Luxury Sedan Top of the Line

Mazda’s newly-styled 2001 Millennia is a comfortable luxury sedan that offers a lot for the price.

I first drove the Millennia for about half an hour at a media junket, and I liked it. I had it for a week this time, which gave me a much better feel for the vehicle. It's the first of three Mazdas I'll be driving over the next few weeks and, from my experience with the Millennia, it should be a treat.

The handsome and stylish Millennia S (my tester was a lovely metallic red with a beige/gray leather interior) is powered by a 210 horsepower, 2.3 liter, 24 valve DOHC V6 that uses “Miller Cycle” technology. The base model Millennia has a more conventional, 2.5 liter V6.

Patented in the 1940’s, the Miller Cycle is said to give the power of a 3 liter V6 with the fuel economy of a 2 liter. It uses a Supercharger (which forces extra air into the engine) and compresses the air inside the cylinders differently. The result is said to be a 15 per cent increase in power.

I can't attest to the fuel mileage (I tend to have a heavy foot) but the power’s certainly there. It's smooth, too, coming on quickly and evenly; from a standing start I'd be at 50 m.p.h. before I knew it.

This was embarrassing in playground zones… more...


Mazda Minivan a Comfy People Mover - 2001 Model Pleasant and Powerful

The minivan market is nothing if not crowded, so it pays for a marque to offer something unique if it wants to make its mark.

Fortunately for Mazda, it has never been reluctant to tread its own path, as witnessed by its embrace of such non-mainstream stuff as (for example) the rotary and Miller engines.

The 2001 MPV is a fairly straightforward example of the minivan species, but it boasts a few things that set itself apart from the pack. Add them all together and you end up with a thoughtful and comfortable family vehicle. more...


Mazda Pays Tribute to Sport Utes - 2001 Model Line Intros SUV

Mazda has finally jumped into the SUV market.

The Japanese carmaker’s first Sport Ute is the 2001 Tribute and, judging from the test drives in which I participated, it’s a fine unit that’s surprisingly apt off road.

A Mazda media junket to Vancouver, British Columbia, to premiere its 2001 model year lineup was my first opportunity to see the Tribute up close, and I was quite impressed.

Tribute is a “cute ute,” a small SUV in the vein of Toyota’s RAV4. It comes in two basic configurations: a four banger, 5 speed manual and a V6 with a four speed automatic. Both offer front and four wheel drive, though 4WD is optional on the entry level DX. more...


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Jim Bray is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. His columns are available through the TechnoFile Syndicate.

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