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Archive for the ‘Mazda’ Category

Refreshened Mazda Roadster

In Mazda on December 19, 2008 at 6:57 pm

There are few better sights than a banged up old Mk 1 Mazda Roadster complete with worn tyres, sun diminished paintwork, rusted arches, a few dings in the body work and a cheap slightly silly sounding aftermarket exhaust.

These cars represent the essence of non impressive income performance motoring.  Recently you can pick up a 90’s Roadster for about the same price as a set of tyres.  They are simple, robust, wonderfully diminutive, rear wheel drive and beautifully handling machines.

Proof exists in the little Mazda that satisfying sports car ownership doesn’t need to mean huge power, high expense and temperamental mechanicals.

Today at the end of 2008 we still have the Roadster or be it in it’s slightly fatter and more pristine looking Mk 3 version.

Unveiled earlier this month the revamped Mk 3 has hardly changed from the original new generation Roadster released in 2006.

To be honest i liked the Mk 3 as it was but Mazda don’t agree and subsequently have felt the need to a little fettling.

The changes are almost entirely cosmetic.  A new front  five point grille takes the place of the previous oval mesh and now includes fog lights.  Attention has also been focused on the rear bumper to create a more extreme convex shape that Mazda says improves airflow.

Mechanically the car benefits from some acoustic tuning to create a more purposeful soundtrack from the twin tailpipes as well as a revised suspension.  Perhaps more fundamental is that the 2 litre 170 ps engine now achieves a 500 rpm increase.

The 2006 Mk 3 is still a fairly rare sight on the roads when you compare it to its predecessors.  It was criticised by some quarters as a much softer feeling car than before and that it may have pandered to too big a customer base in the drive to bring the car more upmarket.

That may be the case but (new facelift  included) it is an attractive thing and even with the added fat the years have added it manages to look intensely well proportioned.

Historically Mazda’s roadsters are hightly regarded the world over and always seem to achieve a mention in those silly top ten cars ever lists that magazines and Discovery Channel are so fond of.  Usually a Jaguar E Type or Corvette wins outright depending on whether the results were produced in the UK or America.

Although an all new design is expected in 2012, Mazda do seem to attaching a lot of importance to this mid life update, even persuading their top developer Takao Tokushima to stay on a further year before retirement to ensure the new product.

In Japan we get a choice of five or six speed manual or 6 speed automatic.  Cars can also be specified with either a soft top ot retractable hard top.

Prices from 2,330,000 JPY.

 

Refreshened Mazda Roadster

Refreshened Mazda Roadster

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Next Generation Mazda Wankel 13b Renesis Engine

In Mazda on October 29, 2008 at 5:50 pm

More information is beginning to emerge regarding the next Renesis engine due to make an appearance in an all new RX7/8 in autumn 2010.   

Mazda has been burning the midnight oil of recent, preparing a hydrogen version of the car but it is thought that it won’t be ready in time for the new cars debut so the next powerplant will continue as petrol.

The current 13b engine displaces 1300cc by the use of twin 654cc rotors.  Rambunctious grapevine rumblings suggest that the new engine will use two 800cc rotors to produce (you’ll need to check this because i didn’t use a calculator) 1600cc and more power.  Over 300 ps has been mentioned.

Mazda’s Wankel engine has come in for some criticism over the years for its woeful (by modern standards) oil and petrol consumption so to address this concern Wankel engineers will try to resolve the new lump to be a little kinder on the purse. 

RX Mazda’s are great cars and the current RX8 is no exception and by all accounts is a bit of a hotcake but you have to wonder if Mazda themselves wouldn’t like to put some distance from the Wankel unit.  Clearly not.

It was in 1960 that Kenichi Yamamoto of the Hiroshima firm hopped off to Germany to meet with the chief Wankel (original designer) himself, Mr Felix Wankel and secure a licence to produce the engine in Japan.  

The Wankel has served Mazda continuously since then but is it only Mazda who see the benefit of the rotary engine?  Motoring publications usually agree that the RX8 is a supreme car but some respectable magazines criticise the engine as just being plain weird and some even say it’s a bit of a wanker.

What strikes me is that no other manufacturers of late have ever tried to emulate Mazda’s exploits with the engine and its not like its new technology.  I mean they could if they wanted to.

 Of course the RX series of cars have a long history and with that comes a bearded following.  Some of these geeks (those who call themselves the true wankers) consider it sacrilege to employ anything but a rotary engine in an RX car.  In fact they would rather shave off their beards and eat them.

Mazda, it’s up to you but a lot of people are thinking that it might be a good time to start wanking about a different future to the wankel or have you already gone blind?

All that said and done, RX’s are wonderful things and i wish Mazda every success with the upcoming model.

Mazda RX8

Mazda RX8

Mazda Welfare

In Mazda on September 17, 2008 at 3:57 pm

Japan has one of the greyest populations in the world and with a current baby shortage it comes as no suprise that every Japanese manufacturer is trying its damndest to take advantage of the old gits.

Due to be exhibited at the upcoming Home Care & Rehabilitation Exhibition are three of the latest offerings desinged for ease of access for the elderly, infirm, drunk or just plain lazy.

First up is the dimunitive (Kei 660cc) AZ Wagon i which is based on the JDM best selling Suzuki Wagon R but rebadged as a Mazda.  The modified Wagon has a rear liftgate opening design that allows for occupied wheelchair access. 

Mazda’s excellent MPV (pictured) gets a peachy automatically elevating second row seat which rotates to ground level and back into position in the cabin.  handy for those that need it or if you just fancy descending your grandmother for a bit of a chat at the picnic and then swiftly removing her when things get a little raucous with the other guests.

Lastly is the less dramatic autostep function on Mazda’s new and still a little curious looking Biante Minivan.  It is what it is, namely a step that automatically extends and withdraws when the sliding door is opened or closed. 

Mazda MPV With Rotating Seat

Mazda MPV With Rotating Seat