2005 RX8 of Frank Phillips
CX-9 of David Skulstad
2005 RX8 of Frank Phillips
CX-9 of David Skulstad
from InsiderCarNews.com by Justin Cupler
When Mazda revealed its RX Vision concept, jaws across the automotive world dropped. This stunning concept embodied everything enthusiasts wanted in a new RX, sans the “concept” suffix. Recently, Mazda rightfully brought home the “Most Beautiful Concept of the Year” at the 31st Festival Automobile International for its work on this sleek, Wankel-powered rig. Though the RX was an undeniable beauty, this award was by no means automatic. It had to stand up to the likes of the Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6, the Peugeot Fractal, and Porsche Mission E—none of which were deficient in terms of sexiness. In the end, however, the RX Vision designers’ tweaks to the KODO language were enough to bag the prize.
The big question now is whether Mazda will actually use this design in producing a road-going RX. In recent years, Mazda has been pretty good about avoiding useless concept cars, but this one seems more of a stretch for several reasons.
The first issue is that the RX will have to come with some form of rotary engine, or fans will revolt. This requirement leads me to the next issue; the rotary, while capable of big horsepower numbers from a small displacement, has always had three flaws: fuel economy, oil consumption, and lack of low-rev torque.
Since their inception, the Rotary engines were little more than a novelty, as they allowed for a nearly limitless rev band that gave engineers more freedom to extract serious horsepower from them. Horsepower is great for bragging rights, but torque has always been one of the Wankel’s shortcomings—the RX-8’s embarrassing 152 pound-feet at 5,500 is a key example of this—and the only way Mazda saw to fix it was turbo, which compounded the oil- and fuel-consumption issues (sigh). And don’t even get me started on the apex seal issues…
According to Mazda, it is continuing to tweak the Skyactiv-R rotary in the concept to make it friendly for production. Rumors have swirled about this engine, ranging from it being a generator for an electric powertrain to it being a diesel engine. Recently, the rumormill has rested on a report that Mazda engineers want the rotary to stand alone—no electrification—and run on diesel. Instead, the last reports claim that Mazda is looking to go back to turbocharging for the new engine.
Stay tuned for details.
Hi, to all the members of Mazda club USA, my name is Kenichi Obara from Japan. I am a new member to your club thank for accepting me, I am the owner of the Ken auto Mazda Miata high performance parts company. I specialize in high performance parts for Mazda Miata. I am excited to be a part of the Mazda Miata club and looking forward to meeting other members, if there is any question you would like to ask about your Mazda Miata please feel free to ask. You can contact me at my Facebook or through my website.
I encourage all Mazda owners to read the article, “The Future is the Past”, an interview with President & CEO of Mazda, Masimichi Kogai, in the January, 2016 issue of Forbes magazine. President Kogai reinforces Mazda’s commitment to building cars that are fun to drive and not to get swept up in pursuing driverless cars. I just hope that includes maintaining Mazda owners, like myself, access to manual transmissions in Mazda cars, which are rapidly disappearing in other auto makes’ model offerings.
MX-6 of Michael O’Neill
2008 MX-5 Miata of Pierce Gokey
Q: I just purchased an ‘88 Mazda 323 and installed the engine and transmission, I cannot get a spark to the plugs.. I have checked all the fuses, I have every thing hooked up. What are some things to check?
A: It could be no current to the ECU, the crank position sensor not working, or a bad coil pack. Each can be checked individual if you bring them in to auto shop.
Q: How much will it cost me to replace the suspension on Mazda CX-9? My car stopped on the road last night, had to tow it with a flat bed truck as the wheel was kind of coming out of the car, no chance to push it to the curb even, car wouldn’t move back or forth. Wondering how much the damage will be.
A: You didn’t list what broke. Let us guess. A lower ball joint broke and the CV-joint pulled out of the side of the transmission. If the lower A-frame didn’t tear loose from the flimsy sub-frame it will still cost a small fortune to fix. Hopefully the car is sitting at a Mazda door step so they can check the suspension pieces.
Q: The latest water trick from my 2006 MX-5 Miata is whenever it rains the trunk fills with water. I have identified the leak. It’s coming from where the rear of the soft top where it seals to the rear of the car. There seems to be a wiper seal that will divert the water to the interior drains behind the seats. Is there a adjustment I can make?
A: If you are talking about the black plastic trim that’s visible from outside the car, that’s not a seal. It’s there to keep the edge of the sheet metal and soft top from chafing against each other. There’s a rain rail / gutter system that collects whatever gets around the back edge of the soft top. The rain rail then carries any water to the drains you have already discovered. It’s a pain to get to the rain rail, as it requires removing the “parcel shelf” where the top sits when it is lowered. My guess is the rain rail is cracked.
by Ken Chester, Motor News Corporation
The 2016 Mazda CX-3 was recently introduced. The new compact crossover SUV is the fifth model in Mazda’s line-up of new-generation vehicles that feature the full range of SKYACTIV Technology and KODO — Soul of Motion design. The CX-3 offers all the essentials people look for in a vehicle; a design of overwhelming quality and style, packaging developed solely with the customer’s ease-of-use in mind, and the responsive driving feel that Mazda strives for in every model.
In the all-new CX-3, the essence of KODO — the expression of life within a vehicle — has been evolved to produce a sharper form with an enhanced sense of speed. In the interior, meticulous attention to detail regarding the materials used has created a cabin environment of impressive sophistication and quality. In terms of driving performance, the CX-3 adopts the full suite of SKYACTIV technologies, carefully crafted to match human sensibilities. This realizes driving pleasure with faithful response as well as excellent environmental and safety performance.
The CX-3 is equipped with the automaker’s SKYACTIV-G 2.0L four-cylinder gasoline engine mated to the SKYACTIV-DRIVE six-speed automatic transmission. Providing drivers with a direct feel similar to that of a manual transmission, the automatic transmission also achieves excellent fuel economy while delivering smooth and powerful acceleration.
The available new-generation AWD system employs an active torque control coupling to achieve excellent drivability and vehicle stability. It employs a front wheel slip warning detection system, which employs sensor signals to accurately monitor the driver’s intentions and constantly changing driving conditions. In addition, the CX-3 uses a newly developed power take-off and rear differential that is compact and light in weight.
The CX-3 features the SKYACTIV-CHASSIS, which delivers reassuring confidence and greatly enhanced levels of comfort thanks to thoroughly revised suspension and steering functions. The chassis employs a lightweight torsion beam rear suspension system that features highly efficient packaging and dampers in the front and rear that optimize friction characteristics to deliver linear handling characteristics and ride comfort with a feeling of high quality. The steering system allows light and agile handling in the city, but feels stable on winding country roads and the highway.
The CX-3 also adopts Mazda’s SKYACTIV-BODY, which achieves high levels of performance in three seemingly contradictory areas: collision safety, weight reduction, and rigidity. Realizing an even simpler layout of Mazda’s SKYACTIV-BODY architecture, it combines effective positioning of high-tensile steel and optimized cross section shapes to produce a lightweight body that features high rigidity and a sense of positive damping characteristics.
Inside the passenger cabin, the interior gives a high-quality and sophisticated feel coordinated with the exterior design. Keen attention was paid to every detail, including the cohesiveness of the spatial designs and the quality of materials used.
The surrounding character line and relatively high beltline, along with the deeply sculpted three-dimensional form of the door trim, create a comforting sense of snugness and openness for the front seat space.
All information displays and control systems are positioned in accordance with a driver-oriented design based on Mazda’s Heads-up Cockpit concept. The soft material that covers the meter hood features a stitch-like finish on its front edge, producing an atmosphere of maturity.
Each individual part has been refined to provide the interior with a polished, high-quality feel. Examples includes the dark red accent color used on the door trim armrests and floor console kneepads, and the sharp form of the inner door handle bezels which look as if they were sculpted from solid metal. Fine piping carefully added where the different coordinated seat materials meet, such as the Parchment leather and off-black Lux Suede offering, produces a sophisticated environment.
The original Mazda 323 was a reliable entry level car. When the GTX came out, it had four wheel drive, an electronic gear lock for low traction, and a turbocharger that made 50 more HP than stock 323. Remember, there were no WRX or similar cars at the time. The GTX cost nearly twice as much as a stock 323 and only 1200 were ever imported.
Now, what could be more fun? Take the mild mannered 1600 cc 323 GTX with the coefficient of drag of a parachute, install a full cage, programmable fuel injection, variable cam timing, and water injection and make a rally car. No, wait, I’ve got it, let’ take the same car install a turbo the size of Texas, put 3 fire systems and parachute then run almost 180 mph on the Bonneville salt flats.
This is truly an interesting car. Remember when the AWD Audi rally cars were going so fast they plowed into crowds on weekends? They were 3 liter turbos. FIA did something about it and briefly changed the displacement of rally cars to 1.5 liters for about 3 years before settling of the current 2.0 liter AWD rally cars.
Mazda saw an opportunity for the 323 GTX in the 1.5 liter formula. A racing shop in Greenville, SC built 6, 323 GTX rally cars. I don’t know the rally result for this car but somewhere along the line the one I own was converted to a Land Speed Record Car. The car came with a full interior but also a full cage. The driver’s seat became a Kirkey. A very large turbo for high end performance was added (unbelievable turbo lag—unbelievable acceleration when it finally hit). The variable valve timing set up plus water injection and 25 lbs. of boost produced 450-500 hp out of 1500 ccs. The smaller 1488 cc engine ran 154 mph and the larger 1600 ran 177.301 at Bonneville. The car also set records in the Eastern Timing association until it swallowed a valve.
I bought the car several years ago with the idea of making it a rainy day road race track event car. I ran it at VIR raceway. One thing I forgot is that rally driver only uses brakes to slew the car sideways and to stop at the end of the session. Road racers need more even in the rain. Coming on to the straight, there were faster cars behind me as I had the foot to the floor trying to build boost. I would always get the move over flag but would try to wave it off because when boost finally hit it almost lit up four racing slicks – funny but not too drivable. I was also the only road race car on the track with a parachute on the back bumper.
It was apparent, that the T4 turbo had to go, the car has the race motor with a knife edge billet crank, I beam connecting rods, variable valve timing, racing pads, lowered suspension with coil overs and a 944 turbo that spins up fast to 8500. There is a programmable fuel system for the fuel injection. Ironically by lowering the boost to 15 lbs., reducing the advance and making a smaller turbo has produced an ultimate street sleeper(full cage gives some away) with a Dr Jeckyll and Mr.Hyde personality. The car has full liquid filled auto-meter gauges, variable boost, full fire system, water injection and is completely street legal. The car still has its official SCTA number for Bonneville and tech stickers.
The car has lots of personality, a real good sound above 7k rpm and lots of boost and traction. Probably the best use of the car is making Mazda’s reputation against turbo civics or WRX’s. The car is drivable as is but it could be put back to high boost but this time with no turbo lag. For right now, it attracts lookers and interest wherever it goes and people love the idea of seeing a Bonneville record car first hand. I probably won’t do rainy day road racing but is drivable enough to do it if I want. Right now it is fun to have one of the most unique low production Mazda’s in the world (only 8k miles).
Al Durham, owner
With the upgrades to the Mazda6 midsize sedan and Mazda3 compact hatchback and sedan complete, the time has come for an update to Mazda’s popular and iconic roadster, the MX-5 Miata. The reveal of the next-generation car is expected to come soon, according to a report from Britain’s Autocar, with the debut believed to be at next month’s Chicago Auto Show.
Mazda initially targeted an ambitious curb weight goal of 2200 lb for the next-generation car, but indications are the final curb weight will come in closer to 2400 lb, a weight savings of between 150-200 lb compared to today’s car. Due to affordability considerations, the body is believed to be primarily steel, but with strategic lightening of specific components to keep weight low.
Initial reports suggested a turbocharged engine for the new Miata, but it now looks like naturally-aspirated I-4 engines of 1.5 liters and 2.0 liters will be offered in various markets. As with past Miata models, the focus will be more on balanced performance and andling rather than outright power.
The next-generation Mazda Miata is expected to be slightly longer than today’s car for a roomier interior, as well as making space for the Skyactiv engines, which have a long and bulky exhaust manifold design to enable their high fuel efficiency. Efficiency gains are expected to be in the neighborhood of 30 percent, which would translate to roughly 27 mpg city and 36-37 mpg highway, over the current Miata’s 21/28 figures.
The popular power retractable hardtop will continue on the new model, with a new design that preserves more trunk space. A canvas-top will still be offered.