Category Archives: General

for items of general interest

Nascar Betting Picks

NASCAR betting picks

At one stage this season Jimmie Johnson looked an absolute certainty to win NASCAR 2013, with a huge points lead over everyone else, but those who chose to put their outright bets on Johnson may be sweating just a little bit, as recent weeks have seen his lead get whittled down. It should be acknowledged at this point that he is still the bookies top pick to win the 2013 Sprint Cup Series, at 8/5, it is just that he is no longer quite the sure thing that he seemed to be a little while back. So who are the other drivers that could be worth a punt?

Well although the standings show him as being well off the pace – eighty two points behind to be exact – Matt Kenseth is down as one of the favourites with the bookmakers at 6/1; so why is that? Well he has won four events this season, which is actually more than Johnson has managed, which suggests that he just needs to secure better placings in the events he doesn’t win. Kyle Busch, with two race wins and one hundred and ten points deficit is another possible (if more risky) pick at 8/1, while Carl Edwards at 15/1 should also not be forgotten. He hasn’t had the wins, but is just thirty two points behind Johnson in the standings. What this goes to show is just how much there is to take into account with NASCAR betting, and why some motor racing fans play online casino games like Motor Slot Speed Machine instead.

With games like this five reel, twenty pay line slot game you don’t have to worry about points versus race wins and other issues – you just put your money in and you’re away. There is also the little matter of the $50,000 jackpot, which is a sum few are likely to win by betting on NASCAR 2013, while the game involving a race between three motor bikes of different colours that you trigger when you score 1000 points is one of the major bonuses of this game for racing fans. The video graphics bring this scenario to life vividly, and let you feel like a racer as well as a gambler, which is surely what every motor sports fan secretly dreams of.

2014 Mazda CX-5

by James Raia of The Weekly Driver

2014 Mazda CX-5
2014 Mazda CX-5

Now in the second year of its debut generation, the 2014 The Mazda CX-5 continues the carmaker’s third-time’s-the-charm good fortune. The compact, five-passenger sport utility vehicle follows the not-to-successful Tribute and CX-7, and it’s proven popular in a crowded segment with its modern look, clean styling, efficiency and economy.

The Mazda CX-5 debuted as a 2013 model at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2012. For 2014, there are only minor tweaks to the car’s first year with increased horsepower in the top-two trims, a collision warning system option and advanced radio technology services.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

One week after test-driving a high-tech, high-priced, ill-conceived BMW crossover, the 2014 Mazda CX-5 arrived just in time. I test drove the Grand Touring model, the most detailed of the three available trims.

The CX-5 was a refreshing change because unlike the BMW, Mazda offers a lot of features, comfort and logically smart technology without crossing into the land of accoutrement overload and high-tech wizardry.

In addition to a health offering of standard features, the CX-5 Grand Touring edition features 19-inch wheels, automatic headlights, automatic wipers, heated mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat, heated front seats and leather upholstery.

2014 Mazda CX-5
2014 Mazda CX-5

For 2014, the CX-5 Touring and Grand Touring models have power boosts with their 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engines now producing 184 horsepower, 29 horsepower more than last year. My weekly driver was front-wheel drive, but there’s also an all-wheel drive option. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard with the front-wheel drive calculated at 25 mpg (city), 32 mpg (highway) and 27 mpg (combined). The AWD option is EPA estimated at 24/30/26 mpg.

Likes:

Comfortable, well-positioned, spacious front and rear seating.

Pull-down rear window screen should be the standard for other manufacturers. It’s sturdy, latches and unlatches with precision and remains out of the way against the window yet hide the cargo well.

Strong gas mileage averages for SUV segment.

Simple, intuitive dials, controls, buttons, etc.

With the rear seats folded, there’s 65 cubic feet of cargo space, which is more than sufficient for lots of stuff.

Good overall driver visibility.

Dislikes:

The Tom-Tom navigation system isn’t bad. But it’s far from the best in industry, with lack of screen clarity quite noticeable.

The sound system is only adequate.

2013 Mazda CX-5: A Comprehensive Review

The recently announced 2013 Mazda CX-5 has received critical acclaim from reviewers and drivers alike. The Mazda CX-5 has been completely revamped for the 2013 year, and recent advances in engine technology are utilized by the completely new platform of Mazda’s 2013 CX-5.

The small crossover has entered an extremely competitive market. Honda’s CRV and the Ford Escape have already received critical acclaim and the market is saturated with a host of options.

The 2013 Mazda CX-5, however, offers several new tricks that separate it away from its competition. The CX-5 features a Skyactic template, an elaborate set of features that boost fuel economy while simultaneously increasing driving and handling capabilities.

The new Skyactiv system is very effective. The car’s handling and driving abilities have been improved significantly over those of its competition. The four-wheel drive capabilities have improved drastically, and the car handles expertly in fast, tight corners.

The engine, however, does have its faults. The egine is significantly underpowered in comparison to its competition, and it lags 30 HP behind the C-RV’s 155 HP. The pure pleasure derived from driving a car with a more powerful engine and the safety benefits associated with a more powerful engine are counteracted by a terrific gas mileage. The gas mileage is reported to be the best in its class, with an expected 26/33 MPG city/highway.

The car also sports a host of interior features that add a sense of elegance and refinedness to the car. The detailed interior of the car seems well though out and is a major perk of the car. The back seats have three separate folding sections, which allows for more options for car cargo carrying capacity. The car has a built in GPS made by TomTom, a renowned manufacturer of GPS devices. The interior is lavish and well constructed.

The outside of the car has been equally well thought out. A new Kodo design has been implemented throughout the CX-5, and the attractive new design will soon spread to every Mazda model. The aggressive front styling gives the car a more compact and professional look. Mazda describes the design as looking like an animal up on its haunches, ready to pounce.

The handling of the car is terrific. Steering is responsive and smooth, and the general suspension gives the car a very nice feel. Despite its smaller engine, the Mazda CX-5 has terrific driving capabilities and only lags behind its competitors when it comes to raw horsepower.

The prices are not yet announced on the new 2013 Mazda CX-5. Estimates based off of announcements from Mazda have placed the car’s price at about $24,000. This will likely translate to a base price that is slightly less than many of the CX-5’s competitors. This price differentiation is also enunciated by the CX-5’s terrific fuel economy. The financial cost of maintaining the vehicle is significantly less than maintaining a similar vehicle.

Overall, the 2013 Mazda CX-5 is a very suitable car for those seeking a small crossover. The car offers many luxury options at a very reasonable price. Aggressive and attractive styling, coupled with excellent handling and terrific fuel economy, make the CX-5 a top choice for anyone interested in a small crossover. Those looking for a larger, more powerful engine or should check out the competition. The engine, however, is powerful enough to not detract from the superb driving experience and the Skyactic template is a major engineering accomplishment that vastly adds to the car’s allure. Those looking for an affordable, practical small crossover will be very pleased with the 2013 Mazda CX-5.

Tips for Driving in Winter Conditions

“Tips for driving in winter conditions

It’s that time of year again where the temperatures start to drop and we put our heating on to keep us snug and warm. It’s also the time of year when hundreds of car accidents happen, due to freezing conditions, icy roads and misty conditions. I you are a victim of an accident you should seek help from the experts in handling car accident claims as you may be entitled to compensation.

Driving in the winter can be very hazardous, so it is well worth thinking about ways you can drive safely on the roads and ensure that you and your family get home safely.

First of all, think about care and preparation of your vehicle. Like anything else, your car needs a little bit of TLC during the winter, otherwise you may end up suffering and stranded if you break down.

It’s worth getting your battery checked out. Winter is dark and gloomy, and it puts a strain on your electrical systems, such as your heaters (which let’s face it, we wouldn’t be without in the winter months) as well as your windscreen wipers and lights. Keep your electrical output to a minimum – avoid running anything for too long – turn your heaters down so they are at a comfortable temperature and turn off your rear window heater once the windows have cleared.

If you don’t use your car every day, it is a good idea to turn your car on and run the engine for a few minutes at the weekend. This will prevent seizing and limit the chance of your car not starting! If your car isn’t starting easily, try turning off all non-essential electricals (the radio, lights, windscreen wipers etc) and try to start the engine in short, five-second bursts, rather than constantly revving to try and get the engine to turn over. Leave 30 seconds between attempts to allow the engine to warm up and let the battery recover.”

2012 Mazda5 Grand Touring

2012 Mazda 5

by Michael Austin from Car & Driver

Don’t be alarmed if you’re not too familiar with the Mazda5. After all, Mazda only sold about 16,000 in 2010. Chrysler sold as many Town & Country minivans every two months last year, but Mazda’s is still an impressive feat considering that the 5 has almost zero marketing support.

So let us reintroduce the Mazda 5, which has been updated for the 2012 model year with new sheetmetal, a new engine, and a new dash. For those buyers enlightened enough to spec a manual transmission in their tiny van—only about 5 percent of U.S 5 adopters—the 5’s five-speed is replaced by a six-speed for 2012. Unfortunately, the van tested here was equipped with an automatic. Mazda says this mini-minivan is aimed at young families looking to move up from an economy car but who don’t want the high sticker price or sluggish handling of a bigger van—given that narrow niche, the 5 would probably sell in small numbers even if it did receive marketing support. The fully loaded Grand Touring model we tested—sunroof, automatic xenon headlights, heated power mirrors, Sirius satellite radio, leather seats (heated in front)—comes in under the magic $25,000 limbo stick, at $24,670.

No Hiding the Stowaway

But wait, isn’t this the same pitch Ford gives for the upcoming C-Max? Although both vehicles can trace their underpinnings back to the same Ford global C-platform, neither company admits to much collusion. They’re clearly different vehicles, as evidenced by the Mazda’s second-row center console that folds into the right-side seat bottom. In the C-Max, it’s the middle seat that folds in exactly the same way. Suspiciously similar stowage aside, the vans at least look nothing alike. The 5 gets new front styling with a smiley-face grille, just like those on the Mazda 2 and 3. And its sides now feature the “sand ripple” creases first seen on the Nagare concept car. In the back, horizontal taillights replace the vertical stalks of the old 5.

Inside, the same three-row, six-passenger seating configuration remains. Noticeably absent is the option for navigation, as Mazda says its customers would rather buy a $100 portable nav unit than suffer the higher price of a factory piece. We’re still a little bit skeptical of this plan when the big players in the small-car field are offering more luxury and features than the segment has ever seen before. On the C-Max, for example, Ford plans to offer everything but the kitchen sink—Ford Sync will be available, though—including power side doors and a power hatch. We do expect, however, that such options would push the C-Max’s sticker well above the 5’s maximum. A C-Max equipped like the 5 tested here should price out similarly.

Four-Cylinder 5

Under the hood, the Mazda 5 freshens up with a 2.5-liter inline-four similar to that in the 3, 6, and CX-7. Compared to the outgoing 2.3-liter, the 2.5 has 4 more hp—157—at a power peak 500 rpm earlier, at 6000. Torque increases 15 lb-ft to 163 and also tops out 500 rpm lower, at 4000. Highway fuel economy inches up 1 mpg to 28, although our as-tested result of 23 is closer to the 21-mpg city figure. On the test track, the new vanlet runs from 0 to 60 mph in nine seconds flat and covers the quarter-mile in 17.1 at 82 mph. It’s far from blistering, but 0.4 second quicker to 60 than before.

The Mazda 5 handles better than the meager steady-state cornering figure of 0.81 g would suggest. Turn the steering wheel and the front tires change your path without delay. All of the controls and responses are in harmony, making it easy (and fun) to wring the most out of the Mazda 5. When’s the last time you wanted to wring anything but your own neck in a minivan?

A Mazda 5 with a manual would be quicker, of course, and less expensive, too—the manual is only available in the $19,990 Sport model. More important, its mere availability is a reminder that Mazda is one of the few brands that continues to cater to people who care about driving. That mindset is evident even in the slushbox-equipped 5 that we tested. Most of the fun of the Mazda 3 is here, only with about 500 extra pounds. So, while the Mazda 5 isn’t the Miata of minivans—nothing really is—it is a reminder that family hauling doesn’t mean you have to give up on fun driving.

Mazda5

Mazda5

 A good use of words. Take for example Karakuri – used to describe its very clever seating system and which comes from a word used to describe trickery! Apt because of the smart way the seats fold.

And more latterly we have Nagare – Mazda’s design theme which roughly translated means flow and is the flow-inspired concept behind the future of the marque’s design theme.

It first emerged in 2006 at the Los Angeles Motor show when Mazda unveiled the concept car Nagare which gave a flavour of what was to come.

This month we have the launch of the all-new Mazda5, emerging from the Nagare theme. It’s the Mazda that really does go with the flow. Well almost but we’ll come to that later.

The all-new 5 MPV is the first car to be completely styled using the nagare design language.

Inspired by the flowing elements found in nature, the Mazda5 is instantly distinguished by its boldly sculpted flanks.

These distinctive contours are complemented by the company’s striking face with a five point grille, which it shares with the Mazda3 which also provides the underpinnings for the MPV, piercing headlamps, and a steeply raked windscreen angle resulting in a sleek and svelte silhouette.

There appear to be three waves which undulate down each flank, emphasising nagare.

All very pleasant but when you get to the rear it looks a little ‘heavy bottomed’ and ungainly which doesn’t sit as prettily as the rest – the design appears to have run out of the ‘flow’ but more of that later.

Getting in and out of the Mazda5 is now even easier. Its large, twin sliding rear doors – a ‘first in class’ feature unique for the Mazda5 in its sector – open to a wide 686mm and extend just 160mm beyond the bodywork when open, giving exceptional access in even the tightest spaces. Sport models come with power sliding doors as standard.

The seven-seat layout offers excellent flexibility and plenty of space for all on board.

The three rows of seats create a wide range of passenger-luggage combinations – from seven seats, to four seats with a generous luggage compartment for longer journeys to just two seats and a vast, flat-floored cargo area for hauling larger items.

Its seven seats can be flipped and folded to create a variety of load-carrying configurations thanks to Karakuri!

The Mazda5 range debuts with two engines and a third to come early next year. The two petrol-powered MZR units – a 115ps 1.8-litre and a 150ps 2.0-litre DISI – will be joined by a 115ps 1.6-litre MZ-CD turbo diesel unit. The three powertrains are all Euro Stage 5 compliant.

The 2.0 litre is perky and more than capable of dealing with a full load but the 1.8 is underpowered and loaded up will struggle at times. I suspect the diesel will be the best drive.

Inside, the interior is one of Mazda’s best with all the major controls easy to operate and you don’t need to read the handbook from cover to cover to understand them.

It may appear a little on the plastic side but look at the price you are paying – and besides that this is meant for families and will easily wipe clean!

Standard equipment levels are generous and include six airbags, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with Traction Control System (TCS), two ISOFIX child seat anchor points, air-conditioning, cruise control, a six-speaker CD audio unit and alloy wheels across the range.

Upgraded 2010 Mazda6

Updated 2010 Mazda6

If you’ve been waiting with baited breath for the new Mazda 6, you’ll be pleased to know that the car maker has brought forward the on sale date for the upgraded models for 2010.

Already in Mazda showrooms, the new 19-strong range features an updated exterior and interior, along with additional equipment and a range of technical enhancements that improve fuel economy by up to 6.4% and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 6.1%.

Two body styles of hatchback and estate are on offer, with six engines (three petrol and three diesel) and four equipment levels – S, TS, TS2, and Sport – to choose from.

A new 2-litre DISI petrol engine delivers 155ps (up from 147ps), while the lower power 2.2-litre diesel generates more power and torque – up 4ps to 129ps and up 20Nm to 340Nm at 1,800rpm. The highest power 2.2-litre diesel now produces 180ps (down 5ps) but modifications to the turbocharger boost torque delivery (while aiding fuel economy and cutting emissions).

A Sport 2.0-litre petrol model with Mazda’s five-speed automatic transmission has been introduced after dealers reported a demand for a top-of-the-range model with this specification.

The upgraded Mazda6 achieves fuel economy average improvements of 3.2% for petrol and 4.1% for diesel and CO2 emission reductions average 4.4% and 4.8% respectively, so the lower power 2.2-litre, 129ps diesel hatchback now has a rating of just 138g/km. These improvements move many models into a lower RFL band. All new Mazda6 models now meet Euro5 emission standards.

Upgraded equipment for the new Mazda6 encompasses ‘smart’ turn indicators and emergency stop signal for all models. Additional items for 2010, moving up the range include: rear spoiler (TS upwards); front & rear parking sensors and hill hold assist (TS2 upwards), and swivel‑type AFS front lights (Sport).

A choice of eight exterior colours is available – including a single solid colour (brilliant black), two metallics (clear water blue and sunlight silver), and five micas (black, graphite, stormy blue, copper red and crystal white pearl). Standard interior trim is black cloth (S, TS and TS2), with part cloth/part leather trim on Sport models. Full leather trim is now available as an option on all TS2 and Sport models, and includes powered driver and front passenger seats with a memory function on the driver’s seat.

New Mazda Club Store Items

Additional club merchandise including the following can be found at our Fieldhouse Club Store located at www.fieldhouse.com/mazdaclub .