Tag Archives: japanese cars

Take a First Look at the all new 2014 Mazda3

Like the latest CX-5 and Mazda 6, it will have some degree of Skyactiv lightweight and fuel-saving technologies built in. Also, as a recent batch of spy photos clearly shows, it will inherit the 6’s and CX-5’s attractive Kodo design language. Stay tuned for more, but based on these leaked images, we can say this: The Mazda 3 is once again one of the most attractive small cars out there.

2014 Mazda 3 - Front Headlight Silhoutette

2014 Mazda 3 – Front Headlight Silhoutette

The next Mazda3, like the recently revamped 6, is a complete departure from the outgoing model, with virtually no lingering Ford DNA whatsoever. Following the anthropometric trend of gradually increasing size, the wheelbase stretches 2.4 inches to 106.3 and the width broadens by 1.6 inches, yielding 2.3 inches of front and 0.4 inch of rear shoulder room. The roofline drops by 0.6 inch for better aerodynamics.

2014 Mazda 3 - Front 3/4

2014 Mazda 3 – Front 3/4

In North America, the 3 will have two available engines. The 2.0-liter SKYACTIV-G engine will produce 155 hp at 6000 rpm, and 150 lb-ft at 4000 rpm. The other engine is the 2.5-liter SKYACTIV-G that’s already found in the CX-5 and Mazda6, making 184 hp at 5700 rpm and 185 lb-ft at 3250 rpm. Another cool efficiency trick i-ELOOP brings: capacitors that store energy regenerated by the alternator during braking, another claimed world-first. Mazda’s new i-ELOOP suite of fuel-saving extras also includes active grille shutters that route air around the car except when the radiator absolutely needs it to cool the Skyactiv engines. Either engine comes with a choice of manual or automatic six-speed transmissions.

2014 Mazda 3 - Rear 3/4

2014 Mazda 3 – Rear 3/4

Inside, the big news is the HUD, which Mazda will integrate into all Mazda vehicles going forward as part of a “human-machine-interface” system. That conjures up images of cyborgs, but really the point is to combat driver distraction. We know the HUD display will carry all the normal driving info you’d expect, but it’s not clear what other information will be displayed. A suite of new safety-related “apps” utilizing cameras, millimeter-wave radar, and laser sensors is offered under the i-ACTIVESENSE moniker (maybe the hyphen and shout-case are to keep them out of trouble with Apple?), a pricey option package. Features include high-beam control, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, forward-obstruction warning, Smart City Brake Support (enhanced or automated braking, when a collision is anticipated at speeds under 19 mph), and radar cruise control.

2014 Mazda 3 - Dashboard layout

2014 Mazda 3 – Dashboard layout

Diesel? No plans to make a SKYACTIV-D version at this point. That could be code for pretty much anything in manufacturer-speak, so we’ll have to wait and see what direction Mazda goes there. Likely the reception of the Mazda6 SKYACTIV-D will be the key factor in a possible diesel Mazda3, but our European and Japanese friends get the diesel engine right off the bat.

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Interested seeing the new leaner meaner looking 2014 Lexus IS?

Today we can thank the Chinese for allowing the world to take a sneak peak at the newest Lexus IS model, as today first images of the car were leaked on to the internet.Set to make its public debut at next week’s Detroit Motor Show, the revamped IS borrows some of its styling cues from the LF-CC, including the now familiar spindle grille and a coupe-like roofline. Both head and taillights have received the LED treatment, while the sides show a resemblance with the GS.

2014 Lexus IS F-Sport - Front 3/4

2014 Lexus IS F-Sport – Front 3/4

The model seen here is an F Sport variant (not to be confused with the high-performance IS F), which means it features an aerodynamic kit, taller alloy wheels, a bespoke finish for the grille, a lowered suspension and tuned chassis along with a sportier trimmed interior, while keeping the same powerplant(s) a in the standard IS. There will be three other flavors with the IS 250 gets buyers in the door, while the IS 350 is the higher-performance model. A hybrid in the form of the IS 300h will be offered in Europe, Japan and other select markets to start.

2014 Lexus IS F-Sport - Side Profile

2014 Lexus IS F-Sport – Side Profile

There aren’t any confirmed details about the engine lineup, but a V6 2.5-liter with 200+ hp and a V6 3.5-liter with 300 plus hp are almost a certainty. A hybridized version with a 4-cylinder, 2.5-liter pushing out approximately 240 hp is also very real possibility. We are also anticipating all gas only engines to be paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission, with a CVT being used in the Hybrid model.

2014 Lexus IS F-Sport - As it passes you on the Highway

2014 Lexus IS F-Sport – As it passes you on the Highway

Inside, the 2014 Lexus IS truly does appear to be influenced by the now-retired LFA supercar, even if it is only in the instrument cluster. In the center stack and you’ll see the AC temperature controls are electrostatic, meaning you swipe up or down to change the temperature. The 2014 Lexus IS will also debut with subscription-free real-time traffic and weather information as standard on cars with and without a navigation system, thanks to a partnership with the developer of HD Radio.

2014 Lexus IS F-Sport - Interior

2014 Lexus IS F-Sport – Interior

Buyers can opt for an F Sport package, which is available across the entire IS lineup. It’s a suite of appearance and functional upgrades. Some of those enhancements include aluminum pedals and scuff plates as well as a steering wheel and instrument cluster which Lexus also reports as being inspired by the LFA supercar.

2014 Lexus IS F-Sport - Head On

2014 Lexus IS F-Sport – Head On

While we’re still curious to see what a normal 2014 Lexus IS 250 looks like inside and out, as from the looks of the F-Sport Lexus is about to hit a home run, at least style wise. Now lets see if the car’s ride and handling can compete with the big German three and make an impression on the segment of the market that is in the market for purchasing a sporty mid size sedan.


2014 Mazda3 is rendered by artist following the brands new Kodo design language

We have to tip our hats to Autoguide.com as they have decided to use some of their graphics budget to pay someone to render what the next generation of the Mazda3 will look like. I’m personally a little pissed as I just purchased a new 2012 Skyactiv Mazda 3 two months ago because of its sporty ride fuel efficient engine and aggressive styling in this case on the Mazda3 sport model.  So when I saw the below artist rendering and loved it really only made me jealous.

An Artists rendering of what the 2014 Mazda3 could look like

Most significant are changes to the front fascia. Gone is the silly gen 2 smiley face and in its place we find a more angular and premium design, similar to that of the newly released Mazda6 images. Rumor has it that the  the new 3 will be an all-new light weight platform. Mazda has committed to reducing the weight of each of its new models by as much as 220 lbs, meaning the base curb weight for the 2014 model should sit around just 2,650 lbs.

The entry level engine on the new 2014 Mazda3 will be the current 2.0-liter 4-cylinder SkyActiv unit that is found in the current SkyActiv model sold today, which are tuned for 155 hp and 145 lb-ft or torque. . The only difference is that the engine bay will be designed to incorporate the 4:2:1 exhaust manifold that should allow the engine to run at 13:1 compression and slightly increase the torque figure to around 155 lb-ft and improve the engine sweet spot. I am even more jealous now as the current engine configuration is ultra sweet and the 6-speed automatic that sends the power to the front wheels is one of the best that I have driven lately and will perform just as well and in most situations better then the leading dual clutch designs that are current for sale.

For those wishing for a powerful Mazda3 that does not have a Mazdaspeed badge on it should be able to opt for a new 2.5-liter SkyActiv engine, which will produce as much as 189-hp in the upcoming 2014 Mazda6. Mazda is also reportedly considering a new 2.2-liter turbo diesel engine option for the US, which during the Mazda6 launch party was said to be able to produce roughly 170 hp and over 300 lb-ft of torque. That engine is confirmed for North America and will arrive in the new mid-size 6 sedan late in 2013. I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these engine as with just under 8000km on my new SkyActiv Mazda3 I’m averaging just over 5.5 L/100km or right around 40 mpg, so I can only imagine what kind of numbers a SkyActiv diesel will be able to achieve.

When more official news gets leaked about the upcoming Mazda3 you can be sure that we will have it here so check back with us frequently and often to catch all of the breaking news.

If you are also interested in seeing the all new 2013 Mazda6 SkyActiv you can read all about it here: “All you need to know about the new 2014 Mazda6


Take a first look at the all new 2013 Honda Accord

Honda redesigned the Accord for 2013, debuting the ninth generation of its popular family car amid a hotbed of competition. By sales volume, some seven out of 10 family cars saw redesigns for 2012 or 2013. The list includes household names: Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry.

2013 Honda Accord – Coupe and Sedan

Base models come equipped with a direct-injection 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 185 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. When mated with a new six-speed manual gearbox, the sedan returns 24 miles per gallon city, 34 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined. Engineers have also developed a new continuously variable transmission for peak fuel economy. When paired with the CVT, the four-cylinder yields 27 mpg city, 36 mpg highway and 30 mpg combined. Those numbers mark an increase of four mpg city and two mpg highway over the old automatic, but land the Accord behind the 38 mpg of the 2013 Nissan Altima.

2013 Honda Accord Sedan – Front 3/4 view

While the new direct-injection system and transmissions account for a large portion of that increase, tricks like an electric power steering system and reworked aerodynamics also help. Sport trim bumps power up to 189 hp and 182 lb-ft of torque with no significant fuel economy penalty. Buyers who step into the 278 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 with its 252 lb-ft of torque can look forward to 21 mpg city and 34 mpg highway. That’s an increase of one and four mpg, respectively, which helps push the six-cylinder to 25 mpg combined.

In the styling department the new Accord has received a subtle update with a slightly more dramatic flat-fronted chrome grille and a chrome lower front splitter. Further helping to add some premium style to the new Accord are standard 16-inch aluminum wheels and chrome door handles. Out back a new taillight design is oddly reminiscent of the Hyundai Genesis sedan.

2013 Honda Accord Sedan – Rear 3/4 view

That center-screen, an 8-inch unit, will come as standard equipment, as will Honda’s i-MID system, a back-up camera and an Econ button, which, when pressed, will dull throttle response to further improve fuel economy. Upgrading to the new Sport trim adds 18-inch wheels, a 10-way power seat, fog lights, a leather steering wheel, dual exhaust a rear spoiler and paddle shifters. The volume EX trim adds the LaneWatch feature, keyless access with a push button ignition, a moonroof, 17-inch wheels and rear seat ventilation. Finally the EL-L delivers leather, heated seats, an upgraded audio system, forward collision alert and lane departure alert, with navigation optional. V6 models come only as an EX-L trim with leather, while a new top-trim Touring model adds adaptive cruise control and LED headlights.

2013 Honda Accord – Interior

Pricing details have not yet been revealed, and we will be interested to see as each of the 2013 Accord trim levels have added more standard content in what looks to be an attempt at taking the Hyundai approach. Time will tell and we will be here to pass the final numbers along when they are eventually released.

All 2013 Honda Accord Models

To read our Sneak Peak article on the Honda Accord click the following link: “Take a sneak peak at the first images of the 2013 Honda Accord


Toyota FT-86 II Concept Teased Ahead of Frankfurt Debut

I’m not sure that there has been a Toyota product that has been more highly anticipated then the new FT-86 II.  With that being said we are less than 24 hours away from yet another concept version of the car being debuted at the Frankfurt Auto show.  We have another teaser video below that indicates a race version of the car being announced.

Now don`t shoot the messenger on this one but the rumour is that at this year at the Tokyo Auto show all versions and makes of this car will be revealed.  Until then enjoy the Toyota FT-86 II or Scion FR-S or the Subaru whatever teaser video that was released last week.