Mazda BT-50

Mazda BT-50

Since 2006, the Japanese automaker Mazda is producing a 1-ton pickup truck called the Mazda BT-50. It has a chassis code of J97M. Compared to B-Series, it is relatively larger version which is not offered in Japan and North America. Since its debut, it has been in its second generation. Ford has introduced the variant of 1st generation BT-50 under Ford Ranger name. Ford Australia is behind the designing of the second generation Ranger. Both Ranger and BT-50 are sold alongside each other.

First Generation (J97M; 2006–2011)

The first generation BT-50 was introduced for the first time on March 22, 2006 at the Bangkok Motor Show. It is powered either by a Duratorq/MZR-CD 2.5-L and 3.0-L Diesel straight-4 engines which it shares with the Ford Ranger.

A new 5-speed automatic transmission with BorgWarner transfer case was introduced by Mazda in November 2006. Safety features were also enhanced with the introduction of side passenger side airbags.

In the first half of 2008, Mazda introduced some minor changes and modification in the BT-50. With this redesigned version, Mazda made a good number of optional features standard and the interior was also renovated.

It is offered in Central and South America but not offered in North American market. The available options include: a 2.6-L straight-4 (4×4) version using similar specs as in Mazda B2600; a 2.2-L straight-4 (4×2) version with similar specs as found in B2200; and a 2.5-L Diesel straight-4 version available as 4×4 or 4×2.

Second Generation (2011–present)

On October 2010, Mazda launched a completely redesigned model of BT-50 at the Australian International Motor Show. This new generation shared its platform with the Ford Ranger (T6).

Although, the BT-50 was assembled at Ford Australia design center in Melbourne by Mazda designing team, both the companies (Mazda and Ford) carried out their operations independently. The windscreen, roof and the rear screen of both Ranger and BT-50 resembles a lot despite many differences. Mazda is planning to start production of BT-50 in Thailand and South Africa in near future.

Mazda Bongo

Mazda Bongo

In 1978, Mazda introduced a van called the Mazda Bongo. It was also called the Mazda E-Series and Mazda Access. The Bongo remained in production line up till 2001.

First Generation (1966-1975)

The first generation Bongo (F800) appeared in the market in 1966. It was a rear-engined, small van powered by 782 cc water-cooled OHV SA 4-stroke engine. In 1968, Mazda introduced a new version of Bongo with chassis code F1000 with a larger engine. The economic and financial problems forced Mazda to cease the production of this generation. Unexpectedly, the Bongo didn’t get any major modifications or changes throughout its ten year of lifetime.

The Bongo had a low gearing ratio that enabled it to carry a payload of half ton. Also, it used the engine similar to Mazda 1000 mated to a 4-speed transaxle at the rear wheels. However, the entire lineup of Bongos was prone to rust as well as poor maintenance facilities.

Although, Bongo and 1000 had the same front suspensions and brake equipments, they were based on different chassis.

Second Generation (1977-1983)

The second generation Bongo was launched in September 1977. This generation featured a mid-mounted engine with rear-wheel drive. It was also marketed by Ford under Ford Econovan nameplate. However, it was offered in export market by Mazda as E1300, E1400 and E1600 based on the engine used.

The second generation Bongo was offered with three engine choices, i.e. 1,272 cc TC, 60 hp or 44 kW (1978); 1,586 cc NA, 80 hp or 59 kW (1978-1982); and 1,415 cc UC, 70 hp or 52 kW (1979-1980).

Third Generation (1983-1999)

In 1984, Mazda introduced a revised version of the Bongo as third generation. It was available with a whole lot of new engines. Ford marketed it under ‘Spectron’ nameplate in many Asian markets. For the third generation, Mazda also released a long-wheelbase version called the Bongo Brawny. It was marketed in export markets as E-Series.

It was available with three petrol and two diesel engines including: 1,415 cc UC (1984-1985); 1,789 cc F8 (1983-1988); and 2000 cc FE were petrol engines, while 1,998 cc Diesel (1984-1985) and 2,209 cc R2 Diesel (1983-1988) were two diesel options.

Fourth Generation (1999-Present)

The fourth generation Bongo was made available in June 1999. Three major Japanese automakers offered a rebadged version of this generation, i.e. the Ford Econovan, Mitsubishi Delica, and Nissan Vanette.

Mazda B-Series

Mazda B-Series

In 1961, the Japanese automaker Mazda introduced a pickup truck called the Mazda B-Series. The compact pickup trucks introduced by Mazda bear the Proceed name, while the larger series of trucks is known as Mazda Titan. The B-Series was sold under different names in different markets such as in Australia it was marketed as Mazda Bravo; in New Zealand as Mazda Bounty; Mazda Magnum/Thunder/ Fighter names used in Thailand; and in South Africa it was known as Mazda Drifter.

Ford also sold a badge-engineered version of B-Series as Ford Courier and in later years as Ford Ranger under the joint venture between Mazda and Ford. It is worth noting that the versions of B-Series and Ranger marketed in North America are not related to ones sold in other markets. North American versions are built by Ford, while the models offered in other markets are supplied by Mazda.

First Generation (1961–1965)

In August 1961, Mazda launched the B-Series bonnet truck under the B1500 name, where 1500 refers to the engine displacement. It was launched with a payload of one ton. The successor of B1500, the BUD61launched in the Japanese domestic market under ‘Proceed’ name. The engine was a 1484 cc OHV water-cooled type equipped with wet sleeve cylinders producing 59 hp (44 kW). As for suspension, it used the torsion bar at front while the rear received leaf spring suspension.

This truck paved the way for many modern day trucks.

Second Generation (1965–1971)

The second generation B-Series truck was launched in 1965 as B1500/Proceed with a chassis code of BUD61. It also used the similar 1484 cc OHV I4 engine but with slight modifications in the cylinder head and valves. The previously used sidedraft unit was replaced by the downdraft carburetor. These modifications boosted the engine power to 73 hp (54 kW). This generation model also featured four headlights. It was discontinued in 1971 when a similar looking B1600 replaced it.

Third Generation (1971–1979)

In 1972, the third generation B-Series was launched as B1600. A rotary-powered Rotary Pickup added in the lineup in 1974. The second generation was initially launched with a 1.6-L engine which was later upgraded to 1.8-L engine in 1975 for the B1800. In Japanese market, it was available as Proceed, but it was also marketed by Ford as Ford Courier.

Three different engine options were there: the models produced between 1972 and 1976 came with 1.6-L (1,586 cc) NA I4; a 1.8-L (1,796 cc) VB I4 engine was used in the models from 1975 to 1979; and 1.3-L  (654 cc x 2) 13B was available in models between 1974 to 1977.

Fourth Generation (1978–1985)

The fourth generation B-Series B2000 was launched in 1978 in Japanese market, while it was introduced in United States in 1980. It was powered by a 2.0-L F/MA engine. Later in 1982, the 2.2-L diesel engine was released with the launch of B2200.

A long bed version of B2000 was also introduced under the Sundowner nameplate. The name ‘Sundowner’ was derived from the history of nomadic Australian herders who supposed to install camps at the place where they were at the time of sundown.

A compact pickup version, the Courier was offered in New Zealand and Australia (1979) and was assembled in Japan by Mazda for Ford.

Fifth Generation (1985–1998)

The fifth generation B-Series appeared in 1985 and remained in production up till 1998. It was available with standard 4-speed automatic transmission, while a 5-speed manual transmission was made available in 1989. Mazda also offered a part-time all-wheel drive as an option for this generation. In 1986, Mazda introduced a 2.6-L Mitsubishi-powered B2600 variant which was later substituted with the new Mazda powerplants in 1988. Mazda also introduced the SUV/RV variants under Proceed Marvie name in 1991, also marketed as Ford Raider in Australian and New Zealand market.

Sixth Generation (1998–2006)

The sixth and the last generation of B-Series truck appear in 1998. It was redesigned for export markets. The sixth generation B-Series also assembled in Thailand where production started in May 1998 at the AutoAlliance plant. In Europe and Asia, it was also marketed as Ford Ranger, while in Australia and New Zealand, it was also offered as Ford Courier. It was also assembled in Philippines. Its CKD variants are manufactured in Ecuador and South Africa as well.

Mazda Tribute

Mazda Tribute

Mazda is producing a compact CUV with a production code of J14 since 2001. It was a result of joint venture between the Ford and Mazda Motor Company. This front-wheel drive vehicle is based on Mazda 626 platform and in turn led the basis for the Ford Escape built on CD2 platform. Compared to Ford’s CD2 range, the Tribute is relatively low-priced than the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner.

Both Tribute and Escape appeared in 2001, available both as front-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive configurations. The engine options available were the 2.0-L transversely mounted Ford Zetec 4-cylinder and a 3.0-L Ford Duratec V6 engines. In European market, the Escape was marketed as Ford Maverick with an option of Ford 2.0-L I4 mated to manual transmission or a 3.0-L Duratec mated to automatic transmission.

The stiffer and rigid suspension of Tribute is the only difference between the Escape/Maverick and Tribute. The stiffer suspension in Tribute intended to offer solid ride being a part of Mazda’s sports car lineup. The Tribute is also regarded as one of the oldest Mazda’s SUV still in Mazda plants. The rival automakers has introduced many upgraded similar class versions but Mazda’s Tribute is still been appreciated for its superb handling and matchless performance equipments.

First Generation (2000–2007)

The first generation Tribute was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2000. It filled up the gap between the Mazda Navajo and a rebadged Ford Explorer in the US market. However, in majority of the markets it was introduced as the first Mazda-based SUV. Before the launch of Tribute, Mazda already was offering the Mazda Proceed Levante (rebadged version of Suzuki Escudo) in the Japanese market. The Ford plant in Claycomo, Missouri produced Mazda Tribute and Ford Escape for the local market. Similarly, the Mazda’s Hofu plant in Japan and Ford Lio Ho plant in Taiwan manufactured the Tribute and Escape for their concerned markets.

In 2004, the Tribute and Escape received mild restyling for the 2005 model. The 2.3-L MZRI4 engine was now offered as standard, while the high performance 3.0-L Duratec V6 engine was retained. The floor mounted automatic transmission shifter was overtaken by the column shifter in North American-based models, while the Japanese versions still offered with column shifter.

Second Generation (2007–Present)

The second generation Tribute was launched in 2007 as a completely renewed model similar to Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner. Mazda’s plans were to rename the model as CX-5, but the name was later retained as Tribute. The second generation Tribute is based on the same CD2 platform and also carried over the engines from previous generation, i.e. a 2.3-L MZR I4 and a 3.0-L AJ V6 unit. The prominent notable changes from previous generation could be seen in interior as well as in the form of all new sheet metal. Other differences laid in Front fenders, hood, front fascia taillights and detailing of the car. Distinct wheel arches and raised belt line were other features. Mazda opted for drum brakes on its rear with a view to avoid high costs on production.

Mazda CX-7

Mazda CX-7

The CX-7 is a mid-size crossover SUV model from Mazda, the production version of the MX-Crossport concept car. The CX-7 is built in Hiroshima, Japan, starting in early 2006. The CX-7 was shown publicly for the first time at the 2006 Los Angeles Auto Show in January. Production officially began on February 20 at Mazda’s Ujina#2 factory in Hiroshima. The CX-7 went on sale in spring 2006 as a 2007 model. It is also Mazda’s first mid-size SUV since the Navajo was discontinued in 1994.

The CX-7 receives an all-new platform instead of sharing the Ford/Mazda CD3 platform used by the larger Mazda CX-9/Ford Edge/Lincoln MKX crossovers as well as the Mazda6. It uses the front suspension of the Mazda MPV minivan, with the rear suspension from the Mazda5. Many of the all wheel drive components come from the Mazdaspeed6. It shares its turbocharged engine with the Mazdaspeed6. It uses a 6-speed automatic transmission. The CX-7 currently slots between the Tribute and the CX-9.

Specifications

Engine and transmission

Power comes from the same 2.3 L straight-4 MZR engine used in the Mazdaspeed3 and Mazdaspeed6 coupled with a 6 speed Aisin automatic transmission, and tuned to produce 244 hp or 182 kW (Australian model 175 kW) at 5000 RPM and 258 ft-lb (350 Nm) of torque at a low 2500 rpm, 99% of the maximum torque is available to 5000 rpm.

The MZR 2.3L DISI turbo engine found in the Mazdaspeed3 and Mazdaspeed6 has been retuned in the North American-Spec CX-7 to deliver torque at a lower RPM for less turbo lag off the line, at the cost of power. This was achieved thanks to a redesigned, smaller KO4 turbocharger. UK-Spec CX-7′s feature the same, larger KO4 turbocharger and transmission found in the Mazdaspeed line.

2010 Update

This is an update to the original. The exterior design features revised front and rear fascias with the front adopting the larger five-point grille design similar in appearance to the recently redesigned RX-8, MX-5 and Mazda3/Axela. The new interior features redesigned gauges with blackout meters that feature three-dimensional dials, a 3.5 inch super-twisted nematic (STN) monochrome and 4.1-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) color Multi Information Display (MID), (positioned at the top of the instrument panel), Bluetooth compatibility, and a Blind Spot Monitoring System.

The car was unveiled at the 2009 Canadian International Auto Show.

The diesel version now includes a manual transmission, and has been on sale in Europe since 2009.

Origin of its Name

The CX-7 reused the name RX-7, (which was a sports car that was discontinued and replaced by RX-8), but the first letter, ‘R’ (‘R’ means rotary engine), was changed to ‘C’ (‘C’ means crossover SUV).

Mazda CX-9

Mazda CX-9

A full-sized crossover SUV introduced by Japanese automaker Mazda in 2007 and classified as a ‘modern station wagon’ by station wagon. In Australia and North America, the CX-9 took the place of Mazda MPV minivan. Prior to its debut, it was exhibited by Mazda at the New York International Auto Show on April 13, 2006. The CX-9 is assembled in Japan at Mazda’s Ujina 1 plant located in Hiroshima Prefecture.

It is based on the Ford CD3 platform also used for the Ford Edge. The CX-9 comes with a 3.7-L V6 engine commonly used by the Ford range. Despite having resemblance with the CX-7, the performance specs and platform are entirely different. The CX-9 comes in 4-wheel drive or front-wheel drive layout. Considering its seating arrangement, cargo area and drivetrain, it seems to follow the Mitsubishi Outlander in the North American market.

It is marketed in Australia and Indonesia as well where it replaced the CX-7. Although, it is assembled in a left-hand drive country, i.e. Japan, it is still sold in some right-hand drive countries including New Zealand, Australia, and Indonesia. It is also imported to some European markets as well as in Russia.

2007 Model

The CX-9 when launched was powered by a 3.5-L Cyclone V6 engine. It also featured some standard safety measures including traction control, third-row side curtain airbags, Dynamic Stability Control and Roll Stability Control, and front side impact airbags. Other enhancement features were a DVD navigation system, backup camera, rear entertainment system with Bose 5.1 surround sound, and hands-free Bluetooth phone link.

2008 Model

Mazda boosted the engine displacement from 3.5-L to 2.7-L for the 2008 model. The new engine can deliver 204 kW (273 hp) and torque of about 366 Nm (270 lb-ft). The engine was developed at the Mazda’s engine plant in Japan in 2007. Apart from new 3.7-L engine, Mazda also introduced an Aisin F21++ 6-speed automatic transmission featuring a console-mounted shifter in a complex gate in 2008 model year. Other features include a Rearview Mirror mounted Backup Camera System and a Blind Spot Monitoring System. A Collision avoidance/blind spot warning detector was also present.

The only drawback with 2008 model is the insufficient storage space inside the cabin.

Facelift

Mazda introduced the facelift of CX-9 in 2009 at the New York International Auto Show for 2010 model year. The facelifted model offers a revised grille. In Australia, three different versions of 2010 CX-9 are offered including Classic, Luxury and Grand Touring.

Some of the major features introduced in 2010 CX-9 are: a tri-zone climate control and a Bluetooth hands-free interface. Touring and Grand Touring are the top of the line trim levels featuring higher end audio and rear DVD entertainment systems. As for price, the model featuring all these options is available up to the price of $40,000.

Mazda RX-8

Mazda RX-8

The Japanese automaker Mazda introduced their sports car named the Mazda RX-8 in 2003. However, it was revealed earlier at the North American International Auto Show in 2001. It was introduced as a replacement for the RX-7. Like other models of RX series, it was also equipped with a Wankel engine. The sales began in North America in 2004.on August 23, 2011Mazda made a statement proclaiming that the 2011 model year will be the last model of RX-8 after which the company ceased its production. The RX-8 was also introduced in Europe but was withdrawn in 2010 because it failed to comply with the European emissions standards.

Background

The introduction of rotary engine in the United States by Mazda goes back to 1971. It all started with the introduction of RX-2, RX-3, RX-4, RX-5, and RX-7 sports vehicles in US market. Mazda was forced to withdraw its RX-7from most of the ,markets excluding Japan because it failed to provide comfortable and user-friendly features together with the high retail price and diminishing interest in sports cars and coupes at that time.

However, resurgence occurred in the last half of 1990s in tuning and performance vehicles, perhaps partly because of some cultural influences like the Sony PlayStation video game Gran Turismo. The Japanese car manufacturers including Mazda once again entered in the United States’ performance and sports car market.

By this time, Mazda was trying hard to revitalize itself in automobile market partly with management and financial assistance from Ford. Mazda eventually came up with a new top performance line of vehicles featuring dynamic styling and insightful equipments, starting from the Mazda6 came after Mazda3 and paved the way for the upcoming generation of rotary sports car.

2003 – 2008

The first model of RX-8 was launched in 2003 with a chassis code of SE3P and JMZSE. The vehicle was equipped with the RENESIS 13B-MSP (multi-side port) Wankel 654×2 rotary engine expelling a 1.3-L non-turbo unit. The RENESIS was offered as standard and high power version at its release. The 4-port standard RENESIS delivered 232 hp (173 kW) and mated to a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. The high power 6-port RENSIS engine delivered 250 hp (190 kW) with an only 6-speed manual transmission.

Both the engine versions were revised for North American market by Mazda. The 4-port standard RENESIS version was revised to produce 197 hp (147 kW) and the high power 6-port RENSIS version was revised to generate 238 hp (177 kW). Contrary to RX-7 that used the 13B-REW, the RENESIS offered an improve rate of fuel efficiency and emissions with its exhaust ports mounted in the side housing, hence making it comply with US emissions standards.

2009 – 2012

As of 2009 model year, the engineers at Mazda increased the stiffness of the RX-8 body with an introduction of some additional structural strengthening such as a trapezoidal strut tower bar along with the improvement in the front suspension tower areas. Despite its rigid structure, the 2009 RX-8 is lighter than earlier versions by 90 pounds. The engineers also modified the driveshaft stiffness as well as NVH levels with a view to enhance the handling of the vehicle. The performance of the vehicle was overall improved by revising the rear suspension engineering. The gearing ratio is also altered for the 2009 RX-8, i.e. the gearing ratio is lowered on vehicles with manual transmission from 4,444 to 4,777, eventually boosted the acceleration and overall performance of the vehicle.

Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5

Since 1989, the Japanese automaker Mazda has been producing this lightweight, 2-seater roadster, front-engine, rear-wheel drive Mazda MX-5. In North America, it is marketed as Miata while in home market it receives Eunos Roadster name. It was officially introduced at the Chicago Auto Show in 1989 and assembled at Mazda’s Hiroshima plant. Although, MX-5 was considered as a small roadster, it idyllically it is considered as the direct successor of the 1960s British roadsters including the Triumph Spitfire, Austin-Healey Sprite, MG Midget and Lotus Elan.

In 1998, Mazda introduced the second generation of MX-5 (NB). The MX-5 is in its third generation now. The MX-5 is continued to be ranked as the best-selling 2-seat sports convertible until now. Over 900,000 MX-5 units have been sold by Mazda worldwide by the end of February 2011.

The name MX-5 became standard all over the world with the launch of the third generation, though it is still being referred to as Miata in American market. The term ‘Miata’ is taken from Old High German which means ‘reward’.

Generations and Overview

Between 1989 and 1997, Mazda sold about 400,000 units of MX-5 (NA) which was equipped with a 1.6-L (98 cubic inch) straight-4 and a 1.8-L (110 cubic inch) engine, after which a detuned 1.6-L engine was released as an option. In 1998, the MX-5 (NB) was launched with a slight improvement in the engine displacement. It also received revised headlamps and a glass rear window. The MX-5 (NC), a third generation model was released in 2005, powered by a 2.0-L 102 (cubic inch) engine.

The MX-5 was introduced when almost all the similar roadster models had lost their market. The only rival vehicle available at that time was the Alfa Romeo Spider. It was just a matter of decade, when a good number of roadsters were produced in sold all over the world including MG B, Triumph Spitfire, Fiat Spider and Triumph TR7.

As for technical aspects, the car’s body is based on a traditional but lightweight uni-body or monocoque construction, featuring a removable front and rear sub-frames. A supportive framework called the Powerplant Frame (PPF) is used in the MX-5 that links the engine to other components including differential, reducing flex and assists in performance handling. There are some models which feature limited slip differential and antilock braking system. The third generation model receives and optional traction control.

First Generation (NA)

On February 10, 1989, Mazda launched the first generation MX-5 (NA) at the Chicago Auto Show.  It was launched with a set price of US$14,000. It went on sale in Japan in March 1989; in United States and Canada in May 1989; and it was made available to public in Europe in 1990. Following the popularity of the vehicle, a hardtop version was made available as an option.

Second Generation (NB)

The second generation MX-5 was introduced with a production code of NB in 1998. It was offered with an upgraded engine as well as with extra styling hints which were taken from the third generation RX-7. In the US market, the second generation MX-5 introduced with a price tag of US$19,770.

Third Generation (NC)

On May 17, 2005, Mazda introduced the third generation MX-5 with a production code of NC. It was offered as a 2006 model year. This generation was introduced following the dwindling sales of second generation model.

Mazda MPV

Mazda MPV (Mazda8)

Since 1989, the Japanese automaker Mazda has been producing a minivan called the Mazda MPV. The vehicle was initially launched with a rear-wheel drive layout with an option of selectable 4-wheel drive layout. The front-wheel configuration was introduced in 2000. Since its debut, more than one million units of MPV have been sold by Mazda all over the world.

First Generation [(RWD/4WD) 1989-1999]

The Japanese automakers caught by surprise by the growing popularity of minivans in the 1980s. The immediate response was seen by all automakers. The first was the Toyota that opted for a mid-engined Van derived from the 1984 TownAce. Next to follow were Nissan and Mitsubishi both of which went for adaptation in their cargo vans in 1987. However, all these modified vehicles were small and equipped with a 4-cylinder engine.

The MPV was launched in 1989 and was not a conversions or adaptation of any previous model rather it was started from nothing (from start) to provide US market with a minivan. The MPV was built on the platform from a rear-wheel drive 929 HC. The platform is dubbed as LV platform. The MPV received a V6 engine with an option of part-time 4-wheel drive (not to confuse with the permanent 4WD system), i.e. the vehicle could be shifted to selectable 4WD system through a switch positioned on the column fear selector. Another switch located on the dash let the driver to lock the center differential, hence dividing the power in a uniform manner between the front and rear axles. The system allowed the driver to engage or disengage 4-wheel drive while in motion.

Second Generation [(FWD/4WD) 1999-2006]

The second generation MPV was launched in 1999. It was a front-wheel drive vehicle with short-wheelbase and built on LW platform. Some of the basic features were dual sliding doors featuring power windows, dual sliding rear doors and a third-row seat which could be folded and tumbled across into the floor bed. As for body style, it has resemblance with the Ford Windstar based on V platform.

During its launch, it was equipped with a similar 170 hp DOHC Ford Duratec engine also used in the Contour, Mercury Mystique and Cougar. Two-place middle bench seat was offered in all DX models. The LX model on the other hand came with two middle buckets that allow the passengers to slide the side seats sideways. Other features were: power locks and windows, heated power mirrors, privacy glass and antilock braking system. The ES models feature leather seats, larger wheels, wood tone interior, dual zone front and rear air-conditioning system and side impact airbags for front passengers.

Third Generation [(FWD/4WD) 2006-present]

The third generation MPV was launched on February 2, 2006 in Japan. This generation comes with two engine options, i.e. a 2.3-L MZR 4-cylinder naturally aspirated engine and a 2.3-L MZR 4-cylinder with Direct Injection Spark Ignition (DISI) turbo engine.

Presently, the 3rd generation MPV is offered in markets including Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand and Malaysia. In the markets including Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Macau it is marketed as Mazda8. The Turbo and 4WD models are sold only in the Japanese domestic market which means that the models export in other countries are available only as NA front-wheel drive. North American market doesn’t receive Mazda8 rather a CX-9 model is marketed there in place of it.

Mazda Atenza

Mazda Atenza (Mazda6)

Since 2002, a Japanese automaker Mazda has been producing a mid-sized vehicle called the Mazda6 also known as Mazda Atenza (in Japanese market). Since its debut, more than one million units of Mazda6 has retailed all across the world by Mazda.

After the introduction of the Mazda2 (2002), RX-8 (2003), Mazda3 (2004), Mazda5 (2005), MX-5 (2005) and Mazda CX-7 (2006), the Mazda6 was regarded as the first Mazda vehicle launched with innovative, lively and perceptive designing features. The Mazda6 succeeds the Mazda 626, also called the Mazda Capella and Mazda Cronos. As Mazda6 is built on the G-platform, it primarily is the fourth generation Mazda626, developing from the GF-platform of 626/Capella to the GG-platform.

Presently, the Mazda6 is run in the GTS class, SCCA Pro Racing World Championship. In the manufacturer’s championship standings, the Mazda6 stood first. Mazda divers also held the first and second positions on the driver points table of Touring Car.

First Generation (2002-2008)

The first generation Mazda6 was introduced in 2002. It was initially offered as a 4-door sedan, 5-door liftback and 5-door station wagon, sold as ‘Sport Sedan’, ‘5-Door’ and ‘Sport Wagon’ respectively in the North American market. Only sedan version was offered in Australia as Limited initially later joined by Classic, offered as sedan, hatch and wagon. Next come the luxury model offered as sedan or hatch version. The Luxury Sport model was the top of the line model offered only as hatch. The automobile market in New Zealand received a 2.0-L GLX available only as sedan, 2.3-L GSX available as sedan, hatch and wagon, and a 2.3-L Limited offered as sedan and hatch versions. Moray Callum was the chief designer of this generation Mazda6.

The different engine options available were: a 1.8-L L8-DE, a 2.0-L LF-VE and a 2.3-L L3-VE, all three mated to either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission featuring sequential-automatic system known as the ‘Four-Speed Sport AT’. In the United States, a 3.0-L Duratec30 V6 engine mated to either a 5-speed manual or a 5-speed automatic transmission featuring sequential-automatic system called the ‘Five Speed Sports AT’. A 4-cylinder turbodiesel engines mated to a 6-speed manual transmission were offered in European and Australian markets.

Second Generation

In September 2007, Mazda revealed the second generation Mazda6 at the Frankfurt Auto Show.

This second generation is built on Mazda’s GH platform which is a revised version of the GG platform still utilized by Ford as its own CD3 platform. The second generation Mazda6 is also available in three different body styles, i.e. 4-door saloon, 5-door wagon and hatchback. Its new electrically controlled steering receives a lot of praise and appreciation from press. Compared to the competitors such as Ford Mondeo/Opel Insignia (hatchback), the Mazda6 also offers a trunk space overshadowing its competitors.

What Car? – An automobile magazine that ranked the Mazda6 a Family Car of the Year for the year2010.

2011 Facelift

In 2010, at the event of Geneva Motor Show, Mazda introduced the new Mazda6 for the 2011 model year.