At the conclusion of my FR-S road test, I opined that we should be thankful for its very existence, as it functionally doubled the available choices in the almost-abandoned small sports car/coupe segment. The Brits are long gone. BMW hasn’t played in this niche since the Z3 (in the States, anyway) and Porsche since the 944. Nissan bailed on the U.S.-market S Platform in 1998. The S2000 showed up a year later and soldiered on for ten years, though it could be argued that ten years was a few too many.
When I first drove the 2013 CX-5 last year, I found it pleasant if a bit underpowered. That should come as no surprise. The original two-liter SKYACTIV gas engine was only good for 155hp and similar torque numbers. For 2014, Mazda has added a 2.5-liter SKY engine as an upgrade on the Touring and Grand Touring trims. At 184hp and 185lb-ft of Torque, this new mill makes the CX-5 power-competitive with the other non-turbocharged offerings within the class. It’s still not the clear leader in sheer grunt, but it brings enough hustle to keep it in the running in a class topped off by 250-horsepower Escapes and Sportages.
Thirty thousand units: it would represent a fantastic month for the Ford Fusion or Nissan Altima, but Mazda isn’t thinking in terms of months. That is the year-end sales goal for the 2014 Mazda6. Mazda sold 42,000 CX-5s in 2012—its abbreviated launch year—and more than 120,000 Mazda3s, but the number crunchers in Irvine are aiming for just 1.5% of what I’ve called the most important segment of the U.S. auto market, and one that represents more than two million sales in the United States each year.
For Krider Racing, the 2012 running of the 25 Hours of Thunderhill started with rum and ended with rum. It took a fair amount of rum to garner the courage to take on such a monumental task like “The 25.” This is the story of how a group of friends came together to compete with factory backed professional race teams in the longest road race in North America, while campaigning a $500 car that was originally built for the 24 Hours of LeMons, and somehow walked away victorious. This is the Krider Racing 25 Hours of Thunderhill “Rum Diary”
Photos by Mazda.
This was supposed to be a “Speed Read” featuring Mazda’s new CX-5 crossover, and then it was going to be a two-part Speed Read so that I could include a new SKYACTIV-equipped Mazda3i Touring 5-Door. Instead, after reflecting on a long weekend with Mazda at the Baltimore Grand Prix, I’m going to use this space to talk a little more about the company whose support for automotive enthusiasts cannot possibly be overstated.
Consumer Reports released their 2012 Top Picks and automotive Report Card today. The highlights? Toyota took home five of the ten Top Picks, Subaru scored all As, Mazda is the comeback kid and Ford stumbled over their own new tech. Snippets of the press releases are available after the break. For the full releases, check the PR Newswire ticker on the right side of the page, or go here: http://www.speedsportlife.com/prn-feed/.
The 25: Speed Rain Darkness Damage Glory
GoRacingTV.com’s Documentary of NASA’s 25 Hours of Thunderhill
Krider Racing, a team that drove its way to success in crap-can racing with both the 24 Hours of LeMons and ChumpCar $500 racecar events, graduated to National Auto Sport Association (NASA) races and competed in the Western Endurance Racing Championship (WERC). The team applied their tried-and-true formula from racing beaters and went on to earn the 2010 E3 Championship title in the WERC series. Cameras followed the team to NASA’s headline-year-ending event, the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. With narration by “RacerBoy” Rob Krider and production from GoRacingTV.com this gritty documentary came to life about what it was like to “Survive the 25.”
by Byron Hurd. Photography by Byron Hurd and Nicole Gagnon.
As I ease my way around Summit Point Motorsports Park’s Shenandoah Circuit on my morning out lap, everything feels familiar. It was a year ago this month that I last drove this course in my 2008(.5!) Mazdaspeed3, and for a few moments it’s as if nothing has really changed. The car feels good–better than my own, in fact–and everything is clicking. I’ve just picked up where I left off.
I glide over the Ski Jump at a leisurely 60 or 70 miles per hour and brake gently on the uphill section that follows. As I prepare to dip into the next turn–Shenandoah’s replica of the Nürburgring’s famous Karussell–I decide to just leave it in 4th and sort of coast on through. I bend it in and breathe off the throttle and the car slows abruptly.
Now that the weather has broken and the track season is well underway in the northern half of the country, your friends here at Speed:Sport:Life have lined up a healthy dose of road and track tests for enthusiasts of every stripe. Keep an eye on this space for reviews of Suzuki’s new midsizer, Chrysler’s truck of the year, Mazda’s perpetually happy sport compact, Corvettes and BBQ, and perhaps even a Blue-Oval-branded pony or two. And don’t forget to stay tuned for our regular installments of Avoidable Contact, Racer Boy, Rational Bohemian, Lord Byron and Rich Corinthian Leather.
Have fun out there.
Anyone who spends enough time on The Car Lounge has doubtlessly seen numerous threads and posts with all manner of Volkswagens, Subarus, Hondas and (ugh) Miatas with improbably low ride heights, low offset BBS RS wheels in all colours of the Popsicle rainbow, roof racks and even rusted body parts.
The “stance” movement is the biggest thing going for people who seek validation from anonymous automotive forum members, though I have yet to really see a car like this in person. Maybe it will fly in California, but in Toronto, with roads like the surface of the Moon and 6 months of snow, this style is impractical if not unfeasible.