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Car Reviews

Big Mazda "Crossover" SUV -- "Zoom" with a Bird's Eye View

By Jim Bray


It's big, it's comfy and it's roomy. Oh yeah, it's also a Mazda and that means it's pretty nice to drive.

"It" is the Mazda CX-9, the company's new flagship SUV, er, crossover. It's basically a bigger version of the CX-7, and features a windshield raked steeply, big, multi-spoked wheels and three rows of seats meant to hold up to seven people.

Mazdas 3 -- a Zoomy Sedan and a ZOOMY! Wagon

By Jim Bray

Sunday, December 3, 2006

No matter what flavor you choose for it, Mazda's 3 is a slick little car that offers a lot of fun wrapped up in a lot of practicality.

The 3, nee Protégé, is available in three flavors: four door sedan, five door sports wagon (the Mazda3 Sport) and the Mazdaspeed3, the really hot version of the wagon. I got to try the four door sedan and the Mazdaspeed3, which is a pretty good representation of the species.

Mazdaspeed 6 — Family Sedan or Road Rocket?

By Jim Bray

Monday, January 30, 2006

Take one of the best looking four door sedans on the market, add a turbocharger and a bunch of other tweaks and what do you have?

Very nearly driving heaven, if sporty performance is the Holy Grail for which you’re searching.

So it is with the Mazdaspeed 6, the hottest version of Mazda’s terrific mid-sized sedan. Like the Mazdaspeed Miata I drove last summer, the hopped up Mazda 6 loves to perform — and this time it does it without forcing you to leave the kids and the luggage back home.

Mazda 5: A People and Stuff Mover with "Zoom-Zoom"

By Jim Bray

Monday, January 16, 2006

Mazda’s new six seater looks like a mini-minivan (a microvan?), but Mazda prefers to call it "the Zoom-Zoom MAV."

MAV is yet another in a long series of acronyms or nicknames companies use, perhaps to avoid the "soccer mom" image minivans and other utility vehicles have gotten over the years.

Thus we have "sports tourers" such as Mercedes R class, "CUV" Crossover Utility Vehicles such as the Subaru B9 Tribeca, "CSV" Crossover Sport Vans such as the Saturn Relay, "SAV" Sports Activity Vehicles such as BMW’s X5. Next maybe we’ll get "PASH-V’s — People And Stuff Hauling Vehicles.

Turbocharger Widens the Smiles as Miata eats up the Miles

By Jim Bray

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

I recently spent a week under the hot summer sun behind the wheel of Mazda’s turbocharged Mazdaspeed MX-5 Miata. I spent so much time roaring around the back roads with the roof down that I ended up being broiled medium well, which for a guy who doesn’t like the sun beating down on him, is quite something. And, other than the sunburn, I loved every minute of it!

The Mazdaspeed Miata takes everything that makes the basic Miata wonderful and ups the ante from being a great fun car to being a great and fast fun car.

Mazda Tribute: Mazda's "cute ute"

By Jim Bray

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Mazda's "cute ute" Tribute is a nice small SUV with good performance both on and off the road, plenty of features, and good value overall.

I first had a chance to drive the Tribute when it debuted at a media event where they sent us off roading up a "road" I probably wouldn't have even tried walking up if given my druthers. That experience showed me that the Tribute is as truly happy to perform off road as on city streets.

Most people don't do serious off roading in their SUV's however, so my recent week with the 2005 Tribute was spent on asphalt, in urban and rural driving that would probably match most of what the Tribute owner would experience in the real world. And it reinforced my earlier opinion that the Tribute is a good SUV.

Mazda B4000: Power and Torque in an Aging Package

By Jim Bray

Thursday, August 11, 2005

And if you're looking for something a little more utilitarian — as in a real pickup truck, say, Mazda's B4000 offers a lot of power and torque, though unfortunately it's packaged into a vehicle that seems a tad long in the tooth considering vehicles such as Honda’s new Ridgeline.

Here's another case where I don't think Mazda should be tying its " zoom zoom" to one of its vehicles. According to Mazda Canada's website, " Mazda B-Series Trucks are also engineered to deliver agile handling and exhilarating performance. At work or at play. On the road or off. Flying solo or with friends. These trucks bring you a driving experience like no other."

Mazda RX-8

By Jim Bray

Saturday, July 2, 2005

Well, they certainly aren’t kidding.

I mean, Mazda’s "zoom zoom" slogan can be applied to the real world driving experience of such fun cars as the Miata and even the 6 sedan. But take it to its peak and you have to be talking about the RX-8, the latest generation of the company’s rotary-powered sports cars and an absolute blast to take out on the highway.

The gorgeous RX-8 follows on the heels of the lovely RX-7, but ups the ante over that car in several ways.

First, it features a new generation of the rotary engine, which Mazda calls "RENESIS." This power plant is remarkable: in the upper model RX-8, Mazda manages to get 238 horses and 164 lb.-ft. of torque from an engine size comparable to 1.3 litres! Incredible — and don’t let those power/torque specs fool you; they may not be as high as some of the competition, but this car is not a slouch in any way.

Mazda 6 Sports a Cool Wagon
by Jim Bray
February 5, 2005

Can a station wagon be cool? Can it be sporty?

You bet! The days of a station wagon being a stodgy family hauler are long gone and some of today’s wagons are wonderful blends of function with form. Take the Mazda 6 Sport Wagon, for example.

The Mazda 6 has been winning awards ever since it was introduced for the 2004 model year, and the new wagon version copped the 2005 AJAC (Automobile Journalists Association of Canada) Car of the Year Award for "Best New Station Wagon". I can see why. The 6 Sport Wagon is a blast to drive — and you can haul stuff with it, too!

For what more could anyone ask? Well, possibly a manual transmission for those who don’t want to be accused of being shiftless — but even there Mazda has thrown "purists" a very nice bone in the form of a terrific 6 speed automatic with a pretend manual mode that’s almost as good as an honest to goodness manual tranny with a clutch. Almost.

Mazda 6 Happy to Handle
by Jim Bray
November 5, 2004

In a market segment that features such venerable Japanese entries as the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, carving out a market share is going to require more than just a great car.

It has to be a great car that's different from its direct competition.

And that’s what Mazda has done with its terrific 6 four door sedan. It goes head to head with Accord and Camry (and others, of course), but whereas those other two models are refined and fully featured and all-round excellent, the 6 also adds its own substantial measure of "fun to drive" to the mix. And that makes a big difference.

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