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Blog Category: Mazda

Consumer Reports Auto Reliability Survey Shows Japanese Rising, Ford Falling

Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports has released their annual reliability rankings (subscription required to view full rankings), with Japanese automakers, led by the Toyota brands, taking the top seven spots on the list. Ford meanwhile, sank towards the bottom of the list, finishing next-to-last, with their premium brand, Lincoln, only one slot higher.

Toyota, which had suffered some highly-publicized setbacks in recent years, including issues with unintended acceleration, is surely buoyed by these results, with Scion, Toyota and Lexus landing the top three spots in the ratings. Another feather in the Toyota cap: the top vehicle overall was the Toyota Prius C.

Paris Auto Show Highlights

Paris Auto Show

The Paris Auto Show (Mondial de l’Automobile, if we’re being fancy) opened this week, and while the bulk of debuts shown there will be Euro-centric, there are a several vehicles with U.S. relevance appearing for the first time. Let’s take a peek.

Volkswagen Golf

The Golf debut may not move the U.S. curiosity meter as much as, say, a fullsize pickup or midsize sedan, but it is VW’s most significant model worldwide, and each new generation is a big deal for a company gunning for #1 in the world.

Pet-Friendly Picks for 2012

Pet-Friendly Picks for 2012

Everyone wants to be safe in their car, right? Occupant safety has become a major selling point when shopping for autos, with vast expanses of airbags enveloping us from all angles. But are we protecting our pooches as well as our people?

Bark Buckle Up is a pet travel safety advocate, and they have named their 2012 Bark Buckle Up Top Dog Vehicle awards. Some of the features they look for in a pet-safe vehicle are air conditioning vents for the rear seats to keep canines cool, side airbags, an adequate number of D-hooks for securing extra dog-related gear, and a good quality rear-view camera.

Here are their top picks for 2012, in alphabetical order:

10 Best Used Car Values

Kiplinger Top 10 Used Car Values

If you’re in the market for a used car, you’ve probably noticed that great deals have been a bit harder to find.

This Week in Blurbs

This Week in Blurbs

Here are stories from this week that are interesting, odd, entertaining, and/or of remotely tangential interest to the auto buyer, in blurbs:

  • Forbes compiled a list of the most beautiful cars of 2012. Beauty comes at a price apparently, because every one of them is extraordinarily expensive.

This Week In Blurbs

This Week In Blurbs

Here are stories from this week that are interesting, odd, entertaining, and/or of remotely tangential interest to the auto buyer, in blurbs:

2013 Models Already On The Way

2013 Models

Are you looking for the newest of the new? It’s the heart of the summer, but 2013 models are on the way soon, and some are already in the showrooms. Kelley Blue Book published a rundown of the early arrivals; let’s look at some of the highlights.

Shrinking SUVs

Yes, car buyers can be as fickle as gas prices, and their buying habits closely mirror the price on the pump. But manufacturers know they need to improve MPG while still satisfying our demand for SUVs and crossovers. Hence the trend towards smaller SUVs and CUVs. Several are already on the slate for 2013.

Do Poor Sellers Mean Great Deals?

Deal or No Deal?

When we hear that a car is not selling particularly well, our spidey senses start tingling. Our intuition is that when they're not moving metal, there are probably going to be great deals available.

Automobile magazine recently published an article called The Best Cars That Nobody Buys. They looked at eight very competent and seemingly desirable vehicles, offering some analysis on why these cars may not be selling.

Let's take it one step further and see if, in reality, there are great deals to be had on these eight poor-selling cars.

Hot Hatches, Burning Questions

Hot Hatches

Do you love big V8 engines with deep burbling exhausts, and smoking your rear tires with burnouts at every stoplight? If so, you are dismissed for the day. Today we’re looking at the opposite end of the performance spectrum. They are lightweight, they have high-revving 4-cylinder mills, propulsion is delivered via their front wheels, they are the econoboxes gone wild: the hot hatch.

Don’t worry, still plenty of testosterone to go around, fellas. They may look like toys compared to a traditional muscle car, but there are thrills aplenty behind the wheel. You can still generate blue smoke; it’ll just be from the front wheelwells instead of the rear.

Get ‘Em While You Can!

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It’s a fact of automotive life that every year there are models that die off, never to be seen again. There are many reasons: The car may be subpar in its category. Or it may be a bit long in the tooth. Sometimes a vehicle gets squeezed out by overlapping selections in a manufacturer’s lineup. Or it may be that it just plain did not sell.
 
Whatever the reason, sometimes we wind up losing an interesting vehicle that suits a select few customers’ needs perfectly. Remember the Honda Element? A bonafide Swiss army knife of a ute that could swallow a dorm room, but sales kept dwindling until it disappeared.

Best Cars For Teens & Grads

Grad Car

The school year is rapidly drawing to a close, and graduation day is just around the corner. Just as mortarboards will be soon be cluttering the afternoon sky, the internet is cluttered with articles about the best cars for teens and grads. A quick search turns up more than you can shake a tassel at.

All of these articles identify safety and reliability as key factors in selecting a car for your kid, but some include other considerations such as insurance costs. Considerate of your bank account, half of these lists look at used cars, but for you big spenders, there are a few lists that feature reasonably priced new cars. Let’s take a quick look at some of these articles, understand their criteria, and see if we can identify some consensus.

 

Ward’s Names 10 Best Interiors for 2012

Audi A7 Interior

The fact is that when we shop for cars, the first thing we look at is is the exterior design. It’s the sheetmetal that catches our eye and elicits the emotional reaction. By comparison, interiors get little attention. When’s the last time you saw a car’s interior on the cover of a magazine?Think about it, though. After the initial blush of exterior infatuation, where do you spend all your time? On the inside of the car, not the outside. Shouldn’t it be a place you enjoy? It’s time to share some love with car interiors for a change. The editors at WardsAuto agree, and have named their 10 Best Interiors for 2012. Climb in and have a look.

10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000

If you ask a teen driver or new driver what kind of first car they want, they likely will answer with something along the lines of “it has to be cool”. A cool car - who doesn’t want a cool car? Problem is that typically a cool car comes with a hefty price tag. Well, just in time for the holiday season and for the best month to buy a car, we’ve got a list of the 10 coolest cars available for under $18,000.

J.D. Power & Associates 2011 Initial Quality Study Results

According to JD Power and Associates, despite modest improvement in initial quality on both newly developed models and new version of existing models over the last 5 years, the trend has not continued and initial quality for newly developed models for 2011 is down, as is reported in the organization’s newest study.

The Initial Quality Study, conducted by JD Power for the last 25 years, is a survey of recent buyers and lessees of 2011 models.  Owners are contacted after 90 days with the cars and are given a 228-question survey designed to provide the manufacturers with information to “facilitate identifying problems and drive product improvement.”

Edmunds.com's 2011 Used Car Best Bets

2009 Mazda Miata

We’ve been talking a lot about used cars, lately.

The reason is simple:  there are some really great deals to be gotten if you know what to look for and how to spot them.  Our friends at Edmunds have put together their annual Edmunds Used Car Best Bets, which is a great list that will help you in that search. 

The Most Fuel Efficient Gasoline Powered Cars

I recently test-drove the Chevy Cruze Eco, which GM is touting as “the most fuel-efficient gasoline-powered vehicle in America.” The EPA does rate the Cruze Eco  at 42 mpg on the highway when it’s equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission; the automatic 6-speed gets 37 mpg at its best. My mostly city driving in the automatic test car averaged just under 30 mpg.

2011 Top Safety Picks By The IIHS

Insurance Institute For Highway Safety

Their name is a little hard to remember, but if you are in the market for a new or used auto, you definitely do not want to forget who the IIHS is.  Formed over 50 years ago, the mission of the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS) is to help reduce deaths, injuries, and property damage. 

NADAguides Names Most in Demand Yet Hardest to Find Vehicles

As is the case in any industry, the law of supply and demand is a huge driver in the automotive market.  The ability to keep popular models flowing into dealership inventory is the key to success at both the dealership and manufacturer level.

NADAguides, one of the most trusted names in automotive analysis, recently released its Most in Demand Vehicles Report.  The report is a comprehensive list of the hardest to find models as well as alternative choices for shoppers willing to go beyond their original ideas.

ALG's 2011 Residual Value Award Winners

One of the most complex concepts consumers will encounter when trying to decide if buying or leasing is the best option for them, is “residual.”

What is residual value?

This number is the projected market value of a vehicle at a given point in time in the future.

So, when it comes to leasing, the residual value is used to help calculate how much a vehicle will depreciate (lose value) during the lease period…and thus how much the consumer should pay every month to lease the vehicle now.

J.D. Power & Associates 2011 Vehicle Dependability Study

J.D. Power & Associates

You would think that after all Toyota went through with their “memorable for all the wrong reasons” 2010, the brand would have taken a hit in the many surveys and studies that are taken on the topic of dependability.

Car & Driver 10Best Cars for 2011

Car and Driver, one of the leading automotive publications dedicated to enthusiasts and auto reviews, recently announced their 10Best Cars for 2011.  The full coverage of their 10Best selections can be found in the January magazine edition and on their website, CarandDriver.com.

Kiplinger Personal Finance Announces Their 2011 Best Values

Kiplinger Personal Finance recently launched their 2011 Car Buying Guide on their website, and published their "Top Picks" recommendations in the March 2011 magazine issue available now.  Kiplinger's categorized autos in 11 categories and ranked them by price, performance, safety, roominess, and driving impressions.   You can see their full research functionality on the Kiplinger website.