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    William Maley

    Mazda Updates CX-5 for Japan With 2.5 Turbo and Vectoring Control

      Possible tease for the CX-5 in the U.S?


    Mazda has introduced a number of key changes for the Japanese-market CX-5 for 2019.

    Those changes include the addition of the turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder from the CX-9 crossover and recently refreshed Mazda6. It produces 227 horsepower (increases to 250 when Premium fuel is used) and 310 pound-feet of torque. There is also the introduction of G-Vectoring Control Plus (GVC Plus) that adds a braking function to improve traction and handling. The interior looks to get a new climate control system and new instrument cluster.

    Normally, we wouldn't talk about changes for models outside of the U.S. But there are some good reasons as to why we're talking about the Japanese-market CX-5. As we reported back in June, a CARB document revealed that the turbo 2.5 would be appearing in both the 2019 CX-9 and CX-5. Then last month, an internal document from Mazda Canada noted the turbo 2.5 would be an option, along with the updated G-Vectoring Control Plus system.

    We don't know if and when Mazda is planning to show off an updated version of the 2019 CX-5, but our money is on the LA Auto Show in November.

    Source: Mazda


    Updated Mazda CX-5 Launched in Japan

    • Becomes the first model in Japan available with SKYACTIV-G 2.5T engine; special edition model features a premium-feeling interior

    HIROSHIMA, Japan—Mazda Motor Corporation has begun accepting pre-orders for the updated Mazda CX-5 at dealerships throughout Japan. The freshened crossover SUV offers a distinctive design coupled with the pleasure of Jinba-ittai driving - responsive control over driving, turning and braking – in everyday driving situations. Pre-orders have also begun for the CX-5 Exclusive Mode special edition. This range-topping special edition model combines carefully selected materials that create a look of warmth and modernity. Sales of the updated CX-5 and CX-5 Exclusive Mode special edition start on November 22.

    Sold in 120 different countries and accounting for a full quarter of the brand's global sales volume, the CX-5 is a core model in the Mazda lineup. Popular for its striking design, innovative SKYACTIV technologies and a pleasing performance feel that makes you want to keep on driving, the car has been acclaimed domestically and in overseas markets. The CX-5 has received more than 100 awards, including the prestigious Japan Car of the Year award, since the launch of the first-generation model in 2012.1

    With this update, the SKYACTIV-G 2.5T is added to the powertrain lineup, making the CX-5 the first model in Japan available with this 2.5-liter inline-four direct-injection turbocharged gasoline engine. While the diesel delivers powerful torque and excels at long-distance cruising, the SKYACTIV-G 2.5T realizes a powerful and refined driving experience. Acceleration response is faithful from low revs, through the mid-range and up to the highest rpms, creating an interactive feel that makes drivers want to stay behind the wheel.

    G-Vectoring Control Plus (GVC Plus) enhances handling stability on slippery road surfaces and when changing lanes on the highway. This updated version of G-Vectoring Control now regulates vehicle motion when returning the steering wheel to center as well as when beginning a steering action.

    Models powered by the SKYACTIV-D 2.2 diesel engine are available for the first time with a six-speed manual transmission. The updated CX-5 diesel becomes the only model in its class2 to offer a manual option, providing SUV drivers with the pleasure of greater control over the car.

    As the highest-grade CX-5 available, the Exclusive Mode special edition combines a finely-crafted interior with high-quality materials such as Nappa leather and real woodgrain decorative panels to create a refined cabin space that blends warmth and modernity. Such high-quality materials and fine craftsmanship bring new joy to the experience of owning a CX-5.

    Moving forward, Mazda will continue to regularly update models so customers can enjoy driving pleasure and outstanding environmental and safety performance in all kinds of common driving situations. In so doing, the company aims to build a strong bond with customers and become an irreplaceable presence in their lives.

    Updates to the Mazda CX-5

    Powertrain, handling stability and ride comfort

    • The first model in Japan available with the SKYACTIV-G 2.5T, a 2.5-liter inline-four direct-injection gasoline turbo engine. Burning regular unleaded gasoline, it outputs up to 169 kW (230PS) at 4,250 rpms and produces up to 420 N・m (42.8kgf・m) of torque at 2,000 rpms.
    • GVC Plus, a new technology that improves handling stability at high speeds and during emergency maneuvers while suppressing sudden, unintended movements to enhance passengers' peace of mind, comes as standard equipment on all model grades.
    • The SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual transmission is now available with the SKYACTIV-D 2.2 diesel engine in both FWD and AWD configurations.

    Advances in safety and convenience

    • Nighttime pedestrian detection is added to Advanced Smart City Braking Support (Advanced SCBS).
    • A 360° View Monitor is standard equipment on the Exclusive Mode special edition and is available as a factory-installed option for all model grades.
    • Mazda Connect car-connectivity system supports Apple CarPlay5 for the first time on a Mazda model in Japan.
    • Mazda Connect car-connectivity system supports Android Auto ™6 for the first time on a Mazda model in Japan. 

    Improvements in design and quality

    • The 17-inch aluminum wheels are painted Gray Metallic instead of Dark Silver. (The design is unchanged.)
    • The climate control panel, switches and dials are redesigned for better feel and operability.
    • For models with normal speakers, the surface material of the A-pillar trim has been changed from resin to fabric. In addition, tweeters have been added at the base of the A-pillar, increasing the number of speakers from four to six.

    Exclusive Mode special edition (with SKYACTIV-G 2.5T or SKYACTIV-D 2.2)
    The Exclusive Mode special edition offers Mazda's highest-grade interior, using specially selected materials such as Nappa leather upholstery and real woodgrain trim to create a premium cabin space with the feel of a higher-class vehicle. In addition, features and functions that improve comfort and safety enhance the joy of ownership.

    • Seats are upholstered in soft, smooth Nappa leather and the exclusive interior color coordination uses black on the pillars and ceiling and Deep Red in the lower areas.
    • Real woodgrain is used in decorative trim panels for a look of refinement and warmth.
    • The frameless rear-view mirror provides a wider field of vision and a cleaner look.
    • 19-inch aluminum wheels with exclusive dark gloss paint accentuate a look of composure and toughness.
    • Both front seats feature a ventilation system that extracts hot air trapped between the occupant and the seat surface.
    • The seven-inch TFT LCD display mounted in the center of the meter cluster shows essential driving information in a well-organized and easy-to-read manner.
    • White LEDs are used throughout the cabin for consistent interior lighting, and foot lamps come as standard equipment for both front and rear seats.


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    With all the new CUVs coming out, I suspect this coming auto show will be a CUV parade along with all the EV's, so Mazda needs some Zoom Zoom to keep their sales going.

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    • By William Maley
      The Kia Forte could never claim to be the best compact car, but its low price and a long list of equipment made it an interesting alternative choice to the stalwarts of the compact class. This approach has worked well with the Forte becoming one of the brand’s best selling models. Kia wants to change the fortunes of the Forte with third-generation by not fully relying on price and value.  I spent a week in the top-line EX Launch Edition to see how it fares.
      The new Mazda3 is considered by many to be the sexiest compact car on sale. Running a close second is the Forte. Elements of the Stinger are used throughout such as power bulge on the hood, headlights that extend into the fenders, and sculpting along the side. The only place where the design falters is in the rear with a set of triangular pods housing the reversing lights and turn signals. They ruin the elegant and upscale look Kia is trying to go for.
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      The EX features leatherette upholstery, a 10-way power seat for the driver, and heat/ventilation for those sitting up front. I found the seats to be very easy to find a comfortable position, along with providing excellent support for long trips. The back seat is mixed with a decent of legroom, but headroom being somewhat at a premium due to an optional sunroof for those above six-feet.
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      Fuel economy in the 2019 Kia Forte EX is rated at 30 City/40 Highway/34 Combined. My average for the week landed around 33.
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      How I would configure a 2019 Kia Forte 
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      Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Forte, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2019
      Make: Kia 
      Model: Forte
      Trim: EX
      Engine: 2.0L Multi-Port DOHC Inline-Four
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, CVT
      Horsepower @ RPM: 147 @ 6,200
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      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 30/40/34
      Curb Weight: 2,903 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Pesqueria, NL, Mexico
      Base Price: $21,990
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      Options:
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    • By William Maley
      It feels weird to be writing a review of the previous-generation Mazda3 when the new model is currently sitting out front at dealers. But I find this situation to be unique because I had the chance to explore a 2019 Mazda3 to get some first impressions while working on a review of the 2018 model. This gives me a chance to compare the two in certain aspects, along with pondering the question of whether or not the previous model is still a good buy.
      Despite the new model taking the styling up another level, the outgoing model is still a looker. From the bold front end with a large grille and slightly angled headlights, to sculpting running along the sides, the 2018 3 still stands out in the compact crowd. The older design also allows for slightly better rear headroom and a larger area of glass for improved visibility.  But the new 3 holds a significant edge over the old model when it comes to the interior. The modern design and use of high-quality materials really help boost Mazda’s ambitions of becoming something more premium. But the 2018 model I found to have a slightly easier center stack layout and more interior room. One item I didn’t get the chance to play within the 2019 Mazda3 is the infotainment system. Aside from boasting a larger screen, Mazda has also dropped the touchscreen functionality. The latter has been a big issue on some of the recent Mazda vehicles I have driven, including the 2018 3. It is difficult to figure out which parts of the screen are touch-enabled and which aren’t. The system is also beginning to show its age somewhat as the system showed some slowdown in certain areas such as connecting to my phone via Bluetooth. Under the hood of the 2018 model is either a 2.0L or 2.5L SkyActiv-G four-cylinder. My tester had the latter which produces 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet. This engine can also be found under 2019 Mazda3, albeit slightly tweaked - 186 for both horsepower and torque. I find the Mazda3 to be the best application for the 2.5 engine. The lighter weight of the vehicle allows the 2.5 to provide a smooth and quick acceleration for most situations you find yourself in. However, the 2.5 feels like it is running out of breath when going above 70 mph, making passing and merging onto a highway slightly difficult. Where the 3 really shines is down a twisty road. Very few vehicles can match the sharp handling characteristics on offer. The suspension keeps the vehicle level when cornering and quickly respond to change in direction. Steering is quick and features a nice weight when turning. Ride quality is slightly rough with a fair number of bumps coming inside. Some of this can be attributed to the 18-inch wheels fitted on my tester.  Should you consider a 2018 Mazda3 when the bright and shiny 2019 3 is available now? I can only give a half-answer as I haven’t driven the 2019 model yet. But having sat in one, I can see why someone would consider it. The impressive design inside and out can make you believe you’re driving something from a luxury brand. The 2018 model still has some things going for it such as having slightly more interior space, similar fuel economy figures, and dealers beginning to lower prices on them to get them out. As I am writing this (May 5th), I have seen dealers in my local drop prices by $1,000 to $3,000 on 2018 models. Right now, I would be willing to pocket the extra cash and go with a 2018 Mazda3. Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the 3, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Mazda
      Model: 3
      Trim: Grand Touring
      Engine: 2.5L SKYACTIV-G DOHC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline:  Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 184 @ 5,700
      Torque @ RPM: 185 @ 3,250 
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/35/30
      Curb Weight: 3,098 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Salamanca, Mexico
      Base Price: $24,945
      As Tested Price: $28,035 (Includes $890.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Equipment Package - $1,600.00
      Soul Red Metallic Paint - $300.00
      Scuff Plates/Door Sill Trim Plate - $125.00
      Rear Bumper Guard - $100.00
      Cargo Mat - $75.00

      View full article
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