• Mazda announces 2016 MX-5 Launch Edition

    April 4, 2015

    The MX-5 Club has barely had time to cool off after its New York Auto Show debut, but Mazda is announcing yet more news about the world’s most popular roadster. The MX-5 will spawn a limited Launch Edition variant and the Hiroshima-based automaker has created a mini-site to take pre orders.

    The Launch Edition will be limited to 1,000 units. All will be painted Soul Red, Mazda’s trademark color that commands a $300 premium on cars such as the Mazda 6, matched with a Sport Tan leather interior.

    The car will also come maxxed out with luxury amenities — 17-inch alloys, heated seats, automatic climate control, Mazda-Connect navigation and infotainment system, and a 9-speaker Bose stereo with SiriusXM satellite radio.

    Mazda’s i-ActiveSense suite of safety technologies will also come standard on Launch Editions, equipping drivers with blind spot warnings, rear cross-traffic alerts and automatic high beams.

    Additionally, for customers who’d like to enjoy their MX-5 even when not driving it, Launch Editions will come with a portable Bose Bluetooth speaker and apparel from the Heritage Line launched at the Chicago Auto Show.

    The website LongLiveTheRoadster.com is taking pre-orders for the first 1,000 customers and will go live May 5, at 9:00 am Pacific Time. Last year, 100 units of the 25th Anniversary MX-5 sold out in 10 minutes.

  • Honda previews Shanghai-bound compact SUV

    April 4, 2015
    Honda has published a lone teaser sketch that previews a yet-unnamed concept that will be introduced later this month at the biennial Shanghai Motor Show.
    The concept was penned by designers from Guangqi Honda Automobile and Dongfeng Honda Automobile, the company’s two joint-ventures on the Chinese market. The computer-generated sketch suggests that the crossover features a bold, sporty design that falls in line with Honda’s Exciting H design language by adopting styling cues such as a large radiator grille that incorporates a pair of thin headlights and a prominent Honda emblem.

    Blacked-out A- and B-pillars create a floating roof, while pronounced fenders and a sizable roof-mounted spoiler add a sporty touch to the overall appearance. The concept rides on large five-spoke alloy wheels.

    Honda is keeping additional details about the concept under wraps until its formal debut. The crossover could be a simple design study built to showcase the capacity of Honda’s two Chinese joint-ventures, or it could preview an upcoming crossover that will most likely be built and sold exclusively in China. Where the crossover would slot in Honda’s lineup remains a mystery.

    Honda will introduce its next concept online in the coming weeks. Stay tuned, we’ll bring you live pictures of it straight from the show floor in Shanghai starting on April 20th.

  • Honda introduces Japan-bound 2015 S660 roadster

    April 4, 2015
    Honda has introduced a new roadster called S660. Designed specifically for the Japanese market, the S660 was previewed by a thinly-veiled concept that bowed at the 2013 edition of the Tokyo Motor Show.
    Visually, the S660′s overall shape is reminiscent of the Beat, a convertible kei car built in the early 1990s, but its front end borrows a handful of styling cues from the Acura NSX supercar that bowed in Detroit last January. As expected, the production model is nearly identical to the concept but it is fitted with less futuristic-looking lights on both ends and slightly revised bumpers.

    Inside, the production version of the two-seater loses the concept’s futuristic dashboard and gains a simpler unit with a digital instrument cluster. Aluminum pedals and a red push-button ignition seemingly borrowed from the Civic Type R add a touch of sportiness to the cockpit.

    Power comes from a mid-mounted turbocharged 660cc three-cylinder engine that makes 63 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 77 lb-ft. of torque at 2,600 rpm. That’s not much on paper, but it’s plenty in a car that weighs about 1,800 pounds in its lightest configuration. Pulled from Honda’s kei car parts bin, the turbo three can be linked to either a six-speed manual transmission or an optional CVT.

    The roadster is built by Yachigo Industry Company, a small Honda-affiliated supplier that has assembled many of the automaker’s kei cars and trucks over the past couple of decades. It is expected to land in Honda showrooms across Japan in time for summer.

    The S660 will fight head-to-head against the Daihatsu Copen. Honda’s next roadster won’t be sold outside of its home country with a three-cylinder, but rumors indicate the automaker will shoehorn a slightly larger four-cylinder unit in the engine bay, christen the ragtop S1000 and distribute it in select markets around the world. However, U.S. sales are unlikely due to the ragtop’s truly tiny size.