Mazda Hybrid?

Mazda 3 Hybrid??

I was looking at the Mazda Japan website the other day and noticed that there is now an option for a Mazda 3 gasoline hybrid listed.  Years ago Mazda announced that they were working with Toyota hybrid tech and this looks to be the result.

There isn’t a lot of detail listed with the description of the model so I decided to do a comparison of the Mazda 3 against the current model year of Prius as the 2 vehicles are most likely running the same hybrid drive setup.

Price:  With the current exchange rate the Mazda 3 hybrid is ~$23500 which is almost the same as the current Prius price shown of $23475.  You get more car with the Mazda 3 for the price and a car which handles like a car should. Win here for the Mazda.

Styling:  Right away I can tell you I prefer the styling of the Mazda 3 over the Batmobile inspired Prius which looks like someone used a late 50s Chevy and applied the styling.  

Fuel Economy: This one is the funniest thing and really shows where Mazda’s engine tech is beating all of the other manufacturers.  Toyota Prius 1.8 hybrid gets 56mpg in combined city/highway. Mazda 3 2.0 hybrid gets 63mpg. Caveat on this data, I took the economy listed on the Japanese page and converted it to MPG so they are not based on the same drive cycles.

If your Japanese skills are on point check out the landing page for the 2018 Mazda 3 Hybrid yourself here.  Just a note google translate won’t let you convert the page due to SSL from Mazda’s page.

So you are asking why do I care about a hybrid and in all honesty I probably won’t own one myself but if it does happen I prefer to at least own one that handles worth a crap and has decent driving dynamics.  I can’t say I have ever heard anyone raving about how good the chassis is in a Prius.

 

-Derrick

 

New “Mazdaspeed” Finally Coming Down the Pipeline

In case you haven’t heard, Mazda officially announced on November 15th that they are bringing the turbocharged 2.5L CX-9 engine to the Mazda 6.

Now, this announcement did not come with a huge amount of information, but it got everyone here at CorkSport all sorts of stirred up. This fantastic news comes coupled with a new facelift, better quality interior, and a few extra options. Check out the teaser shot down below, in my opinion the CX-5 grill looks great on the 6.

While we do not know if this new turbocharged Mazda 6 will carry the Mazdaspeed badge, we do know it will sure feel like a Mazdaspeed.

The SkyActiv-G 2.5T produces 250hp and 310lb-ft while on premium fuel. That power and torque are more than enough to move around the big CX-9 so it will definitely be interesting in the Mazda 6 that weighs almost 1000lbs less. Two more factors remain for the new 6 to truly be a Mazdaspeed6: manual transmission and AWD.

Since the CX-9 and Mazda6 are based on the same platform and have similar chassis, carrying over the AWD system with the engine is a distinct possibility. Plus, Mazda already offers the 6 in AWD in the European and Japanese Markets. The big question remaining then is the manual transmission. While the manual mode on the CX-9 automatic is nice, it is just not the same as a full-bore manual gearbox. It’s not looking too good as the CX-9 only comes in auto and the teaser images just show an automatic but hopefully Mazda can surprise us with a manual transmission.

Since this 2.5T has been in the CX-9 for a few years now we at CorkSport have had a few opportunities to check out the engine, see how it’s packaged, and look for potential performance gains.

What follows are simply observations that we have made, don’t get too excited (yet):

  • The turbo inlet pipe gets quite small on its route from the airbox to the turbo. Enlarging this would definitely help the turbo breathe better.
  • The exhaust is fairly restrictive at about 2 3/8”.
  • There is a good amount of space where the turbo lives for a high-flow downpipe and even turbo upgrades.

Additionally, this engine was designed to fit in the same compartment as the naturally aspirated 2.5L so we may even get some Mazda 3 love down the road if the SkyActiv-X doesn’t steal every engine bay.

This new Mazda 6 may be coming sooner than you expect.

All Mazda models have gotten a 2018 model year, except the Mazda 6 which is currently at 2017.5 and the Miata that’s stuck all the way back in 2017. Hopefully this means the 2018 model year Mazda 6 has the turbo option. Maybe Mazda is even planning a 2018 Miata update but only time will tell.

Look for more info on the new “Mazdaspeed” 6 during its full unveiling at the L.A. Auto Show on November 29th. We’re just as excited as all of you and to be honest, if a manual option gets announced, one will likely find its way into the garage. Stay tuned to the CorkSport Blog, Instagram, and Facebook to make sure you don’t miss anything!

FACEOFF: 2018 Mazda 3 Touring vs 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport

As a car guy, I can appreciate any newly-released automobile despite my individual taste and opinions. I believe every car has its own style, character, and soul, and should be given a chance to win you over.

With that being said, let’s compare the style, character, and soul of two different cars that have found a way into my life this year and see how they measure up against each other.

In one corner of the ring, we have a 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport trim, equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission. In the other corner I have a 2018 Mazda 3 Hatchback Touring trim, equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

I realize these two cars don’t provide a perfect “apples-to-apples” comparison, but I think the differences will make for an interesting comparison, so let’s roll with it.

Exterior Overview:

Walking up to the Civic Hatchback Sport gives me a rush of being a teenager with a new car, as if I was 17 and my dad just gave me the keys to his coveted R34 GTR (maybe that’s pushing it, but you get the idea).

There’s an overwhelming urge to jump in and fast-track the chiseled 4-door to the nearest curvy canyon back road; not to return till the E light brings me back to my senses.  

The hard lines, pronounced fenders, and smooth roofline from hood to end of the hatch tell you that the civic hatchback is here to party, but then there’s more.  Bump it up to the Sport Trim to add a little attitude with the piano black finishes, grill, hatch spoiler, and matching front/rear lips and side skirts.

Now that I’ve had my teenage fun, it’s time to throw on the button-up and head into town for an eventful evening… with the Mazda 3.

The Mazda3 gives me a different feeling than the Civic: the more refined and sophisticated appreciation of being a car guy. I walk up to the Mazda 3 Hatchback smiling; wondering which German exotic I’ll be mistaken for today and knowing that I can enjoy cruising the strip just as much as the autocross course at the local track.

The body lines of the Mazda 3 emphasize the beauty of simplicity: long defining curves, with just a bit of a sharp edge, follow the natural shape of the hatchback from front to rear. The curves tie-in with the front and rear fenders, headlights, and the hood line providing a fluid motion style.

The 3rd Gen Mazda 3 Hatchback does not immediately scream “speed”, but it does whisper “sweet nothings” in your ear. What more could you ask for? However, if you are looking for a little more of an aggressive look, then opt-in for the piano black lip and side skirt kit available from Mazda.

Interior Overview:

Now that we have made it past the sleek curves of the Mazda3, let’s take a seat inside to get a little more up-close and personal.

The first impression of the Mazda3 Touring Model interior is great, to say the least. Strapping in, the black leather seat is plush and supportive with functional but conservative side bolstering. The brushed nickel style accents are purposeful and not overwhelming in the steering wheel, dash, doors, and center console, with the all-black interior broken up with tasteful chocolate/maroon leather in the door panels and center console. Lastly, the beautifully simple exterior curves are brought into the cabin from the door panels and up through the dash. If there wasn’t a large chrome “M” on the steering wheel, I might begin to mistake the Mazda 3 for a more exotic automobile.

Back to the Honda Civic and its more aggressive visual language.

That same language carries into the interior, but in a less-refined manner than the Mazda 3 provides. The Civic’s interior is full of sharp edges, much like the body, and some touches of brushed nickel and carbon fiber print to give it a sporty feel. The seats follow a more functional style with the sports-inspired cloth material, carbon print inlay, and conservative side bolstering. They do the job in creating a sporty look, but leave something to be desired in terms of higher-end quality.

Power:

Both platforms have two engine options, both of which are a naturally-aspirated 2.0L 4-cylinder, producing around 155 hp each. Lucky for me, neither the Honda Civic nor the Mazda 3 have those lowly-base model engines.

The Honda Civic Hatchback Sport comes equipped, standard, with the turbocharged 1.5L 4-cyl, putting down an impressive 180 hp and 177 lb-ft, according to Honda. Most inspiring of all is the spirited 1.5’s ability to produce the torque from a meager 2000 rpm and carry it to 5000 rpm before beginning to fall off. Pair this with the slick 6-speed manual gearbox, and a curb weight of just 2868 lb, and you have a very fun daily driver.

Jumping back in the Mazda 3 Hatchback, we have the 2.5L Sky-Activ G 4-cylinder laying down 184 hp and 185 lb-ft, according to Mazda. The naturally-aspirated 2.5 provides alert throttle response and power that continues to build through the RPM range. The peppy feel of the hatchback could be improved a bit if you opted for the 6-speed manual transmission, unfortunately the automatic takes away from the responsiveness a bit. With similar power, the Mazda Hatchback comes in with a curb weight of 3098 lb for the AT, and 3046 lb for the MT.

Looking at the dynographs, you may notice an issue:

Honda’s claimed crank horsepower and torque match our measured wheel horsepower and torque. Did Honda sandbag their numbers? I can neither confirm nor deny, but we are not the only ones to see this in testing. The Mazda 3 dynograph shows a more typical drop in power and torque to the wheels, as the drivetrain does have some parasitic losses that rob power.

Honda vs Mazda Dynograph  |  Red = HondaGreen = Mazda

Handling:

Enough about the style and looks, let’s dive into how do these automobiles drive.

Looking at the chassis and suspension, both the Civic and Mazda3 have a 106.3 in wheelbase, 18 in alloy wheels, MacPherson struts up front and multi-link suspension for the rear. Other than the curb weight, we have two very similar vehicles. However, we really start to see differences in the driving experience.  

Tossing the Hatchback Sport around corners feels almost effortless; the 5-door is nimble on its feet and eager to respond to every input. The steering is light, bordering on almost numb feeling, but does not show any sign of wandering with inputs. The chassis likes to move around, whether diving into a corner or with body roll through a corner. Despite the moving body, the Civic is predictable and confidence-inspiring. It wants you to rip around low-speed corners with a smile on your face.

Daily driving the Hatchback Sport is also a pleasurable experience; the suspension is not too harsh, perhaps more on the soft side, providing an easy and no-jarring cruise along the interstate. Looking at the lineup Honda has for the Civic this makes sense. The Sport Hatchback stays under the “sport” level of the Civic SI, and if you really want a canyon and track toy, you opt for the Civic Type-R. I do have one major complaint about this model: the clutch engagement is really… disappointing. Tighten this up, and provide a bit more feedback and you can have a real winner.  

Now, how does the Mazda 3 hatch stack up against the Honda?

Driving the Mazda 3 again inspires confidence with it’s tidy and playful response to steering inputs, however the steering feels a bit heavier than that of the Civic. The steering provides a bit more feedback and a desired amount of effort; it reminds you that you are driving a full size car instead of a go-kart. The Mazda3 really comes alive through the corners, and you begin to understand why the ride quality has just a bit of stiffness for a daily commuter. The “3” dives into corners with great steadiness, then plants and pulls through the apex. However, the extra 230 lb can be felt, as the car just feels like it’s trying to move more weight around vs the Civic.

For the daily routine, the Mazda 3 hatchback is a joy to drive through the city or on road trips. The slightly-stiff suspension reminds you that the Mazda is willing at any moment to kick it down a gear and have fun, but is still refined enough to sit back and relax. The only criticism I can really comment on is that it feels like the Mazda 3 is really trying to be a “jack of all trades”, unlike the Civic Hatchback Sport.  Perhaps, if Mazda brought back the Mazdaspeed or equivalent to the lineup, they would be able to offer more specific performance setups for customers to truly choose what they want, leaving the base Mazda 3 to be a little softer.

Coming back to my earlier sentiment: every car has a style, character, and soul that should be given a chance to be appreciated by any gearhead. Both the Honda Civic and the Mazda 3 have loads of each and love to show it.

When faced with the decision to choose between the two, it’s a difficult choice.

I’m a performance-oriented car guy and I love the fact that the Honda now has a turbo engine in the line-up, so that’s a huge selling factor for me, as well as the boy-racer in me who jumps to put pedal-to-floor every time I look at it. The Mazda 3 Hatch reminds me that I could have my cake and eat most of it too.  The exterior is still edgy enough to keep me hooked as a speed-fiend, and the interior is just great, far above what you would expect at the $20k to $23k price point.

Pricing: Honda = $21300  |  Mazda = $21890

SPECIFICATIONS
  2017 Honda Civic
Hatchback Sport
2018 Mazda 3
Hatchback Touring
Vehicle Type: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
POWERTRAIN:
Engine Type: turbocharged & intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block & head, direct fuel injection naturally aspirated DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block & head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 91 cu-in, 1497 cc 151 cu-in, 2488 cc
Manufacturer Claimed Power: 180 hp @ 5500 rpm 184 hp @ 5400 rpm
Manufacturer Claimed Torque: 177 lb-ft @ 1900 rpm 185 lb-ft @ 3250 rpm
Chassis-Dyno Recorded Power: 180 hp @ 5750 rpm 160 hp @ 5900 rpm
Chassis-Dyno Recorded Torque: 180 lb-ft @ 3100 rpm 175 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
CHASSIS:
Transmission Type: manual, 6-speed automatic, 6-speed w/manual shift & sport mode
First Gear: 3.643 3.552
Fourth Gear: 1.024 1.000
Final Drive Ratio: 4.105 3.389
CHASSIS:
Wheelbase: 106.3 in 106.3 in
Curb Weight: 2871 lbs 3100 lbs
Front Suspension: MacPherson strut
w/stabilizer bar
MacPherson strut
w/stabilizer bar
Rear Suspension: multilink
w/stabilizer bar
multilink
w/stabilizer bar
Steering Ratio: 10.93:1 14:1
Brakes F/R: 11.1 in / 10.2 in 11.61 in / 10.43 in
EPA-ESTIMATED FUEL ECONOMY:
Fuel Type: Regular Unleaded Regular Unleaded
City: 30 25
Highway: 39 34

To make a long story short, you can accomplish many of the same goals with both candidates, but in two very different ways.

So, whether it’s the brand, the trim, or the balance of style and performance, ask yourself: which one speaks to you?

Let us know in the comments!

-Barett, CorkSport Engineering

We want YOU to help us design the next CorkSport Branded Ride!

As if it wasn’t obvious, we have a plethora of vehicles to work with around here. True to fashion of course, we at CorkSport have gone and done it again: We went and filled some of the last remaining shop space with ANOTHER CAR.

Not just any car. Say “Hello” to our newest addition: 2018 Mazda 3 Hatchback, touring 2.5L SKYACTIVE-G. Equipped with an automatic transmission and some of the nicer creature comforts.

We love the sparkle of the Eternal Blue Mica and of course her 18” gunmetal dancing shoes. However, as with all things good and standard in the world, we couldn’t help but think that the potential for upgrading is endless.

Do we strip it and go full race car? Perhaps something crazy and AWD swap of sorts? Or maybe we take it way out of left field and go rally-style with it?

With the opportunities being endless, it was starting to make our heads hurt, so we decided to take a step back and start with the basics. We asked ourselves:

“How would our average customer who just picked this car up dream of modifying it?”

And that is exactly what we are doing.

If you guys are anything like us, then you have several hobbies that extend beyond just cars. Some of our team’s personal favorite other hobbies include hiking, camping, traveling, water sports, chilling at the beach, and has recently included obstacle course racing. With all these interests taking up different aspects of our time, we would need a ride that can accommodate our lifestyle. While it would be awesome to have a 6-second drag car, we’d probably have to lose some creature comforts or find a pot of gold to cover the cost, and that’s just not what the average Mazda enthusiast is about.

This project, like we said, is for YOU. And if it’s for you, then we need your help in putting it together.

PIC: NWAPA – Vinnie Nguyen

This car, or as we are designating it: “Project CBR” (CorkSport branded ride), will be built by the people for the people.

We are going to take you with us on the full journey of this car; from the basic mods to the full on weekend task. From the daily driver to the long road hauler. From the car wash to the full service details. We are going to show you everything and anything on this car.

And through the whole process, everything is going to be built with your help.

Over the next several months as we put some miles on our test mule, we will want your guys’ feedback.

  • Do we put springs and shocks on it or full coilovers?
  • What type of wheels should we get?
  • Tint the windows, wrap it, get rid of the chrome?
  • The list goes on!

Every couple of weeks, we will keep you updated on where the car stands and what you think we should do next.

We will create a section on the CorkSport site so you can follow along, ask questions, provide suggestions, and fully immerse yourself into the car. Ever so often, we will also host a poll and you guys will vote on what happens next!

Think reverse sponsored: Instead of CorkSport’s name being the only one on this ride, we will be giving Sponsorship Cred to the Mazda Enthusiasts who give us the ideas for our mods. (first come, first credits).

We’ll put YOUR NAME on the CorkSport Branded Ride.

If you have a Dream Mod, and We pull it off on the CBR, you’ll get the credits… Remember: The CBR is By the People, For the People!

Stay Tuned, we’ll need your feedback soon!

CorkSport

Love for the Skyactiv

We're going to take apart and upgrade a brand new Mazda 3 with a SkyActiv manual transmission.

We have gotten some great response back from our customers who have the SkyActiv Mazda 3, 6, and CX-5s over the past few years with product suggestions and questions about power, technology, and more.

We're going to take apart and upgrade a brand new Mazda 3 with a SkyActiv manual transmission.

We decided to have an in-house example of Mazda’s current sport model of the Mazda 3, a 2015 2.5 liter SkyActiv manual transmission. As everyone’s favorite television series host has put it in the past: There is no better way to test the breed than motorsports. So that is exactly what we are going to do with this brand new Mazda 3. Strip the interior, outfit it with CorkSport parts, install some safety gear, and go racing.

Want some new Mazda 3 parts? We'll be selling off just about everything.

Yes. We are really going to take apart a perfectly good car to race on the track with a bunch of other people who suffer from the same mental disorder. We will be posting regular updates on the car as we proceed through the build, which will include time on our dyno and results on the races.

This also means there will be a garage sale on brand new parts from this car, interior, wheels, etc. It has every option so if you want something shoot us an email.

Stay tuned for updates.

-Derrick

Meet Derrick from CorkSport. Loves racing, Mazdas, and his CS fam.