Mazda is an interesting car company. Example: they have 0 electric or hybrid cars and don't have plans to make any afaik. They have a new 'X-Active' gasoline engine that also runs like a diesel at times to gain efficiency and power (https://jalopnik.com/mazdas-upcoming-skyactive-x-compression...). I'm not sure it's a great idea to continue working on gasoline engine technology considering the industry and market, but it is impressive engineering.
They've also managed to keep the Mazda Miata at nearly the same weight (only 300lbs more than the original) and size (3 inches wider, 1 inch shorter) after over 20 years of safety and convenience improvements. I can't think of any other car model that's done that.
Somehow this small car company always punches above its weight, which is impressive.
Too bad the rotary engine never was reliable, practical or efficient but man are they fun cars. I fondly remember the RX-8 in 2004 my friend got for his birthday, that unique wailing rotary sound and go kart like experience is still in the back of my mind. RX-7 still has a ton of demand and held its value if not appreciated for spot clean low mileage cars. I prefer the older generation RX-7 but most of it is limited to Gran Turismo 2 experience.
Because the rotary engine has serious wear issues above 100K miles, even with proper maintenance. Which is a shame, really, because piston engines can double or triple that before running into the same sorts of problems (if well maintained).
At there are apex seals at the ends of the triangular rotor that need to stay in contact with the sides of the combustion chamber to prevent blow by and get a complete and efficient burn, so they have springs in them that press them against the walls of the engine. However, metal (or ceramic) to metal contact like that means that they also need to stay lubricated. Unlike the a piston engine's piston rings, there isn't a real easy way to get oil to where the seal is, so you must inject oil into the engine where it will be swept into the combustion chamber. Even then, the apex seals eventually wear out. They basically require a complete engine rebuild to replace.
The combustion chamber is quite long compared to a traditional piston driven engine, and that, combined with the apex seal blowby problem and oil burning problem, means the engine is actually quite inefficient. Rotary engines do not typically have good gas mileage. An RX-8 has a 1.3 L engine but only gets 18 mpg (13L/100km), although it produces 210–235 hp (157–175 kW). It's this poor efficiency that caused Mazda to cease production of Wenkel engines in 2012. They can't pass emissions tests. The Wankel rotary engine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wankel_engine) actually has comparatively poor fuel efficiency. It just also has a high power to weight ratio.
Additionally, the combustion chamber is on one side of the engine, meaning the engine heats up unevenly. That makes it wear unevenly and can make it difficult to get a seal that will work on both the hot side and the cold side.
So, the problems with the Wenkel engine:
1. Lubricate a part that you can't reach and is going to be constantly bathed in fire.
2. Make the combustion of a fuel/air mixture in a long, wide, narrow chamber as efficient as the same fuel/air mixture in a much more ideal cylindrical chamber.
In a piston engine, the cylinder walls and the sides of the piston form the seal that keeps the combustion contained. You have a lot of metal-oil-metal surface area to work with here, so it's relatively easy to get a good seal.
On a rotary engine, you have comparatively thin apex seals. These wear out quickly, and make it more difficult to get a good seal. Additionally, combustion always happens on the same side of the engine housing, so you tend to get warping, which also makes the sealing problems worse.
Reciprocating engines definitely have their own problems though (e.g. valves), and here I think you can safely argue that our longer history with them has helped a lot.
Instant throwback to the legendary 787B:
Like a classic British sports-car, but affordable, reliable and still in production.
For those who aren't aware, Mazda famously bought some Lotus Elans (and some other British classics) and drove them, took them apart, and so on to help them capture the magic. They really did succeed.
Ironically, they were a lot more successful than Lotus was when they made their new Elan which shared a name with the original, and came out the same year as the first Miata.
I have a Mazda 3. It is honestly a driver's car. Not in terms of raw performance. But I've been driving it since 2008 and it is still a joy to drive every single day.
(It's matched the Corolla for reliability, too! Aside from the damn wheels. 17" rims with low profile tires = rims perpetually getting banged out of whack by potholes. Annoying, but not exactly a mechanical issue with the drivetrain)
But then I'm driving again and the smile is ear to ear.
I suspect that historically Mazda made a mistake of pricing their cars too low. The Toyota Corolla appealed to NA buyers because it was seen as a "good" car. Mazda cars, in comparison, were seen as "cheap" cars.
Most people don't need a car that's fun to drive, they need a car that is safe, reliable, seats X number of people (depending on family size, carpooling, etc.) gets them and their stuff from point A to point B consistently (differs if you ski, or are a contractor, etc.), and does it at a minimum annual cost once maintenance, gas, insurance, etc. are factored in.
If you drive for fun or race, then reliability isn't your biggest concern, and you probably don't care whether it has more than two seats or any semblance of trunk space. You're going to care mainly about performance metrics.
And then there's aesthetics - which again depends on how much you care about those things.
If you are look for value go with a Hyundai. And I'm not saying this because I'm Korean (or the fact that my birth city is known as Republic of Hyundai due to their reach into every economic sector) but it just doesn't make sense to pay for a Toyota or Honda badge when all the stuff Hyundai gives you included with base costs extra at other dealership. Especially now with the release of i30N (possibly coming to N.A.), built by the guys who brought you Audi and Lamborghini cars (basically an Audi), it's hard to shrug off Hyundai for the extra options and value they include for the base price of competitors. TLDR: You want to go from A to Z for the best bang for your buck.
Having said that, stay away from KIAs if possible. No Korean I know will ever defend it.
Are you talking about this channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsqjHFMB_JYTaEnf_vmTNqg/vid...
I'm guessing not, since it seems to be almost entirely focused on the high end market. Does he have another channel or something? What am I missing?
My preferred channels are Alex on Autos and sometimes saabkyle04...
Personally, I look for an aggressive appearance, good utility in bad weather, and (now) plenty of cargo space.
I'm less concerned about safety and reliability, though obviously I don't want to be driving a deathtrap with loads of maintenance costs. To sanity-check the latter, I look at https://www.carcomplaints.com/ .
In cases of cargo moving (dump dropoff, IKEA pickup, Home Depot), it's typically adult-only trips, so it's really just vacation that's the case where we need a full load of both passengers and cargo. Since vacation is only a few times a year, we figured we'd optimize for the common case and plan to rent a larger van for those instances if necessary, or look at other alternatives, such as a roof box, trailer, whatever.
I mention this because if a person states their preferences across the attributes they value in a vehicle, it is quite feasible to have a detailed (if not "objective" then at least a rather neutral-point-of-view) discussion about the matching set of vehicles and what they offer across the dimensions.
I distinctly recall Mazda topped reliability charts in Germany (ADAC? TÜV report? memory fails me) a couple years ago.
Mazda is basically loosing all comparisons tests in Europe. They do not beat competition with economy or performance. Build quality is also not the best. https://www.auto-motor-und-sport.de/vergleichstest/golf-octa...
(25 years after working as an editor and I’m still “that guy.”)
 - https://www.reuters.com/article/us-toyota-electric-vehicles/...
The BMW Z3 would like to have a word. (I was actually going to say the 911, but not being super familiar I had to look it up and it does have a rear seat. Who knew?)
But Mazda has always been a great innovator, especially for the cost. They are the last enthusiast car brand available for the average buyer.
The Z3/Z4 is a different kind of sports car than the Miata/S2000 kind. It's heavier which required a stronger/heavier engine to maintain Miata-like power-to-weight. The suspension is softer and, due to the car's heavier weight, less nimble. It's closer to GT car than sports car.
Interesting you would argue the Z3 was heavier when the Boxster (986) was only 100 kg lighter than the Z3 M roadster and the Z3 was basically the same as the Boxster. I've never driven a Boxster or Cayman, however, so I can't comment much further than that.
Not that there's anything wrong with the entry-level ones. It'd be incredibly fun to own a flat six Cayman, and they sell so cheaply used that I wonder why they aren't more popular.
The Z3 is an interesting comparison. Inexpensiveness was part of the British formula that Mazda preserved, and it's not present with something like a Z3. I guess whether you regard that as important is a question of taste, or politics.
I was responding mostly to the absolute statement "best two seater sports car ever made". I think the Miata is a great car, probably the best intro sports car if you are into grassroots racing or similar hobbyist activities, but I'd take the Z3 over it for most purposes.
But they really aren't in the same class. Z3's are tourers, not sports cars per se'. But then again, MX-5's are roadsters, not sports cars in the practical sense. They don't exist in the same market bracket and fulfil entirely different ownership purposes :)
My personal opinion however, after finally settling on a NA mx-5 for my weekend race car, is that the mx-5 is honestly one of the best bang-for-buck circuit cars you can get. With only ~$10k invested in mine, it happily outpaces cars 6-10x the value.
The trouble with this sort of thing is, if you're going to remove practicality and low cost from the equation when making your "best sports car" assessment, you're competing against every sports car ever made by Ferrari, Porsche, Jaguar, etc. on their own terms. Pretty much all the reasons why you'd say a Z3 is a better sports car than, say, a Jaguar E-Type involve practicality and cost, I would think.
The VW beetle wants to have a talk with you. :)
And in terms of performance and economy matches a "classical" solution nowadays (direct injection + turbo): https://goo.gl/YWZs6v, https://goo.gl/zckvun
> Somehow this small car company always punches above its weight, which is impressive.
Mazdas look a little bit differently but in terms of technology there is nothing impressive about them.
Disclosure: RX-7 owner.
Why? I thought the latest Mazda rotary engines were of very low emissions.
Then again, who knows: http://www.thedrive.com/new-cars/14064/mazda-confirms-rotary...
I've heard that many RX-8s didn't keep factory spec after relatively short period of usage. They require also quite often (every 30-40000 km) the change of apex seals.
It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.
It is the little shadow which runs across
the grass and loses itself in the sunset.
--Attributed to Crowfoot (ca 1830-1890), chief of the Canadian Blackfoot tribe.
Some HN readers are one dimensional people, even worse can not ponder for a second and give the benefit of doubt.
Also, downvote should be for something negative, not just you think it is irrelevant.
And Mazda (as well as Citroen and others) used this engine, I think.