Clarksville, Tennessee, United States
The U.S. News Best Cars for the Money Awards picks winners by looking at the average transaction price, five-year total cost of ownership, the regard a car has from the automotive press, reliability figures from J.D. Power and Associates and safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The result, according to the magazine, is "the best combination of critical acclaim and long-term value."
Ford nabbed six of the 21 categories that received awards this year, the Focus, Fusion, Fusion Hybrid, Taurus, Escape and Edge getting trophies. Toyota and its Lexus and Scion sub-brands took another five, the Tacoma and Tundra owning the two categories given to pickup trucks. The other ten awards were split between Honda with three, Buick with two, and one each for Subaru, BMW, Hyundai, Chevrolet and Mazda.
Follow the link to see all the winners and read about why they were chosen.
Every few months, it seems a rumor crops up about plans from Mazda to revive the rotary engine. Last November, its CEO said the only way another one could happen is if the project was profitable, and then a month later the automaker showed off the Mazda2 RE Range Extender with a 330cc Wankel engine mounted in the rear. Now, Australian auto site Motoring reports that the PHEV may actually make production in the next-gen Mazda2 sometime after it's initial launch.
Martin Benders, managing director of Mazda in Australia, spoke to Motoring about the company's future with hybrids and basically reiterated what the CEO said last year. The Japanese automaker only plans to offer electrified powertrains in places where they can sell in sufficient numbers to be profitable, like Japan.
Mazda has been playing with the rotary range-extender idea for years. In the RE prototype, the engine was exclusively used to charge the lithium-ion batteries when they were running low, and a 100-horsepower electric motor provided all of the propulsion. It gave the little hatch an estimated range of about 250 miles. The company reportedly took inspiration from its Skyactiv engines to make the Wankel have lower friction and a lighter weight.
The styling changes at Mazda are proceeding at a fairly quick tempo. The CX-5 was unveiled, followed by a refreshed CX-9, the excellent Mazda6, and most recently a new Mazda3. This all happened over the course of less than two years, which in the auto industry is like a long week.
Now the Mazda2 is getting its revamp. Thanks to a magazine scan from Japan, we now have our first look at the new sub-compact, called the Demio, in its home market. Mazda's familial front end has been fitted, and it doesn't look quite as suited to the smaller car. Lacking the long-hood look of the Mazda3 and Mazda6, the new styling looks overly rounded, almost bulbous from our angle. It's still attractive, but the shape is kind of off-putting compared to the chiseled faces of the 2's big brothers. We'll concede that the folded magazine page may have something to do with it, however.
The next-generation 2 should adhere to Mazda's Skyactiv philosophy, which means we can expect a highly efficient four-cylinder engine, although it's impossible to say if Mazda will do away with its smallest offering's one-engine strategy. Considering the Mazda2 will be riding on a shortened version of the CX-5's platform, we'd expect some degree of mechanical parts sharing, regardless of how much the larger platform needs trimmed. Perhaps a detuned version of the 2.0-liter, Skyactiv four-cylinder could be under the 2's hood?