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Auto blogTue, 13 May 2014 14:15:00 EST
The Chinese auto market is one of the most interesting in the world to look at. Its automakers appear to still be figuring things out and remain open to experimentation. For example, at this moment, you can buy new copies of all three generations of the Mazda6 from showrooms there.
Mazda joint-venture partner FAW recently introduced the latest generation to China as the Mazda6 Atenza, according to Just Auto. Yet buyers still have the option of getting the previous generation as well, which is sold as the Mazda6 Ruiyi. Obviously, that isn't too remarkable - companies in the US have briefly sold two generations of the same nameplate simultaneously for brief points in the past, and the practice is much more common in developing markets. However, Chinese consumers still have the third choice, too - the first-generation model that dates back to the early 2000s, is still on offer, known simply as Mazda6.
While it would be hard to imagine selling three generations of the same models at once in the US, the idea is an interesting one. We enjoyed our long-term test of the latest generation, and the previous models weren't bad cars either, so provided there's a healthy difference in pricing and marketplace confusion is limited by differing names, we can see it working. If nothing else, it's a fascinating illustration of how broad China's developing auto market really is.
At this point, the countdown until the launch of the all-new, fourth-generation 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata can be measured in hours until its September 3 unveiling as easily as it can in days. With the debut of such a highly anticipated model so close, the rumors about the new sports car are starting to boil over.
We recently heard that the new Miata would likely get a 2.0-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder with a six-speed manual, plus a decent drop in weight compared to the current gen. There's even the rumored possibility of a fastback coupe version sometime in the future.
Now, Australia's GoAuto is adding another dollop of speculation into the mix with the claim that there could be "potentially more engine options," according to Mazda Australia managing director Martin Benders to the website. The more potent option would still be the 2.0-liter Skyactiv with a power bump from its current 167 hp to closer to 200 ponies. The other possible powerplant option would be a 1.5-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder taken from the upcoming Mazda2 replacement. This version would also ditch some of the MX-5's more premium features to cut the weight and the price slightly.
There are very few vehicles available today that compare directly with the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ twins. A case could be made for the Mazda MX-5 Miata, and possibly even six-cylinder versions of American coupes like the Ford Mustang. Pretty much everything else is either too expensive or is powered by the wrong set of wheels.
The boys from EverydayDriver on YouTube decided the only fair way to judge the inherent qualities of the Toyobaru twins was to pit them against two standard-bearers of years past: The Honda S2000 and Mazda RX-8. Neither of these cars is an exact matchup, with the Honda boasting a convertible top and the RX-8 offering more practicality via a rear seat and two reverse-opening doors for easier access. What they do offer, however, are similar performance stats and proven reputations for excellent handling.
None of this talk answers the real question, though: Which one wins the comparison test? Scroll down to watch the video, and be prepared for something of a surprise conclusion.