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Mazda CX-5 named Japan's Car of The Year, Subaru BR-Z wins "Special Award"

Mon, 03 Dec 2012 10:33:00 EST

The Mazda CX-5 stamped its Kodo design and SkyActiv technology authority all over the Japan Car of the Year awards, taking the top prize ahead of the Subaru BRZ/Toyota GT 86. It is Mazda's second victory in the last ten years, the 2005 MX-5 claiming the same trophy, and the fourth time the Hiroshima company has won.
The award is decided by 60 local "automotive experts and journalists," and open to any passenger car released in Japan from November 1, 2011 to October 31, 2012 that has sold more than 500 units. Each judge gets 25 votes, his or her top vote getting 10 points, the rest of the points being spread among the judge's choice for the next best four cars.
The second-place getters were the Toyobaru twins with 318 votes, the surprise being they didn't beat or get any closer to the crossover. The Subaru BRZ did claw some mojo back, earning the Special Award given to cars that have made "an exceptional impact." The BMW 3 Series was third overall and won the Import Car of the Year award with plenty of room between it and the second place Range Rover Evoque.

Buy a Toyota GT86 and your wife will hate you

Wed, 14 Nov 2012 19:29:00 EST

Marketing can be a very strange business. Convincing a man or woman (or child, really) that they absolutely cannot live without the latest, greatest new bit of technology oftentimes takes a unique approach. In the "online film promoting the Toyota GT86" you'll see below, created by agency Happiness Brussels, men are reverse-psychologied into thinking a new sports coupe will make them more masculine by getting their loved ones to hate them. Or something like that. We think.
In any case, we suggest you watch the video below to see how much fun men can have with a GT86 - or Scion FR-S or Subaru BRZ, presumably - at the expense of their significant others. Fair warning: There's a potential Not Safe For Work moment in the ad: beware of a brief male butt shot about 44 seconds in.
Marketing. Gotta love it. Unless you're married to a man. Or something like that. We think. Whatever, just watch.

Hi-po Toyota GT86 to get KERS?

Fri, 09 Nov 2012 14:16:00 EST

We happen to like the Toyota GT86 - and, it of course goes without saying that the same applies to the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S, as well - just the way it is. Yes, that includes the standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer engine and its 200 horsepower at 7,000 rpm.
That said, a little extra power never hurt anybody, right?
The most obvious way to add some punch to the GT86 would be with a turbocharger, and that has indeed long been rumored for an STI version of the BRZ. Will Toyota follow suit? According to Top Gear, the answer is no. Says GT86 chief engineer Tetsuya Tada, "I think 300bhp with a turbo and 200g/km of CO2 would be tasteless in this day and age. And a turbo would mean the loss of the GT86's uniqueness." Perhaps a bit harsh, but there you go.

Ford tumbles to second worst in Consumer Reports reliability survey, list dominated by Japanese [w/video]

Mon, 29 Oct 2012 15:59:00 EST

It's no secret that MyFord Touch has had its share of problems since being introduced, but the most recent reliability survey from Consumer Reports shows just how much this infotainment system has affected Ford. Just two years ago, the automaker was in the top 10 for the institute's reliability rankings, but since then, it has tumbled to the second-lowest rung just above dead-last Jaguar. In addition to MyFord Touch, CR also attributes a handful of new products that have had issues right out of the gate.
Compiled from 1.2 million subscriber surveys, this year's auto reliability survey heavily favors Japanese automakers, with eight of the 10 spots hailing from Japan. Toyota brands grabbed the top three spots (Scion, Toyota and Lexus - in that order) with Mazda, Subaru, Honda and Acura filling the next four spots. The only non-Asian automaker cracking the top 10 was Audi at number eight.
Audi climbed a total of 18 spots from last year, and Cadillac and GMC round out this year's top gainers breaking into the top 15. Helping Cadillac's upward movement, the CTS Coupe was named the most reliable domestic car. Lincoln, Volvo and Chrysler join Ford on this year's biggest loser list.