I have a soft spot in my heart for Mazda. For one, they made one of the best sports cars of the 1980’s, the RX-7, and they did it their own way via a rotary engine. Mazda has also been integral to Ford’s renewed success, as the Blue Oval’s mid-size lineup (Fusion/Milan/MKZ) are based off of the Mazda6’s architecture. Ford has recently divested itself of its stake in Mazda, though perhaps at the wrong time.
Reuters is reporting that the Mazda2 subcompact, which goes on sale in Japan next year and will eventually make its way to America, could get gas mileage of around 70 mpg. That would make it the most efficient gas-only car in the world.
I have personally seen the Mazda2 up close and personal, and it certainly is a cute car. Mazda, which has no hybrid engine systems of its own, has taken to vastly improving its line of gas and diesel engines to compete with hybrids. If these rumors are true, not only are they competing, but completely blowing the competition out of the water. A 70 mpg gas-only car would outdo every hybrid on the planet. Of course, it depends on what continent the mpg is calculated, as Japan, America, and Europe all have different standards.
The Mazda2 goes on sale in Japan in 2011, and will be priced well-below any hybrid, which makes sense since it will use less “exotic” technology. It will have a choice of petrol or diesel engines from the new SKY lineup, which promises improved fuel mileage and performance by increasing the compression ratio and squeezing the most amount of energy out of every squirt of gas. Mazda is making a name for itself outside of the herd by ignoring hybrids and improving the internal combustion engine, though how long this tactic can work to their benefit, I don’t know. You’ve got to admire their gusto for trying to be different though, and it may pay massive dividends down the road.
Oh, and as for Ford, Mazda claims they still have a strategic partnership. We will see how that pans out as well.