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Review: 2016 Mazda CX-5 Touring

Mazda CX-5 Touring

Some may look at the Mazda CX-5 as just another dot in a sea of crossovers but it offers so much more. The steering and suspension stand out and the fuel economy beat out the hybrid CUV that currently sits in my driveway.

While many enthusiasts may write off any crossover as just another appliance, the CX-5 deserves our attention. I had the chance to try out a front wheel drive model in Touring trim and enjoyed the experience. I previously had a chance to try out a 2014 CX-5 with the 155 horsepower 2.0-liter engine and found it to be adequate but slightly lacking in highway merging situations. The 2016 CX-5 Touring model I tested came equipped with the 184 horsepower 2.5-liter engine and showed a measurable improvement in acceleration.

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The Maturity Of My Foolishness

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I was heading home earlier this week when I heard the unmistakable sound of a coffee can muffler from the Chevy Cobalt in the parking lot next door. I may have judged the driver for his bee-on-steroids exhaust tone just a few years ago but as I get older I have learned to embrace his foolishness just like my own. The people who believe themselves to be true car enthusiasts may stare and laugh at the Cobalt kid while sitting in the drivers seat of their tastefully modified Corvette but little do they know they are just an older version of him. I started on my automotive path much like the Cobalt kid with gaudy modifications on my four cylinder econo-box and although that car is but a distant memory now, my foolishness is still at hand.

I received my learners permit just as The Fast and the Furious was released in 2001 and was ready to get my hands on any car to start the quarter mile life. I had to settle for driving my parents 1989 Pontiac Bonneville with one of them in the right seat for the first few months. As my sixteenth birthday was approaching my dad mentioned that he knew of a cheap Mitsubishi Diamante for sale that a client of his was looking to get rid of due to the leaky valve-stem seals.  He offered to buy the car for me if I helped fix it. I jumped on the opportunity and once we got it in, it was repaired within a day. I was happy to have a car and happy to have a part in getting it back on the road although most of my assistance involved handing various tools and parts to my father.

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What Makes An Elio?

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Elio Motors has been pushing to get their low cost autocycle to market and they have developed a few prototypes. They brought their P4 prototype to the New York International Auto Show this year and I got a chance to get a closer look at it as well as speak to Paul Elio and some of his team. Paul was happy to emphasize that they are trying to cut costs by using existing parts and as I looked closely at the the prototype I noticed many components that appear to come from an array of other vehicles.

Elio has been promising that they would have a vehicle ready for production for a few years and while I am hard pressed to believe that they will actually bring it to production any time soon the parts bin treatment does give me some hope. Designing and building parts from scratch takes a lot of research and development and increases production costs so integrating existing parts makes sense and as I looked over the P4 I noticed many familiar pieces.

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Road Trip In The Lexus RC350 F Sport

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The Lexus RC350 has an aggressive exterior and aims to attack the coupes from its German rivals. The F Sport package gives it better handling and a more menacing look. As a Lexus and not a Caterham, it’s required to strike the right balance between comfort and handling.  I originally planned to take the RC350 F Sport to an autocross event but the car had to be rescheduled and ended up arriving the weekend before a road trip. The logical choice for the six hour round trip  to a wedding would’ve been to take my Cadillac STS or their Toyota Camry but I convinced them that we should ride in the RC350.

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Diagnosing And Customizing Your Car From Your Phone for $50

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I am an automotive gadget addict and love to try out new tools if funds permit.  I have a traditional corded OBD II code reader but when I found a $30 ELM327 WIFI dongle that could connect to my iPhone I figured I would give it a try.  There are a plethora of apps that work with the dongle but one that stood out from the pack was Carista.  It not only allows you to read codes but also allows you to change features and settings on supported vehicles.

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The Awesome Rides of M2 Incorporated

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M2 Incorporated was created as a subsidiary of Mazda in an effort to create some nice enthusiast models.  The “CobraSter” concept was the biggest departure from the base Miata of the time but the models that actually got produced and sold were interesting in their own right.  The 3 models that made it to the showroom offered a mixture of performance upgrades and appearance improvements which make them highly sought after in Japan.  Many of these models will soon hit the 25 year mark so we might start seeing them on our shores as well.

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M2 Incorporated and the Miata “CobraSter”

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The Mazda MX-5 Miata has been subjected to a wide range of engine swaps from motorcycle engines all the way up to V12s.  One of the early V6 swaps was sanctioned by Mazda and almost reached niche production.  The division responsible for this project was M2 Incorporated.  In the early 1990s, Mazda established the skunkworks divison called M2 Incorporated and tapped the project lead of the Miata, Masakatsu Kato to head it up.  The initial goal of the division, which was called “Mazda Two” internally was to complete research and development and perform appearance upgrades on current models but they went a bit further than that.

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The parts bin is why you should buy that quirky Saab

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As auto enthusiasts we decry the use of the parts bin and shared DNA between the range of models that auto manufacturers offer. The most recent case is the Maserati Quattroporte, many reviewers decried the use of lowly Dodge Dart window switches and Caravan navigation in the luxury sedan. I am in the opposite camp and will gladly support the parts sharing because discontinued models like the Saab 9-3 Turbo X will get to live on from the General Motors parts bin.

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