Price is Right

2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo will deliver 250 horsepower, start at $29,900

Mazda has added a turbo back to its options list for Mazda3 for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

The 2021 Mazda Mazda3 2.5 Turbo is the powerful engine option many buyers have been seeking. We now know how much power it will deliver and how much it will cost.

Mazda is selling the Mazda3 with the turbocharged 2.5-liter engine in both sedan and hatchback variants. Sedan models will start at $29,900 and hatchback at $30,900. Adding the Premium Plus package to the sedan model bumps up the cost to $32,450 and the same treatment for the hatchback prices it at $33,750.

2021 Mazda Mazda3 2.5 TurboThe Mazda3 Turbo is aesthetically unchanged on the interior from the other top-tier Mazda3 models.Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

There is a $945 destination and handling fee for each vehicle ($990 in Alaska).

Both models come with the 250-horsepower engine that delivers 320 pound-feet of torque on premium fuel (227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque on regular fuel). All-wheel drive is standard.

When equipped with the Premium Plus package, the hatchback version of the model gets a front air dam and rear roof spoiler. When adding the available Aero Kit ($1,075), a rear diffuser and side sill extensions is added. Or, a buyer can choose to have the Mazda3 Turbo without the Premium Plus package and just add the Aero Kit as a standalone option for $1,900.

Mazda is making new BBS 18-inch gloss black forged wheels available on all grades of the Mazda3 Turbo for an added $918.95.

Getting a premium paint color on the Mazda3 Turbo will also cost extra. Prices are $395, $495, and $595 for Snowflake White Pearl Mica, Machine Gray Metallic, and Soul Red Crystal, respectively.

Power To The People | 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo | Mazda USAwww.youtube.com

There are no further aesthetics changes to the model for the new year.

To coincide with the arrival of the new model, Mazda has launched a fresh ad campaign that showcases a touch of the company's history alongside the beginning of this new, turbocharged chapter. Mazda celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 2020.

The 2021 Mazda3 Turbo is expected to arrive at dealerships later this year.

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The CX-50 is surpsingly capable off-road.

Mazda

I have driven all of the Mazda vehicles that have been sold in the US market over the past three decades. On everyday roads and on racetracks. I’ve appreciated their “zoom-zoom”. Good power. Punchy torque just where it was needed. Well-balanced and sporty handling. A bit of growl for the versions that called for it. Plus, tasteful-but-modest styling and more or less elbow room, depending on the model. Mazda’s have been made for sports-car enthusiasts and to ferry families. But, I had never known a Mazda called an “overlander”. Until now.

2023 Mazda CX-50Towing capacity extends to 2,000 pounds.Mazda

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 moves this traction-sophisticated automaker into the lands where the pavement ends and now takes the brand ‘off-track’. Although it’s not a new thing for many of today’s carmakers to add a backcountry model or two to their lineup, it’s new for Mazda. I traveled to Santa Barbara, California to check out this all-new crossover built on Mazda’s seventh-generation small SUV platform that is shared with the smaller CX-30. This 5-passenger utility is longer, lower and wider than the CX-5 that rides on the previous generation’s underpinnings. The CX-50 has been crafted with a roomier second row and more cargo room for the goods and gear that weekend warriors and adventurers want to carry.

The CX-50 comes with a choice of two engines: a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine with cylinder deactivation that gets 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque, and Mazda’s Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter turbo-charged powerplant with 256 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque; both shift through a six-speed automatic transmission. The sport ute can tow up to 2,000 lbs. with the naturally aspirated motor and up to 3,500 lbs. with the turbo-charged mill and Intelligent Drive Select (Mi-Drive) that brings a tow mode as well as Normal, Sport and Off-Road. The newest Mazda model has been made for North America only and is built in Alabama. It is the first Mazda vehicle with auto start/stop that can be deactivated.

2023 Mazda CX-50Mazda is a master of upscale interiors. Mazda

The new crossover starts at $26,800 and comes in S, S Select, S Preferred, S Preferred Plus, S Premium, and S Premium Plus with the base motor. Turb-charged versions come in Turbo, Turbo Premium, and Turbo Premium Plus that tops out at close to $42,000. A long list of technology and safety features are standard or available. Mazda says that Meridian, a fourth turbo trim will arrive soon with even more off-road cred; it will be set up with 18-inch black wheels AT, hood graphics and other backcountry goodies.

When you look at the CX-50, the first thing you’ll notice is exterior styling that speaks to its adventure-ready mission. Muscular bodywork, such as extra cladding, wide fender flairs and larger, more aggressive tires mean that this crossover has been designed not only to give a nod to the looks of a rugged crossover but to provide enhanced traction and a tad more suspension stretch for motoring over uneven terrain and along bumpy dirt roads. Planted on its haunches with functional air vents, it eschews minivan styling with a low and wide footprint that allows owners to have easy access to high-strength roof rails for loading gear on top; the roof has been made stronger than other Mazda crossovers to accommodate heavier loads, such as a roof-top tent. A panoramic moonroof- a first for Mazda- and attractive antiglare hood graphics and are tasteful additions.

The interior is attractive and roomy, with horizontal lines and “cleanable” surfaces as a nod to outdoor endeavors. Our Turbo Premium Plus model had bright orange reverse stitching that popped the cabin that has been crafted with uplevel trims and materials and brought heads-up display. A 7-inch infotainment screen is standard, while the top models get a 10.25-inch version. A wireless charging pad and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all trims. Of note, is the rear power and programmable liftgate to the wide and deep rear cargo compartment, with a load floor that flush with the liftgate opening to help slide heavy items in and out of the back. An available line of cargo accessories makes stowage easier.

2023 Mazda CX-50The CX-50 is family roadtrip ready.Mazda

How did it handle over the 200-plus miles of our ride and drive? The Turbo Premium Plus CX-50 offers a lot like; many of its driving attributes are consistent with Mazda’s tuning and handling priorities across its product line. Traveling along coastal highways, carving mountainous twisties with tight turns and accelerating on flat and straight well-graded pavement, it has great Mazda manners: i.e., there is enough power and torque in the right bandwidth to move it well; precise steering with a slightly heavily-weighted leather-wrapped steering wheel and well-modulated brakes, especially with towing a 3,500-lb. load. We enjoyed using Sport mode for carving corners, as it brings elongated shifts from the six-speed automatic; a crisp response comes when sport shifting in “manual mode” and provides a quick throttle response.

We tried out the Off-Road mode on a course that included flat and uneven dirt roads, as well as hill climb and descent. Although there is no downhill descent control system, the brakes worked well, along with manual gearing. Of note, Mazda would be wide to add downhill descent engineering for steeper and slicker terrain. We were able to test the difference between Normal and Off-Road over a special section of the course with sandy corners and a winding track at a speed of 30 mph showing the improved traction in the Off-Road programming and the aid of Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control that brings a bit of magic to transfer torque to the wheels where it is needed to keep the intended track-think of it like an enhanced traction control program that helps with steering and yaw control.

2023 Mazda CX-50The CX-50 comes with off-road driving modes. Mazda

Other aids for off-road and backcountry travel are: the i-Activ All-Wheel Drive system that is standard equipment on all CX-50s, with a 50/50ish power transfer front to back; 8.6 inches of ground clearance; an 18-degree approach angle and a 24-degree departure angle; and an optional 360-degree camera system.

*EPA reports: base motor fuel economy 24 city/30 highway mpg, while the turbo option gets 23/29 mpg and can run on regular or premium fuel.

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The 2023 Acura Integra is a very good thing
Acura

After years of rumors and speculation, we finally got confirmation that the Acura Integra is returning. The iconic Japanese sports car left the market in the early 2000s, and has been notably absent since. Now, though, Acura is bringing it back. Today, the automaker announced that production had begun. The new Integra will be the first to be built in the U.S., and production will take place at Acura's Marysville Auto Plant. Interestingly, Acura's five other models are built in the Ohio facility.

2023 Acura Integra2023 Acura Integra reservations begin soonautomotivemap.com

The Integra will start arriving on dealers' lots in early June, and will carry a starting price of $30,800 before destination. The car is the only liftback in its segment, and gets a turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 200 horsepower. A six-speed manual is available, but buyers can opt for a continuously variable transmission.

2023 Acura IntegraThe new Integra comes as a five-door only. Acura

Acura says the Integra rolls down the same production line as the TLX sedan. The car required a rethink of Acura's production processes, and COVID-19 threw a wrench in development efforts. Acura notes its team worked rmotely and traveled to Japan to collaborate with home-office engineers. The Integra will also usher in a new training process for Acura, where associates learn the vehicle, the production process, and tooling before ever seeing the actual car.

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