Toyota Yaris, The U.s. Mazda-based Version, Is Being Killed Off

Toyota Yaris, the U.S. Mazda-based version, is being killed off

The outlet Tire Meets Road spotted a leaked document from Toyota on Reddit, sent to the automaker's dealers and general managers in the Southwest region. According to the memo from Toyota's western comms manager, "The Yaris sedan and Yaris Hatchback will not be available for model year 2021. Model year 2020 will be the last year for Yaris. June 2020 will be the last month of production for the Yaris sedan and Yaris Hatchback for the US." Reddit deleted the document, but when AutoWise reached out to Toyota, the same comms manager confirmed the information to the site. And just for good measure, when CarBuzz reached out to Toyota, the response was, "The Yaris sedan and Yaris Hatchback will not be available for model year 2021. Model year 2020 will be the last year for Yaris in the U.S."

So ends a 15-year run in the U.S. of what has, at times, been one of America's spunkiest hatchbacks. In our review of the 2019 Mazda2-based sedan, we called it slow but "pretty entertaining to drive," one of the "better-looking cars in this diminutive class," and were surprised "at how grown up it feels." Such accolades haven't been enough to convince the buying public; since 2008, when shoppers took home 102,328 Yaris models, the Yaris has posted steep declines in all but three years. A burst of sales in 2017, after Toyota absorbed Scion and turned the Mazda2-based Scion iA into the Yaris iA, fell back into substantial declines in 2018 and 2019. Last year, the Yaris hatch and sedan sold a combined 21,916 units. The Honda Fit did 35,414 sales, the Hyundai Accent 25,628. 

2020 Mazda Bt-50 Pickup Introduced

2020 Mazda BT-50 pickup introduced

Mazda exited America's pickup segment when it deep-sixed the Ford Ranger-based B-Series after the 2009 model year, but it remains committed to the body style overseas. The third-generation BT-50 introduced online wears an unusually stylish design for a global truck, while its interior looks and feels more car-like than before.

The BT-50 is based on the Isuzu D-Max, but the familiar shield-shaped grille hides the common DNA well. Horizontal slats and a thick chrome frame create a visual link between the pickup and members of Mazda's line of sedans and crossovers, while stylists gave the rear end more utilitarian-looking lines characterized by vertical lights. The variant depicted in Mazda's images is an upmarket trim built for users who need a rugged daily driver, and more basic versions that feel at home on a construction site will ship will inevitably look a lot cheaper.

Mazda Rx-7 Threatened By Floodwaters Gets Help From A Stranger

Mazda RX-7 threatened by floodwaters gets help from a stranger

With Tropical Storm Cristobal charting a path for the Gulf Coast, a Biloxi, Mississippi, local named Khuong Nguyen wanted to get his FD-series Mazda RX-7 out of the storm — the coupe had some bad seals that would let in rain. He parked the orange and black coupe in the bottom story of a parking garage at the city's Golden Nugget Casino, which kept the rain from getting in. But Cristobal came on stronger than expected, creating a new threat of water from below when the parking garage began to flood. Austin Owens, a Gulfport resident about 10 miles from Biloxi, saw photos of the RX-7 with water up to its rockers on a local Cars and Coffee page. As he would later tell Jalopnik, the RX-7 being one of Owens' dream cars, he decided he needed to rescue it. Just to make sure we're all on the same page, a young man braved a tropical storm in his own vehicle to save a stranger's RX-7 in another city.

Owens dragooned a friend and hopped in a Ford Bronco, dodging closed roads and fording three or four feet of water on open roads. They drove to Home Depot to pick up cinder blocks, then headed to the Golden Nugget parking garage. As Owens and his friend arrived, they met Nguyen and a couple of his friends pulling Nguyen's second car, a Ferrari 360, out of the garage on a trailer. The RX-7 had already been set on wood blocks, thin bricks, and some orange wheel chocks, but the stilt job wasn't high enough in front; the water in parts of the garage was knee deep. Owens jacked up the RX-7 to get the cinder blocks under the front wheels; the rear end was fine, due to the slope of the garage floor. Success. As one of Nguyen's friends told Jalopnik, Owens' actions "did give us adequate time to combat the rising water."

2020 Mazda Mx-5 Miata Luggage Test | How Much Fits In The Trunk?

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata Luggage Test | How much fits in the trunk?

The Mazda Miata would not be my first choice for a road trip car. Would probably be in the bottom 10, in fact. The interior fits me like a coffin, the seats pinch my back and the amount of passenger legroom is laughable. It's not exactly the most serene car, either. 

But hey, there are sadists out there who may want to venture somewhere in it. I work with some of them. So, as they were the ones who requested this, here is the answer to the question: how much luggage fits in the Miata's trunk?

Junkyard Gem: 1988 Mazda 323 Gtx

Junkyard Gem: 1988 Mazda 323 GTX

Back in early 2007, when the late Davey G. Johnson got me my first job writing for an automotive publication (well, unless you count writing for the Year One catalogs back in the mid-1990s) and I took on this goofy pen name for real, I didn't quite grasp that any readers might be interested in the stuff I saw during my frequent junkyard trips. So, when I took my crappy Nikon Coolpix 2500 to the now-defunct Pick Your Part in Hayward, California, and saw a super-rare Mazda 323 GTX among all the Tercels and Rabbits in the IMPORTS section, I just took a few shots of this interesting car for my own enjoyment. These days, I'll take more than 100 photographs of a junkyard car of such great historical significance, editing them down to the best couple of dozen, but in March of 2007 I got just three of the 323 GTX. Robert Capa had his Magnificent Eleven at D-Day, and I've got the Magnificent Three of the GTX. Here they are.

Mazda Mx-30 Electric Car Starts Production In Japan

Mazda MX-30 electric car starts production in Japan

Mazda has officially started production of the electric MX-30. For the time being, the small electric car hasn't been announced for the U.S. yet. Mazda hasn't declared otherwise, though, so we still have our hopes up. The first MX-30s are rolling off the line in Hiroshima, Japan. Europe will be one of the first places where these MX-30s end up. The car starts at £30,495 in the UK and €33,990 in Germany. That's around $38,000. Certainly expensive, but the price would surely be different here, plus we'd be eligible for the full $7,500 tax credit.

Those lucky European customers will be met with an electric car that likes to do things a little differently than others. The modest 35.5 kWh battery pack is good for just 124 miles on Europe's optimistic WLTP testing cycle. It would surely achieve a much lower number in the EPA test. Mazda has made it front-wheel drive, placing a single motor on the front axle that's good for 143 horsepower.

2020 Mazda Mx-5 Miata Rf Road Test | Automatic Transmission, Performance, Roof

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Road Test | Automatic transmission, performance, roof

Somewhere in Hiroshima, a parade of nearly finished Miatas glides along a track waiting to receive their beating hearts, the powertrains that'll let them ply their road-carving talents the world over. One – let's call him Fred – is eager to begin his new life as a 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata, bringing joy to his future owner and just generally being awesome, even if the RF power targa-ish roof that's already been applied to him is a tad dweeby. Visions of hairpins and power slides and expertly executed heal-toe downshifts dance in his head … and then it happens. He is given the one thing every new Miata dreads: an automatic transmission. Poor guy.

This will not, entirely at least, be yet another diatribe in the ongoing Quixotic campaign to Save the Manuals(!). Automatic transmissions can be quite good and even beneficial in sports cars, especially on the track where removing the need to operate a clutch and expertly execute those heal-toe downshifts lets you better focus on the steering, what the chassis is doing and just going faster. That the computers can shift quicker than you can is another obvious advantage.

Junkyard Gem: 1992 Mazda Mx-3

Junkyard Gem: 1992 Mazda MX-3

Back in the early 1990s, American car shoppers could choose from an extravaganza of sporty-looking front-wheel-drive coupes. The Geo Storm GSi may have offered the most performance per dollar, but the early Mazda MX-3 made a lot of sense as a reasonably fun commuter car. The MX-3, based on the 323/Protegé chassis (and thus a close cousin to the Ford Escort of the same era) could be purchased in the United States for the 1992 through 1996 model years, and junkyard examples have become very hard to find. Here's a '92 in a Colorado Springs yard.

Mazda Seeks $2.8 Billion In Loans To Ride Out Pandemic

Mazda seeks $2.8 billion in loans to ride out pandemic

TOKYO — Mazda has sought loans totaling about 300 billion yen ($2.8 billion) from Japan's three megabanks and other lenders to ride out the coronavirus epidemic, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Saturday.

The megabanks — Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Mizuho Financial Group — along with the Development Bank of Japan, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings and others are set to agree, with some already having extended the loans, the person said, declining to be identified because the information is not public.

2020 Mazda Mx-5 Miata Suspension Deep Dive | How It Works

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata Suspension Deep Dive | How it works

Full disclosure: I'm a longtime Miata fan. And by longtime I mean since mid-1989, the year I obtained, through a series of fortunate connections, one of the three original Chicago auto show display cars. But this was no blatant attempt to butter up a journalist – I barely knew how to spell the word. At the time I worked for the Department of Defense and was racing SCCA showroom stock on the side.

It was destined to be a racecar. I was assured it'd be quick, but doubts surfaced when I arrived at Mazda's dealer training center to pick it up. "Oh, it's that cute Elan-looking thing," I probably said. But my mind was utterly changed when I eyeballed its double-wishbone suspension and other cleverly engineered features hiding beneath its skin. In subsequent years of racing – and eventually restoring – that car, I spent uncountable hours being impressed by it.