Recall Alert: 2001-2004 Mazda Tribute

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Vehicles Affected: About 109,000 model-year 2001-2004 Mazda Tribute SUVs manufactured between May 22, 2000, and Dec. 19, 2003, and originally sold or currently registered in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia

The Problem: The vehicles may experience excessive corrosion at the forward attachment of the lower control arm. A separation of the lower control arm can result in a significant loss of steering control, increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Mazda will notify owners starting in mid-May, and dealers will install a redesigned reinforcement cross-brace for free. Parts are not currently available, so owners will receive a second notification when the parts are ready. If owners bring their vehicles to a dealer before the parts arrive, dealers will inspect the subframe and decide whether the vehicle is safe to drive; if not, a rental vehicle will be provided.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Mazda at 800-222-5500, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or visit www.safercar.gov for more info.

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By Matt Schmitz | April 24, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2014 Mazda3, 2014-15 Mazda6

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Vehicles Affected: Approximately 5,700 model-year 2014 Mazda3 compact cars and model-year 2014-2015 Mazda6 midsize sedans equipped with the 2.5-liter engine and a regenerative braking system. Only Mazda3 vehicles manufactured from June 12 through Dec. 18, 2013, and Mazda6 vehicles manufactured from May 20 through Dec. 4, 2013, are affected. 

The Problem: Driving through rain or heavy puddles could cause the alternator belt to slip and send a faulty message to the power control module. This could cause a loss of power steering assist and possible engine stall, increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Dealers will reprogram the PCM for free.

What Owners Should Do: Mazda will notify owners later this month. Owners can call Mazda at 800-222-5500 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 888-327-4236 for more information.

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By Jennifer Geiger | April 22, 2014 | Comments (0)

$40,000 3-Row SUV Car Seat Challenge: the Highs and Lows

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Large families basically have two choices when it comes to what to drive: a three-row SUV or a minivan. Both have their merits and handle cargo and passenger room differently. During Cars.com's recent $40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge, I spent a few days getting to know seven of the contenders in the midsize crossover class, driving them, climbing in and out of them, and installing car seats in their second and third rows.

Read the Full $40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge

Although they all have to offer a large amount of room in order to fit that third row, it's obvious that not all SUVs are created equal. When it comes to car seats, there were some very clear winners and losers, with the Honda Pilot and Hyundai Santa Fe leading the pack, and the Chevrolet Traverse and Mazda CX-9 bringing up the rear.

By Jennifer Geiger | April 9, 2014 | Comments (1)

2014 Mazda CX-9 Photo Gallery

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The 2014 Mazda CX-9 finished fifth in our $40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge. "True to the zoom-zoom marketing gimmick, it was the best handling vehicle in the bunch," said one of our judges. Check out our gallery below to inspect the CX-9's styling, interior and family-friendliness.

By David Thomas | April 6, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2010-2012 Mazda6

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Vehicles Affected: About 42,000 model-year 2010-2012 Mazda6 midsize sedans manufactured between Sept. 14, 2009, and May 2, 2011, and equipped with a 2.5-liter engine.

The Problem: Spiders may weave a web in the evaporative canister vent hose, blocking it and causing an excessive amount of negative pressure in the fuel tank. That could cause the fuel tank to crack, resulting in a fuel leak and increasing the risk of a fire. The same spider problem also led to a recall announced in March 2011 affecting 52,000 model-year 2009-2010 Mazda6 sedans.

The Fix: Mazda will notify owners starting this month, and dealers will reprogram the powertrain control module and clean the canister vent line. If a web is found in the line, the fuel tank and check valve on the canister vent line will be replaced. Dealers will make the repairs for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Mazda at 800-222-5500, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or visit www.safercar.gov for more info.

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By Matt Schmitz | April 4, 2014 | Comments (0)

Top 10 Used Cars for $10K

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Although new cars offer the latest design, tech and safety features, shoppers buy more of their used counterparts: about 2.7 used cars for every new car sold in 2013, according to CNW Marketing Research. It's hard to blame shoppers. The average new car sells for around $30,000. By contrast, the average used car sold in early January 2014 for $10,843 at franchised dealerships (e.g., Bob's Honda) and $9,513 at independent dealerships (e.g., Bob's Used Cars), according to CNW.

Top 10 Cheapest New Cars You Can Buy

The age of paying $10,000 for a brand-new car is in the rearview mirror. So what are the best used cars for $10,000? We crunched a lot of data, and from a pool of more than 60 candidates, here are our top 10 cars, listed alphabetically.

By Kelsey Mays | March 17, 2014 | Comments (8)

2014 Mazda3, Toyota Highlander Earn NHTSA's Top Safety Rating

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Two redesigned-for-2014 vehicles have joined the ranks of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's five-star safety club. Both the sedan and hatchback versions of the Mazda3 compact car made the grade, as did regular and hybrid versions of the Toyota Highlander three-row crossover.

More Safety News on Cars.com

Both versions of the Mazda3 received scores of five stars in frontal- and side-impact tests and four stars in rollover tests for an overall score of five. The newly redesigned Mazda3's safety ratings compare favorably to those of its predecessor; the 2013 models both received an overall score of four stars, including five for frontal crashes, three for side-impacts and four for rollovers.

The 2014 Highlander models got four stars in frontal-impact and rollover ratings and five stars in side-impact tests for an overall score of five stars. The 2013 Highlander got an overall score of four stars.

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By Matt Schmitz | March 10, 2014 | Comments (0)

Mazda Reveals Hazumi Concept at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show

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Mazda is on a styling roll these days with the beautiful Mazda6 sedan and appealing Mazda3 compact making waves for their swoopy looks. That leaves the small Mazda2 next in line for a revision. We may have just gotten a look at its future with the unveiling of the new Hazumi concept at the 2014 Geneva International Motor Show.

More Geneva Motor Show News

Featuring the latest version of Mazda's "Kodo" design language, the company likes to draw comparisons to animals for the look of the subcompact five-door hatchback. Phrases such as "cheetah-like face" with the "look of an animal on the prowl" are not inappropriate. However, the Hazumi does have a dynamic, sculpted look that wouldn't be out of place in Mazda showrooms as the next Mazda2. The lines almost evoke an Alfa Romeo feel to the car, with elements of Mazda's other vehicles thrown in.

By Aaron Bragman | March 4, 2014 | Comments (1)

2014 Mazda CX-9: Car Seat Check

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Fun to drive isn't the first thing that comes to mind when describing three-row crossovers, but the 2014 Mazda CX-9 is just that with its 3.7-liter V-6 engine and responsive automatic transmission. Things got decidedly less fun when installing child-safety seats into it, however. The CX-9's interior isn't the roomiest, and the third row doesn't have a set of lower Latch anchors or any tether anchors. We can live without the third-row Latch anchors because you can use a seat belt to install a car seat instead, but the missing tether anchors means that a forward-facing convertible cannot be installed there.

More Car Seat Checks

In Car Seat Checks, we don't install rear-facing child-safety seats in the third row because most parents want the young children who ride in these seats in the second row so they can assist them, if needed. Kids in forward-facing car seats are older and a bit more independent, making it more likely that parents will install their child-safety seats in the third row when necessary.

By Jennifer Newman | February 20, 2014 | Comments (0)

Mazda Aims to Boost Drivetrain Efficiency by 30 Percent

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There could soon be a day when the gasoline-powered Mazda6 gets low-40s gas mileage and the Mazda3 gets mid-40s — in EPA combined ratings, not just highway. Powertrain executive Mitsuo Hitomi told Automotive News (subscription required) at a technical briefing in Japan that the automaker's future generation of SkyActiv drivetrains, dubbed SkyActiv 2, should improve on the current SkyActiv drivetrains by 30 percent.

EPA Names Mazda Most Fuel-Efficient Automaker

Although Hitomi didn't give a timetable, he said the technology would be necessary to meet European emission standards in 2020-2025. Mazda introduced SkyActiv to the U.S. in late 2011. SkyActiv drivetrains employ direct injection, higher compression ratios and efficiency-optimized transmissions; it's part of why the EPA named the automaker the most efficient for fleetwide 2012 cars. SkyActiv 2 will ratchet compression ratios up even more, which should improve torque and require less fuel to combust. Mazda says such high compression in SkyActiv 2 will use an emerging strategy called homogeneous charge compression ignition, where air and fuel encounter enough compression to ignite without a spark. HCCI is similar to what happens in a diesel engine; Automotive News says it lowers emissions and enables fuller combustion.

By Kelsey Mays | January 7, 2014 | Comments (1)

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