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Mazda Considering Small Mazda1?

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2011 Mazda2

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Cars have been getting larger, but that trend seems to be reversing. With tiny cars like the Chevrolet Spark finding quite a few buyers around the world, it’s only a matter of time before other automakers start fielding their own sub B-segment offerings. Mazda, for one, is already pondering a Mazda1, a model that, if produced, will be even smaller than the subcompact Mazda2.

Speaking to GoAuto before the Australian International Auto Show, Mazda’s general manager of global sales and marketing, Yasuhiro Aoyama, said that if the green light is given, the model won’t reach production until as late as 2020.

Two forms of the proposed car are on the table, one a super-frugal city car like the Volkswagen Up!, and the other a low-cost car for emerging markets. The former will eventually be developed to help Mazda meet tough future European emissions regulations.

To reduce manufacturing costs, Mazda is looking for a region offering inexpensive labour or government incentives. Indonesia is said to be a potential manufacturing source.

On the development front, potential partners include the Fiat Group, which recently forged a link with Mazda to co-develop an Alfa Romeo convertible, and Ford, whose Fiesta shares a platform with the Mazda2.

If no suitable candidates are found, the Japanese automaker will likely go at developing the small car alone.

Reference: Go Auto

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Budget cars

New Datsun mi-DO is a Hatchback on-Do for Russia

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New Datsun mi-DO Hatchback

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Datsun’s lineup continues to expand with the addition of the Datsun mi-DO, a hatchback version of the on-Do sedan developed for Russia and other developing markets. Both cars are based on the Lada Kalina.

Described as a “practical yet sporty five-door hatchback with a strong masculine appearance,” the mi-DO will be one of the most affordable cars money can buy. It features Datsun’s signature ‘D-Cut’ grill flanked by elongated projector headlamps that stretch virtually from grille to fender, helping set it apart from its sedan sibling.

Like the on-Do, power is provided by a 1.6-liter 8V engine that produces an anemic 87 horsepower, which is sent to the front wheels via a standard five-speed manual transmission or optional four-speed automatic. All models come equipped with driver and passenger airbags (this is Russia we are talking about, after all), ABS, and a winter pack featuring heated seats and door mirrors.

“The Datsun concept of offering a new car from a foreign maker at a highly affordable price has struck a chord with Russian car buyers. Datsun might be a new name on the Russian market but its impact will be felt for years to come. Rest assured we are totally committed to the Russian market: our debut at MIAS marks just the beginning of the story,” said Vincent Cobee, Global Head of Datsun.

In case you’re trying to make sense of the Datsun mi-DO’s peculiar name, ‘mi’ was chosen because it sounds like the English word ‘me’ and personalises the car, while “DO” is a Japanese word that means ‘moving’ and also refers to a ‘way’ of doing things.

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Beijing Motor Show

Jeep Renegade Zi You Xia Concept is a Rebellious Small SUV

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Jeep Renegade Zi You Xia Small SUV

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After its European debut in Geneva and North American debut in New York, the all-new Jeep Renegade made its grand entrance in China as a special design concept at the Beijing Motor Show.

Called Zi You Xia, which means “rebel”, the special concept is said to highlight “a more sophisticated aspect of the Renegade’s personality.” It is inspired by the colors of the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing and features a Warm Chocolate Gray exterior finish with a contrasting Dark Anodized Bronze color accentuating the grille throats, front fog lamp bezels, rear lower fascia, skidplate, tail lamp insert bezel and badging.

To keep things cohesive, a Dark Charcoal hue is used for the roof panel, grille surrounds and door mirror caps, while unique 20-inch Dark Anodized Bronze alloy wheels add more flair and underscore the vehicle’s impressive off-road capabilities.

The interior combines rugged and functional details crafted in high quality materials. Piano Black permeates but is contrasted by Anodized Copper on the air vents, speaker bezel, gear shifter, steering wheel bezels, cup holder and door release handles. The seats feature rich brown leather upholstery with ‘ombre’ grey/black plaid fabric inserts inspired by traditional menswear suiting and tailored patterns.

Mechanically, the Zi You Xia is identical to the regular Renegade, making it “the most capable small SUV and the first in the world to offer a nine-speed automatic transmission.”

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Budget cars

Chevrolet Trax Small SUV Finally Comes to the U.S. [Video]

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Orange Chevrolet Trax, Small SUV

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Available in Canada, Europe and elsewhere around the world for a while now, the Chevrolet Trax small SUV will now be offered in the United States, serving as a nice alternative to the growing number of budget hatchbacks and sedans.

Based on the same platform as the Buick Encore, the Trax is distinguished by its dual-port grille, sweptback headlights, chrome accents, pronounced rear fenders, and vertical taillights. Plastic body cladding and front and rear skid plates lend it a purposeful presence.

To my eyes, Chevy’s crossover looks better proportioned than the Buick and most other subcompact crossovers. What do you think?

The interior is plain and simple, featuring the Sonic’s motorcycle-inspired instrument cluster and metallic accents. Opening the rear hatch reveals a cargo area than can hold up to 18.7 cubic feet (530 liters) of luggage, but folding the rear seats down increases that volume to 48.4 cubic feet (1,371 liters).

Although a budget-oriented vehicle, the Trax nevertheless offers buyers many luxury and technological features, including leatherette upholstery, Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system with a seven-inch touchscreen display, Siri Eyes Free capability, and OnStar 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot.

Inside the small engine bay is a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 138 horsepower and 148 lb-ft (200 Nm) of torque. It is connected to a six-speed automatic transmission that can be paired with an optional all-wheel drive system.

The Chevrolet Trax made its U.S debut in New York and goes on sale in early 2015.

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