Next-gen Mazda MX-5 could use carbon fiber to cut weight

The current Mazda MX-5 Miata has only been out for a few years, but the automaker is allegedly looking for ways to lighten the next one. According to a report from Autocar, Mazda is looking to carbon fiber to help the next-generation MX-5 cut weight and use a smaller engine.

Despite having more safety features, modern amenities, and a stiffer body, the current MX-5 is the same size as the original sports car from 1990 and weighs less than its immediate predecessor. In a recent interview with Autocar, Nobuhiro Yamamoto, head of the Miata program, revealed that the next generation of the Miata will probably stay the same size, but could be even lighter thanks to the utilization of carbon fiber. The current MX-5 uses high-strength steel and aluminum, and Mazda doesn’t use carbon fiber in any of its cars. Carbon fiber is expensive to incorporate into road-going vehicles, and so Yamamoto notes that Mazda has been hard at work making it more affordable.

A lighter car could result in a smaller engine, Yamamoto said. In the US, the MX-5 comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 155 horsepower, while the Japanese and European version comes with a 1.5-liter, 130-hp engine. A smaller engine would make the sports car even lighter.

It’s unknown at this time if the automaker is collaborating with another automaker or a supplier to make produce carbon fiber, or if it’ll make it in-house. There’s no word on how much carbon fiber the next MX-5 will wear or how it will affect the sports car’s price.

Autocar reports that the next MX-5 won’t arrive anytime before 2021, which could make the ND MX-5’s lifespan an unusually short five years long. With cars getting heavier, it’s nice to hear that Mazda is working on finding a way to make its lightweight sports car even lighter.

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These are the 10 fastest-selling used cars in America

auto business car sale deal gesture and people concept close 1 These are the 10 fastest selling used cars in America

Run, don’t walk, if you want to buy one of these cars used

We spend a lot of time talking about new cars here at Autoblog, but in reality, people frequently go the used route. And the truth is, the used car market hides some fascinating data that we sometimes overlook.

The website recently looked at used car sales and determined which cars sold the fastest and which lingered on lots. The following ten cars are the fastest selling in the US.

There are some unique traits to this group of cars. Half of these vehicles are electric vehicles or hybrids, and only one car on the list is American. There are some oddballs in as well, but apparently used car buyers snap up all of these vehicles in less than 30 days after they hit the market.

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1. Toyota Prius Plug-in: 19.7 Days

It’s no big surprise there’s a Prius anywhere on this list. It is the hybrid automobile. They’re reliable, practical and, in case you somehow didn’t know, they get great gas mileage. And with the plug-in, you can knock out a few miles of your commute using power from the grid.

Research the 2015 Toyota Prius

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2. Nissan Leaf: 24.3 Days

Already the most affordable pure electric car on the market that still feels like a real car, the Nissan Leaf only gets more affordable when it’s used. With a range of 84 miles when it was released, the Leaf offered practical electric range for commuting and driving around towns and cities.

Research the 2016 Nissan Leaf

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3. Tesla Model S: 26.1 Days

The Tesla Model S needs little introduction. This is the first electric car with virtually no compromises. It has long range, it’s attractive, it’s fast, and all of these traits make it a very cool car. They aren’t terribly cheap, so it could be that people are snapping used ones up quickly to get the hottest electric car on the market at a discount.

Research the 2016 Tesla Model S

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4. Hyundai Veloster Turbo: 27.8 Days

The Hyundai Veloster Turbo is a little unexpected for us. It’s certainly the most fun version of the Veloster with a 200-horsepower turbo four-cylinder and sporty suspension. However, there are other vehicles in this category, such as the Ford Fiesta ST, that are even more fun. That being said, if you have to have your driving fun in a unique wrapper, the Veloster Turbo isn’t a bad way to go.

Research the 2016 Hyundai Veloster

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5. Infiniti QX60: 27.9 Days

Now we come to the part of the list that is the most confusing. Formerly known as the Infiniti JX35, the QX60 is Infiniti’s large, three-row crossover SUV. There’s really nothing wrong with this crossover. In fact, it’s spacious, luxurious and comes with a premium badge to show off to the neighbors. But there are many other competitive options in the segment. Perhaps the combination of a popular body-style and the chance to own a luxury nameplate pushed it over the top.

Research the 2016 Infiniti QX60

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6. Infiniti QX56: 29 Days

So this is probably the strangest model on the list. The QX56, now known as the QX80 is a very plush, traditional SUV.  Think of it as Nissan’s version of the Toyota Land Cruiser/Lexus LX570. It will get you, your friends and your stuff most anywhere you need to in the lap of luxury. But traditional SUVs have been fading in popularity because they’re heavy, thirsty and they drive like trucks. So we don’t understand why there isn’t another car-based crossover here instead.

Research the 2016 Infiniti QX80

Mazda's EV resistance may mean CAFE trouble ahead

Is Skyactiv the limit for Mazda? The Japanese automaker has ridden its gas-powered engine technology platform to the upper end of fleetwide fuel economy among automakers in the US. But the company’s lack of electrification, either hybrids of plug-in vehicles, combined with increasing sales of crossovers, may limit future fuel-efficiency gains, Automotive News reports.

Mazda has no plans to add battery-electric variants across its product line, the publication says, citing comments from Mazda North America CEO Masahiro Moro. So far, the dependence on Skyactiv has worked well, as Mazda was the second automaker – after electric-vehicle maker Tesla Motors – to meet the US fuel-economy mandate of 34.1 miles per gallon for 2016.

Additionally, Mazda plans to unveil the second-generation version of Skyactiv next year. Using a technology called “homogenous-charge compression ignition” (HCCI), Mazda’s gas-powered engines will approximate the compression in diesel engines, boosting fuel economy accordingly. Because of that development, Mazda’s Moro is “very confident” that the company will meet the US Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) mandate for 2021. With no plans for US plug-ins or hybrids (Mazda’s only hybrid, a variant of the Mazda3, is sold in Japan), Moro is not so sure about meeting the 2025 CAFE mandate of 54.5 mpg (which equates to a “real world” fuel economy of about 40 mpg). Additionally, Mazda’s “biggest regulatory headache” will be meeting California’s mandate that 15 percent of the state’s new-vehicle sales be zero-emissions within the next decade.

In 2011, Mazda laid out its strategy of leaning on its Skyactiv technology instead of moving to drivetrain electrification as a way to boost fleetwide fuel economy, saying at the time that “you can’t out-Toyota Toyota and you can’t out-Honda Honda.” The company also took a strong stance against even the idea of electrification in vehicles.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mazda’s model-year 2015 vehicles averaged 30.1 mpg, beating out Honda’s 28.9 mpg, Subaru’s 28.7 mpg, and Nissan’s 28.3 mpg. Mazda’s fleetwide fuel efficiency increased from 29.4 mpg for the 2014 model year, and from 28.1 for the 2013 model year, according to the EPA.

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