A week in the 2020 MAZDA CX-5 begs for an EV VERSION…

Mazda certainly has come a long way. It’s design language works REALLY well on some models and still needs a bit of massaging on others.

There’s a lot of overall goodness in the 2020 MAZDA CX-5 for around $37K. It’s a capable non-off road SUV that scoots its occupants in comfort. But you’ll notice I didn’t say “style.”

When most people talk about Mazdas, they generally mention the amazing RED color it comes in. Seems like all the models share this color. SOUL RED PREMIUM METALLIC. I keep hoping that they’ll send me a car that ISN’T in this color.

But the reason is… design cannot rely on color to be impactful. Color is a “spice” and not meant to detract from the overall language. I included a silver version for you to see here so that you could appreciate the language without the rojo.

Proportionally, the CX-5 is unusual. Large front overhang, the car seems to be shifted rearward and it also sits very high. This gives it a quirky nature that some might call comical. It just seems like a happy car which isn’t necessarily bad… but this coming from a company where the Miata has a very clear smiling guppy face.

I think this is what is keeping Mazda from being taken more seriously as a contender to some others in it’s class or higher.

Now, this quirkiness is NOT happening on the interior which is far more successful. Great use of materials and over language theme. In fact, it’s a “great” interior and excellent balance of color, materials and shape. Making it bright red would be silly.

The interior is elegant and serious. Something the exterior needs to address. But more than this… it’s a car that needs to be electric VERY SOON.

Exterior language is always based on three levels. Level 1 is overall shape which we’ve addressed. Level 2 are the mid-range details which I really like. Shape of the lenses front and rear. Front sculpture. All very nice.

Level 3 is the finite details which again, should be addressed with more finesse. Imaging a serious version of Easter Eggs, like what the Jeep is doing? Etching in the glass, subtle details that require you to get up close. This would help to separate Mazda from the pack. At least the CX-5.

Regardless, it’s a good SUV and a good choice for the $37K. 24mpg, 227hp and 310ftlbs. All good stuff. But what do I know? I’m just a Car Designer who’s in to Hot Wheels. 😉


2020 MAZDA MX-5 MIATA RF – FIREBALL MALIBU VLOG 984http://www.fireballtim.com – Starting with some Grand-daughter time, FIreball and Kathie end up carving Deer Creek in Malibu with the 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF to see some cool homes and scenery.

BEST CAR DESIGN CONTENDERS OF THE WEEK… Mazda, Porsche Concepts and 2021 Toyota Tundra… You Pick!

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L2R… A 40-year Restoration Jaguar, 2021 Toyota Tundra, Axiom Blade Movie Concept, Mazda Concept, Mercedes Limo, Porsche Race Concept and Volvo Precept. WHAT’S YOUR PICK? LEAVE A COMMENT.

A week in the 2019 MAZDA6 SIGNATURE…

As I’ve said many times before here on this blog, my view on MAZDA steadily improves and continues to impress with the 2019 MAZDA6. With a segment that’s overblown with sedans and carbon copy cars, Mazda’s design language still turns heads.

On top of that, the Soul Red Crystal paint got more compliments than I could count. Almost came across like a Custom Candy paint job.

But Mazda’s true soul lives on the inside. An interior that is suave, sexy and makes you feel like pulling the silk sheets up. The only thing I’d like to see them do next is expand to a more serious full-size Autobahner. An 80K Mazda? Sure. Why not?

If Hyundai can bust out the luxury with GENESIS, then Mazda can hit the market with the… 3, 6… and TEN.

At 26mph, this sedan is not a head turner, but right in the mid-pocket. At $36K, it’s still hanging with the rest in the mid-range segment, but clearly just came back from the Groomer. It’s trim and slim.

Will Mazda’s VISION COUPE ever really make it to market so we can see how serious they are, or is it just a tease with design elements added again to the mid-range? Time to step up, ladies and gents of Mazda. Time to get in the dirt, get nasty and create a serious road machine.

As good as the Mazda6 is… and it is, it’s still something for the mid-rangers that want practicality of price. But the paint and interior take it a bit further than most and that’s a good thing.

Keep it up, Mazda and you’ll blow our minds… maybe.


2019 MAZDA MX-5 ROADSTER IS SICK! – FIREBALL MALIBU VLOG 903 – Among Sushi, the Academy Awards, Movie Props and such… Fireball spins the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Roadster.

A Week in the 2018 MAZDA 6 Sport Sedan…

Once again, MAZDA has challenged me with trying to find what’s good in their 2018 MAZDA 6. And although the design language of the car is great, the problem I faced with this car was the fact that it came to me right off the heels of the 2018 Hyundai Sonata.

So here’s the thing… starting with what I like, the MAZDA 6 is a subtle sculptural masterpiece. Not overstated or extreme, but subtley beautiful and cohesive with the entire line of their cars. It’s balanced, smooth-looking and aggressive where it needs to be aggressive.

Where most car companies just round corners, Mazda takes each curve and turn with purpose in their design. That can be attributed to their language philosophy. And at $36, it would seem to be that that was enough. But the interior feels good too, although with some ergonomic question marks.

As I mentioned, the problem with this car was that I had the Hyundai Sonata Eco right before it, at $35K. And where the Hyundai lacks in it’s semi-dull design language and Mazda excels, the Hyundai is an engineering masterpiece. The Mazda, not so much.

I removed some things from the Hyundai trunk, closed the deck and didn’t think a thing about it. But then I transferred what I had to the Mazda. When I heard the sound that the trunk made as it closed… my eyes popped. It sounded tinny and cheap.

I did the same thing with the doors. And the same sound occurred. The Hyundai was solid and the Mazda thin.

Paying $1000 more for the Mazda and getting a feeling that it was tinny wasn’t in the cards for my experience. Where the Hyundai, although not as great a looking car as the Mazda, was clearly the better choice.

The interior ergonomics of the Mazda were also less inviting. It looked VERY cool, but functionality felt and performed to be more complex and somewhat annoying compared to the Apple-Easy process of the Hyundai. Even setting up the phone was a challenge compared with the Sonata.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The 2018 Mazda 6 Sedan is a good car and you may NEVER be able to compare it to anything in a test drive. You also may be a loyal Mazda driver and never want anything else, to which I have to say, “Good on ya, brother.” But for my money, the Hyundai hits home.

Two-cents and this will get you a… wait, let’s make that $20 bucks and this will get you a latte. Hope this helps…

Is this the 2019-20 MAZDA RX-9??

According to Car Render Madman Sean Sweeney (Originally posted on Carscoops), we sure hope so. 400-450hp.


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2018 MAZDA 3 HATCHBACK DESIGN REVIEW – FIREBALL MALIBU VLOG 812 – After seeing a Private Screening of Hotel Transylvania 3, Fireball does the 2018 Mazda 3 design thing. WATCH!


2018 MAZDA CX-9 AWD SUV – FIREBALL MALIBU VLOG 784 – Fireball explores Malibu in the 2018 Mazda CX-9 AWD SUV, hits “Ready Player One” and explores a NEW COLORING BOOK TITLE!

Cars coming to the FIREBALL PAD… Volvo V90, Genesis G80, Mazda CX9, 700hp Jeep Trackhawk

Over the next 2 months, here’s what on the slate for you guys. Tons of Vlog coverage each day, but honestly… the Trackhawk will be SICK!

We’ll get there, but stay tuned to the show for all the best insights on these cars, plus tons of other fun stuff, as you know!

The 2018 Volvo V90 is on deck for Monday…