Tag Archives: JDM

2008 MazdaSpeed3 Review

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As a successor to the Protege, the Mazda3 launched in 2004 showcasing Mazda’s new design language and nomenclature. Before 2003, Mazda’s lineup was filled with pleasant but humdrum cars such as the Protege, MPV, Millenia, 626, Tribute, and so on. Starting in the late 1990s, Ford had a controlling stake in Mazda, and the two cooperated on future vehicles’ developments. With Ford’s resources and funding, Mazda had the opportunities to completely revamp its lineup. Numerical names would be used for its models (at least in Europe and North America), and Mazda set about reinventing itself. The Mazda3 and Mazda6 were the results. The Mazda3 (Called the Axela in Asia), developed with Ford alongside the Ford Focus and Volvo S40, embodied European styling and handling in a fuel efficient and affordable package. As a result, it was a success and garnered rave reviews worldwide. The Mazda3 chassis had the capability for more power, so Mazda saw fit to produce a Mazdaspeed variant of the 3. Mazda’s niche division, Mazdaspeed, produced a version of the Protege, which gained mechanical and visual tweaks enough to transform it into a sporty small sedan. This time, instead of a sedan body style, the Mazdaspeed3 would be a hatchback in order to please European buyers. In Europe, hot hatches, vehicles with fast power and sporty handling combined with the practicality and comfort of a hatchback, were popular. I have reviewed both the first and second generation Mazda3s (both sedans), so I was keen to try out these Mazdaspeed version. This is not your ordinary Mazda3.Whereas the top of the line version of the Mazda3 had up to 160 horsepower with a five speed manual transmission, the Mazdaspeed3 had racier exterior tweaks, and a turbocharged 263 horsepower four cylinder with a six speed manual transmission. Sounds like a hoot to me. Continue reading

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2008 Mazdaspeed3 Teaser

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Review coming soon!

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2004 Honda Pilot EX-L Review (My Car)

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Most people ask me that if I have all this knowledge about cars, I must be driving something interesting and a car that only car enthusiasts would drive. Well, the truth of the matter is that I drive a Honda Pilot. That’s right, a 2004 Honda Pilot EX-L in Sage Bush Metallic. Yep, it’s an automatic SUV, which makes me out to be a hypocrite, especially since I preach manual transmissions, and since I say that SUVs are my least favorite type of cars. Let me tell you about the story behind this car, who by the way I named Neela (after the girl in Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift who drives a Mazda RX-8). At the time, we had a 1995 Honda Odyssey LX and a 2002 Toyota Camry. While it was a great car, the Odyssey was getting old, and a family member really needed a car, so we gave the car to her. It had 140,000 miles, and my family and I never really considered it a minivan due to the lack of sliding doors which helped my mom avoid the “soccer-mom” mentality. Anyways, this was in 2004, when SUVs were becoming the norm for family cars, and as you guessed, my parents jumped on the bandwagon. My family loves Hondas, but we wanted to go upmarket, so we looked at the Acura MDX (Acura is Honda’s luxury division). My mom loved the MDX, but my father, the cost conscious buyer, was keen on the MDX’s sibling, the Honda Pilot. It had launched a year ago, and we had many friends with Pilots, and everybody loved theirs. We went to the Honda dealership, and we looked at the Pilot.  Naturally, being a young kid, I was bored by all the technical talk, so my sister and I played around in the showroom cars. We test drove a red Pilot with a tan interior, and we were all amazed at how roomy and comfortable it was. We went to the Honda dealership a lot more after that. Then one night, my family went to the dealer without telling me and left me at home with the babysitter. The next day, we went to the dealership, and my sister (who loved to brag and tease me) told me, “Ha-Ha, Mom and Dad took me to the dealer, and not you, and I got to pick out the color! They like me better than you.” I pretended not to believe her, so I asked her, “Oh yeah? Where is our car? Huh? Huh?” And she pointed outside, and there was our Pilot. It was a Friday morning on May 28, 2004. It was a sunny afternoon, and our Pilot was so shiny it sparkled. That weekend, we embarked on a family trip in our brand new car to Ohio. We stopped at a farm, where we got to ride horses. My horse’s name was Diablo, and I remember this because at the time, my favorite Lamborghini was the Diablo. Before we knew it, we were driving this car everywhere. This car has been all over the country. We drove the Pilot many times to Canada, and Mexico two times, and it has been to both coasts of the country. Before I knew it, high school came. When I got my permit, I was supposed to drive our 2002 Toyota Camry, but as being a typical car guy, I said, “heck no!” I wanted a Ford Mustang so badly for my first car, and I was dismayed to find out my first car would be handed down to me. At first, I felt sad, because out of my friends, I had the boring car (my friends had a 2011 Ford Mustang, 2012 Dodge Challenger, Chargers, you name it). But after three years of driving this car, I cannot wish for a better first car. Since this blog just turned a year old, I thought it would be cool to do a review of my own car. I have been thinking about doing this for a long time, and I have been pressured to do so. Ever since I started this blog, I have had impromptu photo shoots of Neela. If I’m driving, and I see a location that I like, I’ll pull over for some pictures. I have accumulated quite a lot of pictures over time, and it is interesting to see how the car has changed in the past year. I actually posted a photo shoot of Neela and another Honda Pilot way back in Decemeber. I just never had the opportunity to do an actual review because I was always writing a review of another car. Now, the perfect opportunity presented itself. Just know that this review will be really long, because this isn’t a review of a random car. I’ve known this car for 10 years, which is a lot to summarize in a typical review, so brace yourself. Hope you guys enjoy it!

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2005 Infiniti G35 Review

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Infinti’s G Series started with the very first G20. Launched in 1990, the G20 was Infiniti’s effort at tapping into the entry luxury market dominated by the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz 190/C-Class. As a rebadged Nissan Primera, the G20 marketed itself as a sport sedan with the tagline, “Born in Japan. Educated in Europe. Now available in America”. Despite receiving critical acclaim for its sporting pretensions and overall competence, the G20 failed to make a dent in the entry luxury market. Infiniti temporarily discontinued the G20 after 1996. After a two year hiatus, Infiniti revived the G20 as a second generation model. This G20 also failed to garner the attention of luxury car buyers, and it was discontinued. In 2003, Infiniti’s owner, Nissan, was fustrated, and prompted Infiniti to get serious in making luxury cars. The G35 debuted in 2003, and it was based off Nissan’s FM platform which underpinned the Nissan Z sports car and the Infiniti FX SUV. The FM stood for front midship which meant that the engine was pushed all the way back as much as possible for better weight distribution. As a rebadged Nissan Skyline, the G35 was Infiniti’s first serious attempt at stealing buyers away from the perennial favorite, the BMW 3-Series. Continue reading

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1992 Acura NSX Review

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Even though the Honda NSX (Acura is Honda’s luxury division, and the NSX was sold as an Acura in North America) debuted in 1990, Honda actually started development in 1984, and the NSX was codenamed the HP-X (Honda Pininfarina Xperimental). Honda gave its engineers a task: create a mid-engined supercar that rivals Ferraris and Lamborghinis while providing the comfort and refinement expected of a Honda. Pininfarina, a famous automotive design firm recognized for the design of many Ferraris and Lamborghinis, was tasked to come up with the design for the HP-X. The name changed from HP-X to NSX (New Sportscar eXperimental). Throughout development, Honda enlisted legendary Formula One driver Ayrton Sienna as the test driver for the NSX. Sienna drove the NSX on Honda’s Suzuka Circuit in Japan, and relayed feedback to Honda’s engineers regarding the handling. The NSX was also the first production car to feature an all aluminum body which aided acceleration and handling. Sadly, the NSX ceased production in 2005, but it is regarded as one of the most famous supercars of all time. Continue reading

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2013 Acura ILX 2.4 Review

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As Acura came to the US marketplace in 1986, its first two models included the Legend and the Integra. The Integra, based off the Civic’s platform, aimed to provide a more reliable and affordable rival to the BMW 3-Series. However, it was not regarded as a direct rival, but it did achieve success. It garnered record sales due to its blend of engaging handling, typical Japanese reliability, and affordability. Third successful generations would follow, as well as a name change to RSX. Then in 2006, as Acura was repositioning itself as a true luxury company, the RSX was dropped as it did not fit within this new strategy. The ILX is not an official replacement for the Integra/RSX, but it shares the title of Acura’s entry level car, a role that the Integra/RSX fulfilled. The ILX’s purpose is similar to that of the Integra: to provide reliability, comfort, some degree of luxury, in a fun to drive package.

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2009 Nissan Altima Coupe 2.5 S Review

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Replacing the Stanza, the Altima joined Nissan’s lineup in 1993 bridging the gap between the compact Sentra and the large Maxima. Known for its affordability and sporty handling, the first generation Altima was successful. It was not till 2002 that the Altima became a serious rival to the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. In 2002, the Nissan Altima was completely redesigned, and it was a significant improvement over the older Altimas. Boasting powerful engines, sharp styling, slick handling, not to mention a roomy cabin, the Altima became a best selling family sedan. The Altima was redesigned in 2007, and it continued this tradition. The virtues of the previous generation was carried over. The 2007 Altima was even faster yet it got the best in class fuel economy. For the first time, the Altima lineup introduced a coupe version as a response to the Honda Accord coupe. Continue reading

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