Automotive

2019 Mazda 6: Not your ordinary mid-size sedan

Fast, furious, and full of features

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Mazda’s premium sedan has received another refresh. The Japanese company further improves on the aesthetics inside and out, and aims to make the vehicle more a part of the driver in terms of performance and functionalities.

There are currently two variants of the Mazda 6 sedan available in the Philippines — a 2.2-liter diesel engine and a 2.5-liter petrol engine. What we have here is the former with its 2.2-liter SKYACTIVE-D configuration.

Inspired by a masterpiece

A new model means a new look. The Mazda 6 goes for a more aggressive presence and it’s conveyed well through its new front grille and headlamps. If it looks familiar, it might be the fact that it was inspired by Mazda’s Vision Coupe. It won the “Most Beautiful Concept Car of the Year” award last year so there’s no doubt the Mazda 6 is a looker.

With a commanding grille up front flanked by thin LED headlamps, the Mazda 6 channels the Vision Coupe

The front has that shark-nosed design which gives it an illusion of moving forward

The company knows how to play with lights through the accents on the exterior; look how the lines add shadows and detail to the overall appearance of the Mazda 6

The rear also saw a redesign with sleeker taillamps and a refreshed bumper

Rounding up the exterior are a batch of new 19-inch alloy wheels

Available color options are Jet Black, Machine Gray, Snowflake White Pearl, and Sonic Silver Metallic

Premium all around

One can easily see the company’s craftsmanship inside the vehicle. There are certain hints of class and detail everywhere you look. It was not only pleasing to the eyes, but it also felt premium — from the Nappa leather used in the seats to the suede running through its interior.

Buttons for audio and cruise control are comfortably placed on the leather-wrapped steering wheel

This touch of suede blended with Sen wood really adds a premium feel to the vehicle’s interior

Just below the dash are controls for its Dual-Zone Climate Control

The rear seats split in 60:40 fashion and passengers have access to two USB ports for charging

Popping the trunk reveals a large space for your baggage; simply fold the rear seats for more storage space and to fit longer items

Not only is the Mazda 6 a looker inside and out, but it’s also got creature comforts to make long rides more enjoyable. For starters, the two front seats are both ventilated while the driver’s seat has lumbar support. The interior is also equipped with a total of 11 Bose speakers for an immersive listening experience while Bluetooth connectivity comes standard.

These aren’t your ordinary front seats — they are ventilated just for your comfort

From controlling music to making calls, and even accessing its own navigation system, an 8-inch infotainment display is the main hub. It’s touch-enabled but only when the car is not moving.

In between the two front seats is this center control knob for navigation through the menu. The knob itself performs well and is very tactile. The system’s UI, however, is a different story.

It has Dynamic Stability Control, Lane Departure Warning, i-STOP that automatically turns off the engine when the car is idle, a 360-degree view camera, and proximity/parking sensors

A seven-inch TFT display shows important information while driving

But if you want to avoid taking your eyes off the road, a heads-up display (HUD) is projected right at the windshield

A quiet performer

As mentioned earlier, the two variants available locally come in either the SKYACTIVE-D or SKYACTIV-G for its petrol counterpart. For the specs buffs out there, our 2.2-liter diesel engine outputs 190PS of power and 450Nm of torque. Power is then mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Mazda says these numbers not only translate to more power but also results in a more fuel-efficient performance.

Being what it is, we were already expecting it to make the usual rumbling noise of a diesel engine as soon as we pushed the ignition button. To our surprise, while it has that whirring sound, it isn’t as loud as one would normally expect. The sound of the engine actually disappears when you’re outside and a few feet away from the vehicle.

It’s the same story when you’re inside the car and driving. Mazda dampened the interior so effectively that it almost sounds like you’re cruising on a gasoline vehicle.

In terms of power, the four-cylinder DOHC engine doesn’t easily tap out. It’s got a responsive jolt of power on tap and a medium to light handling so it feels agile while being in control whether you’re in the city or winding through the mountains.

With a starting price of PhP 1,930,000 for the 2.5L gasoline variant and PhP 2,250,000 for the diesel model, the 2019 Mazda 6 sedan comes with a sleek and aggressive stance, an interior wrapped in premium materials, features that make driving more enjoyable, and an engine that is subtle but packs a punch. It’s not your run-off-the-mill mid-size sedan in a way that it almost acts like a family SUV if not for its more compact body.

The new Mazda 6 would be a great everyday car with its efficient fuel consumption, and is also equipped enough to go for those long drives over the weekend with the gang.

Automotive

Audi shows off its empathetic car at CES 2020

It’s concerned about the passenger’s well-being

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For people who drive or commute in the city, traffic jams, crowded streets, and other eyesores can add to the stress we already have. It’s an unavoidable lifestyle every time we’re on the road and is something we wish we had a solution to. Audi, at the CES 2020, seems to have the answer to this with the revelation of their concept car, the Audi AI:ME.

Described as an empathetic car, the fully automated Audi AI:ME represents a personal “third living space,” alongside our homes and workplaces, this self-driving vehicle is sure to pamper its passengers through the use of the latest automotive AI technologies.

So how can a car be empathetic? For starters, by recognizing its users and their habits, it will combine artificial intelligence to increase the passengers’ safety, well being, and comfort.

You can communicate with the car intuitively and even have it order your favorite food or enjoy a wellness experience with a pair of VR goggles that will allow passengers to change the environment in real-time together with the movement of the vehicle.

Upon arriving at your destination, you will find that your ordered food was delivered on time thanks to the AI navigation coordinated by the car’s navigation data. In the future, the car will also conduct a precise analysis as to the functions and settings that its user prefers, ranging from the seat position, media, route guidance, and temperature to the fragrancing of the interior.

Audi has also introduced, along with this vehicle, a 3D heads up display that works like a 3D television. Developed in cooperation with Samsung, Images generated for the left and right eye will give you a true 3D image. You will be able to see vital information, like navigation arrows as if they were floating in front of you at a distance of 8-10 meters and can even be increased to 70 meters. Your eyes will no longer have to refocus looking at the instrument cluster.

Should the driver get tired, different ambient lighting will provide a remedy from blue to cool white light which can have a stimulating and invigorating effect on the driver.  Audi calls this the Human-Centric Lighting.

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Nissan shows off Ariya concept, zero-emission ice cream van at CES

There’s even a self-sinking golf ball!

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Apart from other car brands strutting their newest offerings, Nissan is also in full swing over at the ongoing CES 2020 in Las Vegas. Their booth showcases things that first and foremost promote sustainability with technologies that are soon within reach.

To further show what these features can do, the company has taken their technologies and developed new, creative uses for them. These are then available to experience at Nissan’s booth. Check them out:

Nissan Ariya concept: The crossover vehicle is making its North American debut and brings together advanced technologies on an all-new EV platform. It carries the Nissan Intelligent Mobility suite that we’re pretty familiar with along with an expansive lineup of innovative features.

Technology experts will give demonstrations of Ariya Concept features such as the ProPILOT 2.0 advanced driver assistance system, twin-motor all-
wheel-control system, acoustic meta-material, and Smart Route Planner.

Nissan’s zero-emission ice cream van: Chill out with ice cream served from a concept van that combines an all-electric drivetrain, second-life battery storage, and renewable solar energy generation. Based on the 100% electric e-NV200 light commercial vehicle, the ice cream van’s motor is driven by a 40-kilowatt-hour battery. A portable power pack, which uses lithium-ion cells recovered from early first-generation Nissan electric vehicles, powers the on-board equipment.

Nissan’s booth at CES with its interactive displays

The ProPILOT golf ball: Inspired by the ProPILOT 2.0 advanced driver assistance system, Nissan has created a golf ball that always manages to find the hole. At the booth’s putting green, an overhead camera will detect the position of the golf ball and hole. Sensing technology and an internal electric motor will ensure the putt stays on course until reaching the cup – just as Nissan cars equipped with ProPILOT 2.0 can maneuver along a predefined highway route.

Power Selfie: CES visitors won’t be able to drive the Formula E race car on display at Nissan’s booth, but they can recreate the exhilarating experience. With the help of high-powered fans and special effects, the Power Selfie booth records a short video to mimic the acceleration of the 100% electric race car from 0 to 100 kph in a mere 2.8 seconds. Guests will be able to create a GIF that looks as if they’re racing down the track.

Formula E race car: Nissan, the first Japanese carmaker to join the all-electric Formula E street racing championship, will show its new, Japan-inspired livery for the new season.

The Nissan LEAF e+: Nissan LEAF e+ electric vehicle features a powerful motor, long-range, advanced technologies including the ProPILOT driver assistance system (called ProPILOT Assist in the U.S. marketplace), and the innovative e-Pedal mode for one-pedal driving.

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Automotive

Why did Sony surprisingly flex an electric vehicle at CES?

Sony got everyone’s attention

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You’ve probably heard the news about Sony introducing a brand spanking new electric car during the last few minutes of its CES 2020 presentation. Called the Vision-S, it caught a lot of the audience off-guard and it was completely understandable. After all, why would a company that focuses on televisions and other consumer electronics suddenly bring up a prototype vehicle on stage?

Well, according to Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida, this announcement embodies Sony’s contribution to the future of mobility.

The company envisions a future where vehicles will no longer be simply modes of transportation but also an entertainment pod for its passengers. And when it comes to entertainment, we know that Sony is committed to delivering quality products so they’re looking forward to offering the same enjoyable components with the Vision-S concept car.

Step inside and you’ll see what the company simply means. The interior is equipped with a display that spans the entirety of its dashboard. This acts as your control panel for making calls, accessing your media library, navigation, and many more. Sony says it’s also been fitted with 360-degree audio through headrest speakers, always-on connectivity, and even touch displays for the rear passengers.

Using their years of experience with camera optics, the Vision-S has 33 different sensors mounted both inside and outside of the sedan that aid in driving. Additionally, the car was said to be powered by a newly designed EV platform which other reports have suggested that automotive supplier Magna has put together.

As with other concept cars, the Vision-S is not meant to be mass-produced, at least now right now. This is just what Sony has in mind for the next generation of vehicles by using their expertise in these fields — call it their Vision, if you will.

Also, by announcing this electric car, the company had CES 2020 shaken. Good one, Sony.

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