Mazda is gearing up to upset the established lower medium sector fleet diesel hierarchy following the launch of diesel versions of the all-new Mazda3. With the launch of the marque’s first major lower medium sector diesel, expert residual value predications for the Mazda3 put the car ahead of established rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf, Honda Civic, Vauxhall Astra and Renault Mégane in terms of value for money.
Mazda’s new car sales in 2004 are 60 per cent up year-on-year following a record-breaking 2003. This year’s sales have built on the fleet platform established first by the Mazda6, which has been boosted more recently by the arrival of the Mazda2 and the Mazda RX-8 and latterly by the January launch of petrol-engined versions of the Mazda3.
Now the 1.6-litre 109ps second-generation common-rail diesel engined Mazda3 has joined the line-up at a time when UK diesel sales are running at a record-breaking 30%. Three variants are available – the 5dr S diesel costing £13,350 on the road and the 4dr/5dr TS model each costing £14,800 on the road.
The Mazda6, which opened the door for the company into the vital UK fleet market, built its reputation on a combination of style and sporting elegance matched with a ‘high-spec, low-price’ philosophy, which also brought top-notch residual values and wholelife costs and ultra-competitive benefit-in-kind tax bills to delight fleet managers and company car drivers alike.
That unique combination was repeated with the Mazda2 and the Mazda RX-8 and is seen again in the Mazda3. With a CO2 emissions figure of 138 g/km the Mazda3 diesel sits in the lowest company car tax bracket and Eurotax Glass’s predicts that at three years/60,000 miles the entry-level S model will retain 37 per cent of its cost new.
That means over a typical fleet replacement cycle it will ‘lose’ £8,339 – almost £140 less than the less powerful and more expensive Volkswagen Golf 1.9 TDI S; almost £200 less than the similarly less powerful and more expensive Honda Civic 1.7 CTDi SE and just over £100 less than the rival Renault Mégane 1.5dCi.