Meanwhile, wholelife cost figures from Fleet Audits, which take into account depreciation, service, maintenance and repair and fuel, put the 1.6-litre TS (25.98 pence per mile) ahead of the likes of the Astra 1.6-litre LS (26.07ppm).
CAP also predicts that the £13,600 Mazda3 1.6-litre TS2 will retain a residual value of 36% thus saving fleets £363 against its nearest challenger the Corolla 1.6-litre T Spirit. In addition, Fleet Audits predicts that over the same three years/60,000 mile lifecycle the Mazda3 will cost 26.9p to run beating rivals such as the Renault Megane 1.6-litre Privilege (27.19ppm).
The entry-level £10,650 1.4-litre S will retain 38% of its value after three years/60,000 miles, forecasts CAP, giving fleets a saving of more than £2,000 against the rival Vauxhall Astra, £1,400 against Peugeot’s competitor, and savings of up to £800 against models from Renault, Toyota and Honda. Wholelife cost figures from Fleet Audits also reveal that the Mazda3 (23.83ppm) is better value than the likes of the rival Nissan Almera (24.12ppm).
Across the five-door range CAP Monitor estimates that after three years/60,000 miles the Mazda3 will retain 34-38% of its value, with the range-topping £15,500 2.0-litre Sport not only under-cutting rivals by several hundred pounds on list price but, for example against the Peugeot 307 2.0-litre SXi saving fleets more than £600 on disposal.
Mazda fleet and remarketing director David McGonigle commented: "Mazda has been hugely successful in establishing itself in the fleet sector through a fast-growing reputation for innovative styling, high levels of build quality and excellent reliability.
"In addition our ability to bring new cars to the marketplace with wholelife costs and list prices that significantly undercut the opposition means fleets and company car drivers can save money by choosing Mazda models ahead of our rivals.
"The benchmark we have established with the Mazda6 and the Mazda2 supermini is carried forward with the arrival of the Mazda3. I expect that the strong residual value predictions for our new model, coupled with excellent operating figures and low benefit-in-kind tax bills will enable the Mazda3 to establish a firm presence on fleet choice lists."
Mazda3 will appeal to fleets and user-choosers alike thanks to its sporty exterior, dynamic performance, a focus on safety, roomy interior and standard specification to rival the best in the C-segment. Standard specification includes ABS brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Emergency Brake Assist, front and side airbags, seatbelts with pretensioners and load-limiters, collapsible steering column and brake pedal, and alloy wheels.
Mr McGonigle added: "A near doubling of fleet sales last year contributed to our UK sales increasing more than a third year-on-year making Mazda the second fastest growing vehicle brand in the UK. We expect that momentum to continue with the arrival of Mazda3 coupled with a full year of sales from the recently launched Mazda RX-8."Published 31 January 2004