Mazda's medium sized family car, the Mazda3, now represents even better value for money with a number of significant specification enhancements that build on the qualities that have made the Mazda3 one of the best selling Mazda models in Europe.

Launched in 2004, the Mazda3 has proved a popular alternative to the volume manufacturers’ offerings in a crowded market place.  Having built a reputation for an involving drive, reliability and functionality, the Mazda3 is true to the Mazda boast that there is a soul of a sports car in every model.  Popular with retail and fleet buyers alike as a stylish and spacious family car it is both fun to drive and a comfortable motorway cruiser; this car is as at home around town as it is on twisty country roads and motorways.

Top of the range is the Mazda3 MPS.  This high performance hatchback holds the title of the most powerful car in its class, pumping out a whopping 260ps from a 2.3-litre turbocharged Mazda DISI engine.  Not only is the Mazda3 MPS the most powerful car in its class, but it is also one of the best handling, offering both power and outstanding control - an affordable sporty hatchback at just £18,995 on-the-road.  Now the Mazda3 MPS comes with additional equipment; this includes new 18” alloy wheels with a ‘dark’ finish and half leather half Alcantara seats which are black with red MPS embossed logo and red stitching.

The Mazda3 MPS is also available with a sports aero kit, priced at £19,495 on-the-road, adding side skirts, larger rear spoiler and Eibach lowered suspension, giving the car a more aggressive appearance for those wanting more visual differentiation from the standard car.

The Mazda3 TS has now been replaced with the Mazda3 Takara.  Available as either a four-door saloon or five-door hatchback, powered by a 105ps 1.6-litre petrol or 1.6-litre 109ps diesel, the Mazda Takara offers affordable motoring with a vast additional specification list.

The Takara has the addition, over the TS it replaces, of a front sports bumper, rear spoiler, front fog lights and 16" alloy wheels for enhanced exterior style.  Inside, the Takara gets rear electric windows with global closure, 6 CD auto-changer, leather steering wheel and gear knob, trip computer, illuminated vanity mirrors, piano black centre console and two tone black/ red interior trim.  All this additional equipment comes with a small price increase of just £145 making the on-the-road price from £13,495.  For an additional £1,000 the Mazda Takara is available with automatic transmission.

The entry-level Mazda3 S, priced from £11,440 on-the-road, is available as a five-door hatchback powered by either a 1.4 84ps petrol engine or 1.6-litre 90ps diesel.  Additional equipment is an auxiliary audio jack, 12V power socket and the CD player is now MP3 compatible.

The new Mazda3 1.6 Sport comes in one engine variant, the 105ps 1.6-litre petrol, and offers a choice of either four-door saloon or five-door hatchback at an appealing on-the-road price of £15,205.  Exterior visual enhancements include a sports styling kit with front and rear sports bumper, side skirts, rear spoiler, chrome exhaust and 17" alloy wheels.  Safety and convenience improvements include xenon headlights with automatic washers, rear combination lamps with LED rear lights, rain sensing wipers and auto lights.  The interior benefits from a premium Bose audio system with 7 speakers, blackout meters, black trim with red stitching and privacy glass.

The Mazda3 2.0 Sport, powered by a responsive 150ps petrol or 143ps diesel engine, now features leather seats as standard and is available as a four or five-door petrol model or as a five-door diesel. The addition of leather seats has added just £235 to the new on-the-road price of £16,605.

Mazda3 possesses one of the segment’s best active and passive safety packages.  Active measures include a four-wheel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) as standard on all models.  Passive measures encompass driver and front passenger airbags and front side airbags on all models, full-length curtain airbags (on all but the entry-level S hatchback), front seatbelts with pre-tensioners and load-limiters, and both a collapsible steering column and brake pedal.

Published : 01/05/08 Author : Melanie Carter

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