The tax-busting and environmentally-friendly credentials of the all-new Mazda6 were instrumental in the upper medium contender winning the Best New Car award at the 2008 Fleet World Honours.  The award from the UK’s leading monthly fleet title was presented at a special ceremony held at the Royal Automobile Club, London, today (Tuesday, May 13).

The new Mazda6 went on sale at the turn of the year and remains an ‘appealing fleet proposition’, according to the judges, due to its low benefit-in-kind tax bills and fuel economy as a result of engineering initiatives to slash emission levels.  Mazda has retained and built upon the original model’s sportiness and design flair.  The creation of bodyshells which are significantly stiffer, as well as lighter, means that both the hatchback and the estate models deliver even more responsive handling.

The Fleet World Honours are presented annually to those motor manufacturers, service companies and individuals who have, in the opinion of the judges, achieved the highest possible level of excellence in their sector.  The judging panel is chaired by industry professional, George Emmerson. Residual value, maintenance cost and reliability data is taken into account and is provided by leading contract hire and leasing companies ALD Automotive, Masterlease and ING Car Lease.

The new Mazda6 range is on sale with benefit-in-kind tax groups up to four levels lower model-for-model than the previous model, largely achieved due to the use of weight reducing engineering techniques, meaning savings of hundreds of pounds a year for company car drivers.

Significantly lower CO2 emissions also translate into reduced Vehicle Excise Duty bills and fuel economy improvements – crucially important for fleet operators as they battle to keep operating costs under control with pump prices at record levels.  For example, the 2.0-litre 140ps turbo diesel with CO2 emissions cut from 165g/km (hatchback) to 149g/km – 23 per cent down to 20 per cent. Combined cycle fuel economy on the diesel is more than 50mpg.

The 1.8-litre 120ps has a CO2 figure of 162g/km (hatchback) compared with the 186g/km for the previous car – an amazing four-band reduction in company car tax from 24 per cent in 2007/08 to 20 per cent in 2008/09. Fuel economy on the combined cycle is 40.9mpg.  There are similar reductions for the 2.0-litre 147ps with CO2 emissions down from 191g/km (hatchback) to 168g/km – 25 per cent down to 21 per cent.

In presenting the award to Mazda, Mr Emmerson said: “The new Mazda6 is a welcome addition to an already impressive line up of Mazda vehicles available to fleets. The really good news is that the CO2 emissions and company car tax levels are significantly lower than the outgoing model. It is an attractive and comfortable car with impressive performance figures that demand the attention of fleets and is a worthy winner of this year’s Best New Car award.”

Fleet World editor Ken Rogers added: “An appealing fleet proposition promising big bonuses in BiK benefits and tax advantages – and the Mazda6 is also a very competent, contemporary well-engineered package. Engine improvements across-the-range mean CO2 emission levels are significantly lower than the outgoing model. Attention to detail – and weight saving – means good green credentials.”

James Hopkins, Mazda’s fleet and remarketing director, added: “We are delighted that Fleet World has chosen to highlight the Mazda6’s CO2 emission levels as the most significant feature among its many attributes that make the car stand out from its rivals. The benefit-in-kind tax savings have been, and will remain, particularly influential in attracting more user-choosers to the model.

“The Mazda6 has been a fantastic success for the brand in the UK corporate market. The new car, which is larger, has more specification as standard, is more refined and more stylish, promises to further boost our market share and winning this award can only add to that appeal.”

On-the-road prices start at £15,110 for the 1.8 S 5dr and extend to £22,030 for the 2.0 Diesel Sports Luxury Estate.  With a choice of three petrol – 1.8, 2.0 and new 2.5 litre – and one diesel engine, 2.0 turbo diesel – and five trim levels, standard specification on the Mazda6 includes: Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and Traction Control (TC) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assist as well as front, side and full-length airbags, daytime running lights, alloy wheels and air conditioning.

Published : 13/05/08 Author : Melanie Carter

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