Mazda won double honours at the What Car? Awards 2004 last night with Best Coupé for Mazda RX-8 and Best Estate for Mazda6 for the second consecutive year.
"Normal comparisons simply don’t do it justice, because the Mazda RX-8 is like no other car on the road," commented What Car? editor Rob Aherne.
What Car? praised the Mazda RX-8 for its ‘jaw-dropping styling’ as an essential part of any coupé’s allure. The road testers liked the sleek lines that hide a layout unique to this class, with smaller doors behind the front two. What Car? said that where most rivals’ rear benches are all but useless, the Mazda RX-8’s are actually capable of carrying two full-grown adults. To complete a class-leading practicality package there’s even a well-shaped, usefully large boot, What Car? enthused.
What Car? says the Mazda RX-8’s cabin is as individual as its exterior, with deeply cowled instruments and a stylish centre console that resembles an expensive hi-fi system. Build quality is excellent throughout, while the materials used are modern and classy, they commented.
Rob Aherne, What Car? editor continued: "None of this should distract from the Mazda RX-8’s thrilling drive. At its heart is another unique feature – a rotary engine….Although its overall capacity is just 1308cc, there’s 228bhp on tap and getting the best from it is nothing less than intoxicating. Performance is blistering, while the six-speed manual gearbox’s slick, short-throw shift adds to the fun.
"There’s pin-sharp handling to go with the pace. On twisty roads the Mazda has an agility and nimbleness that many rivals can’t match….the RX-8 is a civilised companion when restricted to motorway or town use, with road and wind noise kept to respectable levels and a ride that’s firm without being uncomfortable.
"At just £22,000 it undercuts most rivals on price and buyers get climate control, six airbags, stability control and a CD changer for their money."
Commenting on the Mazda6 winning the What Car? Best Estate award for the second consecutive year, Rob Aherne said: "The Mazda6 scoops our estate category thanks to the buying proposition it offers for private and business users in its 2.0-litre 119bhp form. This year, the 6 has gained Euro IV emissions regulation compliance, which is great news for company drivers.
"Those paying with their own money are treated to a list price of £15,595, which includes alloy wheels, air-conditioning and six airbags as standard. Owners can expect to recoup almost half of the new price after three years and 36,000 miles," Rob Aherne explains.
What Car? say their Estate of the Year is a pleasure to drive thanks to excellent body control and precise steering, and a ride that just keeps to the right side of firm at all speeds.
Mazda marketing director Jeremy Thomson added: "Mazda is delighted to win Best Coupé for Mazda RX-8 and Best Estate for Mazda6 for the second consecutive year at the What Car? 2004 Awards. We sold over 2,000 Mazda RX-8s before it went on sale last October proving the demand for such a unique car that is not just sporty but practical too. Mazda6 Estate is popular for its practical use of space and the rear seats that fold completely flat thanks to Mazda’s ‘karakuri’ system."
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