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Three 'n easy for Zoom Zoom; Mazda.

Byline: Mike Torpey

THE all-new Mazda3 will spearhead the Zoom Zoom stable's springtime offensive with a pledge to provide new levels of driving enjo yment.

The Japanese company's latest compact car follows in the footsteps of the first-generation model - launched in 2003 - that quickly became Mazda's best-selling vehicle and won more than 90 international awards.

Four engines - all tailored for the European market - are being offered, the petrol options being a 1.6-litre developing 105PS and a 2.0 boasting 150PS.

But the stars are likely to be the pair of newly-developed 2.2-litre turbodiesels delivering 150 and 185PS. Prices are expected soon.

A model that has already won legions of fans is the family-size Mazda6, a car blessed with terrific dynamics, bags of usable space and magnificent engines.

The interiors can be a bit plasticky, but there's no doubt the '6' is a terrific car - and the new 2.2-litre diesel engine is a cracker.

In fact, businesses taking delivery of this version will be making the value-for-money choice with strong used car prices predicted putting the car into premium badge territory when compared with key rivals. January 2009 data from used car valuation experts at CAP Motor Research reveals that at the fleet benchmark period of three years or 60,000 miles the model will be worth up to 39% of its cost from new.

This data puts the model ahead of other new arrivals such as the Toyota Avensis and the Vauxhall Insignia and comfortably ahead of the likes of the Citroen C5, Peugeot 407, Renault Laguna and Volkswagen Passat in the residual value stakes.

Supermini the Mazda2, with prices from just over pounds 8,000, continues to appeal to a younger audience while the iconic MX-5 sports car not only boasts proven reliability but attained a remarkable owner satisfaction record of 97% in Which? Car's latest survey.

Along with the latest RX-8 sports coupe, with its low-slung style and rotary engine, the MX-5 ensures that thrill lovers will not be disappointed.

Ideal for families on the move is the upgraded Mazda5 multi-activity vehicle, a car designed from the inside out rather than the other way round.

Its regular seating features a six-seat layout over three rows - with a flexible stowable seventh seat in the middle of the second row - which can be folded into position when needed.

Prices are from pounds 15,795 for the 1.8-litre TS model.

CAPTION(S):

SPRING OFFENSIVE The Mazda 5, above, and, left, the Mazda 6 2.2 DE.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 20, 2009
Words:419
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