At Tyres on the Drive, you can get your new Mazda tyres fitted as early as the next day, and at a time and location that’s convenient for you.
Mazda’s story began not long before World War Two, but since then it has carved a reputation for always being willing to think independently. In the process, it made one of the most successful cars ever, the timeless MX-5 roadster. At a time when small two-seaters from the UK car industry such as MG and Triumph, or from France and Italy, had died out. In the 1970 and ‘80s there was a big gap in the market which Mazda filled with the MX-5 and it was eventually launched in 1989. Light, agile and affordable, it was an overnight hit and its basic design carries on into the third generation on sale today.
Mazda also ploughed its own furrow with the rotary engine, an internal combustion petrol engine of fundamentally different design from a conventional unit. It was famed for being smooth and fast-revving but was hit by fears over its relative complexity and supposed unreliability, although one powered the winning car at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1991 which suggests it couldn’t have been too bad. The rotary is now making a comeback in hybrid engines. For those looking for Mazda’s engineering pedigree but in more mainstream products, the company makes a range of hatchbacks and SUVs.
The Mazda2 is a small five door hatchback rivalling the Ford Fiesta in size. The choice of trim and engines is not as extensive as those for others in the sector but its strong points are the nicely finished interior and good build quality. It is quite well equipped by the standards of the class but appears at first sight to be bit pricier; strong residual values may improve the whole life running costs, though. Not a class leader but a solid and reliable family hatchback.
The Mazda3 is the company’s answer to the Ford Focus or Vauxhall Astra sized hatchbacks and in typical Mazda fashion, does its own thing. Whereas an increasing number of cars have high efficiency, turbocharged 1.0 litre engines, Mazda sticks with bigger capacity motors which it says are less stressed and deliver better fuel economy and performance in the real world, when cars are loaded with passengers. It has perhaps fallen behind the curve a little in terms of its chassis refinement and you can feel a big difference in the way it rides when it has the smaller 16 inch wheels rather than the bigger, 18 inch rims, which look sportier but are not as compliant over bumps.
The Mazda MX-5 is THE ultimate small two seater roadster beyond any question, a global success over several generations. Not everyone is fond of the looks of the latest MX-5 but no one has ever complained about the way it handles and goes. This is a perfectly balanced car with the front engine/rear wheel drive layout that has yet to be bettered for sports cars. It is light, agile and instantly responsive to the driver’s commands, and even with the 1.5 litre engine fast enough for our roads. Interestingly, Mazda has shared the car with Fiat which makes its own version, the 124 Spider. Although similar underneath, the tow are very different in nature and if you want the more sports car focused experience, put your signature on a Mazda order form.
Mazda’s CX-3 is a surprisingly sporty compact SUV because even though it is based around the Mazda2 supermini, it feels a much more grown up and polished performer. This is a genuinely fun car through a corner but still provides a reasonably comfortable ride too, doing a good job of marrying together what are often competing characteristics. It is well built and well equipped with every model getting a good infotainment touchscreen centre. Others can claim to have more room in the back, more options, a cheaper price list and that is all perfectly true but the Mazda CX-3 can put a smile on your face when you drive it.
With the CX-5 Mazda takes the strengths and appeal of the smaller SUV and transplants them into this bigger car. It is only a five seater, there is no seven seat option, but like the CX-3 it has surprisingly entertaining handling with an acceptable ride. The CX-5 has a generous amount of kit and features inside and the dashboard and trim now look and feel much nicer and more substantial than on earlier versions.
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