2012 buyers guide to Mazda

As many car fans will know Mazda is quite a sporty brand with many models offering an array of different desirable qualities mainly focused on driving fun (epitomised in the Zoom Zoom slogan) and stylish design.

However, there is a wide variation in Mazda models from the small but frugal Mazda2 supermini, through the sport Mazda MX-5 to the big and practical Mazda5 people carrier.

This buyer’s guide will highlight key features of each Mazda model and help you better understand which new Mazda car is best for you and your lifestyle.

Mazda2 – The supermini

The Mazda2 is a three- or five-door stylish supermini which competes with the likes of the Ford Fiesta.

It offers three different engines: 1.3-litre petrol, 1.5-litre petrol and a 1.6-litre diesel. However the most popular option is probably the 1.5-litre petrol which delivers 102hp and a top speed of 115mph.It returns mileage of 48.7mpg.

When it comes to being a supermini the little things always count and the Mazda2 doesn’t disappoint as things like air conditioning, automatic transmission and power steering come as standard. The Mazda2 also offers four different equipment levels (always nice to have the option).

In terms of convenience and practicality the Mazda2 has a surprising amount of leg and head room, which is ideal if you want a nice roomy run around.

From 2012, the Mazda2 will also be available with Mazda’s efficient Skyactiv engines, bringing down emissions and pushing up fuel economy drastically.

Prices for the Mazda2 start from £10,305.

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Mazda3 – The hatchback

The Mazda3 is noticeable by its subtle but distinctive body features.

These design elements include a curved front and rear bumper that not only looks good but helps re-direct air flow which improves drag.

Many hatchback options on the market now let drivers down because of rough handling, but not the Mazda3 as it has an improved stiffened chassis and an Electro-Hydraulic power steering unit.

These improvements give the Mazda3 a comfortable and smooth ride yet retains reliable handling which can pretty much handle all types of driving conditions, which is a bonus when trying to handle Britain’s potholed roads.

As hatchbacks are synonymous with family life boot space is essential and the Mazda3 delivers very reasonable storage space of 340-litres.

Prices for the Mazda3 start from £14,755.

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Mazda5 – The people carrier

The Mazda5 is a family MPV people carrier.

First of all is worth noting that when it comes to storage space the Mazda5 can accommodate a rather spacious 857-litre worth of boot space with the seats folded down, which is what a people carrier is all about.

The Mazda5 has seven seats which when combined with its spacious leg and head room provides great manoeuvrability around the vehicle itself. This is great for when getting to the kids in the back of the car.

It also returns good mileage of 54.3mpg with its 1.6 diesel engine, which is very impressive for a vehicle its size. With this good mileage and standard equipment like rear window privacy glass, CD/radio and air conditioning the Mazda5 is ideal for the long distance driving of weekend away trips.

Prices for the Mazda5 start from £18,165.

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Mazda6 – The executive saloon

The Mazda6 is a very stylish saloon addition to the Mazda range which is especially evident in its exterior and interior.

Its entry level model comes with loads of high quality equipment so high trim levels are hardly necessary. If you want a completely business driven version of the model there is a specially-specced ‘Business Line’ model available.

However, the entry level model comes with features such as a dashboard with a high-gloss piano-black trim and a wide selection of petrol and diesel engines.

Emissions for the Mazda6 are also very impressive, especially for a saloon, with just 138g/km available on the most efficient diesel engines.

As a new version of the Mazda6 is being released in 2013, prices for the current model may see reductions, which is always good news for new car buyers.

Prices for the Mazda6 start from £17,805.

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Mazda CX-7 – The SUV

The Mazda CX-7 is a large, functional SUV with plenty of power and enough space to be a flexible large car option..

It can function well in many different types of lifestyles whether a family one, or a business one.

Family car qualities include plenty of storage space of up to 774-litres, smooth handling and a competitive price the likes of the Ford Kuga and Land Rover range.

When it comes to business qualities the likes of adaptable four wheel drive, plenty of standard interior equipment and reliable handling never go a miss.

The Mazda CX-7 offers a surprisingly powerful 2.2-litre, 170bhp turbodiesel engine with 400Nm, which for a vehicle its size is very impressive.

Prices for the Mazda CX-7 start from £27,580.

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Mazda MX-5 – The sports car

The MX-5 is without a doubt the most stylish option in the Mazda range as it has a sporty exterior, driving style and slick convertible roof.

This is borne out in the fact the Mazda MX-5 is the world’s best-selling two-seat sports car and has been a staple of the UK sports car scene for over 20 years.

The Mazda MX-5 does come in both a soft top and coupe version which gives it more of a universal function and selling point.

In terms of driving experience the MX-5 delivers great handling and grip, especially on corners. It also has very responsive steering which when combined with its malleable handling proves for a sporty driving experience, largely due to Mazda’s decision to reduce weight wherever possible on the MX-5.

The MX-5 offers a petrol engine with a range of outputs. For example, there is a 1.8-litre unit which delivers a power output of 124hp and a 2.0-litre option which delivers a power output of 158hp.

Prices for the Mazda MX-5 start from £17,990

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Mazda CX-5 – compact crossover

This Mazda CX-5 compact crossover is out in 2012 and will add a whole new outlook for future Mazda models.

This new model will incorporate Skyactiv technology which will make it more efficient in both its engines and body weight.

Its emissions are aimed to be less than 120g/km with the use of a new 1.3-litre Skyactiv-G engine, which will ultimately cut costs for customers with road tax reductions.

Although this new crossover offers a four-wheel-drive option it is definitely considered more of a soft-roader, which is worth considering if you are looking for a stylish rural road option.

This new Skyactiv technology has already been awarded with many accolades like ‘2012 Technology of the Year’ even though it isn’t out yet.

Prices for the Mazda CX-5 have not yet been released but are expected to be around the £21,000 mark.