- Mazda3 wins plaudits from whole life cost influencers
- Design desirability, low CO2 emissions and excellent MPG critical
- Performance and price give Mazda3 corporate appeal
Design desirability featuring sporty looks coupled with the key ingredients of low CO2 emissions, excellent MPG and sharp pricing, look set to make the Mazda3 a fleet winner, according to industry influencers.
Due on sale in the UK in January 2014, Mazda invited a number of influencers from organisations responsible for compiling whole life cost and residual value data as well as contract hire and leasing company representatives to the model’s world premiere at Frankfurt Motor Show earlier this year.
The Mazda3 will be available in two body styles - hatchback and Fastback (saloon) - with both sharing the longest wheelbase of any car in the C-segment and featuring a sporty bonnet and sharply raked C-pillar giving it standout appeal both on the road and in the company car park.
The model will be the third car in the Mazda range, following the Mazda CX-5 and new Mazda6, to feature the manufacturer’s breakthrough SKYACTIV technology.
Andy Cutler, UK forecasting editor for cars at Glass’s Information Services, which owns vehicle valuation publication Glass’s Guide, said: “The new Mazda6 launched earlier this year is an excellent car and Mazda3 promises to be every inch as good.
“The Mazda3 is spacious, performance is strong, the image is appealing and build quality and specification are good. The entry-level SE trim level features alloy wheels, air conditioning, power-folding heated mirrors and a leather steering wheel along with trip computer, radio/CD with six speaker audio system, 7-inch TFT colour touch screen, USB/iPod connectivity and Bluetooth® hands-free system so has ‘touchy-feely’ features that company car drivers view as important and that gives the Mazda3 more corporate appeal than the outgoing model.”
Commenting on the potential success of the Fastback (saloon) in a market segment that has not traditionally embraced four-door models, Cutler said: “The Mazda3 Fastback is a medium-sized saloon and looks a cracking car. Some of the UK’s best-selling company cars are saloons - the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Volkswagen Passat. With company car drivers downsizing and the Mazda3 being a large car in the C-segment the model has the potential to prove popular.”
He added: “New Mazda3 impresses and I am sure that it will follow on from the CX-5 and the new Mazda6 and be a very good car to drive. If Mazda can put ‘bums on seats’ and encourage fleet managers and company car drivers to test the car they will find there is not much in the segment with the same combination of performance and price.”
Mark Jowsey, director - manufacturer liaison at KeeResources, which compiles vehicle whole life cost data under the KWIKcarcost brand, praised the look of the Mazda3, which adopts the KODO - Soul of Motion - design theme of its Mazda CX-5 and Mazda6 stablemates.
He said: “If you accept that the key factor that drives people into the showroom is the looks of a car, then Mazda should have plenty of opportunities with the Mazda3. The new car is a great looking product.”
Jowsey continued: “Mazda6 is larger than many of its competitors and the new Mazda3 adopts the same approach, with a spacious wheelbase which is larger than many lower-medium sector competitors.
“The sensible line-up of powertrains available should satisfy both retail and corporate buyers, with Mazda’s impressive 2.2-litre 150ps diesel offering 72.4mpg and only 104g/km. This provides the corporate driver with the best of all worlds - great performance, high economy and low benefit-in-kind taxation.”
Critically, Jowsey believes that the Mazda3 will accelerate the re-establishment of the brand, which started with the launch of the SKYACTIV engineered Mazda CX-5 and new Mazda6.
“The showroom arrival of the Mazda3 gives the marque a three-pronged attack on the corporate sector,” explained Jowsey. “This more complete offering will allow Mazda’s return to many company car choice lists.
“Make no mistake, Mazda occupies the sector between volume and the traditional premium brands, offering a good quality product at a competitive price - and more affordable than some traditional premium marques - plus whole life costs that will support selection. Fleet managers should really be considering Mazda3 alongside any competitors - volume or premium.”
Mazda Head of Fleet Steve Tomlinson said: “We are delighted at the hugely positive reaction the Mazda3 has received. The car’s exciting styling and the fact that it features our breakthrough SKYACTIV technology to deliver a class-leading combination of performance, CO2 emissions and fuel economy will, we anticipate, ensure significant fleet appeal.”
The 36 Mazda3 model range is available on the road (OTR) from £16,695 for the SKYACTIV-G 1.5-litre 100ps engine and £16,995 (OTR) for the 2.0-litre 120ps, both offering up to 55.4mpg and emissions from 119g/km. The SKYACTIV-G 2.0-litre 165ps with MPG up to 48.7mpg and emissions of 135g/km and the SKYACTIV-D 2.2-litre 150ps available from £19,245 (OTR), which meets Euro 6 emission standards and returns up to 72.4mpg with emissions from just 104g/km.