Fleet operators and company car drivers will benefit from financial savings when the Upgraded Mazda3 goes on UK sale early next year.
The upgraded range features 16 standard models with a choice of two petrol and two diesel engines (three power outputs) and for the first time the line-up includes a Mazda3 1.6 Sport Diesel which Mazda believes will find favour with fleet operators and company car drivers alike.
Combined CO2 emissions cut by up to 3.5 percent depending on model, alongside improvements in fuel consumption, mean reduced petrol and diesel bills and savings in benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax for company car drivers. For fleet operators this means lower Vehicle Excise Duty and National Insurance payments.
The 1.6 Sport Diesel and 1.6 Sport Nav Diesel cost respectively £19,095 and £19,945 on the road and have been given a 30 percent residual value at three years/60,000 miles by CAP forecasting experts (December 2011). The models offer competitive CO2 emissions (115g/km), combined cycle fuel economy of 65.7mpg and a specification that includes a Bose audio system, heated sports seats, 17-inch alloy wheels and side skirts.
The CO2 figure means that the new models fall within the lowest company car BIK bracket for diesel models (13%) in 2011/12.
Meanwhile, the upgraded £20,095 Mazda3 2.2 Sport Diesel (150ps) and the £21,195 2.2 Sport Nav Diesel (185ps) each drop a company car BIK tax bracket after Mazda engineering development work.
The 150ps model now emits 139g/km - reduced from 144g/km - putting the model into the 20 percent tax bracket in 2011/12, while the 185ps model also benefits from a 5g/km emissions drop to 144g/km putting it in the 21 percent tax bracket in 2011/12.
Virtually the entire upgraded range also benefits from fuel economy improvements with the Mazda3 2.2 Sport Diesel (150ps) receiving a 2mpg boost to record a combined cycle figure of 54.3mpg and the 185ps derivative getting a 1.9mpg improvement to 52.3mpg.
The MPG benefits for the 105ps 1.6-litre petrol engine range add up to a £25.92 per year saving based on travelling 12,000 miles a year and fuel costing 135p per litre, while drivers of the 151ps 2.0-litre petrol engine model will see identical cash savings based on similar mileage and pump prices.
Drivers of the upgraded 1.6-litre diesel range will save £26.88 per year based on travelling 12,000 miles a year and fuel costing 140p per litre, while those with the 2.2-litre 150ps and 185ps models will benefit from financial savings of £53.76 per year.
On the road prices for the Upgraded Mazda3 range start at £14,995 for the entry-level 1.6 S and top out at £23,395 for the flagship 2.3 MPS. The range offers a choice of six trim levels - S, TS, TS2, TS2 Nav, Sport and Sport Nav - as well as from launch the special edition 1.6 Tamura and 1.6D Tamura.
The Upgraded Mazda3 range has more muscular visual appeal with a new front end design, a revised rear bumper and new twist-spoke alloy wheel designs. Inside, there are new materials and colours, improved ease-of-use for the driver and a quieter cabin for all to enjoy.
Every Upgraded Mazda3 is equipped with a comprehensive range of active and passive safety equipment, plus a generous standard specification - including the entry-level S model which has air-conditioning and electric front windows, plus front, side and curtain airbags.
Mazda Fleet and Remarketing Director Steve Jelliss said: "The Mazda3 has more potential in the fleet sector and the upgrade will further boost demand.
"Improvements in emissions as well as fuel economy on most models have been coupled with the addition of a new 1.6 Sport Diesel model. This, alongside Mazda's established core fleet strengths of excellent vehicle reliability, strong residual values and fun-to-drive characteristics, means Mazda3's corporate appeal has been strengthened even further."