15 January 2004

Mazda’s new C segment entry, the Mazda 3, goes on sale this month, priced from £10,650 for the 1.4 S, up to £15,500 for the 2.0 Sport.

Both saloon and hatchback variants are available in four trim levels. The entry-level 83bhp 1.4 S comes with ABS, dual stage front airbags, brake assist and remote central locking as standard. An extra £1,350 for the TS buys air conditioning, curtain airbags and 15” alloys. £13,600 for the 104bhp 1.6 TS2 adds stability and traction control, electric rear windows and a in-dash CD changer, whereas top-spec for the £15,500 148bhp 2.0 Sport includes xenon lamps, a sports body kit, rain-sensing wipers and 17” alloys.

Diesel versions supplying 108 and 80bhp will strengthen the range when they arrive, in June this year, and March 2005 respectively. This summer also brings the addition of an electronically controlled four-speed auto ‘box as an option.

News for British consumers interested in the Micro Sport concept (pictured) revealed at the Detroit show last week is less positive. The Mazda 2 variant is so-far only confirmed for Japanese sale; the company’s UK arm admits that ‘it’s not in our product plan for the next couple of years.’

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