Just driven the new Mazda3 MPS and was surprised to hear how many options it will get in the UK. Which is precisely none.
There are four colours - silver, black, red and white - all the same price. The interior is half leather and the sat nav (with one of the smallest screens I've seen in a car) is standard.
Then there is a terrific 10-speaker Bose stereo, 18” alloys, Bluetooth, iPod connector, bi-xenon headlights, tyre pressure monitoring system, parking sensors, blind spot monitors - all included. Limited slip differential is thrown in with the hardware.
Speaking to a representative from Mazda he explained the long and exhaustive discussions on what should and shouldn't be thrown in, and what, if anything should be charged for. It's a particularly difficult balance between price and spec, he said, and ultimately can end in two very different cars depending on the outcome of those meetings.
The bigwigs at Mazda decided bi-xenon lights had to go on so they did, and the company source admitted the car would be significantly cheaper without them. In the end Mazda decided to literally fit the MPS with 'everything it has' - and here it is.
And the price? £21,500. The question is does this make this loaded 257bhp car a bargain or would it be better value in a lower spec for 18 grand. And when it comes to specs what is the first thing you could do without?