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The first Mazda car was produced in 1960, the R360 coupe, but the name Mazda was born in 1931 when the Toyo Cork Kogyo Company, founded in 1920, named its three-wheel truck the Mazda. In 1931. Tjhe 1960s also saw Mazda bring their rotary engine to consumers as well as its first pickup. Mazda entered the US in 1970 with the RX-2, and Ford purchased a stake in 1979. The popular MX-5 Miata was launched in 1990 and is still one of the best selling roadsters due to its sharp handling, reliability, and value for money. Mazda continues to broaden its line up while sticking to its principle of performance at affordable prices.
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Replacing the Mazda 121, the Mazda 2 subcompact hatchback, unveiled to the US in 2009, is economical but offers sporty handling with its well-tuned steering, suspension and light curb weight. It was released with a zippy 1.5-liter, 100 horsepower engine that was enough to provide a fun driving experience for this small light car. A five-speed manual as well as a four-speed automatic transmission is available for the Mazda 2.
The Mazda 3 was introduced in 2004 in compact hatchback and sedan form and, like all Mazdas, offers sharp handling and practicality at an affordable price. The new engines also provide great fuel efficiency and more power; the 2.5-liter engine can reach 60 from a standstill in 7.5 seconds and achieves approximately 30 mpg. As well as being one of the nippiest and best handling cars in its class, the new Mazda 3s has one of the best interiors with an intuitive layout and high-quality materials. Offering the similar reliability and functionality to its competitors in this class, the Mazda 3 is a choice for driving purists.
The Mazda 5 compact minivan provides six passenger seats with a three-row seating configuration. Although a minivan, the 5 is a Mazda and therefore offers sharp handling and is competitively priced. Functionality is also good with lightweight sliding rear doors for easy access and interior versatility such as second-row captain chairs and a fold-out center table/storage net. The front-wheel drive minivan is powered by a 2.5-liter engine paired up with a five-speed automatic transmission.
The attractive Mazda 6 midsize sedan stands up well against its competitors in terms of space and cargo volume and it has the additional benefit of being an entertaining drive that not all of its rivals can claim. As well as being a great performer on the road, the new engines provide great fuel economy at around 31 mpg. The Mazda 6 does not forget that it is a sedan and offers a spacious interior that is clean and functional with a high quality finish.
The CX-3 subcompact crossover SUV retains the Mazda characteristics of being fun to drive and stylish, yet functional and economical. The sporty styling and handling resembles that of a small hatchback whether you choose the two-wheel drive or all-wheel drive version. The sophisticated interior includes voice control and a 7-inch touchscreen interface, even in the base trim level. The top Grand Touring trim level includes adaptive cruise control lane departure warning and forward collision mitigation. The CX-3’s sharp handling is matched by its powerful and economical 2.0-liter engine.
The CX-5 small crossover SUV provides plenty of versatility and space and is also a fun drive thanks to the good engine, steering, suspension and brakes. The five-passenger SUV provides plenty of leg and headroom for passengers and there is still a large 34 cubic feet of luggage space, even with 5 passengers. The cargo space grows to nearly 65 cubic feet when the rear seats have been folded down. The CX-5 looks after its passengers and has been awarded the highest possible rating by the IIHS in its crash tests.
The CX-9 is a full-size, three-row crossover SUV that is stylish on the inside and out. The CX-9 easily seats seven adults who can enjoy three-zone climate control, bluetooth connectivity, and a six-speaker sound system. For those who choose the Grand Touring trim level, passengers can enjoy the rear-seat entertainment package of a 9-inch screen, DVD player, and an 11-speaker Bose surround system. A 3.7 liter V6 powers the CX-9 along highways and through corners. Steering is precise whether you choose the all-wheel drive version or the two-wheel drive version, which can accelerate from 0-60 in an impressive 7.5 seconds.
The lightweight MX-5 Miata roadster launched in 1989 is a modern classic and was fully updated in 2016. The new model has even found a way to lose even more weight while modernizing through additional features. The Miata has always handled beautifully around twisty, windy roads and the new Miata is no different. The fun, rear-wheel drive, 50:50 weighted two-seater is now quicker, accelerating from 0-60 in 6.3 seconds using its 2.0 liter 155 horsepower engine. Dropping the roof to feel the wind through your hair is as easy as ever with the manual roof that opens and closes in seconds.
The Mazda Protege was replaced by the Mazda 3 in 2004, but it is still a good option for those looking for a peppy and economical car. Despite being a sedan it’s a Mazda so offers excellent steering, tight suspension, powerful brakes and attractive styling. Body styles included the sedan, hatchback and a wagon (the Protege5).
Alongside the MX-5 Miata, the RX-7 is another classic by Mazda regarded by many as one of the best balanced and handling cars. The sleek two-door coupe featured the Wankel rotary engine and Mazda class handling. Launched in 1979, three generations of RX-7s were produced until 2002, although the US saw the last of the RX-7s in 1995, the series 6. The third generation series 6 was powered by a 1.3 liter rotary engine that produced 255 horsepower and accerated to 60 mph from a standstill in five seconds. Other high performance features included four-wheel antilock brakes and a limited-slip-differential.
Launched in 2004 as a successor to the RX-7, the RX-8 sports coupe offered a 1.3 rotary engine, 4 seats and rear suicide doors. The rotary engine revs up to 9,000 rpm and pumps out 212 horsepower. Like the MX-5 Miata, the RX-8 offers a fun drive through its excellent steering , high grip, and near 50:50 weight distribution. In 2008, a 40th Anniversary edition was made available to the US to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Mazda rotary engine, which featured an exclusive gray paintwork, red interior and Bilstein dampers.