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The Mercury Cars Guide : January 9th 2010
8— Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com .au Saturday, January 9, 2010 Mazda plays the numbers and wins WINNER: The Mazda3 Neo is a classy car. email@example.com with KEITH DIDHAM F OR the Chinese, eight and 10 are their lucky numbers. But for Japan’s Mazda, number three has been the big winner. Mazda likes to play the numbers game in its current model mix. There’s no number one any more (after the demise of the cute 121) so it kicks off its range with the Mazda2. Then comes the Mazda3, four is bypassed in today’s lineup (who remembers the throaty RX4?) then there’s the MX5, the Mazda6, CX7, RX8 and CX9 — before the plan goes awry with the BT50 ute. But out of all its models it’s the Mazda3 which has been a big success story in Australia; it accounts for almost half Mazda’s annual sales and was just 151 sales short last year of tipping Toyota’s evergreen Corolla as the best selling small car in the country. It’s sales success doesn’t come as any surprise: the Mazda3 may not be best in class in all categories, but it nevertheless is superb. The Maxx version easily won a top-10 place in last year’s CarsGuide Car of the Year shootout and while it was beaten by VW’s Golf, it won the hearts of the judges. It consistently scored well in all areas, from ride and handling, and comfort to cabin layout. The let-downs? Styling is a love-it or leave-it mix of happy face and odd-looking bum; fuel economy could be better and the back seat is not as comfortable as it looks — leg room is compromised if the front seats are in their rearmost position. I’ve been driving the entry level Neo version which mazda is selling for $22,990 drive away as a New Year deal. That’s for the six-speed manual; the five-speed auto adds $2000. The price is the same for both the five-door hatch or sedan but you have to pay an extra $485 for lifesaving safety features inside and curtain airbags which seems a little penny pinching. They are standard in the Maxx. The Neo however offers a comprehensive standard kit including air conditioning, power mirrors and windows, trip computer, six- speaker single CD sound system with MP3/ WMA compatibility (with a jack for the MP3), and remote locking. The money also gets you active head restraints, smart anti-lock brakes, stability control and traction control and for a small car plenty of storage bins, which is a big plus. The 15-inch wheels are steel, there’s a space saver spare but you do get a fully adjustable steering wheel although you miss out on audio controls on the steering wheel and there’s no cruise control. Power comes from a 2-litre four cylinder which is good for 108kW and 182Nm of torque. No real problems here; the Neo feels nippy enough although the fuel consumption, as tested (11.5l/100km mainly city running), is no where class leading. Mazda’s own fuel rating is 7.9l/100km. Cabin styling is, in my eye, overly fussy with too many conflicting lines and the various warning chimes for things like door ajar, lights left on and seatbelt not yet clipped in will drive you nuts. On the road I hate it when people point and smirk when Igetoutofacar. OK, I can see the funny side of a middle aged bloke climbing out of something overly loud or garish. But the Mazda3 is far from being a lolly pop car. It happened last week as I pulled into the local supermarket. Was it my bright ‘‘you-can’t go out in that’’ T-shirt, even brighter Crocs or the fact I dropped my phone? No, I suspect it was the car and that happy in-your-face face that got the attention. In recent years, Mazda lost the styling plot: too much bubble and not enough substance. But the Japanese taken sense, backed off and are now producing cars with interesting lines. Styling can be a killer. Toyota took years to shed its image it only produced white goods on wheels — look at early Corollas and Camrys and I rest my case. The droopy rear and the peculiar Luna Park grille of the AU Falcon all but killed off the family favourite. But can you live with that face on the Mazda3? Have you ever seen a car with such a smiley front. You have — it’s the same as the bigger Mazda6. The somewhat confused rear styling dilutes the fun factor but top marks to Mazda for at least trying to give the mass market a car which doesn’t look mass produced. The Mazda3, which shares the same platform as the respected Ford Focus, drives well and unlike many small cars is comfortable and has an inviting, roomy cabin. This is a classy car, smooth and refined. No wonder it sells so well. small torque Mazda3 Neo How much: $22,990 drive-away manual ($2000 extra for auto) Under the bonnet: 2-litre, petrol 4 cylinder, 108kW @6500rpm, 182Nm torque @4500rpm. How thirsty: 7.9l/100km claimed; 11.5l/10km tested. Fuel tank 55 litres, takes standard unleaded. Towing: 500kg unbraked, 900kg braked trailer. Rivals: Toyota Corolla, Mitsubishi Lancer, Holden Cruze, Subaru Impreza. Tilford Trade Clearance Centre TONY: 0417 569 323 ROD: 0419 122 991 56b Gormanston Road Moonah Finance Available TAP 6273 8533 www.tilford.com.au CHEAP CHEAP CARS & COMMERCIALS Hobart’s true & original Trade Clearance Centre Wholesale & Trade welcome CARS 95 Mazda 121 Bubble $1,650 Economical 4 cyl, 5 speed, ideal first car 97 Hyundai Excel Coupe $2,200 165,000kms, 5 speed, excellent buying 99 Daihatsu Charade Hatch $3,000 5 speed manual, fuel miser, neat & tidy 98 Nissan Pulsar LX Sedan $4,750 142,000kms, 5 speed, tidy, alloys, p/s, a/c 96 Hyundai Lantra Sportswagon $4,750 T-bar auto, 1.8ltr engine, drives well, p/s 06 Holden Astra GSi Hatch $4,750 2ltr engine, 5 speed, alloys, p/s, a/c 04 Kia Rio Hatch $6,000 77,000 kms, 5 speed, alloys, p/s, a/c 01 Hyundai Grandeur Sedan $6,500 40,000kms, T-bar auto, luxury, p/s, a/c 00 Toyota Avalon Conquest $7,000 107,000kms, t-bar auto, tidy, p/s, a/c 99 Toyota Corolla Seca Hatch $8,000 Only 99,000kms, 5speed, p/s, a/c 08 BA Ford Futura S/Wagon $11,900 119,000kms, t-bar auto, cruise, p/s, a/c 06 BF Ford Falcon XT $12,000 T-bar auto, clean & tidy throughout, p/s, a/c COMMERCIALS 94 Ford Econovan $3,750 5 seater, 5 speed manual, drives well 97 Mitsubishi Triton 4x4 F/Tray $6,750 2.8ltr diesel, 5 speed, workhorse, p/s 01 Ford Escape Wagon $8,500 3.0ltr V6 engine, auto trans, p/s, a/c 04 Ford Econovan SWB $11,000 86,000kms, 5 speed, immaculate, p/s, a/c 06 Ford Transit Van $12,500 LWB, midroof, turbo diesel, 6 speed 99 Chrysler Grand Voyager Wagon $12,750 Family 7 seater, auto, tidy, p/s, a/c 04 BA Ford Falcon Ute $13,000 88,000kms, t-bar auto, alloys, p/s, a/c 02 Honda CRV Sports Wagon $13,000 107,000kms, 5 speed, immaculate, p/s, a/c 03 Subaru Forester Wagon $15,000 108,000kms, t-bar auto, tidy, p/s, a/c 95 Toyota Landcruiser 4x4 F/T $15,000 4.2ltr diesel, 5 speed, drives well, p/s 04 Holden Rodeo 4x2 Crew Cab $15,750 103,000kms, 3.0ltr turbo diesel, 5 speed, p/s, a/c 07 Ford Ranger 4x2 F/Tray $17,000 78,000kms, turbo Diesel, 5 speed, p/s, a/c 275 Main Road, Glenorchy Phone: 6213 3315 Brian Anning 0418 531 853 • Chris Wakefield 0400 635 446 • Allan Gebel 0428 729 659 00 Pulsar ST – 1 .6 litre, manual ..........................................$5,990 99 Hyundai Lantra – manual...........................................$5,990 01 Hyundai Elantra GLS – hatch ................................$6,990 03 TJ Magna – alloys, rear spoiler......................................... $7,990 01 AUII Ford Fairmont Wagon – Automatic .......$8,990 04 Mitsubishi TL Magna Sedan – 3.5 litre.........$8,990 01 Holden Vectra – 2 .2 litre, automatic..........................$9,990 03 Ford Focus Hatch – Automatic .................................$9,990 02 Nissan Pulsar Q Hatch – 1.8 litre manual .......$9,990 00 Pulsar ST Sedan – 83,000km, automatic..............$10,990 95 Toyota Echo – 44,000km..............................................$10,990 96 Kia Rio Ex – 1 .6 litre, 34,000km ................................. $11,990 04 Mitsubishi Lancer – Automatic, body kit............$12,990 06 Renault Kangoo Van – Automatic........................$13,990 SPECIAL OF THE WEEK 98 Toyota Corolla Conquest Sedan 1.8 litre manual ................ $6,500 Good cars at cheap prices!
December 12th 2009
February 6th 2010