Cars I Can’t Write About: Mazda

While pondering the content of this website, I realised I’ve said very little about Mazda. That means it’s time to say why I can’t write about them.

2015 Mazda montage

Having typed that, I remembered I devoted some space to the new Miata. Apart from that, I seem to not want to say much about the 3 or the 6 even if they would appear to be quite good cars. If I was in the market for a C-D class car, I ought to go and look at the Mazda 6 and not just go along to Opel and see how much Insignia I could get for my imaginary money.

Perhaps rarely among car enthusiasts, I have a strong fondness for the Insignia in its 4×4 guise. But it’s the Mazda 6 that has got the plaudits for its confident styling and pleasing road manners. But the car doesn’t speak to me at all. I don’t dislike it (apart from the front wing) but I don’t get any vibes from this car other than I have the impression that the interior is very, very dark indeed.

1997 Mazda 626: image from Wikipedia
1997 Mazda 626: image from Wikipedia

What are Mazda selling? In the UK they have nine vehicles: the old MX5, the outgoing 2, the new 2, the 3, the 5, the 6, the CX-5, the new MX-5 and something of which I was not aware, the CX-3. It’s a cross-over and presumably will attempt to compete with the Nissan Juke. Interestingly, Mazda Germany doesn’t mention the CX-3.

That previous paragraph was a blizzard of numbers. Is that part of Mazda’s problem? I can’t attach any personality or character to these cars, other than the MX-5. The rest of the range, despite the rather good styling, is missing a hook onto which I can hang ideas and notions. Ford’s Mondeo, Opel’s Insignia, Toyota’s Avensis and Honda’s Accord all suggest something to me.

Mazda doesn’t other than that the 6 is really a very big car. I’d be more curious about driving an Accord or a Skoda Superb than I would be about a Mazda 6. In fact, the only reason I’d want to test a Mazda 6 would be to try to find out why I didn’t want to try it. The Mazda 3 has got good reviews: “The Mazda 3 proves that economical, fuel-efficient cars need not be dull to look at or to drive—and these are just a

2015 Mazda CX-3
2015 Mazda CX-3

couple of the many reasons we named it to our 10 Best list for 2015,” wrote Car and Driver. My impression is that I preferred the last car, inasmuch as I noticed it at all. Autocar love the Mazda 6: “The Mazda 6 has long been considered a worthy but uninspiring mid-sized saloon or estate – but no longer, because the latest generation of the car is now good enough to rank among the best.”

For me the 1997 626 is more charming because of its excellent package, nice seats and terrific zig-zag crease on the C-pillar. The estate looks really useful too. Maybe I will come back to the current cars in 15 years time when whatever they are about sinks home.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

9 thoughts on “Cars I Can’t Write About: Mazda”

  1. In paragraph two, you need to change ‘MX-3’ to ‘MX-5’ among current cars.

  2. To me, Mazda are actually a bit of a hidden champion these days. I like their styling, and I love some of their engineering solutions, particularly as they are among the very few who can envisage a future for the naturally aspirated petrol engine.
    And the new MX-5 – at least in theory – is the sports car I’ve been waiting for. The fact that size equals nimbleness equals sportiness isn’t lost on Mazda, and Mazda only, it appears.
    I applaud their way of thinking.

  3. It´s the “hidden” part of “hidden champion” that´s problematic for me. I liked the lightness of the Mazda 2, for example. That said, I am missing some hook to hang that Mazda attitude on. Is it the advertising? Is it the way the cars are written up? Is it the black interiors?

  4. I am with Kris Kubrick – for me, Mazda has been doing an awful lot right recently. I’d say it has been one of the more eye-catching marques, even though – MX-5 aside – it does not make remarkable cars (i.e. each model is a “staple” – there is no “halo” super-car, for example – and there are no EVs or Hybrids that I can discern in the range). There is, for example, a really nice looking “fastback” version of the 3 (it’s a 4 door saloon in anyone else’s currency) that has the beating of the equivalent A3 saloon. In fact, Mazda reminds me of Audi right now, and is clearly trying to position itself in a similarly profitable part of the market. The range has a cohesive look (5 aside), and there are some interesting alternative approaches to technology and drivetrains going on too. The new 2 and related CX-3 look like they could do very well in Europe – only the relatively limited range of drivetrains risks holding them back. The new MX-5 is very tantilising – I really don’t need one cluttering up my drive, but I really, really want one. I do wonder whether they are making any money (I should investigate, rather than just wondering out loud) given the pretty significant level of new product development they have clearly beenmaking over the last 4-5 years. For all these reasons, one to watch in 2015 and beyond.

    1. So am I! Mazdas are simply brilliant and having had 2008 Mazda 3 2.0 diesel for 6 years, I can attest it is lovely drive, reasonably economic and very reliable (last attribute severely lacking in new VW, Fords and Opel, as far as I can hear…). Mine was really pampered (Eberspacher auxiliary heating kit assuring that I would always start warm engine in wintertime – does wonders for DPF and engine lubrification), never driven less than 30km (of which 2/3 were always non-urban), but talk about depreciation…
      I reckon Mazdas are excellent 3-4years old second-hand cars, for a long term-owners…

  5. I am glad I raised this point as I feel a bit more educated on the topic. My “Cars I can´t write about” is really a means for me to wonder out loud about my ignorance. I am aware of the things I want to write about endlessly such as Lancia, GM, Ford/Chris Bird, Buick, colours and ashtrays. By struggling with what I can´t write about I want to try to stay out of my writing ruts or at least ration the amount of time I give in and follow their lead.

  6. I too generally think well of Mazda. But, apart from a vague idea that it would be interesting to create a Fiat Dino competitor that never existed by fitting a Maserati V6 into an MX5, I’ve never really thought of buying one. And the Mazda5 side sculpting probably seemed clever at the time but, stuck onto the side of an MPV it’s just irritating.

  7. The current 6 is a very handsome car. Gargantuan too. Whenever I see one I feel it must surely dwarf a previous series S-class or 7 series. The 3 is OK I guess, doesn’t get my juices flowing. The new 2 is also very tidy inside and out. The CX-5 is fine until you get to the chinless nose and nearly-fallen-off front number plate. It’s really weak there to my eyes. But the rest is very handsome. As is the new CX-3. All in all I like the current Mazda range a WHOLE lot more than for example the current Honda range…

    The other car in my house is an MX-5 of the current shape. Love throwing that around and it has not given one problem in many years.

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