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Mazda Reviews

Hiroshima’s Toyo Kogyo Cork company was founded in 1920, but it didn’t build its first car – under the Mazda name, in tribute to founder Jujiro Matsuda as well as the Zoroastrian god – until 1960. The company soon became known for being forward looking, and its experiments in rotary engine technology, with the RX-7 its best known and biggest-selling exponent of the type, and one of the few cars to ever make the Wankel work well.

It was also applauded for the introduction of the MX-5 in 1989, which represented no less than the reinvention of the small sports car. After operating in a partnership since 1979, Ford acquired a controlling stake in 1997, leading to several joint projects and shared resources. Despite this Mazda maintains an admirable spirit of independence, even though it built its last rotary engined car in 2011.

Good: Wondeful styling, rotary smoothness
Bad: Try finding one
Good: Smooth, powerful, and proof that the Rotary engine could be made reliable and dependable
Bad: Like pretty much every Japanese car of this era it suffered from corrosion
Good: Good-looking sports car with a smooth, strong rotary engine
Bad: Specialist maintenance means it isn't cheap to run, short runs damage the rotor seals
Good: Cheap to run, potentially reliable
Bad: Rust, apathy, not likely to attain classic status any time soon
Good: Superb handling, very reliable, good parts support, excellent value for money, lots of fun. (Model designation NA.)
Bad: Rust can be a killer, roof isn't 100% waterproof, later 1.6s down on power.
Good: Quirky styling, plenty of headroom and a full-length sunroof
Bad: In scarce supply in the UK, parts supply likely to be scarcer still
Good: Tidy looks, sweet engines and brilliant reliability. Plenty of kit in SE Exec versions. Got fuel injection from 1991.
Bad: Tight rear space and poor rearward vision in F-Types. Handling hasn't been tuned to suit UK tastes. Baffling number of variants.
Good: Genuine four-seat coupe with unusual rear hinged back doors, very involving to drive, good value for money second hand.
Bad: Will not stand short runs from cold starts, rotary engine lacks torque and needs to be worked very hard most of the time, high CO2 emissions plus poor fuel economy.
Good: Versatile rear seat arrangement. A more nimble, enjoyable drive from 2000 onwards.
Bad: Short of some convenience and comfort features. Original version was slow and stodgy to drive.
Good: Delightful handling, easy to use every day and reliable if not abused. Low running costs. Plenty around at keen prices.
Bad: Rust can be a serious problem. Some versions suffer from clutch judder.
Good: Distinctive looks, tidy handling and a refined, free-revving V6.
Bad: Child-only rear quarters. Private imports masquerading as official UK cars. Check the complex V6 engine carefully.