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This model was an absolute beauty of a car that was simply stunning to look at and a great pleasure to drive. Mazda had the shape perfect – it was so wonderfully sexy! And what did they do? They went and changed it to a completely bland looking shape that nearly every modern car looks like. Oh well, I guess there’s no understanding these marketing types. Still, back on to this superb model. My wife had one of these for 2 years as her company car. It was the top of the range model, the ZXi. This is has a 2 litre, 24 valve V6 engine. It had all the extras that you would expect, air conditioning, twin airbags, power steering, ABS, a CD player and radio, electric windows etc. etc. Apart from all these lovely features, you could also stun people by starting off in fifth gear. Okay, it was a bit slow but still quite a neat feat. The acceleration was pretty decent too. It could fairly fizz around corners because it has quite a low centre of gravity. Above all, it was just great fun to drive! And all this while you are playing your favourite CDs. What more can you ask for? The only problem we ever had with it was the crazy radio. The option to turn off the traffic announcements would never work. We even replaced the unit and all was okay for about three months and then it started again! We just gave up on that issue as a permanent, quirky fault. Given the engine, it really guzzled the petrol. Particularly if you used its acceleration which, of course, we rarely did;-) Ultimately, it was the ever escalating cost of petrol that made us to decide return the car to the lease company. There were other factors that pushed us in this direction but the soaring petrol cost was a major one. This car is often classed as a girly car. I don’t know why because I never felt silly driving it. In fact, until I got my Cavalier (and even during), I would always try and ‘borrow’ it. The models prior to this, and the o
nes after it, just don’t cut it. How could they get it so right and then throw it away?