The Mazda2 is a great-looking supermini that's also very good to drive. There's plenty of standard equipment and prices are competitive when measured next to the likes of the Ford Fiesta. Limited supply means resale values are strong too, so the Mazda is a safe place to invest your cash. Running costs are also low, especially in the 1.4 and 1.6-litre diesel models.
5 & 3Doors Price: £10,495 - £13,395
There's a lot to like about the Mazda3. The Japanese family model is available as a hatchback and a saloon, and shares parts with the Ford Focus. Like the Mazda2 it offers sharp looks, excellent build quality, great value for money and economical engines. On the road it feels nimble, and Mazda's focus on reducing the car's weight means it's very responsive. Despite those things it still falls short in a couple of key areas. Rear space isn’t great - which is important for family buyers - and the cabin is awash with confusing buttons and can seem quite dark, and therefore cramped.
5Doors Price: £16,695 - £23,345
The Mazda MX-5 is the world's best-selling roadster, and has been offering value-packed, entertaining driving since it was first launched in 1989. There are 1.8-litre or 2.0-litre engines to choose from, and you can opt for a canvas roof, or a folding hard top – which offers better protection from the elements. Both engines need to be worked hard to extract their performance, but that's part of the fun. The five and six-speed manual gearboxes are very precise. Handling is superb, making the car exciting to drive. The MX-5 is a strict two-seater, but has a good-sized boot. Equipment levels are OK on the entry-level cars, but you pay extra for air-conditioning. The 2.0-litre car is very well equipped.
2Doors Price: £18,495 - £23,695
The Mazda6 is one of the best large family cars around. Available as an estate, a hatchback and a saloon it's value for money, reliable, practical and very good to drive. Not only that, but it's also extremely well built and reasonably well equipped. Diesel engines are highly economical, and the car makes a capable cruiser. In short, it does everything well.
4Doors Price: £19,595 - £27,495
Mazda has thrown caution to the wind with the latest 5 people carrier, giving the seven-seater controversial looks that will divide opinion. They’re just a distraction though, because in every other way the 5 is as sensible as can be, with a clever flexible seating arrangement, lots of cabin storage and some impressively economical engines. It's an added bonus that it's good to drive, too.
5Doors Price: £20,295 - £21,695
Similar in size to the Land Rover Freelander and Volkswagen Tiguan the CX-5 is Mazda's entry into the highly competitive crossover or compact SUV market. On sale in the UK in March 2012 the CX-5 is great to drive and will be available in either two or four wheel drive. Petrol and diesel engines will be offered with both manual and automatic gearboxes.
5Doors Price: £21,595 - £29,395