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Mazda SUV and car model range explained

Want to know why there are two Mazda 2s and what the difference is between the MX-30 and CX-30? Read on for the answers.

Mazda started as a cork-making company but, besides a spell of weapons production during the Second World War, it’s been making vehicles since 1931. These days, Mazda is one of Japan’s biggest carmakers, and sells a wide range of cars and SUVs in the UK.

It’s a fiercely principled company, and is known for not following the crowd of rival automakers. It tends to prioritise eye-catching styling and the concept of jinba ittai – essentially ‘horse and rider in perfect unity’ – rather than practicality or outright efficiency. Mazda’s cars are interesting and often quite different to more mainstream models, while typically attempting to feel as premium inside as an Audi or BMW.

Mazda SUV range explained

Mazda CX-3

Based on the dinky Mazda 2 supermini, the CX-3 is a small SUV that rivals the likes of the Nissan Juke and Hyundai Kona. It’s nicely trimmed and well-equipped, but feels cramped inside and the boot is best described as snug. But if you’d like a higher ride height without the typically large dimensions of an SUV, the CX-3 is ideal. It’s now only available on the used market, where prices are often very affordable.

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Mazda CX-30

Mazda CX-30 driving

The CX-30 effectively replaced the CX-3 as Mazda’s smaller SUV offering. However, the CX-30 is based on the Mazda 3, which means it’s a lot more practical than the CX-3. There’s a strong focus on quality and day-to-day usability inside – Mazda thinks touchscreens are distracting to drivers, so its media screens are controlled by a rotary dial between the seats. Two clever petrol engines are available; so’s four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox – although the manual gearbox is pretty sweet.

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Mazda CX-5

Mazda CX-5 driving

A family SUV to rival the likes of the Ford Kuga, Peugeot 3008 and Kia Sportage, the Mazda CX-5 scales up the carmaker’s strengths into a more practical package. There’s plenty of space in the back seats and a big boot, but it’s still fun to drive and stylish. Diesel power is still available in the CX-5, and you can find versions with all-wheel drive for all-weather grip.

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Mazda CX-60

For now, the CX-60 is Mazda’s biggest SUV – until the seven-seat CX-80 comes along, that is – and it has plenty of road presence. Mazda’s range-topper has an all-new engine range, including a 3.3-litre six-cylinder diesel engine and the company’s first plug-in hybrid with a near-40-mile electric range. Oh, and the most power of any road-going Mazda ever. There’s a stat to impress the family on long, dull drives.

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Mazda hatchback range explained

Mazda 2

Kicking off the Mazda range in terms of price and size is the Mazda 2, which rivals the Suzuki Swift and Vauxhall Corsa. It’s light and nimble, and now comes with mild-hybrid technology to save fuel. Sure enough, it’s claimed to return up to 60mpg. Mazda’s generosity with standard equipment even filters down to its smallest model – the Mazda 2 gets alloy wheels, cruise control, climate control, power-folding mirrors and Apple CarPlay thrown in for free.

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Mazda 2 Hybrid

Uh, what? Didn’t we just talk about that? Well, not exactly. The Mazda 2 Hybrid is a rebadged Toyota Yaris, so it gets a ‘full’ hybrid engine that can manage well over 60mpg but doesn’t need to be plugged in. It’s one of the only modern Mazdas with a touchscreen, but ironically Toyota’s infotainment system isn’t as good as Mazda’s. Best to keep a cable plugged in so you can use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

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Mazda 3

It’s one of the best family hatchbacks to drive but, as is often the case with Mazda, not super practical. That might not matter much if you just want to stare at the thing. It looks more like a curvy coupe than a humdrum hatchback, and will steal admiring glances wherever you go. Like the CX-30, the 3 boasts over-engineered petrol engines and a cosy, premium cabin.

Shop used Mazda 3 cars for sale or read our Mazda 3 review

Mazda saloon range explained

Mazda 3 Saloon

Mazda 3 Saloon

Take the Mazda 3 hatchback, add a longer, more traditional boot shape and, boom, you have the Mazda 3 Saloon. Occasionally called the Mazda 3 Fastback, this is a rarer beast than the hatchback, so it’s better for exclusivity. The 3 Saloon is only available with the more powerful e-Skyactiv-X engine, which is both punchy and economical.

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Mazda 6

Until it was discontinued in 2022, the Mazda 6 was on sale for a decade. It’s a sometimes overlooked alternative to the Volkswagen Passat and Vauxhall Insignia, but better to drive than both of them. Arguably more stylish too. It devours long motorway journeys with comfort and ease, but is game for more entertaining roads as well. You get a lot of car for the money, especially on the used market.

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Mazda estate car range explained

Mazda 6 Tourer

Mazda 6 Tourer driving (rear view)

An estate version of the Mazda 6 saloon with a more versatile and larger boot, and the 522-litre space puts the 6 Tourer between the BMW 3 Series Touring and 5 Series Touring for cargo capacity. It’s still as good to drive and as comfortable, and interior quality is very close to those BMW estates.

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Mazda coupe and convertible range explained

Mazda MX-5

Mazda’s iconic sports car has been a fixture of hopeful British summertimes since 1989, and the lineage is clear to see. It might now have a Japanese comic-book front end, but the MX-5 is still a featherweight and prioritises crisp handling over outright pace.

Shop used Mazda MX-5 cars for sale or read our Mazda MX-5 review

Mazda MX-5 RF

Mazda MX-5 RF

While the MX-5 usually comes with a fabric roof, the RF – Retractable Fastback, to give it its full name – has a folding metal roof and a more coupe-ish look instead. In other respects, the RF has the same qualities as the standard MX-5, but the same limited practicality as well.

Mazda electric car and SUV range explained

Mazda MX-30

Perhaps the most oddball car on sale right now, the Mazda MX-30 is available as a fully electric car or as an unusual plug-in hybrid. Mazda deliberately fitted a small battery in the electric MX-30 to keep weight and cost down, so it still drives well and is very affordable but the fly in the ointment is its 124-mile range from a full battery. The R-EV plug-in hybrid sees the return of Mazda’s rotary engines, which were previously used in high-power sports cars but here it’s used to charge the battery. Whichever you get, you’ll get a quirky-looking thing with backwards-opening rear doors and cork interior trim.

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Found the Mazda for you?

Browse our huge range of used Mazda cars for sale, all with low mileage and warranty cover included. Why not book a test drive at a Motorpoint store of your choice?