Down­size a boost for small ve­hi­cles

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By MARK HINCH­CLIFFE

OUR streetscape has changed as mo­torists swap big cars for small cars.

The big win­ner in this mo­tor­ing trend is the Mazda3 which last year up­set Holden Com­modore’s long-run­ning reign as the top-sell­ing car in Aus­tralia.

And the trend con­tin­ues this year with the lit­tle Ja­panese cutey con­tin­u­ing to tri­umph in the sales stakes.

The Hi-Lux ute was the topselling car last month in the end-of-fi­nan­cial-year trad­ing boon with 3539 sold and 15,104 in the first five months of the year.

How­ever, it trails both the Mazda3 (17,889) and Toy­ota Corolla (15,222) so far this year with the Com­modore in fourth (13,117).

Mazda Aus­tralia boss Doug Dick­son says there are many rea­sons why Mazda3 ap­peals to new car buy­ers.

‘‘But its success can be de­fined by four key at­tributes: func­tion, in­no­va­tion, style and value,’’ he says.

‘‘Mazda3 de­liv­ers on all of th­ese and I be­lieve this is the rea­son that many buy­ers choose to take one home.’’

We didn’t take his word for it. In­stead, we asked some Mazda3 buy­ers why they chose the car, what they like about it and what they don’t like.

Le­gal sec­re­tary and law stu­dent Elise Neu­mann, 23, is one of the new breed of Mazda con­verts.

She’s a first-time Mazda buyer who shopped around ex­ten­sively be­fore buy­ing a new Mazda3 Neo just two weeks ago.

‘‘I wanted a car that had a good rep­u­ta­tion and that I knew would be re­li­able,’’ she says.

‘‘Also looks were very im­por­tant to me.

‘‘In its price range - com­pared to other cars - it’s bet­ter qual­ity inside and out and much nicer to drive than any other car I test drove in that price range.

‘‘I’m ab­so­lutely in love with it.’’

At the other end of the scale is long-time Mazda devo­tee, Ron­ald Han­ni­belsz, 56, who has owned seven Maz­das over 30 years, in­clud­ing five Mazda3 or 323 mod­els.

‘‘They are very eco­nom­i­cal to run and it suits my bud­get,’’ he says.

More peo­ple, like Dar­win’s Greg Beach, are opt­ing for small cars like the Mazda 3

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