Feature article

Best Mazda Car Models in NZ: Buying Guide

Mazda’s dealer network spans New Zealand from Northland to Southland.

3 April 2024

It's a given that most manufacturers' best selling vehicles are some sort of SUV. And so Mazda New Zealand's lineup is full of them. They've got large SUVs like the new CX-90 and the CX-8. They've got medium SUVs like the new CX-60 (Mazda’s only plug-in hybrid) and there's the ever popular CX-5. And they've got small SUVs too like the CX-30 and the CX-3. While Mazda recently ditched its BT-50 ute from the New Zealand line-up, it still has a couple of cars on offer including the excellent Mazda3 and the little Mazda2. And let’s not forget the ever-young Mazda MX-5.

Being an established brand, Mazda’s dealer network spans New Zealand from Northland to Southland. With Mazda Care, all of your servicing costs are taken care of for the first three years/100,000kms of ownership (with some models covered for five years) while there's also an excellent warranty with up to five years and unlimited kilometre cover.

What’s the best all round Mazda for New Zealand?

That would be the CX-5, the best seller locally. It might not be Mazda’s newest SUV, but it's still the best model for New Zealand. It's still reasonably affordable with five models to choose from, the range starting at $44,290 for the front-wheel drive, 2.0-litre model. The range extends right up to the premium $67,890 Takami variant with its 2.5-litre turbo engine, but probably the sweet spot is the $50,290 GSX. This has AWD and the beaut 2.5-litre, naturally aspirated four-cylinder.

We like the CX-5 because it's competitive in most areas in terms of passenger space, safety equipment and refinement levels and that it's one of the better medium-sized SUVs to drive. The quality of the interior is noteworthy and this 4.6m long SUV has 438L of boot space and can tow up to 1800kg.

Read the Mazda CX-5 review

View listings on Trade Me Motors: Mazda CX-5

Can I get a Mazda hatchback?

Few car makers still offer the humble five-door hatchback in New Zealand but Mazda is one of them. And the Mazda3 is one of the better ones. One has to ask, do you really need that big SUV to amble around town in? The Mazda3 hatch accommodates four comfortably, five at a pinch, and it’s good to drive. You can even get the Mazda3 as a sedan! While the hatch range starts with the GSX at $38,890, and heads on up to the $54,490 Takami version, we tend to like middling Mazdas. And that would be the GTX at $42,990. This gets you the 2.5-litre petrol engine matched to a six-speed auto. It might not be the most frugal hatchback you can buy at 7.3L/100km (and no, Mazda doesn't offer a hybrid version) but the Mazda3 offers a high level of refinement, great driving characteristics and a sense of style that is missing from most of its competitors. Boot space, at just under 300L, isn't amazing but it’s practical enough.

There is no overbearing infotainment screen in the cabin but there's still all the necessaries like sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Safety features abound with blind spot monitoring, active cruise control, emergency braking and lane keeping.

Read the Mazda3 review

View listings on Trade Me Motors: Mazda3

Does Mazda still make the MX-5?

It sure does and it's still one of the best driver’s cars to be had. And as an added bonus, it doesn't cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, it’s not cheap per se, now costing $60,490 for the Roadster and $61,990 for the RF, which is the one with the retractable hardtop.

The MX-5’s been around since 1989, although it's in its fourth generation now. But it's still much the same as it was back then; rear wheel drive and powered by a naturally aspirated inline four. There’s a six-speed manual and the roadster has a soft top .There are still only two seats and not much in the way of boot space, but it's a great drive.

You have to work the engine, but that's part of the fun, and it has a great manual action to help do that. This little Mazda is made for road driving, with a ride and handling balance that's hard to match. And you don't have to go for a Sunday drive to enjoy it as it makes all trips fun, if your lifestyle allows it.

Read the Mazda MX-5 review

View listings on Trade Me Motors: Mazda MX-5


Kyle Cassidy
Kyle Cassidy
Editor NZ Autocar magazine - autocar.co.nz

Kyle has been reviewing cars since starting at NZ Autocar magazine in 2003 and has been editor since 2009. In that time he’s become an expert on what makes for a good vehicle while also gaining insights into the local automotive industry.