In Summary
  • As you might know over the years, the Japanese car manufacturers have built an almost unsurpassed reputation for reliability and Mazda is no exception. The Atenza is an affordable sports sedan. It boasts more exterior and interior style than other mid-size sedans. It’s more fun to drive than other cars in its class, with quicker cornering and stopping performance and a sportier ambiance. It’s a great choice for someone who wants a more exciting car.

The Mazda Atenza is the sort of car that is, for lack of a better word, cunning. In fact the turnaround in Mazda’s fortunes in Uganda recently has been surprising. We are now seeing the Mazda brand gain acceptance with cars such as the Premacy, MPV, Atenza and a distributorship selling Mazda pickups.
Prior to that, Mazda was an obscure Japanese brand that people knew about but never cared for in part due to Mazda’s lack of correctly competing cars. The Atenza model year from 2002 through 2008 was the first product of Mazda’s reset strategy that started in the early 2000s and has gained tremendous favour globally and now locally.

Exterior
This specific model spanned over six years proving that Mazda believed their cars’ aesthetic formulae. Visually, it has more personality than many cars in the same class from other manufacturers. It has a strong front-end treatment that is consistent with other Mazdas from this era. Cat’s-eye headlamps and big rear lights that feature multi-element designs enhance the action at each corner of the car. Its aerodynamic silhouette character lines just make it pleasing to look at.
The sport rims wearing low profile tyres that come standard on the Atenza dramatically add to the sport appeal. You will find the Atenza in three body shapes, a four door saloon, a five-door hatchback and an estate version.

Interior
The Atenza’s interior does not feel like a small car nor does it feel cheap. There is plenty of front legroom and headroom. Big and tall people may find the accommodations cramped, however. Materials used in the seats appear classy with nice fit and finish. The driver’s seat has a particularly substantial feel making it more comfortable for long journeys. The gauges are illuminated in red light at night. The headlamps for some reason are not as bright as they look at night.
The front seats are comfortable and supportive, though some passengers might not like the firm padding. The driver’s seat is manually adjustable for height and there is plenty of head and legroom for both front and rear passengers. However, three adults will find it a struggle to get comfortable as the rear seat is narrow.

Driving dynamics
The Mazda handles very well thanks to its sporty suspension. The ride is smooth and quiet, yet you still have excellent road feel. The steering is precise and responsive, with a well-defined centre position. The Atenza is one of those cars that is very comfortable on long highway trips. The low profile tyres though are not absorbent enough with road imperfections thus keep suspension parts under agitation a little more than necessary. Additionally you can feel this suspension annoyance through the steering column.
However you soon forget this displeasure when on a smooth road. While it is not especially fast, the Atenza is more than adequate with good power for the car’s weight. Around town it feels swift and nimble, and it remains capable on higher-speed highway roads.

Engine
The Mazda has a bigger choice of engines from the 1.8L, 2.0L, 2.3L all having 4 cylinders with one 3.0L V6. The 2.3L from Japan is the most common. The 2.3L Atenza fuel consumption is inferior to other cars such as the Alteza. The Mazda returns 9km per litre. When taken good care of, Mazda engines last forever.

Maintenance
The Atenza has a very reliable engine. However, replacement of non-service parts such as suspension parts might prove painful. Our companions in the used car parts market like Kiseka and Ndeeba are yet to catch up so you are walking on egg shells with this one. Nonetheless, service parts are available from specific auto shops.

Price and resale value
The Atenza ranges between Shs17m and Shs22m. Mazda not being a popular brand does not help its case in terms of resale value which ranges between Shs10m and Shs13m.
As you might know over the years, the Japanese car manufacturers have built an almost unsurpassed reputation for reliability and Mazda is no exception. The Atenza is an affordable sports sedan. It boasts more exterior and interior style than other mid-size sedans. It’s more fun to drive than other cars in its class, with quicker cornering and stopping performance and a sportier ambiance. It’s a great choice for someone who wants a more exciting car.

Safety
RightCar, an online portal, lists the Mazda6 as having a four-star Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) rating. Levels of safety equipment vary with the age of the car. Cars built from 2002-2005 feature only driver and passenger airbags and anti-lock brakes. Models from 2005-2008 – such as our review vehicle – added side and curtain airbags, intelligent seat belt reminders and electronic brake force distribution. The rear seat does not have ISOFIX child seat mounts, though there are tether points on the back of it. The centre seat features a full shoulder-type belt, which offers more protection than the lap-only type.