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They wowed the Tokyo Show last week with the eye-catching Kiyora concept, above - a glimpse at future models that will deliver 90mpg.

It may only be a concept, but this will be the face of new Mazda small cars 2 and 3, and possibly even a new 1 city car.

It runs on Mazda's new SKY-G engine mated to the Sky-Drive gearbox which produces excellent fuel economy - achieved by using lightweight materials, improved aerodynamics and Mazda's i-stop stop/start system.

Back in the UK, Mazda continue to clean up sales-wise.

They've just taken a record 2.9 per cent share of the September market and the 2 supermini had its best month, with 4,710 sold - and all this following record UK sales in 2008.

Striking But the biggest successes were in Scotland, with the Machargs showroom in Glasgow the top dealership with 200 cars sold last month, while the new Glen Henderson site in Ayr hit sales figures 300 per cent over target.

The 2, which starts at £8,995, is the most popular model - last month's figures were more than the previous model sold in a YEAR.

Next best is the 3, starting at £12,995.

We've just had the first drive of the new CX-7, below, which is set to be the CLEANEST 4x4 on the road.

Mazda also have the striking 6 saloon and 5 people carrier, and last month their 6 Estate was named Best Estate in the Tow Car of the Year Awards. And they've carved a growing niche in the performance sports car market with the iconic MX-5, the RX-8 Coupé and hot versions of their Mazda 3 and 6 family cars.

With more striking and greener new models, Mazda have a future with the same amount of zoom zoom - just with less damage to the ozone.

First Drive: MAZDA CX-7

MAZDA have already proved they can sniff out a winner with so many hit models - now they've launched the cleanest-SMELLING 4x4.

The CX-7 crossover has been one of their big successes with almost 200,000 sold worldwide since it went on sale three years ago.

It managed this despite not possessing the one crucial attribute for an SUV - a diesel version.

More than two thirds of 4x4 sales are diesels and it's so important Mazda have actually AXED their petrol version from UK sale. Now they've unveiled a refreshed CX-7 with exterior tweaks and a new 2.2-litre turbodiesel.

And the CX-7 is set to be the first car sold in the UK that not only has a Euro5-standard diesel engine and particulate trap, but is also fitted with the Adblue exhaust injection system, which uses urea to break down nitrogen oxide in the exhaust gas before it leaves the tailpipe.

That will possibly make the CX-7 the least-polluting and cleanest diesel car when it goes on sale in the UK next month - especially with CO2 down to 199g/km and fuel economy of almost 38mpg.

Hint The 2.2 diesel is a development of the engine first fitted to the excellent Mazda 6 saloon, but it gets an uprated turbocharger and intercooler.

Acceleration feels livelier than 0-62mph in just over 11 seconds suggests and it has a 124mph top speed. Despite a hint of diesel clatter on start-up, it revs smoothly. It is an undemanding drive. It will sit happily in third on twisty roads and give you enough power on every turn. On motorways it's just as comfortable cruising in sixth.

But the power of the turbodiesel makes this 4x4 feel nimble and agile. It's not quite as good a driving experience as its chief rival, the Ford Kuga, but now it's very close.

The steering feels light, but with surprising amounts of feedback for a car of this size. It moves through the gears with ease. The ride can feel a bit harsh, but cabin noise is very low - something Mazda have worked hard on.

On the outside, the CX-7 is right up there as the most attractive 4x4 on the road alongside the Kuga.

The exterior has had a makeover, with a new RX-8-style front bumper design, a redesigned rear bumper and a smattering of chrome highlights. The result gives the car a more upmarket and aggressive appearance. When it comes to trim and engine choices Mazda are keeping things simple.

The 2.3-litre turbo petrol is ditched in the UK, which leaves the excellent diesel as your only option, while the fully-laden Sport Tech-spec is all that's on offer as well.

Create That means everything from sat-nav and leather to a Bose 'surround sound' sound system, heated front seats and Bluetooth.

The only option will be £450 for metallic paint. And incidentally, the CX-7 looks even better with a black or white paint job.

The interior has also been given a fairly hefty makeover. The dash top has been redesigned - partly to create space for a small colour sat-nav screen - as has the centre console, with new vents and an arm rest. The steering wheel is new and controls are at your fingertips. The cabin is also wide and pretty spacious, with a good boot.

There are great touches, including silent windscreen wipers and the sat-nav. The screen is small, but it automatically zooms in when you negotiate a complex junction, then pans back out.

What isn't so clever is the price. With only one trim and kitted to the max, the CX-7 costs £25,785 - which is just over £1,000 less than the Audi Q5 and £790 more expensive than the entry-level Volvo XC60. It costs more than the top spec Ford Kuga.

It's a shame because this is one of the best-looking and cleanest 4x4s around. And despite Mazda's sweet smell of success, buyers might turn their noses up at this price.

source: thesun.co.uk

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