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First look: Mazda MX-Crossport - on sale 2007



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Mazda has been absent from the SUV sector since the anonymous Tribute was discontinued in the middle of last year, but the Japanese manufacturer is set for a big return.

The MX-Crossport is a thinly disguised version of what will be its new crossover softroader, due to be launched in the UK in 2007.

With its RX-8 inspired looks and sharp lines, it will rival BMW X3, Lexus RX-300 and the Nissan Murano. Consequently it has been designed for on-road comfort, rather than off-road mud plugging.

When it goes into production it is likely to share the Mazda6 4x4 estate underpinnings and could have the option of five or seven seats.

The European market will get Ford-built diesel units as well as current Mazda four-cylinder units including the 160bhp 2.3-litre. Expect keen pricing and generous spec as Mazda looks to tempt buyers out of more premium SUVs.

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