A Montrose from Japan

NAMES are something of a headache for the men who market cars in Britain. We have just heard that Fiat have spent a lot of time and money researching British taste to discover that we prefer the name Strada to Ritma, and Mazda have decided on the rather Scottish baronial-sounding title of Montrose for their latest range of saloons and coupes.

Elsewhere the new Mazdas (which were on sale in Japan last October) are known as either the 626 or, at home in Japan, the Capella.

Either way the latest Mazdas went on sale in Britain in April at prices from £3,644 to £4,449. The range consists of four-door saloons in either 1600 or 2000 s.o.h.c, engine sizes, plus a smartly styled 2-litre coupe at the top of the range.

All the 2-litre machines have five-speed gearboxes and these front-engine rear-drive cars are notable for good finish and comfort rather than engineering innovation. A great deal of equipment is built in items like driver’s interior release for the boot and laminated windscreens appearing at the bottom of the range.

We have driven the cars in Malta, but in rather artificial conditions on either bumpy roads or airfield competition, so we will comment further at a later date. What is obvious is that the coupe will attract a lot of favourable comment for its clean body lines.