Taking note of the growing demand for pick-ups by Malaysians who see them as ‘lifestyle machines’, the Mazda Division of C&C Bintang Bhd is introducing the new Mazda Fighter 4WD Double Cab. The all-new model, to be officially launched on April 26th, is a jointly-developed model between Mazda and Ford, which the Japanese company is affiliated to, and is technically similar to the Ford Ranger XLT which is also available locally.
“It is no secret that Mazda and Ford collaborate on a number of models sold in the Asia-Pacific region but each maker’s products are still differentiated in terms of exterior style and accessories,” Larry Cheong, Manager – Marketing of C&C Bintang’s Mazda Division, explained to AUTOWORLD. “Our latest Mazda Fighter comes with a number of original Mazda accessories which add a sporty touch to the vehicle and will definitely appeal to customers.”
The Fighter variant assembled in Malaysia is the Double Cab which offers an extra row of seating behind the front two seats. Mr Cheong said that there is greater demand now for Double Cabs than Single Cabs but the company is considering also offering Single Cabs later on, if there are enough customers wanting it.
In contrast to the pick-ups of just five years ago, the Fighter is oriented towards private ownership (five years ago, JPJ regulations didn’t allow people to register pick-ups for private usage) and is therefore better equipped. It comes with a sturdy front bullbar (with spotlights), distinctive chrome alloy rims, fat dual-purpose tyres and a sturdy black custom-designed sportsbar behind the cab. The styling is bold, yet very much in line with current automobile design trends.
The cabin is spacious and the dashboard is just like a car’s with soft curves and sufficient padding. In fact, when you sit in the Fighter, you are not likely to feel like you are in a pick-up at all because the upholstery is fabric and not the cheap vinyl. There’s plenty of storage space around the cabin and if you have really big stuff, well, there’s 2.34 sq. metres of cargo deck behind!
Powering the Fighter is a 2.5-litre turbodiesel (with intercooler) 12-valve 4-cylinder engine which qualifies as a “Green Engine’ and therefore gets the owner a 50% ‘discount’ on annual roadtax. That’s quite a lot of money considering that it would cost you over RM3,400 without the rebate. To qualify, a diesel engine must meet the Euro-1 emission control standard.
A 5-speed manual gearbox is standard with a floor-mounted shift while the 4WD system used is the conventional type which also allows 2WD and has high/low ranges for added flexibility on demanding terrain.
With prices starting from RM75,002.90 (non-metallic finish, with insurance), the Fighter is competitively priced against the Ford Ranger and will also do battle with the latest Toyota Hilux Double Cab as well as the Isuzu Rodeo. USF also has a contender in this segment in the form of the Mitsubishi L200.
“We are confident that demand will be strong and with the Ford Ranger having a waiting list, there should be customers who will choose the Mazda Fighter if they can’t wait,” said Mr Cheong. He added that the company’s attention over the next few months will be focussed on this new model as all other products are virtually sold out.
“We have cleared our stocks of Lantis and most other models so we will concentrate on the new Fighter. In the second half of the year, we will have some new models in the showrooms alongside the Fighter,” he revealed.
AUTOWORLD will bring you more information on the Mazda Fighter a bit later on when we get to test-drive it. So do drop by at this website regularly for updates.