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Motoring: Cheaper thrills from Mazda

Mazda's cute MX-5 roadster - whose biggest market is in London - has suddenly become much more affordable. A new 'stripped out' version has just been announced, with the 1.8i model costing pounds 14,495 (Vauxhall Astra GSi money). The quo, for fewer quid, is no alloy wheels, no ABS, no airbag, no electric windows and no leather steering wheel. Plus no power steering - a telling omission for some female buyers. Women make up 60 per cent of British

MX-5 customers. Why has Mazda cut the price? Rover's new MG - a mid-engined roadster aimed principally at the MX-5 - is due next spring at less than pounds 15,000.