It sits a frag below the new Altime in the market. For Export it's going to be known as the Mazda 6 (somebody must've been up all night working on that) and in the 'States only the four-door sedan and wagon will be available.
I had a little seat time in one after the Tokyo show, and it's not bad for a front-driver. The new engine's surprisingly punchy for a four, and unlike every other over 2.0 liter four I've driven pretty smooth. The automatic Atenza is about as quick as an Altezza AS200 (the IS200) automatic, but not even in the same game as the IS300.
the five-door (which looks liek a swoopier version of the sedan) is the best looker of the lot, though I concur on the fact the Mazda 'five-point' grille looks poxy, while the chrome-encrusted taillamps and yellow used for cars in the promotional shots are proof to Toyota that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If the name didn't tip the point. Mind you in Japan the Atenza's going to be considerably cheaper than even an Altezza AS200, so it will be in pursuit of a different customer.
In any event, saying the Atenza handles well for a front-drive car is like being the healthiest person in the Intensive Care Unit.
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: 910T on 2001-12-15 05:59 ]</font>