Lester Raines 1204

Lester Raines Mazda Sales Manager Tim Russell stands between a Mazda MX5 Miata sports car and a Mazda CX5 SUV in the showroom at 5035 MacCorkle Ave., S.W., South Charleston. U.S. News & World Report has named Mazda the Best Car Brand in America for five consecutive years.

According to Mazda USA, the first Mazda automobiles reached American shores from Japan in 1970.

Over the course of 50 years, the Japanese auto maker’s vehicles have earned a reputation for quality, safety, reliability, design and handling.

In fact, the magazine U.S. News & World Report has named it the Best Car Brand in America for several years running.

This doesn’t surprise Lester Raines Mazda Sales Manager Tim Russell, who started selling Mazda’s 30 years ago and knows firsthand why new car shoppers should consider Mazda.

“Mazda is the best car brand in the USA for the fifth year in a row,” Russell said. “They (U.S. News & World Report) used three cars to make that evaluation: the Mazda 3, Mazda 6 and the Mazda MX 5 Miata.”

At Lester Raines Mazda, 5035 MacCorkle Ave., S.W., South Charleston, all of Mazda’s line of award-winning vehicles — from sports cars, to sedans to SUVs — are on display.

Russell said Mazda has been leading the way in building vehicles that are not only reliable, but fun to drive, as well.

“They’re really on top of wanting a car that is fun to drive. They’re straddling that fence between fuel economy, safety and reliability. They’re doing all the right things that a car maker should focus on and making the cars still fun to drive,” he said.

In an age when many drivers might see a car as just a necessary tool to get to and from work, Mazda is making sure that even mundane journeys are enjoyable ones.

“Mazda wants to make even that little drive enjoyable for you.”

Perhaps no other Mazda model encapsulates “fun” more than the affordable MX5 Miata two-seat sports car.

“The Miata is the best-selling sports car on the planet, according to the Guinness Book of World Records,” Russell said, as he motioned to a white Miata in the showroom.

Russell has seen Mazda Miatas with upwards of 200,000 to 300,000 miles on their odometers, and they’re still running great.

“The Miata has got to be the most bullet-proof car I’ve ever seen,” he said. “And they hit a home run with that design.”

With winter driving on the minds of many drivers, Russell said those in the market for an all-wheel-drive SUV should consider Mazda’s lineup of crossover SUVs.

For example, the Mazda CX5 is a mid-size SUV that compares favorably to Honda’s popular CRV model.

For those needing more room, Mazda’s full-size CX9 is the top-of-the-line SUV.

“It’s their third-row (seating) luxury version. It’s a very, very nice vehicle,” he said.

Currently, the smallest Mazda SUV is the CX3.

“They’re getting ready to come out with a brand new sport-utility called the CX 30. It was just introduced at the auto show in Los Angeles last month. It will be bigger than the CX 3, but smaller than the CX5.”

Mazda’s “crossover” SUVs appeal to a broad range of drivers. They like the utilitarian aspects of Mazda SUVs but also appreciate the comfortable ride and stable handling.

“They’re very comfortable, because they’re built on car frames – that’s why they call them crossovers.”

Russell has been selling Mazdas at Lester Raines Mazda for 30 years, and he knows just how good these vehicles are.

“I’ve been around them a long time, and I’ve never been more excited about selling them as I have the last seven or eight years. They’ve really come on strong.”

For more information about Lester Raines Mazda, call 304-768-1251 or visit www.lesterrainesmazda.com