AUTOMOBILES : Mazda, Mitsubishi Models Win Coveted Approval

Compiled by John O'Dell, Times staff writer

Two of Orange County's foreign-based auto companies won coveted Consumer Reports recommendations for nine of their models in the magazine's annual April auto issue.

The companies are Mazda, whose Mazda Motor of America Inc. unit is headquartered in Irvine, and Mitsubishi, whose Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America import and distribution arm is located in Cypress.

The cars, by size and price range, are:

Compacts under $20,000: Mazda 626 and Mitsubishi Galant.

Mid-sized over $25,000: Mitsubishi Diamante and Mazda 929.

Wagons, all sizes: Mitsubishi Expo LRV (also sold as the Eagle Summit) and Mitsubishi Diamante.

Sporty cars under $25,000: Mazda Miata and Mazda MX-6.

Sporty cars over $25,000: Mazda RX-7.

Another Mazda-badged vehicle, the Navajo, received a Consumer Reports recommendation in the sports utility class, but it isn't made by Mazda--it's a two-door Ford Explorer with Mazda trim.

In all, the magazine reviewed 194 cars, wagons, minivans and sports utility vehicles from 32 manufacturers in its April issue, and 44 of them won recommendations.

Neither Suzuki, whose American Suzuki Motors Corp. is located in Brea, nor Hyundai, with U.S. headquarters in Fountain Valley, placed any of their cars on the Consumer Reports recommended list for 1994.

Kia Motors Corp. the newest foreign car maker to launch sales under its own name in the United States, has set up national headquarters in Irvine, but the Kia Sephia sedan was introduced too late to be included in the Consumer Reports review.

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