By George Polgar

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Ranking just 16th in US car sales, MAZDA has managed to carve itself an outsized record and reputation. Sales through October were up over 8 percent, and the brand has been racking up accolades for the MAZDA6 as best mid-sized sedan nudging out class leaders like the Toyota Camry.

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The value, design and performance package of the MAZDA3 has been put in the top 10 of every major economy car list, and it scores big with its low cost of ownership rating by Kelley Bluebook.

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The 25th anniversary of the MAZDA MX-5 has given the brand a nostalgic glow as it prepares to introduce the all-new 4th generation of the car, which most people still stubbornly refer to as the Miata.

A longtime tenet of the MAZDA marketing message has been its performance reputation, burnished by the distinction of being the leading brand participant overall in motorsports in the US.

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The newest $24,000 2016 MAZDA6 I Touring takes its cues from the track with an aggressive pairing of the high efficiency Skyactive 184 horsepower 4-cylinder engine, a 6-speed manual transmission and fun-to-drive front wheel drive action.