By Khulekani Dumisa
Recently we attended the local launch of the all new Mazda3. The car is the best-selling Mazda in the world. Available in over 120 countries around the world, the Mazda3 has sold over 6 million units since its debut in 2003 and accounts for more than 30% of the company’s annual sales volume. Locally, “the Mazda3 is a strategic model that has driven Mazda’s growth from both a brand and business perspective. The outgoing 6th generation Mazda3 has delivered Mazda’s renowned driving pleasure to over 12,000 Southern Africa customers. Our mission is to build on this legacy and deliver a product that will exceed both customer expectations and industry standard with the next generation Mazda3. The next generation of Mazda cars will enhance the value of the car ownership experience. Through these products, Mazda Southern Africa, together with our dealer partners, aim to further raise Mazda’s brand value and work towards our goal of building ever stronger bonds with our customers,” says Craig Roberts, Managing Director at Mazda Southern Africa.
The exterior design is said to adopt a matured Kodo design language that embodies the essence of Japanese aesthetics. This translates into a simple yet expressive and beautiful exterior design. The design of the sedan is naturally more mature whilst the hatch looks sportier. A new Polymetal Grey colour that is exclusively available to the hatch also sets the hatch apart from the sedan. Other differences include black roof lining on the hatch derivatives from the Active model. The Astina hatch gets black metallic 18” alloy wheels. Sedan derivatives have grey roof lining and on the Astina model, silver metallic 18” alloy wheels.
Inside, the new Mazda3 feels roomy. This is true for both the hatch and the sedan. The center console has been redesigned with the shift knob, new commander control and armrest moved forward, while the cup holders are repositioned to the front. The new Mazda3 offers two interior colour options, i.e. the black interior colour and the new optional burgundy red leather seat trim which is exclusive to the Mazda3 hatch.
The infotainment gets an upgrade with the new Mazda3 being the first model within the Mazda range to introduce an all-new 8.8-inch Mazda Connect infotainment screen supporting MZD Connect, which comes standard on all models. Also standard is an all-new 3-way layout 8-speaker sound system from the Active model, and the Bose 12-speaker layout from the Individual model. Standard features in the new Mazda3 includes features such as the 7-inch TFT reconfigurable gauge cluster display, Bluetooth phone and audio pairing, remote keyless entry, push-button ignition, auto door lock, auto headlights & wipers, electronic parking brake, new knee air bags and two USB audio inputs. That is not all. New additional features from the Individual model include the frameless auto dimming rearview mirror, full auto air-conditioning and a 10-way power adjustable driver seat with lumbar support. The Astina model additions include rear air vents, a rearview camera, rear combination lamps, daytime running lights and adaptive LED headlamps. The feel and look of the Mazda3 interior is something that can be associated with the premium class as opposed to the pre-conceived perceptions that may come into mind when thinking about Mazda products.
One of the key value propositions of the new Mazda3 is safety. In fact the Mazda3 has earned itself a maximum five-star rating by Euro NCAP. This comes off the back of a number of standard safety features. For example, Mazda3 Astina i-Activsense safety features include Adaptive LED Headlights (ALH), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) and Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM). Hill Launch Assist (HLA) is available for all models along with standard safety features, which include Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Child restraint anchor points (ISOFIX), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), electric Break-force Distribution (EBD), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) as well as Driver, Passenger, Knee, Side and Curtain Airbags.
Engines and drive
The powertrain lineup comprises the latest Skyactiv-G 1.5L and 2.0L engines. The Skyactiv-G 1.5L engine is available with a choice of the six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions, and produces 88kW of power and 153Nm of torque. The Skyactiv-G 2.0L engine is available in six-speed automatic transmissions and makes 121kW of power and 213Nm of torque. Other than the engines and transmissions, various vehicle dynamics enhancements such as redesigned seats, a retuned body structure, and an all-new suspension to absorb road vibrations as well as G-Vectoring Control Plus on the 2.0L have been made available to improve the driving experience. Mazda says they have designed a car that looks at the driver and vehicle as one. This is evident in how the car drives. The car offers precise steering and handles well in nearly all driving conditions. The ride quality is also decent as the car is comfortable and also very quiet inside. Both engines do feel slightly underpowered at times, particularly the 88kW 1.5L. The 2.0L does much better but lacks the punch needed to complement the overall near premium offering that Mazda has brought to the segment in the new Mazda3.
The all new Mazda3 is priced as follows:
Mazda 3 Hatch
1.5L Active Manual Hatch – R359,900
1.5L Dynamic Manual Hatch – R374,200
1.5L Dynamic Auto Hatch – R387,000
1.5L Individual Manual Hatch – R421,900
1.5L Individual Auto Hatch – R434,700
2.0L Astina Auto Hatch – R474,000
Mazda 3 Sedan
1.5L Active Manual Sedan – R357,000
1.5L Dynamic Manual Sedan – R371,300
1.5L Dynamic Manual Sedan – R384,100
1.5L Individual Manual Sedan – R418,800
1.5L Individual Auto Sedan – R431,600
2.0L Astina Auto Sedan – R470,800
Prices include a 3-year unlimited kilometre service plan, a 3-year factory warranty, 3-year roadside assistance and a 5-year Corrosion Warranty.
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