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New year, new look for Mazda3

2012-01-19 06:58
The Mazda3 range of sedan and hatchback models, including the hot hatch MPS, has been subjected to a number of changes to usher the family favourite into the new year. 

The cars now show off a redesigned front end where the five-pointed grille has been updated, the front bumper is larger to accommodate new air inlets and there are new, round fog lights.   

The tail end of the hatchback now has a slimmer rear bumper that no longer juts out as much and allows for easier loading and unloading of the boot.

INSIDE AND OUT


As for accessories, Active models get a 10-spoke, 16” wheel design while cars fitted to Dynamic and Individual specification sport 17” rims. Prospective owners now also have three new exterior colours to choose from, taking the total palette up to eight shades.

Ergonomically, Mazda designers are said to have focused on lowering the amount of eye movement it takes to operate the onboard system. To do this, the silver accents on the lower section of the hangdown was replaced with black plastic, while the instrument dials and controls are surrounded by bright polished silver to make them easier to see.

The jarring red graphics on the information and LCD are gone and easier-to-read white graphics are now used in their place.

Another major interior update is the redesigned upholstery for Original and Active models.

NOT JUST A PRETTIER FACE...


More than cosmetic changes, the Mazda3 also has fresh features to, the automaker says, improve ride quality. A new single brace bar that Mazda says is “made of stronger and more rigid” material is added to the front to add rigidity and, in doing that, add to the car’s agility.

Ride comfort has been addressed with changes to the front MacPherson strut and rear multi-link suspension while the car’s electro-hydraulic power assisted steering system is said to provide better steering feedback.

The Mazda3 range continues to be powered by a range of four-cylinder petrol engines. The 77kW/145Nm 1.6 litre does duty in both body styles, while the 110kW/187Nm 2.0-litre powerplant is reserved for the top-spec Individual sedan and the 122kW/227Nm 2.5-litre for the equivalent hatchback.

Also unchanged is the 2.3-litre, four-cylinder turbo engine, powering the range-topping MPS model, which produces 190kW at 5500rpm and 380Nm at 3000rpm.

The Mazda3 requires service intervals at 15 000 km and is sold with a four-year/120 000km manufacturer warranty and a MazdaMotion five-year or 90 000 km service plan. A three-year roadside assistance plan is also standard.

PRICES:

1.6 Original -- 210 650
1.6 Active -- R225 280
1.6 Dynamic -- R244 440
2.0 Individual -- R288 920

Sport 1.6 Original -- R210 650
Sport 1.6 Active -- R225 280
Sport 1.6 Dynamic -- R244 440
Sport 2.5 Individual -- R297 950
Mazda3 MPS 2.3 DISI Turbo -- R342 090

Optional metallic paint -- R750
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