Taking on Golf: Next Mazda3
THE SPIRIT OF KODO: The new Mada3 has a sporty design courtesy of the automaker’s Kodo design language. Will its new design, engines and tech be enough to take on the VW’s Golf? Image: Mazda.
The new Mazda3, the third-generation of its best-selling car, sports a new design, engines and loads of tech. The Japanese automaker has only revealed the model in hatchback guise but promises that a four-door sedan is on the way.
The new hatchback benefits from the automaker’s Kodo design language already seen on the Mazda6 and CX-5.
Wheels24 is still waiting on confirmation from Ford South Africa as to whether the new model will arrive on our shores. Ford South Africa media communications manager Rella Bernades said: “Unfortunately we do not have dates when the new Mazda3 will arrive in South Africa.”
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The hatchback borrows elements from the Mazda6 sedan and adds a more assertive grille, sleek LEDs and a curvaceous rear.
The model is slightly wider than the previous generation, with a width of 1.7m (increased by10mm) and sits 20mm lower at 1.4m. The length stays roughly unchanged at 4.4m and it wheelbase has increased by 60 mm to 2.7m.
Mazda has increased structural rigidity by 30% and reduced the mode’s weight by 90kg.
Mazda Europe CEO Jeff Guyton said: “Everything about the all-new Mazda3 is exciting, from the way it looks and feels to its dynamic performance, nimble responsiveness, reliability and operating costs.
“We already have big expectations for this model’s success in terms of sales, but I suspect it may even surprise us.”
The full global engine line-up includes three new Skyactiv-G normally aspirated petrol units and a Skyactiv-D turbodiesel. The European engine line-up includes an entry-level petrol is a 98kW/150Nm 1.5, followed by a 118kW/210Nm 2.0 and a 162kW/210Nm 2.0. There’s also a 147kW/380Nm 2.2 diesel.
Japanese customers will have the option of a hybrid model, which the automaker has yet to unveil. The engine can be mated to either six-speed manual or auto.
Like its design, a similar inheritance takes place inside the new model courtesy of Mazda's Skyactiv components and its latest driver aids.
The interior sports Mazda’s new “human-machine” interface' system, based on the heads-up concept. A 17cm touch screen sits atop the centre console, along with a new head-up display that flips up from behind the instrumentation. Boot space is rated at 350 liters (an increase of 10 liters).
The Mazda3 has blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, forward obstruction warning, cruise control and smart city brake support (SCBS). The smart brake support automatically applies the brakes if a gap with a vehicle in front narrows and the SCBS augments braking force at city-driving speeds.