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2006-06-20 10:41
Mazda has always challenged established norms in the automotive business In 2003, Mazda launched the Mazda3, a great driving compact with high levels of craftsmanship and quality and strong emotional appeal.

The new facelifted version is no exception and according to Ben Pillay of Mazda South Africa, the new-look Mazda3 will be here in the second quarter of next year.


The exterior of the upgraded model has discreet enhancements to support the car's high emotional appeal and to further distinguish the two personalities of each body style.

There are new press lines at the front for an even stronger looking nose and an updated rear bumper and new black bezels for the rear lamps that support a sportier and strong backside.

There are new wheel designs and seven new colours, bringing the total to 12, and the line up's Sports Appearance Package is also updated for both the sedan and hatchback.

On the inside, quality feel has been enhanced with new colours and fabrics, along with silver touches to the instrument panel. All in all, these design enhancements give the Mazda3 facelift a more mature sense of quality both inside and out.

Functionality, Equipment and Comfort

Mazda3's interior has always been roomy, functional and comfortable. New features include white driver meters with indirect blue illumination that are easier to read in changing light conditions, a new boot shape for the sedan with hand recess for easier functionality, advanced keyless entry and start system with global closing of all windows, and a 20 gigabyte hard disk drive (HDD) system that can store up to 3 000 songs.

Comfort has been improved as well by the introduction of several measures to lower engine and road noise, especially at high cruising speeds.

For less road noise, new tyres are now standard and rims have been strengthened.


The engine line up has not changed, at least not on paper. Three spirited MZR petrols are still available - a 2.0-litre with maximum power of 110 kW, a 1.6-litre with 77 kW and a base 1.4-litre petrol (hatchback only) with 62 kW - but that's where the similarities end.

Measures were taken to improve fuel economy with engine updates and improved aerodynamics.

The 2.0-litre MZR petrol gets a new six-speed manual transmission, cruise control, electronic throttle and sequential valve timing (S-VT) that helps this engine reach maximum torque earlier in the speed range for even more spirited performance.

Two derivatives of the MZ-CD 1.6-litre common-rail turbo diesel also remain in the line up, a Standard Power version with 66 kW and a High Power version with 80 kW.

Chassis - Better Control at High Speeds

Great to look at, be in and drive - the new Mazda3 completes its upgrade with improvements that stiffen the body shell and suspension system to improve handling attributes of a car that was one of the segment?s better handling cars to begin with.

Mazda3's acclaimed MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension have also been enhanced for better steering response and stability. Front dampers are improved for a better stability while cornering or making a fast lane change.


It retains its robust braking system along with ABS, EBD, emergency brake assist - with optional dynamic stability control (DSC), auto light and rain-sensing wiper systems.

On the inside, Mazda3 has front and side airbags and available curtain airbags.

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