Mazda 3 Next Gen Video Review

Mazda launched their brand new next generation Mazda3 today.

There are 2 engines, 2 transmissions and 6 trim levels, all with a high level of technology. Mazda3 is one of Australia’s best selling cars

Models are: G20 – Pure, Evolve, Touring, and G25 Evolve, GT, and Astina. G20 models have 2.0L 4 cylinder engines, and G25 get a 2.5L unit. Neither is turbo charged.

Mazda 3 Next Gen Exterior

“Character liners” have been removed. The curvaceous body is smooth and sleek. A lowered bonnet, Auto LED lights, and a blacked out grille look mean and fast. A coupe side profile, and dramatic roofline gives Mazda3 a hot-hatch look. The play of light over the curves looks like concept drawings we all hope will come in to practice but rarely do.

There are 8 colours for the hatch, and 7 in the sedan.

Wheels have been given the blacked out treatment ( Astina), and have been shod with tyres designed to reduce road noise. Wheels are 16” on Pure, and 18” on other models.

Further reductions in NVH (noise, vibrations, harshness) have been gained by adding “nodes” to the body construction. These rubber-like pads inside the frame turn vibration in to heat.

Mazda 3 Next Gen Interior

Noise reductions continue in the cabin with upholstery, carpet, and headlining designed to absorb unwanted sound. Holes cut in inner body panels allows extra noise in, so bass speakers have been moved to the footwell in a bespoke speaker box.

Other holes such as the transmission selector, and any other bolt holes etc, have been sealed with improved grommets and tighter tolerances.

Colours have been kept dark and subdued to provide a relaxed ambience. Trim has been pared back in a “less is more” philosophy.

Instruments are angled towards the driver in a cockpit style worthy of a fights jet. All models have an HUD (heads up display) making the traditional instruments largely redundant.

Astina models have leather, but all models have soft-feel surfacing, classy stich details, and simplified instruments.

Seating follows the “S” curve of the human body to make long trips less tiring. Burgundy leather is particularly luxurious. Trim options depend on model.

Cabin lighting applies the same tone and intensity of white light so eyes are not strained, especially at night.  White light, including headlighting, is less tiring on the eyes.

.The 8.8” LCD screen is not a touch screen. Instead, the menu system can be driven via the command wheel and buttons without having to look where fingers are being placed on the screen.

Cup holders have been moved forward of the gear lever. USB ports are located inside the bin under the armrest.

Steering wheel controls have been redesigned to be more ergonomic, and both the centre armrest, and door armrests are at the same height as each other.

Auto headlights and auto high beam are set on traditional stalks.

Rear legroom is good for a small car but headroom for taller passengers is tight especially in cars with a sunroof. The windows are small thanks to a high waist and low roof but it makes the back seats feel cosy rather than cramped.

Rear seats fold 60/40, giving the boot a respectable 295L of amount of space.

Mazda 3 Next Gen Features/Technology

All Mazda3 models get Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Sound, even on base models, is excellent. GT and Astina gain a 12 speaker Bose system.

Bass speakers in the footwell rather than the doors

The features list is extensive, but here are a few highlights.

Mazda 3 Next Gen Engine and Drivetrain

There are 2 Euro 5, Skyactive-G engines: a 2.0L with 114kw/200Nm and a 2.5L with 139kw/252Nm. They come with either a 6 speed Skyactive-MT manual, or 6 speed Skyactive-Drive automatic.

In addition, the 2.5 has cylinder deactivation which cuts off a couple of pots to save fuel.

Mazda3 is a front wheel drive with a drive-by-wire throttle. Australia continues to suffer from dubious fuel standards, but Mazda3 runs on E10 of 91RON or better. That’s good for the hip pocket. Fuel consumption ranges from 6.4L/100k and 6.3L/100k for the 2.0 and 2.5L MANUAL engines respectively (yes the 2.5 is more fuel efficient), and 6.1 and 6.6 L/100k for the automatics.

There were no manual models available on the launch programme.

The 2.5L is my pick of the two engines. It has that bit of extra power where it counts, but Mazda3 is not about performance, it is about the experience.

MacPherson struts at the front and redesigned Torsion Bar rear ends provide and unbelievably smooth ride. All models have a Sport driving mode.

Mazda 3 Next Gen Driving Experience

Mazda3 is a peach.

Electric steering is beautifully weighted. Brakes are progressive and have AEB assistance. Ride is tuned towards comfort but this hasn’t been at the expense of handling.

The chassis is incredibly tight and rigid. The hatch weighs between 1,316 for the G20 Evolve Manual to 1,388kg for the Astina automatic.

We experienced changes in road surface just like the big sister, the Mazda6, the little hatch just got on with it with no fuss.

I had the tunes through CarPlay while out of DAB range then switched back to radio once closer to town. The audio is sublime.

Navigation is simple to use and works well. Active lane assistance is reasonably unobtrusive and applies torque to keep you centred in the lane. It will try to stop you from changing lanes if it sees someone in your blind spot too.

Mazda 3 Next Gen Safety

ANCAP rating: not yet tested (5 stars expected)

All Mazda3s have AEB and driver attention alert. Astina adds driver monitoring.

Blind spot monitor flashes in the side mirrors with a secondary warning in the HUD. Forward obstruction warning gains forward cross traffic alert in the Astina.

Other safety features HERE.

Mazda 3 Next Gen Summary

Watch out Golf, Corolla, and Astra.

Mazda3 blitzes the lot for cabin quality. Looks are a matter of taste, I think it wins there too. The drive was incredibly comfortable and you’d almost manage a Sydney/Brisbane drive on a single 51L tank of juice.

What’s not to like?

Only that there is no Hot hatch version, and none on the horizon.

Mazda 3 Next Gen Details

  • Model Price $24,990 – $37,990 MLP*
  • Engine 2.0L or 2.5L 4 cyl Petrol
  • Drivetrain 6 speed manual, 6 speed automatic
  • Power 114 kW @ 6,000 rpm, or 139 kW @ 6,000 rpm
  • Torque 200 Nm @ 4,000 rpm, or 252 Nm @ 4,000 rpm
  • Safety TBA
  • CO2 TBA
  • Economy ADR 6.4L/100k (man), 6.6L/100k (auto)
  • Warranty 5 Yrs. / Unlimited km Roadside Assist

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