Mazda has introduced its all-new Mazda3, complete with a suite of its Skyactiv technology that we recently experienced in the new Mazda6 and CX-5. Mazda’s designers have excelled themselves with the new Mazda3, it’s a striking car to look at from any angle. Customers can choose between a four door saloon or a five-door hatch, the later our preferred model and also the one we tested.
This new Mazda3 is noticeably improved over its predecessor from the off, it has the ideal combination of a powerful diesel engine with a responsive and engaging chassis. I don’t need to go into detail on its looks, you can see for yourself that it’s a smart proposition, well capable of challenging its competitors which include the Ford Focus, Toyota Auris and SEAT Leon. Notably its wheelbase is 60mm longer than its precursor, which improves handling, it’s also 15mm lower.
The interior is driver-focused with all the main controls within easy reach of the driver. The instrument cluster is uncluttered with clear easy to read dials, our GT test car comes laden with a host of equipment, including a head-up display, something you don’t normally see in a car in this segment. There are four trim levels on offer, SE, Executive, Executive SE and GT/Platnium. The standard echelon of equipment is fine, with daytime running lights, air conditioning, USB and iPod connectivity all included. From Executive trim upwards all 3’s are equipped with a 7.0” colour display infotainment system. This multimedia system is a clever piece of kit, enabling you to view apps, control your phone calls with voice recognition and find your destination with the integrated satellite navigation. The connected services enable you to create a WiFi hotspot in the car, perfect for travelling with the family on long journeys. All the menus can be easily accessed from the twist wheel controller that’s positioned behind the gear lever.
There are two engines available for the Mazda3, a 1.5-litre petrol and a 2.2-litre diesel unit. The petrol engine is solely available in SE trim and produces just 100hp and 150Nm of torque. The diesel engine is a gem, with 150hp and 380Nm produced delivering impressive performance in all conditions. Our test car was equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, a six-speed automatic transmission is also on offer. The manual gearbox is a joy to use with short crisp gear changes, backed up with a competent chassis you can really extract driving pleasure from the 3 on twisty country roads. The body’s rigidity has been increased by 30 percent in comparison to its predecessor which would certainly aid handling. The steering is agreeably weighted offering feedback.
Mazda has embodied its Skyactiv technology with excellent effect in this new Mazda3, it’s a competent all-rounder.
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