There are nine variants in the facelifted line-up, each equipped with the company’s much-praised bundle of SkyActiv technologies, including the new G-Vectoring Control, a safety system that varies engine torque according to the steering angle to improve stability and passenger comfort.
“The vehicle features revolutionary technologies that not only offer our customers safety and peace of mind, but deliver one of the most exhilarating driving experiences yet,” said Clearwater.
Styling revisions to the exterior include a new grille for what Mazda calls a “stronger three-dimensional look”. Changes on the inside are mostly about upgraded materials and the use here and there of satin chrome and metallic finishing.
Four sedans are priced between $32,795 and $47,495 and five hatchbacks also between $32,795 and $47,495. Four get a 2.0-litre engine, five a 2.5-litre unit. Eight of the nine get six-speed automatic transmissions. The only manual in the mix is the 2.5-litre SP25, at $38,395.
The Mazda3 had recorded 1640 registrations at the end of last month, said Motoring Industry Association figures, behind leader Toyota Corolla (3099) and the second-placed Suzuki Swift (1723). Corolla’s numbers included 1024 rentals, or 33 per cent of the total; Mazda3’s included 365, or 22 per cent.
Of the top 15 sellers at the end of August, six were cars (Corolla, Swift, Mazda3, Holden Commodore, Toyoya Yaris, Honda Jazz) and nine were SUVs (Toyota RAV4, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson, Hyundai Santa Fe, Toyota Highlander, Holden Captiva, Nissan Qashqai, Nissan X-Trail). See the accompanying illustration.
All Mazda3 models get a electric parking brake, which frees up space for a new centre design console. There’s a updated steering wheel design with a smaller centre pad and switches on a single level. The steering wheel is wrapped in genuine leather.
The driving display has been enhanced with information on the driving environment displayed on the top half of the screen and information on the vehicle below. It is also easier to read with upgraded colour, brightness, definition and contrast, says Mazda.
All models feature a black cloth trim, while the SP25 Limited model has black leather and the option of pure white leather. There are eight exterior colours, including three new additions – machine grey premium metallic, sonic silver metallic and eternal blue mica.