The much-anticipated All-New Mazda3 Hatchback has just been launched in Ireland, and with it comes a whole new era in stunning car design, and cutting-edge engine technology. The first model in Mazda’s next generation of cars, the new Mazda 3 takes the sense of togetherness you feel only with a Mazda to a new level, creating a unique one-ness between car and driver. From the way it looks to the way it moves, and the way it feels, it is the result of designing and engineering – not just to a specification – but to a feeling.
Confident & Energised;
A powerful statement in design., the new Mazda 3 is confident, invigorated and energised in equal measure, while also creating a sense of vitality. Additionally, no detail or consideration has been overlooked in terms of interior quality, and ambience, with a driver-informed cabin taking pride of place.
In terms of safety, Mazda’s ethos is that avoiding an accident in the first place is always the safest route. With the available i-Activeness suite of safety features, sophisticated safety innovations alert the driver to hazards to help avoid collisions-or lessen their impact. Features such as Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert help improve your visibility and awareness of the road, and are amazingly effective.
Work of Art;
The new Mazda 3 is one of those cars that stirs every one of your senses, even before you drive, as it strikes you with its powerful, seductive presence and strong, sporty appeal. It is designed to make you feel like you are looking at a work of art – not just a car. The way light plays on it’s flowing lines gives the impression that it is moving, even when standing still. There is no denying that this is a handsome car, with similarity to the striking Alfa Romeo Giulietta in its proportions. It is a design language that works extremely well, and is sure to turn heads everywhere it goes.
The Mazda 3 first appeared in 2003, and since then, six million have been sold globally, with over a million sold in Europe alone, so the new fourth-generation Mazda 3 has a task on its hands. Mazda claim to have redesigned the car from the ground up, paying attention to everything from reducing ‘visual noise’ in the cabin to reducing friction in the engine. Special attention has been paid to noise, vibration and harshness, to the operation of the switchgear, the processing speed of the infotainment, and harmonising the quality of the white light in the cabin.
Engine & Transmission Options;
Just two engines are available in the new Mazda 3 – a 2.0-litre SKYACTIV-G 120bhp petrol (naturally aspirated, as opposed to the turbo trend) and a 1.8-litre SKYACTIV-D 116bhp diesel with a variable geometry turbo. Both engines have a mild hybrid system that runs the electrics from brake regeneration, and is a system that works seamlessly in practice. Later this year, Mazda’s much anticipated Skyactiv-X compression ignition petrol engine will make its debut in the 3. Alongside it there will be a four-wheel-drive option, which is proof that Mazda is likely to build more than a hatchback using these underpinnings. Transmission options include a slick six-speed manual gearbox, or a conventional automatic, with all models coming in front-wheel-drive format.
Four Trim Levels;
There are four trim levels available in the new Mazda 3 Hatchback – GS, GS-L, GT, and range-topping GT Sport, all of which are extremely well specified. Standard equipment across the entire range includes key features, such as LED headlights with high beam control, Mazda radar cruise control, Bluetooth™ with Mazda MZD Connect, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Driver Attention Alert, rear parking sensors, alarm & immobiliser, 8.8” colour centre console display & multimedia commander, 7” TFT digital dashboard, Apple CarPlay™ & Android Auto™, multiple airbags, ISOFIX brackets, auto wipers, engine start/stop button, traffic sign recognition, Ecall with GPS, Smart City Brake Support with pedestrian recognition, and many more quality features.
My test car was a Mazda 3 Hatchback 2.0-litre SKYACTIV-G model in GT Sport specification, and was finished in Polymetal Grey metallic paint. Upgrade features in this flagship trim level include black leather interior with heated front seats, adaptive front lighting system, signature LED daytime running lights, keyless entry, rear camera, front parking sensors, CD player, 12 speaker BOSE™ sound system with BaseMatch, 8-way power driver seat with memory function (including mirror and Active Driving Display), 18” grey alloy wheels, steering wheel heater, rear privacy glass, metallic paint, dual-zone climate control, frameless auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and auto-dimming wing mirror with reverse dipping. Producing 122bhp and 213Nm of torque, the refined petrol engine in my test car is capable of sprinting from 0-100km/h in 10.4-seconds, can achieve a top speed of 197km/h (where permitted), and can consume as little as 6.3-litres of petrol for every 100km’s driven on a combined driving cycle.
On The Road;
On the road, the new Mazda 3 proves itself to be a terrific car to drive. The instinctive firmness of the car’s platform ensures that the car can be driven briskly with total confidence, while remaining superbly composed, and retaining excellent ride quality. The six-speed manual gearbox is a pleasure to use, with a short, accurate throw, while the car’s fantastic steering set-up provides great feedback to the driver at all times. Height and telescopic adjustment of the multi-function steering wheel, along with excellent adjustment options on the driver seat ensures that a comfortable driving position is readily available.
The cabin of the new Mazda 3 is very impressive, with soft-touch materials in all the important areas, leading to a high standard of finish throughout, while the leather seats in my test car were supportive and comfortable in equal measure. Importantly, the car benefits from a new infotainment system, and brings the new Mazda 3 right up-to-date in terms of cutting-edge technology.
Pricing & Verdict;
Overall, the new Mazda 3 is a genuinely impressive car in every way. It feels solid on the road, is extremely well equipped across all trim levels, possesses a terrific suite of safety features, and is a very handsome car into the bargain. When Mazda revealed the Kai concept some two years ago – the all-new Mazda 3 is based on that car’s striking, sporty design – reaction to it was overwhelmingly positive. With prices starting at just €26,295 (ex-works), the new Mazda 3 possesses all the necessary ingredients for outright success.