On the political hotbed that is a schoolyard playground, the popular youngsters can easily usually be divided in to three categories: Those that have actually a track record for being cool and everyone desires to be their friend, those that throw the most effective parties and those that carry the respect of their classmates and have actually much more genuine friends compared to anyone.
A similar triumvirate tends to comprise the podium for Australia’s best-selling brand-new cars, which regularly shifts between the Toyota Corolla, Hyundai i30 and Mazda3 small cars.
The Toyota Corolla is most regularly at the top because of the loyalty of the two private and fleet buyers, the i30 appears to rise to the top whenever it’s on sale for $19,990 drive away, yet it’s the Mazda3 that much more Australians personally go with to spend their own hard made on month in, month out.
The third-generation Mazda3 arrived on our shores in February 2014, along with the mew SkyActiv-platform based model replacing the hugely popular second generation that still used a great deal of Ford components after the era of Blue Oval ownership ended in 2010.
The 3 line-up is divided in to Neo, Maxx, Touring, SP25, SP25 GT, SP25 Astina and XD Astina trim levels, along with all of offering a choice between manual and auto transmissions for an additional $2000. Similarly, all of bar the XD Astina are available along with a choice of sedan and five-door hatch at equal prices, along with the top-spec diesel sticking to the hatchback bodystyle.
The Mazda3 range competes well for value, yet boasts a broader line-up compared to its competitors along with list pricing that spans all of the method from $20,490 – $41,290 devoid of a fully-fledged performance model.
The range scored a minor update in February, 2015, which saw rear parking sensors become standard on all of petrol models along along with fee reductions for most variants.
The entry-degree Neo additionally stepped up from hubcaps and steel wheels to 16-inch alloys, yet continues to miss out on out on the standard reversing camera that comes along with all of various other 3 models. Maxx and Touring models additionally receive front fog lamps.
The 2.0-litre petrol base Neo (from $20,490) is the only model in the range to miss out on out on the great MZD Connect multimedia system along with touchscreen, yet it does come along with push-button begin and a rear spoiler on the hatch.
The Maxx (from $22,390) adds the MZD system along with satnav and a reversing camera, a leather steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake, plus paddle shifters for the auto.
The much more luxurious Touring (from $24,790) gets leather seat trim and driver’s lumbar adjustment, dual-zone climate control, overhead sunglasses storage, illuminated mirrors in the sunvisors, and auto headlights and wipers.
The sports-flavoured SP25 (from $25,190) is based on the Maxx trim level, yet actions up to the bigger 2.5-litre petrol engine and 18 inch wheels and adds dual-zone climate control, proximity keys, auto headlights and wipers and a subtle bootlid spoiler for the sedan as well.
The SP25 GT (from $29,790) adds leather seat trim, energy adjustable front seats along with heaters, heads up display, overhead sunglasses storage, auto dimming rearview mirror, daytime operating lights, Xenon headlights along with energetic beams, LED taillights, heated rearview mirrors, illuminated mirrors in the sunvisors and nine-speaker Bose audio.
The SP25 Astina (from $35,040) brings every one of the optional safety gear as standard, including AEB, energetic cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, forward collision alert, auto higher beams, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert. The Astina additionally adds an electric sunroof.
The diesel XD Astina (from $39,290) tops off the entire Mazda3 range along with Alcantara inserts for the leather seats, a shadow chrome complete to the 18-inch alloys, red-outlined front grille, LED front foglamps, gloss black rear bumper insert, yet misses out on the standard rear parking sensors found on all of petrol models.
The XD Astina additionally scores the i-Eloop power recovery system from the Mazda6, revised rear dampers and subtle augmentation of the exhaust note through the cabin speakers. all of Mazda3s come along with four cupholders and a bottle holder in each adverse door.
There are two ISOFIX kid seat mounts across the range, and the two hatch and sedan spine seats split-fold 60/40.
With the spine seat upright, the hatch has actually a practical 308 litres VDA of cargo space, while the longer-tailed sedan has actually a 408-litre VDA boot. all of Mazda3s have actually a steel spacesaver spare wheel under the boot floor.
Engines and transmissions
The Neo, Maxx and Touring models are powered by a direct-injected 114kW/200Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, which can easily be paired along with either a six-speed manual or six-speed torque converter automatic transmission.
The sportier SP25 models come along with the 138kW/250Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine found in the Mazda6 and CX-5, and is additionally available along with six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.
The top XD Astina hatch continues as the only Mazda3 available along with the 129kW/420Nm 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, along along with its choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.
All come along with a switchable stop/begin system and the petrol models impressively accept Normal Unleaded petrol, where some rivals insist on Premium fuel.
Fuel consumption ranges from 5.7L/100km combined (auto sedan) for the 2.0-litre petrol, along with the manual transmission and hatch bodystyle each shifting this figure upwards by 0.1L/100km.
The 2.5-litre petrol still manages 6.0L/100km combined (auto sedan), along with the hatch adding 0.1L/100km and the manual officially consumes 6.5L/100km along with either bodystyle.
The 2.2-litre XD Astina is unsurprisingly the fuel consumption king, carrying a 5.2L/100km official combined figure in the auto, and reverses the trend along with the petrols by using 0.2L/100km much less once paired along with the manual.
The current Mazda3’s stunning Kodo looks balance overall form along with practicality well. Rear headroom and boot space could be slightly down on the second-generation, yet there’s still plenty of room on the spine seat for two standard height adults, and cargo space is concerning standard for its class.
The impressive looks keep on through to the interior, along with even the base Neo obtaining sculpted forms for the dash and door trims that are a cut above its competition for looks.
The seats are comfortable and supportive on all of variants, and the perforated leather on the Touring and SP25 GT upwards breathes a lot much better on hot days compared to conventional leather seats.
Selected colours come along with a choice between black and off-white leather on the upper models, and while the white could look luxurious, the black is far much more resistant to scuffs and lasting damage.
The MZD Connect multimedia system standard on all of Mazda3s from the Maxx upwards is one of the most user-friendly in the industry, along with a choice of click-wheel or touchscreen controls, and the latter is deactivated once the auto is in motion.
On the road, the 2.0-litre engine is the smoother and quieter of both petrols, along with enough performance to carry four adults on long journeys comfortably.
Both petrols do make a bit of a racket at better revs, and while the 2.5-litre’s additional urge is pronounced, the 2.0 is ultimately the sweeter of the two.
Neither petrol engine is able to suit the reduced down urge of a smaller sized capacity turbo, yet are still fairly tractable regardless.
If it’s simple performance you’re after, the XD Astina’s turbodiesel has actually it in spades. While it could be a smidge slower accelerating to 100 compared to the 2.5 petrol, it’s generally quicker under rolling acceleration, along with the responsive twin-turbo set-up seemingly prepared to fire at all of times.
Regardless of engine, the auto transmission has actually clearly been tuned for fuel-efficiency over performance, along with a tendency to hold taller gears unless the throttle is provided a great stab to induce kickdown.
The 3 is yet to score the switchable Sport mode fitted to the Mazda2 and 6 to offer drivers the choice between auto efficiency and performance, yet the paddle shifters fitted to all of autos from the Maxx upwards offer the driver the option of overriding the gear choices.
On the various other hand, the six-speed manual is a peach of a transmission, along with a short throw and clearly defined gates. If you’re tossing up between the two, guarantee you drive the two selections first.
All 3s deliver on the ‘Zoom-Zoom’ expectation of above standard handling dynamics, along with independent rear suspension and good resistance to bodyroll and controllability at the limit.
The steering isn’t fairly MX-5-special, yet is consistent in its feel along with the exact same thick-rimmed, small-diameter steering wheel as the rest of the Mazda passenger auto line-up.
The 2.0-litre models’ smaller sized 16-inch wheels and resulting taller sidewalls make for a much more supple ride compared to the 2.5 and diesel’s 18-inchers, yet the two tend to make much more road noise compared to the likes of a VW Golf.
All petrol Mazda3s carry a max five-star ANCAP safety rating, along with dual front and adverse airbags plus curtain airbags covering front and rear. The diesel models are identically specced, yet are yet to be individually crash tested.
Every 3 along with the exception of the fully-specced Astinas can easily be optioned along with a factory-fitted Safety Pack, which adds blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and AEB. On the Neo and Maxx the Safety Group additionally adds an auto-dimming rear view mirror which is standard further up the range.