That’s a $4500 leap over the old Neo Sport!
Mazda claims that buyers in the small family car segment are dying to have more luxurious, more expressive options, and so they’ve responded by adding more luxury & expression to their new Mazda 3 lineup. Available as a saloon & a hatch, the Mazda 3 is the second best-selling car in its class, superseded only by the Toyota Corolla.
The new model brings a new platform & new technologies, and builds upon the strengths of the outgoing car to continue to be a highly-compelling package overall. What it also does is move the design along, with the latest interpretation of the brand’s Kodo design language taking a more fluidic, reductionist approach. It’s still very distinctive and very aggressive, just a bit more restrained. Think more James Bond rather than Vin Diesel and you’re about there.
What’s also pushed upwards is the level of standard kit, which now features a laundry-list of safety gubbins like active cruise control & AEB, as well as niceties like an 8.8-inch MZD Connect infotainment screen (with Apple & Android smartphone mirroring), LED headlights, and a heads-up display. That’d be necessary though, considering that the cost of entry has taken a $4500 hike, with the new entry-level G20 Pure model (so named for its SkyActiv-G 2.0-litre as well as its position in the range, which we’ll get to in a second) now commanding $24,990 before on-road costs.
While it might be a hard pill to swallow that the Mazda 3 now better-resembles a premium hatch, the interior makes it a little bit easier. There are soft touch materials damn-nearly everywhere, with a padded dash (wrapped in what looks like leather but we daren’t say), and that standard-fit MZD Connect screen. In typical Mazda fashion everything you see & touch is an evolution over the last car: The centre armrest is longer thanks to relocated cupholders, the A-pillars have been reprofiled to block less of your view, the steering wheel can be adjusted to greater degrees, the wipers wipe more of the windscreen than before, and the seats are more comfy & supportive.
Motivation comes from a range of familiar engines, though. G20 models make use of a 2.0-litre SkyActiv-G engine, putting out 114kW and 200Nm on 91RON fuel, with a claimed usage of 6.1L/100km. Transmission options remain as so with a 6-speed manual as standard, but a 6-speed auto is now just a $1000 premium. Move up to a G25 and you get a 2.5-litre SkyActiv-G engine, with outputs rated at 139kW and 252Nm with the same transmission options, though fuel use rises (naturally) to 6.5L/100km.
Mazda has confirmed that the newfangled SkyActiv-X compression-ignition petrol engines, which promise to bring atmo-petrol characteristics with diesel-levels of torque and fuel consumption, will be on the scene later this year.
Only two options are available for the 2019 Mazda 3. First is the premium-paint option, with $495 added should you want Soul Red Crystal, Machine Grey, or Polymetal Grey hues. Second is a $1500 package that adds a 360º camera, adaptive-beam LED headlights (passive LED headlights are standard), front cross-traffic alert and reverse-AEB, to all variants sans the flagship G25 Astina.
|Variant||Manual (before ORCs)||Automatic (before ORCs)|