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7 generations deep, the Mazda3 is a visual expression of the brand’s design prowess. Arguably design masters, Mazda has a lineup of gorgeously bevies in their range.

The Mazda brand’s design language, KODO, embodies the essence of Japanese aesthetics. The new 3 is now the most emotional within its lineage of Mazda3s. Rich and powerful, both the sedan, which I reviewed and the hatchback are bold statement pieces within their class genre, rivalled only by the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class and CLA in my opinion.

I’m pleased to report, more than aesthetic improvements, both inside and out, the Mazda3 is a vast improvement over its predecessor.  Small but meaningful design, material and functional changes have been made that ultimately means a better-engineered vehicle and driving experience.

 

Initially, I noticed that NVH levels have been refined to the point of elevating the new 3 to a higher level. So much so, the Mazda is as quiet as the likes of an Audi A3 or Mercedes A-Class. This refinement carries across into the electronic mechanics of the car too. Things like the electronic windows, indicators and other switchgear all feel solidly-made.

 

Added to the refinement level of the new Mazda3 is its extensive list of mod cons. Granted, I had an Astina, which is the top of the range Mazda3, giving you things like leather electronic seats, a glass sunroof, a 12-speaker Bose sound system, adaptive LED headlamps, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, reverse camera and integrated navigation. Base models feature Start Stop technology, an 8-speaker sound system, automatic headlamps, 16” alloy wheels, automatic rain-sensing wipers, multiple airbags that include knee and side curtains, keyless-button start, auto hold, auto door lock and 8.8-inch display screen, Apple Carplay® and Android Auto, Bluetooth® hands-free system and head-up display. This list goes on and on. Essentially, the 3 is well-endowed with mod-cons.

Accommodations are fair rather than outstanding – upfront, the seating is very comfortable and supportive with an average amount of head and knee room. In the rear, things are a little more compact. Headroom is sacrificed for a sleek coupe profile. Knee and legroom are again average by comparison to other cars within the class.

On the road, the 3 is driven by either a 1.5-l or a 2.0-l. Both churn out a fair amount of power rather than performance type figures. The 1.5-l offers 88kW/153Nm, while the 2.0-l offers 121kW/213Nm. These two engines can be mated to either a 6-speed slick-shifting manual or refined automatic.

Dynamically, the 3 has supple suspension that soaks up poor road surfaces in its stride. Not just a chilled boulevard cruiser, the 3 combines a mixture of dynamic agility too. Basically the 3 is a lot of fun to throw around a corner or two. Job well done, Mazda!

If a smooth operator that’s loaded with tech is your vibe, you can’t go wrong with Mazda’s new 3.

 

Plus +

  • Overall refinement
  • Comfortable cabin
  • Pleasing design

  

Minus –

  • Average engine performance vs competitors

 

Competition

Audi A1/A3, VW Golf, Opel Astra, Fiat Tipo, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Subaru Impreza, Toyota Corolla, Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

  

Pricing               

1.5L Dynamic Manual - Hatch R374,200

1.5L Dynamic Manual - Sedan R371,300

1.5L Dynamic Auto Hatch – R387,000

1.5L Dynamic Auto Sedan - R384,100

1.5L Individual Manual – Hatch R421,900

1.5L Individual Manual - Sedan R418,800

1.5L Individual Auto – Hatch R434,700

1.5L Individual Auto - Sedan R431,600

 

2.0L Astina Auto – Hatch R474,000

2.0L Sedan Auto - Sedan R470,800

 

Service and warranty

The 7th generation Mazda3 range is designed and built to the highest standard of performance and reliability. This standard is backed up by a 3-year unlimited kilometre service plan. To provide complete peace of mind motoring, a 3-year factory warranty, a 3- year roadside assistance and a 5-year Corrosion Warranty are also included.  

 

My Choice

2.0L Astina Auto – Hatch R474,000

www.mazda.co.za

 

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