Published on March 17th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Mazda3 Goes Local With Prices Starting From RM105,000
This new Mazda 3 is revitalising, inspiring people to expand horizons. Look at how it handles, devoutly responding to driver input, cornering and delivering feedback with choreographed precision. It even links occupants to cyberspace with a new mobile connectivity concept, safely and conveniently bringing what they otherwise take for granted into the vehicle.
One look at the all-new Mazda 3 instantly stirs the spirit, taking hold of the onlooker before tightening its grip. It draws one in, getting under the skin. A connection has been made, sowing the seeds of a long relationship. Behind this magnetism is the “KODO – Soul of Motion” design theme. Inspired by the beauty and power of nature, Mazda developed KODO to take its distinctive sense of vitality and agility one step further. For an uncompromising new generation of Mazda cars that simply beg to be driven.
Quality in detail
One of Mazda’s priorities was to achieve a new level of precision and quality with the fit and finishing. The company therefore brought together design, development and manufacturing specialists to figure out ways of enhancing the joy of driving and owning the new Mazda 3.
Tension with rhythm
Like its siblings, the new Mazda 3 gets the distinct KODO face, featuring the contoured grille and the sculpted signature wing. The latter flow out from under the vertically enlarged grille to the headlamps, which glint like the eyes of a predator staring ahead. The Mazda 3 was given a distinct headlamp design. Their sleek, sharp shape and clean structure was made possible by positioning the turn signals outside the headlamp assembly. Consisting of LED light sources, inner lenses and a light-guiding ring, the eye-catching lighting signature imparts a “glaring” presence that immediately says Mazda. Extending back from signature wings and headlamps along the sides of the car, they unite the powerful fenders to emphasise the car’s nimble agility.
If the body of the all-new Mazda 3 raised expectations about the interior, then the interior is destined to overachieve. Open the door, and behold a treasure chest of refined comfort and ergonomics, with the seductive charm of surfaces that beg to be touched, and the sophisticated purity and clean coherence of a space that’s more people-oriented than ever.
This first impression is unlikely to disappoint. The centre-focused driver’s zone contrasts with the relatively low passenger side dashboard, which manages to simultaneously impart freedom and security. The asymmetrical centre console marks the border between the two zones, demarcating their respective properties. But it manages at the same time to establish a feeling of connectedness, blending the two zones to establish a kind of balance between the driver and passenger, who can share their experiences: the joy of driving or a relaxing, secure ride.
With increased width and wheelbase on the new Mazda 3 – the longest in the segment – gave Mazda room to work with. Accordingly, both hatchback and sedan offer best-in-class shoulder room front and rear, and are close to it in terms of legroom. The interior is, in fact, larger and more comfortable than its predecessor in most respects, from foot space to knee room and more. And Mazda maintained headroom, despite a 25mm reduction in the car’s overall height, by lowering the hip point of the seats.
The Mazda 3’s luggage compartment offers comfortable access to the abundant capacities of 350 and 419 litres respectively – in both cases more than in the current model. Fold down the rear seats of the hatchback, and there’s 1,250 litres of cargo space. With its boot opening widened by 100mm, meanwhile, the sedan can handle three 67cm suitcases.
Designed with the different interior zones in mind, the various cabin storage possibilities allow occupants and particularly the driver access to items with minimal eye movement. In the front, for example, there is a large stowage space at the bottom of the centre stack, door pockets able to hold 1-litre bottles, and a sunglasses holder in the overhead console. Front and rear passengers also get large cup holders in the centre console or armrest.
Mazda’s goal: Make interactivity and connectivity in the cabin more advanced than ever, but at the same time as usable – and safe to use – as possible. In doing so, company designers set out to minimise the danger stemming from inattention to the road ahead, distractions and physical stress. What they came up was a new human-machine interface (HMI) for the new Mazda 3 featuring an innovative set of displays and controls.
Real-time driving information like speed, navigation system directions, and the status of i-ACTIVESENSE active safety systems, including warnings, are shown on the Active Driving Display. Among the first vehicle in this segment with such a head-up display, it uses a clear panel mounted on top of the dash above the instrument cluster. The system, which adjusts automatically to ambient light, projects the information with the focal point around 1.5m ahead of the driver’s eye point, minimising focal adjustment and eye movement. To avoid confusion, only three items appear at once on the Active Driving Display. The most important piece of data is always at the top, changing according to priority.
All other driver-related information can be found on the instrument panel, which was completely redesigned for the new Mazda 3. It features a centred analogue tachometer with a digital speedometer flanked by two wing-shaped digital displays. These show status info like temperature, fuel level, gearshift information and odometers.
Communications and entertainment-related information (from the infotainment zone) appears on the new 7-inch display, which is controlled either by touch-screen, voice command or the new rotary commander. Located on the dash above the centre stack rather than in it, the downward viewing angle for the driver was reduced from 28° on the current model to 16° on the new Mazda 3. So the display is less distracting for the driver and easier for the front passenger to see and use, too. Whether setting a destination in the navigation system, searching for music to play on the BOSE® premium surround sound system, the path from “home” to the desired operation is shorter than ever.
Open the door of the all-new Mazda 3 and something exciting happens. It starts to awaken. Sit down behind the wheel and feel the heartbeat with the pulsing red ring of the instrument cluster. Turn on the engine and watch as the needle lights up along with the gauges and other instruments. Then the Active Driving Display rises into position, concluding the start-up sequence. The all-new Mazda 3 is ready. It’s time for adventure.
Get going and encounter the next pleasant surprise: discovering how the new Mazda 3 responds to input from the driver’s foot on the accelerator pedal. With absolute precision, namely, because of Mazda’s enhanced accelerator control. It lets the driver adjust pressure for exactly the desired acceleration, also enabling better command over automatic transmission downshifts. And with the enhanced engine sound synchronised to the pedal input, the driver is immediately greeted by a satisfying din to match the zippy accelerator response. It’s a fulfilling experience to be able to get to know and master the car so quickly.
Gratifyingly in control
Under the hood is the SKYACTIV-G 2.0. It churns out 165PS at 6,000rpm and 210Nm at 4,000rpm which thrusts this sedan from a standstill to 100km/h in 8.2 seconds with a terminal speed of 210km/h. At 5.8l/100km and 135g/km, it combines first-rate fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions – 5.6l/100 km and 128g/km – with a respective sprint time of 10.3 seconds, topping out at 198km/h.
Specially developed to complement SKYACTIV engines, the six-speed SKYACTIV transmission offered for the new Mazda 3 respond faithfully to the driver’s intentions, delivering linear power directly to the front wheels while also contributing to significantly improved fuel economy. The SKYACTIV-Drive automatic shifts smoothly and precisely while giving the driver exceptional control over downshift behaviour. But performance is only one aspect of the sports car feeling. The handling of the new Mazda 3 is every bit up to these capable powertrains, particularly in the way the car does exactly what the driver wants. It is all coming together.
Mazda3 2.0L SKYACTIV CKD Specifications
Engine: 4-cylinder DOHC 16V SKYACTIV
Gearbox: 6-speed SKYACTIV-DRIVE Semi-Auto
Horsepower: 162bhp @ 6000
Torque: 210Nm @ 4000
Top speed: 198km/h
Price: RM105,000 MID, RM119,000 MID+ and RM125,000 High