2014 MAZDA3 AUSTRALIA
The all-new Mazda3, arguably one of the most important new cars for 2014, has finally arrived in Australia.
Mazda's small 3 lost the number one sales spot to Toyota's Corolla in 2013. But, with the new Mazda3 hatch and sedan here, and Toyota's new Corolla sedan on the way, the race will soon be on again.
Can this new 3 range steal back the sales crown? It's more expensive than the Corolla, but Mazda will be looking to its new European styling, improved interior quality and enhanced features to win buyers.
Mazda3 Program Manager, Kenichiro Saruwatari, said the Japanese carmaker followed a theme of “innovating the sports compact” when it set out to design the third generation of Mazda's small car.
“Since the launch of the first generation in 2003, through the second generation and up to the present, the Mazda3 has consistently exceeded both customers’ expectations and the industry standards,” Mr Saruwatari said.
“The Mazda3 has established itself as one of Mazda’s core models. It is sold in over 120 countries around the world and accounts for about 30 percent of Mazda’s annual sales volume. Total cumulative sales since the model was launched now exceed 3.9 million units.”
Six variants will be available from launch: the Neo, Maxx, Touring, SP25 and SP25 GT, while the Astina name makes a return for Mazda Australia in the range-topping SP25 Astina.
Pricing starts from a sharp $20,490 plus on-roads for the Neo 2.0 litre manual, rounding-out at $38,190 plus on-roads for the SP25 Astina automatic.
MORE: 2014 MAZDA3 REVIEW
Engine options in the new Mazda3 range include the 114kW/200Nm 2.0 litre SkyActiv petrol engine, and the more powerful 138kW/250Nm 2.5 litre SkyActiv petrol engine.
The upgraded 2.0 litre engine marks a 6kW/18Nm improvement over the old model, while the 2.5 litre unit improves by 16kW and 23Nm.
Both engines will be offered with six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions, with fuel consumption listed as low as 5.7 l/100km for the 2.0 litre and 6.0 l/100km for the 2.5 litre.
Mazda says straight-line stability, tyre grip and ride comfort have all been greatly improved.
This is thanks to a re-tune of the springs, dampers and stabilisers and a new ‘mechatronic’ electric power steering system.
Body rigidity is 30 percent improved on the outgoing model, while the new car is also lighter than its predecessor.
Over 300 components were reviewed during the design process to ensure weight was kept to a minimum, including greater use of high-tensile steel.
The previous 16-inch wheel-size remains, available in both steel and alloy depending on the variant, while the 17-inch option has been replaced by 18-inch wheels in higher-spec models.
The new model is 40mm wider and 15mm shorter in height than the outgoing 3. And, despite the wheelbase growing by 60mm, overall length is unchanged at 4460mm for the hatch and 4580mm for the sedan.
Headlining the features list for the all-new Mazda3 is Mazda’s first ever 'Head-up Active Driving Display', with vehicle speed, navigation information and more displayed on a clear vertical panel above the instrument cluster hood.
A red ring surrounding the centrally-located analogue dial in the instrument cluster ‘pulsates’ as the driver opens the door, while the clear head-up display panel rises into position as the ignition is activated.
A new connectivity system offers improved phone, navigation and audio use, plus access to the Stitcher, Pandora and Aha apps.
The front seats are all-new and lighter than those of the outgoing model, offering more knee room for rear-seat passengers.
Interior colour options include off-white or black leather for premium models, with black cloth the only option for entry-level variants.
Eight exterior colour choices are available, including two new colours; Titanium Flash Mica (predominately silver) and Deep Crystal Blue Mica.
Safety features for every model include six airbags, ABS, stability control, electronic brake-force distribution with Brake Assist and an Emergency Signal System, which activates the flashing hazard lights if a driver brakes suddenly at speeds of 50km/h or higher.
A ‘Safety Pack’ is optional with all models except the SP25 Astina, ranging from $1500 in the Neo, Maxx, Touring and SP25 down to $1300 in the SP25 GT.
The pack adds a rear-view mirror with Auto-Dimming Function, Blind-Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Smart City Brake Support.
The Auto-Dimming Function mirror is standard in the SP25 GT and all of these features are standard in the SP25 Astina.
A ‘Sunroof Pack’ is available for the SP25 GT only, incorporating the Safety Pack and a sunroof for $2900. The sunroof is standard in the SP25 Astina.
Audio systems range from a four-speaker unit in the Neo to a six-speaker system in the Maxx, Touring and SP25, while the SP25 GT and Astina models get a premium nine-speaker Bose unit.
Servicing: Mazda's new 3 will be covered under the company's recently announced Service Select plan, which focuses on flexibility and buyer needs. Full details will be revealed on February 1.
MORE: 2014 MAZDA3 REVIEW
PRICING (excludes on-road costs)
- Mazda3 Neo - 2.0 litre petrol - 6M - $20,490
- Mazda3 Neo - 2.0 litre petrol - 6A - $22,490
- Mazda3 Maxx - 2.0 litre petrol - 6M - $22,990
- Mazda3 Maxx - 2.0 litre petrol - 6A - $24,990
- Mazda3 Touring - 2.0 litre petrol - 6M - $25,490
- Mazda3 Touring - 2.0 litre petrol - 6A - $27,490
- Mazda3 SP25 - 2.5 litre petrol - 6M - $25,890
- Mazda3 SP25 - 2.5 litre petrol - 6A - $27,890
- Mazda3 SP25 GT - 2.5 litre petrol - 6M - $30,590
- Mazda3 SP25 GT - 2.5 litre petrol - 6A - $32,590
- Mazda3 SP25 Astina - 2.5 litre petrol - 6M - $36,190
- Mazda3 SP25 Astina - 2.5 litre petrol - 6A - $38,190