Mazda's updated 2012 Mazda3 has arrived in Australian showrooms, sporting the brand-new SkyActiv engine and transmission revealed at April's New York Auto Show.
Styling updates for the 2012 Mazda3 also include a redesigned and more aerodynamic front grille, foglight bezels and headlights.
Mazda3 SP20 SkyActiv
Debuting in the form of the $27,990 Mazda3 SP20 SkyActiv, the new 2.0 litre four-cylinder engine benefits from multi-hole direct injection and a diesel-like higher compression ratio of 12 to 1, delivering more power and an improved fuel economy.
Power for the new engine is listed at 113kW at 6000rpm and 194Nm of torque at 4100rpm - up from the 108kW and 182Nm of the current MZR 2.0 litre engine.
Fuel consumption for the SP20 SkyActiv is the real gain for Mazda, coming in at 6.1 l/100km on the combined cycle. The engine is paired with a new SkyActiv-Drive six-speed automatic transmission.
When you consider that the full reach of Mazda's SkyActiv programme - including new lightweight construction technologies - will not debut until the CX-5 small SUV arrives, the SP20 represents a significant step forward for the Mazda3.
2012 Mazda3 Features
While the SP20 SkyActiv holds up the middle of the range, the 2012 Mazda3 line-up kicks off with the $20,330 six-speed Neo - $1000 more affordable than before, and with new alloy wheels and body-coloured door handles.
The $24,490 Mazda3 Maxx Sport is next in line, dropping $1870 from its price tag and gaining auto-on/off headlamps and rain-sensing front wipers.
The $27,360 Mazda3 Diesel adds auto on/off headlamps and front wipers with rain sensing function, and is priced $1870 less than the outgoing model.
The penultimate Mazda3, the $31,490 SP25, gains new bi-xenon auto-on/off headlights, smart keyless entry, push-button start and rain-sensing wipers.
On the top shelf is the Mazda3 MPS, priced at $39,490 and gaining auto-on/off bi-xenon headlights with AFS, rear view mirror with auto dimming function and wipers with rain sensing function, along with a Bose 242watt amplifier and 10 speakers.
Apart from the new SkyActiv engine, powertrains for the Mazda3 range remains unchanged.
The MZR 2.0 litre petrol engine produces 108kW and 182Nm of torque in the Neo and Maxx Sport models, with fuel consumption at 8.2 l/100km. The SP25 gets a 122kW/227Nm 2.5 litre petrol engine.
The Mazda3 Diesel is powered by a 2.2 litre engine producing 110kW and 360Nm of torque, and remains the best on fuel at just 5.7 l/100km.
The top-shelf MPS gets a 190kW/380Nm turbocharged and direct-injected petrol engine.
All 2012 Mazda3 models benefit from improved bracing and welds, and there's now thicker sheetmetal under the floor to cut road noise.
As before, suspension is managed by MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link arrangement at the rear, with retuned dampers promising a smoother ride.
The SP20 also benefits from the SP25's larger 300mm front disc brakes, compared to the 278mm discs on the Neo and Maxx Sport.
- 2012 Mazda3 Neo - six-speed manual - $20,330
- 2012 Mazda3 Neo - five-speed auto - $22,330
- 2012 Mazda3 Maxx Sport - six-speed manual - $24,490
- 2012 Mazda3 Maxx Sport - five-speed auto - $26,490
- 2012 Mazda3 SP20 SkyActiv - six-speed auto - $27,990
- 2012 Mazda3 SP20 SkyActiv Luxury - six-speed auto - $30,990
- 2012 Mazda3 SP25 - six-speed manual - $31,490
- 2012 Mazda3 SP25 - five-speed auto (with paddle shifters) - $33,670
- 2012 Mazda3 MPS - six-speed manual - $39,490
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.