ALL-NEW MAZDA3 SEDAN IN MELBOURNE
But now we’ve seen the sedan ‘in the metal’ – and the news is good.
Sharper, edgier and classier in nearly every way, it’s no wonder Mazda Australia was keen to show it off to a select media gathering in Melbourne.
If it looked appealing in the images we’ve seen circulating online, let me tell you they barely do the new sedan’s lines justice - this is one smart-looking small car.
While both hatch and sedan share similar pronounced sporting lines, a wide stance and sharp ‘cab-back’ style, the sedan, if anything, outpoints the hatch for ‘presence’.
We won’t see it until next year, but if Mazda’s Australia’s intent in pulling the covers off this far out was to whet our appetites, it can consider them ‘whetted’.
When the new one arrives it will have something to say about that situation.
In fact, if it drives anywhere near as good as it looks, it’s going to do for the next five years what the outgoing model has done for the past five. (We'll be driving it in a couple of months, stay tuned.)
It is, according to Mazda Australia’s Alastair Doak, “a big step up in look, feel and finish” over the old car.
The interior is robust, appealing to the touch and beautifully configured. If it feels ‘a tad German-marque’ in here, there’s a reason: former VW interior designer Derek Jenkins now plays a major role in Mazda design.
It’s also sized right: there’s room for a six-footer in the rear (we borrowed one to check it out); the boot is surprisingly deep, and there’s a nice driver-focused feel to the cockpit.
Mazda doesn’t get a lot wrong when it comes to dynamically styled, appealing small cars.
It has now, of course, put history on its side, especially here in the Australian market. Worldwide, since its introduction, the 3 nameplate has sold 3.5 million units.
Though dukin’ it out in a fiercely-contested segment in Australia, sales of the 3 here account for ten percent of global volume.
We don’t know its pricing yet, and Mazda is still not spilling the beans (expect it to begin somewhere near the current model ), but we do know the new model will come with a swag of new features.
Included in the list of new features to be introduced in high level models will be ‘smart city brake support’, which will activate (to prevent you barreling into the car in front) between 4km/h and 30km/h.
Also new to the 3 (in sedan and hatch) will be a ‘head-up display’, projected onto a small flip-up screen behind the instrument binnacle. Blind spot monitoring will also feature in high level models.
There are new carbon-look highlights, piano black and metal trims, and a new-look ‘gate’ for the auto transmission.
And engine outputs are new. Initially, it will be introduced with just two SkyActiv petrol models (no diesel): the 2.0 litre and 2.5 litre.
Each however is tweaked for power and torque: the 2.0 litre develops 114kW and 213Nm, the 2.5 litre a healthy 138kW and 238Nm.
Fuel consumption is listed at 5.7 l/100km and 6.0 l/100km respectively. (Being non-turbo, you can expect little deterioration in real-world driving over peaky turbos.)
The 3 has been a global success story for Mazda. The new sedan, on looks, will certainly do its cause no harm with buyers.
If its history in this market is a guide, it will run a fence around the top of the small car segment as though it owns it.