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  • Excellent steering; OS test promises good ride and handling; interior refinement; entertainment system; safety technology; connectivity
  • 2.5-litre not significantly better than 2.0-litre; no dual-clutch transmission

9 / 10

2014 Mazda 3 Review
2014 Mazda 3 Review
2014 Mazda 3 Review

The 2014 Mazda 3 is entering a segment that has never been so globally competitive. With a worldwide trend of consumer downsizing, the third-generation Mazda 3 aims to offer the cutting-edge technology and refined driving dynamics traditionally found in the larger classes. What the Mazda 3 doesn’t follow, however, is the engine downsizing trend followed by many competitors, instead offering a breed of highly efficient non-turbo engines to shove in the face of the now cliched breed of small capacity turbo engines…

From the outside the new Mazda 3 looks similar to the Mazda 6 and CX-5 from the front angle – and at times on the road a quick glance could easily confuse it with the mid-sized 6. It’s after you spend time to admire the front end that you realise it has a little more character and edge compared with its bigger brother.

The rear, too, is also very Mazda 6-like, especially in sedan form. That means more attractive styling, though Mazda will need to be mindful of not joining Audi in being accused of a ‘babushka doll’ design with a range of vehicles that are largely indistinguishable by the general public.

When the original Mazda 3 was launched in 2004, it changed the segment enough to give other Japanese and Korean manufacturers a wake up. With the second generation having launched in 2009, the Mazda 3 did (almost) the same again. The question is whether the third-generation Mazda 3 can have the same impact as its predecessors.

2014 Mazda 3 Review
2014 Mazda 3 Review
2014 Mazda 3 Review
2014 Mazda 3 Review

To find out, CarAdvice came to Hollywood in California. Mazda’s US engineers fine-tuned the suspension and steering feel for the global market around the hilly and windy roads outside of Los Angeles, which immediately raises concerns: that market’s penchant for soft-riding cars doesn’t bode well for Australia, which needs its cars to have at least a semblance of control over bumps. Thankfully, the concerns prove unfounded, and the Mazda 3 delivered a performance to worry many an Oscar-chasing Hollywood actress…

The Mazda 3’s vehicle evaluation manager says the steering feel was based on the halfway point between a car that has electric power steering and one that has manual steering. The result is a tune that makes the new Volkswagen Golf feel a tad over-assisted. Left on centre there’s not nearly as much forced sensitivity as before but it tightens up in a nice linear fashion as you progress around corners.

In many ways the steering feels far more like an MX-5 (which is a good thing) than a small city-friendly family car.

Mazda says the suspension setup has been modified considerably from the old car, which shared its platform with the Ford Focus and Volvo C30 but is now based around the same ‘Skyactiv’ architecture found under the 6 and CX-5. For example, instead of three per cent caster on the front wheels (typical for a front-wheel drive), it’s now 6.5 per cent (like a rear-wheel drive vehicle). In layman’s terms this means there’s more mechanical force being put onto the steering system to give it legitimate steering feel.

2014 Mazda 3 Review
2014 Mazda 3 Review
2014 Mazda 3 Review
2014 Mazda 3 Review

The Japanese company says electric steering, which the Mazda 3 uses, should only be used to make things lighter, not to add artificial weight, such as the one found in Hyundai’s Flex-steer system. As a result, it’s used the physics of mechanics to add weight and electronics to reduce it where needed.

Over the ridiculously smooth surface roads around Canyon country in southern California, our prototype vehicles on American all-weather tyres were graceful over bumps but a touch on the firm side. We suspect this dynamic will change considerably for the Australian versions set to arrive in January 2014.

The new Mazda 3 is available with 2.0-litre or 2.5-litre four-cylinder engines. Both engines are now using the company’s SkyActiv suite of technologies, which has seen power and torque for the smaller engine increase from 108kW and 182Nm, respectively, to 115kW and 200Nm, with fuel economy expected to be around 5.7L/100km for the automatic.

The new 2.5-litre engine, also found in the CX-5 SUV, pumps out a healthy 137kW and 250Nm (compared to 127kW and 228Nm in the second-generation) with fuel economy of about 6.1L/100km.

Behind the wheel the 2.0-litre feels smooth and linear in its power delivery, with plenty of torque in the mid range and more than enough power to move you about town and on the highway. Nonetheless, the six-speed traditional automatic transmission, which Mazda claims is just as good as any dual-clutch system, tends to have a bit of hesitation extracting its power. By comparison a Golf 118TSI is still more lively.

2014 Mazda 3 Review
2014 Mazda 3 Review
2014 Mazda 3 Review
2014 Mazda 3 Review

Still, the outputs of the 2.0-litre move far closer to the same-capacity engine in the Ford Focus (125kW/202Nm) and the 1.6-litre turbocharged engine in the Holden Cruze SRi (132kW/230Nm) that are currently the sub-$30K small car performance benchmarks.


With just 23kW and 50Nm more power and toque, the 2.5-litre isn’t nearly as gusty as you’d expect. It certainly has more pull than its smaller brother but seems to find itself trying harder than it should to make use of its 250Nm. Both models also tend to generate their fair share of noise, which is where the Golf again takes the lead.

Still, the new Mazda 3 is 30 per cent more rigid than before, and up to 90kg lighter, Mazda claims, so the performance of both 2.0- and 2.5-litre models improves substantially, and both feel quicker than the respective Golf. As with previous generations, the 3 feels louder, sportier.

Beyond the trifecta of excellence – steering feel, ride comfort and handling – it’s the interior that genuinely sets the Mazda 3 apart from its Japanese and European competitors. The Japanese-built Mazda 3 has taken a few pages out of the German luxury car book of interior design, providing a seven-inch iPad-like tablets for infotainment, a head-up display that projects speed and navigation details to the windscreen and an overall high-quality interior feel that should scare Volkswagen and shames its Asian rivals.

Be it the soft-touch plastics all around the cabin, the piano-black finish around the leather-wrapped gear lever, the high-quality leather seats with ample bolstering or the nice-to-hold steering wheel, it’s hard to fault the car’s interior.

2014 Mazda 3 Review
2014 Mazda 3 Review
2014 Mazda 3 Review
2014 Mazda 3 Review

The Mazda Commander system, which has much in common with BMW’s iDrive, provides a rotary knob and five buttons (that conveniently fit around your fingers) to control the car’s navigation, media and communication capabilities.

The usability of the system is the most intuitive from a Japanese company yet, with large text (using above ISO standard requirements for text size) and well-spaced menu items in correlation with a clear and easily understandable menu structure makes the system almost as good as the latest iteration of iDrive.

Although the screen is touch sensitive, it locks itself out when the Mazda 3 is moving, allowing input from the rotary dial (which is much faster than you’d expect) or voice commands. Mazda says this is done for safety reasons, but it can get a little annoying if you have a passenger in the car that can make use of the touch screen instead.

The entertainment system can sync up to your smartphone, and use its internet to access services such as Pandora and Aha radio, which allows access to more than 40,000 internet radio stations. We’ve been told the data usage for these services is minimal, but we will conduct a more thorough investigation when the vehicle lands in Australia next year.

It can also be used to access Facebook, Twitter and other social media services. The idea is, given many drivers are going to look at their smartphone when halted at traffic lights, why not provide a safer alternative and integrate that into the car’s actual entertainment system.

2014 Mazda 3 Review
2014 Mazda 3 Review
2014 Mazda 3 Review
2014 Mazda 3 Review

Mazda is yet to confirm if the 3 will support Apple’s iOS in the car system, set to launch later this year, but the company noted that its system’s software is completely updatable (via a USB port) so that it can be future-proofed as much as possible.

These updates will most likely be carried out at dealer-managed service intervals (10,000km or six months).

On the safety front, the Mazda 3 gets forward collision detection and active cruise control, which will slam the brakes if a collision is imminent and follow the speed of the car in front respectively. Add six airbags to the mix and a five-star safety rating is starting to look assured. The advanced active safety features are coming to Australian-delivered Mazda 3s, but variant specifications remain unconfirmed.

Overall, the latest iteration of Australia’s best-selling car for the past two years is definitely set to reignite the segment once more, offering best-in-class technology, great interior refinement, and certainly holding its own for driving dynamics, efficiency and looks.

The 2014 Mazda 3 will be available in Mazda dealers nationally in both sedan and hatch form from late January. Specification and pricing for our market is yet to be decided, but we suspect the base model will start in the very low $20,000s in manual form and the SP25 will finish up in the mid $30,000s for the automatic.

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2014 Mazda 3 Review
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  • Martin

    I’m starting to rethink my love for the German cars. It’s getting harder and harder to justify the price tag in my head for that blue and white badge when a 3 has everything I would want at a significantly cheaper price.

    • John from Perth

      The previous & current 3 has what I would call poor noise suppression – even ‘drumminess’ over some coarser bitumen surfaces – be good to see if the new version has been sorted. The Golf is streets ahead here. (I have driven the Mk4,5 & 6 not the 7)

    • Billy

      Agreed. Whilst I still think German cars are better overall, it just comes down to price. The 3 is a really fun car to drive and has everything you need for a fraction of the price of a European equivalent. Unless you are buying a turbo or 6/8 cylinder German car, you aren’t really getting that much more in them.

    • nelly

      Since when is a Mazda 3 significantly cheaper? Model for model they cost about the same as a VW Golf and twice as much to service i.e. service costs the same, but is required twice as often

      • thon

        A suppose that they were talking about cars, not VW :P

  • HaplessPossum

    That interior is to die for!

    • Zaccy16

      I agree, it looks fantastic!!

    • MisterZed

      You’re kidding? There’s plenty wrong with that interior, let’s see shall we: old-school manual park brake – check! Should be electronic/push-button. Tacky pop-up sat nav. screen – check. Should be integrated into dash. Tacky leather covered auto shifter trying to mimic a manual in appearance – check. Totally pointless. 3-spoke steering wheel – check. Personal preference, but I prefer the look and feel of a 4-spoke. *Huge* tachometer in centre of instrument cluster – check, again, pointless. No analog speedo – only digital – big time fail.

      • azeng

        Let’s pretend we didn’t see this comment, shall we

        • MisterZed

          Let’s not.

          • Brayden Cresswell

            I agree with MisterZed Interior is nothing to write home about.

          • Greg

            You’re nothing to write home about

          • crazytalk

            Nor is the exterior – am i the only one who thinks this looks like Julius Caesar – enourmous ugly nose – Mazda front grill has gone from decent (previous model) to just ugly on this model.

          • abba

            The interior sucks compared the the 2013… The cup holder is open, a great dust collector. The front popup with digital speedometer, really? Analog is the way to go. The whole dash is just too hard cornered. And that display, really, looks like something from Austin Powers. Exterior is nice i must say.

      • $29896495

        If you don’t mind me saying, normal parking brake I think is a plus. Pop up sat Nav is contemporary, eg BMW/Audi and others. Less attractive to those who would like to acquire it when the car is parked. 3 or 4 spoke wheel is personal taste there is no user difference if the spokes are placed properly. I like the big tacho, digital speedo seeing you have heads up makes sense. (The instrument cluster is a copy of current US fords).

      • F1orce

        Electronic parking brake is awful and unreliable.

        • MisterZed

          So don’t use it. A lot of people don’t use the park brake at all. It’s rather unnecessary unless you are parking on non-flat ground.

          • $29896495

            That’s a silly thing to write. Professional drivers hate them as a matter of interest.

          • Noel

            LMFAO……”so don’t use the handbrake”, that’s your best come back? You can’t be serious.

          • tim


          • Poison_Eagle

            I wonder how many cars have rolled away from this guy lol.

        • StevieP

          I’ve had an electronic park brake for almost a year now and it’s been absolutely perfect. It engages automatically when you turn the car off, it releases when you touch the accelerator and it’s never been unreliable. Don’t know what electronic park brake you’ve been using but it clearly has something wrong with it. I feel old school hand brakes should remain in sportier cars, but in everyday run-of-the-mill family cars an electronic park brake is perfectly adequate and totally hassle-free.

          • G wizard

            how do you apply it in an emergency situation?

      • Dave W

        You lost your credibility when you mentioned electronic park brake.

  • F1orce

    Every car in the U.S. market has a smoother suspension setup and more sound insulation.

  • Norm

    How is no dual clutch transmission a con? Doesn’t seem to bother BMW. No dual clutch and no turbo – could it be that Mazda favour simplicity? If so – hurrah for Mazda.

    • Josh K

      Simplicity= Bulletproof reliability. No car company can argue that.

      • Alborz Fallah

        That’s true. However if you want to be segment leader in all respects, you need a DCT. The six-speed in the 3 is good, but it’s not rapid like a DCT and it tends to hesitate, for the majority of buyers it’s a none issue, but it can certainly be better!

        • Dieseltorque

          Both the 3 and Corolla are segment leaders and they don’t have a DCT. I will take low speed smoothness over rapid shifting every time.

          • mo

            Guys you’re forgetting the fact that the DCT is jerky because it needs to actuate a clutch.

            Sure a normal auto is smoother, but that’s because it has a wasteful torque converter. Spinning a turbine inside an oil-filled drum might give nice driving characteristics BUT it wastes energy. This increases emissions and robs your car of power. As much as I love the smooth drive in my automatic Falcon, electro-mechanically actuated clutches are likely the future of automatic transmissions for these reasons.

          • Alborz Fallah

            fair call.

          • StevieP

            Being a segment leader doesn’t automatically mean it’s a good car. Sure, the Corolla doesn’t do much wrong, but it’s interior is pretty horrid and the engine is ancient. Yet it still sells in droves.

          • David Rome

            and lets not forget they are small-med cars not bloody race cars…..who wants a bloody latte sipping auto anyway.

        • Norm

          I can’t agree with that Alborz. To lead the segment you need to provide a consistently reliable transmission that does it’s job seamlessly without qualification. If this transmission is less than stellar it’s not because it isn’t a DSG.

          • super_hans

            I only buy second hand cars and sure wont be buying a second hand car with a DCT unit. Partly because I like to row my own but also as others have said I feel the added complexity is unnecessary and a liability.

          • Alborz Fallah

            yes, but Mazda argued that its transmission is as good if not better than a modern, current generation DCT, i am simply pointing out that it’s not, and that if you want be as good or better than a DCT, you can no longer do it with a traditional auto. You guys are forgetting that current DCT’s are not jerky! that was 3 years ago…

          • $29896495

            Actually there are some new 8 speed full autos that shift as fast as DCTs and are probably way more advanced than Mazda’s effort. So I refute your claim. Until all problems are sorted, DCT can not be considered a viable replacement for a full auto. If it can’t do the day to day grind efficiently it should not be allowed in cars. that means NO jerking or stalling, or snails crawl take offs etc.

          • Alborz Fallah

            yes the eight speed autos in the BMWs is much better than most DCTs, – perhaps i should have just listed the transmission as a negative rather than lack of DCT, but really as I mentioned before, the transmission is rather good, it’s just not Golf-good.

          • LowRezFez

            Happy to have a torque converter auto, proven reliable technology. I will not buy a DCT or a CVT without a 10 year transmission warranty.

          • $29896495

            And Ford

          • fgh

            The funny thing is that in the Mk7 Golf review, one of the negatives you guys pointed out was that the ‘DSG auto can still be hesitant’.

        • F1orce

          Please do state the shift times between DCT and the new torque converters.

          Lets not mention the other many inherent advantages of torque converters.

        • Dieseltorque

          Appears the majority don’t agree with ‘DCT is better’ formula. Try driving a DCT in reverse up an incline. Now that’s hesitation and rough shifting all rolled into one.

        • Neil_Way

          Yet many journo’s point out that DCT’s are often more jerky at lower speeds (where cars are often driven) and often require new buyers to relearn their driving experience?

          I love a good DCT but arguing that Mazda aren’t industry leaders for not adopting one is ridiculous.

          • $29896495


        • matt

          sorry alborz you do not NEED a DCT to be a segment leader, you euro-esque aussie journo’s need to understand the majority of motorists don’t appreciate the low speed issues/slow take off of these gearbox’s, and for the life of me cannot figure out why you guys keep giving them such high praise. The American market is rejecting this type of gearbox, for once they are right about something in the automotive world. Bravo mazda for sticking with torque converters, leave the DCT’s to things like true sports cars.

          • Alborz Fallah

            you don’t need it, but you guys are forgetting that modern DCTs no longer have a jerky issue, that was first gen stuff. Go drive a veloster or new golf, it doesn’t jerk, it’s very smooth.

        • JB

          Owned dual clutch and CVT transmission cars but will not be buying either in future. The torque converter auto is by far the best overall auto out there as long as its done properly like ZF. If the Mazda was no good then you probably got a crappy proto or journo abused car. Anyway you are entitled to your opinion.

          • LowRezFez

            I just updated our 2 cars and made sure they both had a torque converter autos. No DSG or CVTs for me, too many horror stories. CVTs have bad name in the trade, Audi’s Multi-tronic, Nissan’s and Honda’s CVTs are all in the hall of shame. VAG’s DSGs are now legend as being expensive duds.

          • CarsCentric

            I think DCT will be great technology with a few more generations under its belt. Remember how long it took to get automatics to the point where they are a viable alternative to the manual. What really concerns me is the reliability and support costs long term. Those factors too will improve with time and as numbers of these transmissions increase on the market but for right now, I would not want to be one of the people with them.

            The all time journalists favourite small car with DCT, the Golf has been quoted as having a DCT total replacement cost of over $20,000 in some cases, which is outrageous! This information came to me from a inside source at a Volkswagen dealership service department. There have been cases where people have been told the cost of repairs to their DCTs is far greater than the values of their cars! Shudder!

          • Jonno

            VW just forced into technical investigation on 4,000 VW cars in Australia. It stopped short of a mass recall to investigate for “sudden loss of power” with their diesels &/or DSG equipped cars after refusing to acknowledge this issue for a while. It took the death of a Melbourne woman on the Monash highway after her VW car was hit from behind by a truck after her car suddenly lost power on a busy highway 2 years ago but her court inquest only began recently. Since the media expose, many VW owners have come out to express their concerns with their cars.

            This publicity have not help owners of VW cars – resale values have been affected! As you said,”…expensive duds.”

            Have not bought or driven any DSG/DCT or CVT cars – so I am not in a position to comment! However, according to the trade, CVT equipped cars also have had problems with whining noise, reliability and driveability issues.

          • $29896495

            CVTs wine because of the metal band in the gearbox but are generally pretty reliable. They’ve been around for over thirty years.

        • Damian

          So, in essence, because a car doesn’t have DCT (or some other variant), it’s automatically relegated to second place? Now I understand why the Golf takes out every comparo. It seems like preconceptions play a big part in your ‘reviews’.


    No dual clutch transmission is the best move ever. Dual clutch transmission = At best is jerky shifts if it doesn’t blow up.

    • MarksmanR

      Put a Ferrari or McLaren DCT in it then.


    IMO real world price when it’s launched here in Jan-Feb 2014 would be A$24,500 drive away for the base Neo manual and A$2,000 more for the auto. It will come with steel wheels and plastic wheel covers. The current Mazda3 A$19,990 run out special with alloy wheels is good value, only that the actual fuel economy is around 8.5L – 9.0L per 100km for the auto, on the high side.


      The soon to be released Mazda3 base model Neo will be A$24,500 drive away street price when it’s out in a couple of months in Aus. But in 4 more years, it will be $19,990 drive away no more to pay with alloys and other extra goodies. I have been following Mazda and know their marketing strategies too well. Come back here in 4 more years to comment.

    • amlohac

      They wont go back to steel wheels. What they did oln the CX5 maxx was a wrong move, they wont repeat that.

  • GIG

    In love already, can’t wait to see it in flesh. But 130kw for a 2L engine is massive, serious not 113kw? it’ll make people hesitate to buy a SP25…

    • Alborz Fallah

      Aw sorry, that’s a typo, it’s actually 115kW, will correct now, thanks.

  • Sam

    Does anyone know hot to get rid of that “your favourite car” promo thingy. I cant read the bloody article properly!

  • Marka

    From some angles i love it from others not so much. Can’t wait to see it in the metal and to find out what drive away pricing will be

  • Dave W

    Are they sure the 2L outputs 130kW? I thought it’s 113kW? If that’s the case, why bother with the 2.5L? lol

    • Alborz Fallah

      Sorry it was an incorrect conversion from HP to kW

      its 155HP for 2L and 184HP for 2.5 – so 115kW and 137kW

      • Dave W

        Why do you think the 2.5L is not as gutsy as you expect? Do you think it’s because of the auto transmission?

        • Alborz Fallah

          It may be. It certainly just didn’t have that oomph you’d expect from a bigger engine. It feels sluggish down low, it may just be a fuel-efficiency focused coupling to the gearbox.

          • Dave W

            What what do you mean by “fuel efficiency focused coupling” Alborz?

            I really hope that won’t be the case with the manual. Perhaps the ECU hasn’t been properly tuned yet? Or maybe you journo guys are already used to the low RPM torque of the turbocharged cars in this segment? lol

          • Poison_Eagle

            Apparently the torque converter is in lock-up 90% of the time, maybe that?

        • Clem

          Because is a paid review. 2L is cheaper than 2.5L so that more people will think there is no point to get 2.5L since there is not much difference. So more sales to basic 2L mazda 3 to beat Failcon and Comodou.

          • Hekla

            You are obviously an idiot!

          • Clem

            Yes, you are very smart. Go and buy aussie Failcon and Comodou. In 5 to 6 years time there will all close down.

          • Alborz Fallah

            oh yes, that must be it.. i will go look for the cheque now.

  • MisterZed

    What’s the deal with the tacky door mounted side mirrors? I can’t help but be reminded of a TE Magna. Did they also go with frameless door windows – groan.

    • Alborz Fallah

      It’s to improve side visibility, which it does immensely. There’s now a much bigger gap between A-pillar, which has been pulled back by 3.5 inches compared to old car, and mirror, so you can see better coming up to roundabouts.

      • MisterZed

        You sure it has nothing to do with aerodynamics?

    • F1orce

      Frameless doors make for a very clean appearence.

      • amlohac

        And easier to break into unfortunatley. My old Subaru all you’d have to do is pop the window out a tad, slide a thin ridgid stick down to the door unlock and POW… all my things stolen. :-(

    • Daniel Teis

      Reduces wind noise, improves aerodynamics and improves vision by reducing area where A-pillar meets bonnet line.

  • Harry

    Wow the interior looks just like a BMWs and the exterior looks stunningly beautiful. And the review says it’s an excellent drive. If this comes out below 30k, it’s going to go faster than hot cakes. I think I’ll put my order in soon. Much better looking and value (not to mention probably reliability too) than a German car. Amazing work Mazda- you’re showing the lazy Japanese auto manufacturers how to adapt and fight.

    • Alasdair

      Surely you would test drive one before putting in your order?

  • Yuchio

    Nice car, but 4.5 Star out 5 nice?

    hmmm, maybe 4.

    Also the interior shots look like that model tested is not a low 20k car at all…. maybe 25K minimum… This 4.5 star out 5 star rating apply to the base model too?

    I’m just surprise how highly rated Mazdas are in Australia… in comparison to other regions…. from this site anyways.

    • $29896495


      • amlohac

        Why not?

        • $29896495

          See below

          • amlohac

            See above

    • Andrew

      I have to say I disagree with that, I’d say it deserves the 4.5 if you read the whole article… I do however, agree that mazdas are rated extremely highly in Australia, why? I’m not entirely sure, but it probably just comes down to them fitting our roads and driving styles better than a whole lot of other manufacturers. They are making good cars, and you can see that on global reviews of the 6, so if this is anything like that, I’d say its deserving :)

      • Zaccy16

        I agree, mazdas deserve, the reviews they are getting because of the great cars they are making, the new 6 is getting fantastic reviews in the uk, this new 3 looks great and has amazing fuel efficiency numbers, 6.1 l per 100 km is fantastic for a powerful 2.5, I can’t wait for the review and a test drive of one in aus!

        • Karl Sass

          Yep great all round cars and they do it with great reliability too.

    • Blake

      The CX-5 and 6 have been very well received overseas, so I’m not sure what you’re talking about. Also, I assume this is a general review and score for the range, from testing the model overseas – they will no doubt have another review (or two, for different models within the range, or even a comparo) when the model arrives downunder, like they usually do with other cars.

    • Tone

      Bear in mind this site gave the Mk7 Golf a 5 star rating. Make of that what you will.

    • Daniel Teis

      Previous model was best selling (private) car so public obviously agrees.

  • Golf

    New VW Golf GTI Mk7 162KW will be here before this new Mazda 3 is released.

    • $29896495

      So what?

    • JooberJCW

      This a Mazda thread, who cares about the golf gti.

    • Chad

      And the new Mazda will out sell the golf 3 to1

    • amlohac

      In Other news Mazda releases the MPS and BOOM, no one gives a shiz about a Golf.

  • greenroom

    Hi Alborez- Any advice / trial of the 2.2 diesel? If so, whats your opinion of it? Is torque of 350nm available? Thanks

    • Neil_Way

      It was a US pre-launch test. I’d assume most journo’s won’t get a chance to test the diesel engine until either the International or Australian launches.

    • matt

      other sites are reporting 380nm for the 110kw diesel (although take that with a grain of salt, they also said the 2.0 litre petrol was 88kw lol)

    • Alborz Fallah

      we had no diesels to drive in LA unfortunately, there was another launch in europe that had access to diesel engines.

    • Autoholic

      A 1.6 litre diesel would be a more affordable option.

  • Cam

    The CX-5 needs that infotainment system – NOW!

    • Neil_Way

      I assume the 6 and CX-5 will probably see these interior updates at the mid-cycle update.

  • Petar

    What and ugly car from the outside…

  • robbie_mech

    ….and the gearbox and engine wont break like the VW!

    nice work Mazda. unfortunately you don’t make a big TDV6 so ill have to stick to my Jeep GC for now…

  • RHCM

    Sounds awesome…I still would buy a golf. But great that these things are now legitmately rivalling VW. Great looks too. It’s basically a BMW interior!

    • Sumpguard

      I’d go the 3. Looks better by a country mile outside and classier inside and it doesn’t have a long list of recalls to its name.
      VW will need a 3-4 year stint of no serious issues before I reconsider one of their cars. They drive beautifully but are simply too risky.

      • RHCM

        Well as someone who’s had VW group cars for the past 13+ years, including multiple golfs that have gone over 150k without anything more than minor problems (plastic discolouring on the inside of the interior door grab – being replaced easily and for free by VW even though outside warranty) I’ll happily be sticking with VW without any hesitation.

        But I get your point all the bad press doesn’t give you confidence to buy VW. Valid and I’m disappointed they didn’t have their PR department together. One thing that VW’s issues this year have highlighted for me is that VW Australia distributors and dealers are often inept. I think I must have lucked out with the inner melbourne VW dealer/service centre I use that is always first class and competes with Audi/Mercedes/Volvo dealers I’ve used.

        This all being said I’ve heard of dissatisfaction from mazda’s and dealers and owners turning to VW so I think in this price point there will always be issues and dissatisfactions that are poorly remedied.

        Anyway, Golf or 3 according to this review, there is no longer much between the two. I applaud Mazda and am always happy to have other great cars to consider and have on the road around me.

        • Sumpguard

          I appreciate your feedback. The only issues I’ve heard regarding the 3 are service intervals and road noise. I don’t like the interior of the current model either but they have addressed that in spades with this new one. I look forward to a local review on our course chip roads
          On the golf the media seem to be reflecting what I have been told by owners directly. Something can’t be right when a mate of mine refuses to stock them in his used car dealership. It’s good to hear you have had no issues and I as a motor vehicle owner wouldn’t wish them upon anyone but personally I am not ready to take the plunge on VW (yet).

  • Daniel

    I nearly cried when I saw 6 month/10,000KM servicing. Is this just an assumption or confirmed for the Gen3? Everything else about the car would have me buy one, but I cant if they are the confirmed service intervals.

    • Alborz Fallah

      all mazdas in AUS are 6months and 10k – the new 3 is no different.

    • Popper

      (Most) cars do much better when serviced that often (twice yearly). Cars that are serviced yearly run “rough(er)” after the first 6 to 9 months, so that’s what you’re getting (“roughness”) if that’s what you prefer (yearly servicing) …

      • Daniel

        Funniest thing ive read all day.

        • Popper

          Do you have a substantive reply?…

          What I claimed above may not be true during the first year of the car’s life … but it will likely be the case during the second and subsequent years.

          My suspicion is that these extended periods for servicing are (usually) a cynical race to the bottom …

          This trend is seen in its strongest form in markets more open and competitive than ours (why?…). Further, it is no coincidence (why?…) that in such markets longer warranty periods than ours are also found.

          • Max

            When my family bought a brand new Lancer my father insisted on changing oil every 2-300km for the first 1500km. The amount of fine metal powder in the first oil change was amazing. Today that engine still runs smooth at almost 100000kms. After the metal powder stopped coming out dad stopped with frequent oil changes and then did it every 10000km. Running 98RON is also a great help as the burning is smoother. Totally agree with Popper :)

      • Autoholic

        Not true.

    • Autoholic

      Mazda have expensive servicing compared to most other Japanese brands, and people say they won’t buy a VW because they are too expensive to own.

  • EEZ

    I love it! I will try to get my wife to replace her Mazda 2 with this one.

  • Sumpguard

    My single biggest criticism of the current 3 is the interior. FIXED !

  • Tone

    So … did the 3 lose half a star for not having a DCT, or because it doesn’t have a VW badge? There is no way the Mk7 Golf is better than the new 3.

    • Daniel

      You’ve drive both?

      • Daniel


    • Major

      The 3 might get 5 stars in its local review. The MK7 Golf got 4.5 stars from CA in their initial review of the model overseas and then got 5 stars in the following local review. The 6 also got a higher score (4.5 vs 4) when they reviewed it locally. They might be withholding that 0.5 stars at the moment just to see what the local tune and specifications will be.

  • davie

    does the new mazda 3 get the capacitor system used in the mazda6?

  • Autoholic

    It makes the new Corolla’s interior look a bit outdated and the Pulsar overall outdated. It even gives the Giulietta and DS4 a run for their money.

    • Homer

      Look, last time I say it. This is ugly, over designed. When it comes to exterior and interior design, learn from the Germans. When it comes to extracting power and torque from an engine, learn from the Germans. Enough said. Mazda, take notice!.

      • Autoholic

        Oh I agree, Audi, BMW, Mercedes and VW have some of the nicest interiors around and Mazda have taken more than one leaf out of their design books. Several years ago I got the impression Mazda were wanting go more upmarket.

  • O123

    I’m loving the new 3. But man that base radio looks out of place.

  • Poison_Eagle

    If this is how good the Mazda3 is, imagine how good the fourth-gen MX-5 is going to be .

  • Bobber

    Does the screen fold away?

  • Joe

    I think the new shape looks odd, the current model is a better exterior design. The Hyundai i30 and Toyota Corolla look much nicer.

    • Petester

      I agree Joe. I’m not keen on the new Mazda corporate face, the 6 and now the new 3 look strange. BTW drove a mate’s new i30 Diesel Premium today and it’s a very nice car.

    • Vti07

      Toyota will rebadge the next generation Mazda 2 as a Toyota for the North American market. Zoom zoom.

  • Dominique Vøn Hütch

    Great Design, looks better than the A3, A Klasse, and 1 Series IMO.

  • Matt

    Big thing I dislike is the side, the bonnet looks far too big for my liking, with a bubble attached to the end. Proportions just don’t seem right. Anyone else?

    • Karl Sass

      I have to agree, the bonnet is a bit too long. This styling works much better on the Mazda 6 IMO, although it’s not ugly either.

  • BP

    I’m all for the new Mazda 3 but that exterior is already starting age. Much like the Mazda CX-5 & Mazda 6, the design is good but not something that will look in three years time. Holden VE Commodore is still a looker seven years on.

    • Vti07

      I feel the VF design will date relatively quickly compared to say a VT, VE or even a VL. Time will tell.

  • John

    It might be nice to drive but what a ugly grill . its been hit with the daewoo funny grill stick

    • Ben

      Agreed looks like a Daepoo. Prefer the Corolla and i30 design over this.

  • Jonno

    Ouch! This article by Alborz Fallah was probably written before the whole VW issue exploded in the Australian media. Using the Golf as a comparative benchmark for the new Mazda 3 looks very poor indeed after public’s coming out with relevations about sudden loss of power and doubts about VW’s DSG in selected models including the Golf. A rewrite, perhaps?

  • guestttttttttttttt

    With just 23kW and 50Nm more power and toque, the 2.5-litre isn’t nearly as gusty as you’d expect

    Typos. Torque. Gutsy.

  • Astonished!

    “It can also be used to access Facebook, Twitter and other social media services. The idea is, given many drivers are going to look at their smartphone when halted at traffic lights, why not provide a safer alternative and integrate that into the car’s actual entertainment system.”

    Yeah, great! Encourage drongos to start playing with social media on the screen. Big fail! If authorities were serious about road safety instead of revenue raising with their irrational focus on speed, they’d be looking at ways to LIMIT the use of phones and social media by drivers.

  • Dundee

    I’m looking forward to test driving one of these with the wife. Our current BK Mazda 3 is a manual (the 4 spd auto version was awful to drive), and is now driven daily in heavy stop-start traffic, which isn’t nice. Knowing how the DCM transmissions tend to behave in bumper to bumper traffic, the 6 spd auto coupled with good fuel efficiency is an attractive proposition for the wife’s daily commute. Kudos to Mazda. Better than the DCT Focus I test drove, and the response from the dealer when it came to evaluating the Focus at low speed.

  • Jared Tate

    who cares about a DCT, traditional manual is fine 5 – 6 speed.

    great thing is the mazda is approx 1,200kg with sporty suspension so its really good at corners and handling, also braking.. also has a central mount hand brake if you want to do a slide, I like the normal park/ebrake/hand brake whatever you wish to call it.

    cheap to run, good on fuel as well… got as much omp as you need for zipping around town… they also are restricted to 80% of the throttle…. also good close gear ratios for that acceleration you need.

    115kw/200nm torque 90kg lighter so the base model would be approx 1150kg is great.

    I brought the base model and put sp23 wheels/grippy tires on it. safe car, fun to drive especially the manual.

  • Laurence

    Are you idiots reviewing this car really complaining about no dual clutch transmission? When all the other small cars equipped with them are experiencing issues with reliability. Thank god Mazda was smart enough to stick with an old fashioned, smoother and more reliable auto. Common sense has prevailed.

  • chriso

    that is the worst looking 3 yet. .piece of plastic crap..mazda are going backwards in a big way..and this thing where all their cars must look the same how boring.owned a 2010 mazda 3 never again..plastic everywhere so creak here creak and nasty

  • suomi95

    That was one of the major current 3s downfalls along with the 10.000km/6 month servicing intervals.

  • suomi95

    He has made some good comments. The instrument cluster looks a bit overstyled as in the previous generation Mazda 3s

  • suomi95

    Will be interesting to see what it looks like in the flesh

  • Glenn Stewart

    I think the Skyactiv transmission is among the better auto transmissions on the road at the moment. Comparing it to the DSG (on Golf for example), the take up in 1st and 2nd gears is very smooth (the twin clutch major flaw). The 2.0L model in the 3 tries to switch up to 6th far too early. Not too sure of the 2.5L. On the CX-5 and 6 diesel at least, it holds gears for as long as possible (ideal for 60km/h and less). Only grip on diesel is that it has enough torque in 6th gear to shift up to 6th at speeds of above 70km/h, but tends to only shift up to 6th when above 100km/h. It makes the CX-5 and 6 diesels always ready to accelerate at all speeds.
    In practice it really does feel twin clutch like. Extremely smooth in all gears.
    Puts all other Mazda auto transmissions of yesterday to shame.

Mazda 3 Specs

Car Details
Body Type
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
360Nm @  1800rpm
Max. Power
110kW @  3500rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
Bore & Stroke
Compression Ratio
Valve Gear
Drivetrain Specifications
Drive Type
Final Drive Ratio
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
5.7L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:900  Unbrake:550
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
Turning Circle
Front Rim Size
Rear Rim Size
Front Tyres
205/55 R16
Rear Tyres
205/55 R16
Wheel Base
Front Track
Rear Track
Front Brakes
Rear Brakes
Standard Features
Auto Climate Control with Dual Temp Zones
Control & Handling
16 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution
Adjustable Steering Wheel - Tilt & Telescopic, Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Mobile Phone Connectivity, Power Steering
CD with 6 CD Stacker, Radio CD with 6 Speakers
Body Kit, Fog Lights - Front, Power Mirrors, Rear Spoiler
Cloth Trim, Power Windows
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Service Interval
6 months /  10,000 kms
36 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Country of Origin