The third-generation Mazda 3 was initially revealed in Melbourne on Wednesday ahead of similar launch events in Istanbul, St Petersburg, London and finally New York early on Thursday morning.
Mazda says its new 3 has been redesigned from the ground up, evolving the Kodo design language already seen on the CX-5 and Mazda 6 as well as employing a full suite of fuel-saving Skyactiv technologies.
The new Mazda 3 will arrive in Australian showrooms in either late January or early February next year in both hatch and sedan body styles. The sedan is set to be unveiled in the coming weeks.
It will initially be offered with the choice of two naturally aspirated four-cylinder ‘Skyactiv-G’ petrol engines: the 114kW/200Nm 2.0-litre from the CX-5 for entry-level and mid-grade models, and the 138kW/250Nm 2.5-litre from the Mazda 6 for the sportier SP25, which is 16kW/23Nm more potent than the current SP25.
While it is yet to release full technical details, Mazda says the new 3 is on average 50-100kg lighter than the car it replaces, leading to fuel consumption savings across the range, including anticipated sub-6.0L/100km figures for 2.0-litre models.
A brand-new 74kW 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine
capable of accelerating from 0-100km/h in 10.8 seconds will be offered in Japan and Europe paired exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission, while a 110kW 2.2-litre diesel will initially go on sale in Europe before it's expected to arrive in Australia sometime after the launch of the petrol models.
At 4460mm, the new hatch is identical in length to the model it replaces, while the sedan is 10mm shorter at 4580mm. Despite this, the wheelbase of both body styles is up 60mm, creating a more spacious cabin and shorter front and rear overhangs. The new model is also 40mm wider, creating extra shoulder room, and while overall vehicle height is down 15mm, rear passengers are not robbed of any headroom. The boot of that hatch is now 10-litres larger at 350L.
Like the exterior – which presents the most aggressive expression of Mazda’s Kodo design theme to date thanks to its assertive grille wings and purposeful panel creases – the cabin receives a complete overhaul, with an entirely new layout and emphasis on technology.
Headlining the changes is a new seven-inch tablet-style screen that sits at the top of the dashboard. Controlled by a BMW iDrive-inspired rotary dial on the centre console, the new Human Machine Interface offers enhanced connectivity, incorporating social media interaction, email and SMS operation, satellite navigation and Bluetooth streaming.
Also new is the Active Driving Display, a clear plastic panel that sits above the instrument cluster of high-grade models, projecting vehicle speed, turn-by-turn navigation guidance and other driving information closer to the driver’s line of sight.
The redesigned instrument cluster features a large, central analogue meter flanked by a pair of wing-shaped digital displays.
A strong horizontal beam splits the dashboard in half, with the climate controls clustered neatly near the base of the centre stack.
Greater use of soft-touch plastics and the introduction of polished metal highlights and carbonfibre-look surfaces contribute to the more upmarket ambience of the new cabin.
Mazda Australia will confirm pricing and specifications of the new Mazda 3 closer to its launch in the first quarter of 2014.
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