When the refreshed 2017 Mazda 3 lands in Australia later this year, it will be the first model from the Japanese manufacturer to feature all-new G-Vectoring Control (GVC) technology. CarAdvice recently tested the new technology at a test day at Laguna Seca in California - stay tuned for the full story in the coming days.
In the meantime, CarAdvice can confirm that the Mazda 3 will be the first to feature this innovative new technology aimed at reducing driver fatigue, adding linearity to the steering system, and reducing the need for minute steering inputs in the straight-ahead position. It is also unique to Mazda products and will be trademarked as such.
Mazda Australia CEO Martin Benders, says GVC is an example of Mazda striving to continually raise the bar. “This is more of the same for us really,” he told CarAdvice. “What we are saying is we sweat all the little things to make the big picture work. Every time we get an opportunity to tweak an engineering solution a little bit more, we do.”
The updated Mazda 3 will be a core pillar of that philosophy, given the solidity of its competitors.
On test, over various set discipline courses, we struggled to actually feel the difference between GVC and non-GVC cars - but that isn’t really the point of the system.
“It’s fair to say if you're a naturally smooth driver, it won’t be as discernible as it will for those drivers who aren’t as smooth,” Benders said.
“Is it a big step? Not as much as others we’ve made in engineering terms, but we adjust as many things as we can to make the driving experience better and better.”
CarAdvice posed the question to Benders about whether this almost imperceptible technology is actually relevant to the average punter.
“It’s definitely relevant,” he said. “Funnily enough, the way a Mazda drives is probably more relevant to people who aren’t keen drivers.” He went on to explain that any technology that makes vehicles safer and less taxing to drive is always relevant.
Above: an image purported to be a leaked brochure shot of the Mazda3 facelift, from Japan
The Mazda 3 won’t just feature GVC when the refreshed model is launched in Australia, either. It will also be fitted with a completely revised electric power-steering system and retuned suspension, so we expect the small car to be a genuine step forward from the model it replaces.
Interestingly, the US market gets its own steering and suspension tune for Mazda models (much like Australia does with Hyundai and Kia product), while Australia gets the tune that is sent from head office in Japan.
Benders told CarAdvice that with Mazda being as successful as it is in Australia, the local arm does have some influence when it comes to vehicles headed our way, while saying he didn't think it was currently necessary to adopt a local tune for Mazda vehicles.
“We are fourth in absolute volume around the world, but when it comes to mature markets, we are number one by a country mile in terms of market share,” Benders told CarAdvice. “There’s a lot of work underlying that success, including working with the dealers on how to improve customer care.
"That links with improving the back end of the business, the style of our vehicles is strong, dealers are hungry for good product," he said.
"Confidence breeds confidence, and our product has continued to improve along with the strength of our business fundamentals.”
Watch for our drive report on the G-Vectoring system in the days ahead.