The Mazda 3 facelift has been officially unveiled in Japan ahead of its arrival in local showrooms at the beginning of August.
Visually, Mazda has resisted the temptation to meddle too much with what has been a successful formula for the 3, known as the Axela in Japan.
As an earlier brochure leak revealed, the facelifted sedan and hatch have a lightly revised front fascia with a revised grille, new headlights and a repositioned Mazda badge.
At the rear, the changes are even more subtle, with the most noticeable difference being the new rear bumper, which features some scalloping around the reflectors and less grey plastic than before.
The revised 3/Axela is the first model in Mazda's range to be fitted with the company's G-Vectoring Control system, which uses subtle cuts in engine torque delivery to improve driving dynamics. You can read more about the system from our primer and on-track impressions.
Among the upgrades to the cabin, the facelifted Mazda 3 has gained a new steering wheel, and revised metal-like highlights for the dashboard and doors. Higher-spec models also gain an electronic parking brake, and a sliding lid for the centre console bin.
Mazda has also upgraded the 3's heads-up display, with information now more clearly split into two levels. The display itself is said to be a full colour unit that's brighter, has better contrast and a higher resolution.
For cars fitted with the seat position memory function, that system will now also save the position and angle of the heads-up display.
High-spec models in Japan now feature adaptive LED headlights, which can automatically shut off part of high beam light pattern to avoid dazzling other road users. These top-end headlamps also feature a wider low beam spread and are automatically aimed higher when travelling at speeds over 95km/h.
In terms of safety, Mazda has upgraded the Advanced Smart City Brake system, replacing the near-field infrared sensor with a forward facing camera. As such, the system can now detect pedestrians as well as vehicles, and operates at speeds between four and 80km/h.
In Japan, the revised Axela is available with a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, as well as an upgraded 2.2-litre turbo-diesel and a new-to-Japan 1.5-litre turbo-diesel.
Given that the Mazda 3 diesel was quietly dropped from the Australia range last month, and only accounted for around one percent of the car's local sales, it's unlikely that either of these engines will be making the trip down under with the revised range.
The facelifted Mazda 3 will go on sale across Australia on August 1. We'll know more about pricing and specifications for our market when the local launch takes place on July 28.
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