Mazda has unveiled a range of updates for the brand's popular 2021 Mazda 3 small car in Japan, though it's unclear whether the changes will make their way to Australia.
Headlining the updates – at least those most relevant to Australian customers – are upgrades for the recently-introduced, breakthrough SkyActiv-X petrol engine.
Improvements to the engine's headline spark-controlled compression ignition (SPCCI) combustion process and software updates for the engine and transmission control units have enabled a bump in outputs to 140kW of power and 240Nm of torque.
Those figures represent an 8kW/16Nm increase over the 2.0-litre, 24-volt mild-hybrid mill's existing 132kW/224Nm outputs, and are 1kW up (though 12Nm down) over cheaper 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated 'SkyActiv-G' petrol models offered in Australia.
Above and throughout story: Japanese market 2021 Mazda 3 e-SkyActiv-X
While not available Down Under, the 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine offered with Japanese Mazda 3s has also seen a power increase from 85kW to 95kW, following revisions to the combustion process and sharper powertrain response above 3000rpm.
Refinement across the range claims to have been improved, thanks to revised coil springs and dampers that improve the suspension's movement and "[suppress] vibration transmitted from the road surface to the inside of the vehicle, improving dynamics performance and riding comfort."
The MY21 Mazda 3's adaptive cruise control feature has been tweaked to improve its smoothness and "better suit human characteristics", while the maximum operating speed of the car's 'Cruise & Traffic Support' system – which, according to Mazda, "can assist with driver fatigue by automatically operating the accelerator and brake pedals... and [assist] with steering to keep the car in its proper lane" – has been increased from 55km/h to "the high-speed range".
The updated 2021 Mazda 3 is now on sale in Japan, with prices in its home market ranging from 2,221,389 yen (AU$29,300) to 3,688,463 yen (AU$48,700).
It's unclear if or when the changes for Japan will be brought over to Australian-delivered 3 hatch and sedan models – we'd wager the uprated SkyActiv-X engine, revised suspension and upgraded safety systems will arrive as part of a running model-year update, likely sometime in 2021.
CarAdvice has contacted Mazda Australia for official timing information – this story will be updated with its response.