We always found the Mazda cars quite pleasant to drive, suprising us always with their agility and alert performance. The facelifted Mazda3 proved no exception to the rule, and what’s more, our test car came with the quite impressive 1.6 litre CDVi Diesel engine, which proved to be no sluggard indeed.
Hans Knol ten Bensel
The Mazda3 facelift is a success. Our dark brown test car looked pleasing from any angle. The sporty front face with large 5-point grille is updated to create a more stylish impression.
The corners of the front bumper now have a larger fascia around the air inlets, new round fog lights embedded in their lower sections, and a lower front lip that protrudes outwards more than before. These changes not only give the Mazda3 a more aggressive and emotionally appealing look, they also improve aerodynamic performance as well.
The rear bumper is not as thick as before (it protrudes 30 mm less than the outgoing sports-grade hatchback) and the reflectors are placed closer to side panels. Seen from the rear, the hatchback now looks even wider and more solid. There are also new colors, like the all-new Autumn Bronze Mica in which our test car was painted.
…also in the cockpit
The designers now focused on lowering the amount of eye-movement it takes to use the car’s onboard systems from behind the wheel. To realize this, they replaced the previous silver of the lower section of the dashboard middle console with black colour, and ringed dials and controls that are used most by the driver in brighter satin polish silver that’s easier to see.
The twin-metre driver cluster is also optimized for better readability and the white graphics are now permanently lit.
A better driving experience with Toitsu-kan…
To deliver a higher quality driving experience, the man behind the wheel must experience a “consistent and linear feel” while driving. Engineers gave this composite attribute a name, Toitsu-kan, and applied it to steering, suspension and body characteristics, along with engines and transmissions.
For example, the electric-hydraulic power assisted (EHPAS) steering system was improved. It was updated with new pump-flow settings The Mazda3 also got stiffer wheels. In combination with the more rigid body and optimized dampers, this contributes to better steering feedback and road feel, especially at mid and high speeds.
A major contributor to handling stability of the Mazda3 facelift is its new, aerodynamically-optimized front bumper. Its lower side sections protrude further forward, and the fins beneath it are larger.
The cruise control commands are self-explaining and intuitive to use...
Mazda3 facelift’s now has an improved drag coefficient – for the sedan Cd is just 0.27 (0.28 for the current model) and 0.29 for the hatchback.
Outstanding pulling power and frugality
Our test car was equipped with the MZ-CD 1.6 Turbo diesel with a six-speed manual transmission version. It delivers 85 kW/115 PS as peak power and even more important, yields a robust 270 Nm of torque between 1,750 and 2,500 rpm.
These very good torque characteristics of this latest generation low friction engine make the car truly impressive, as the engine develops enormous urge at low and medium revs and average road speeds. Indeed, the Mazda3 1.6 Diesel is quite fast in any circumstance, helped by the excellent 6 speed gearbox, and one hardly feels the need to step up to the more powerful but heavier 2.2 litre Diesel engines, as the pick up is so excellent.
The engine is quite audible however, certainly when called to the task. It will sprint from 0 to 100 in merely 11 seconds, but as said, the way the car picks up with massive urge from 1600 rpm onwards gives the subjective impression that the car is (a lot) faster. Top speed is close to 190 kph.
We had some smiling faces at the pump, with an average test consumption of 4.9 litres, and it is certainly quite easy to stay well below the 5 litre mark. The unit emits a low 115 g/km of CO2 (combined).
The new facelifted Mazda3 has good looks, drives pleasantly and has plenty of urge. Its purchase price is also well within reasonable limits, even the extra’s will not set you back too much. It is therefore hardly surprising that the Mazda3 is the best selling Mazda in Europe. We would suggest, just take one for a test drive and be convinced…
Hans Knol ten Bensel