New Mazda 3 unveiled 27 | 06 | 2013

    MAZDA HAS INTRODUCED its pioneering frugal SkyActiv technology to the family hatchback segment in the shape of the all-new Mazda 3. The VW Golf rival will enter Scottish showrooms in the autumn: prices will be released closer to the on-sale date.

    The unveiling of the new car, and its projected success, is crucial for Mazda's recovery in the UK: the ultra-competitive C-segment accounts for a quarter of the European passenger car market. That equates to around three million cars a year.

    The new model is 5mm longer, 40mm wider and 20mm taller than the outgoing version, at 4465mm long, 1795mm wide and 1450mm high. It also benefits from a longer wheelbase, increased by 60mm to 2700mm. Luggage space has also been increased, up from 10 litres from 340 to 350.

    And as a result of the new car's larger dimensions, Mazda designers have managed to make a more roomy interior.

    An innovative approach sees the cabin essentially split into two, with a driver-focused cockpit separated from the comfort-based passenger area by a centre console.

    With more space than the outgoing model, the interior includes an infotainment system features a 7in touchscreen display located above the centre stack. A redeveloped rotary control on the centre console operates the functions, very similar to Audi's MMI system.

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    Drivers will also be able to link their smartphone to a large collection of free mobile content on the move. These include a variety of personalised location-based services, radio stations, podcasts and apps.

    In addition, the driver gets a head-up display, a wider range of seat adjustments and a lower-mounted steering wheel. Mazda has also reworked the power-assisted steering, gear ratios and brakes.

    Despite it being around 60kilos lighter than the car it replaces, thanks to a lighter bodyshell and additional weight-saving initiatives, Mazda says the new car's body is also .about 30% more rigid.

    Initially the Mazda 3 will be available with a choice of three high-compression SkyActiv petrol variants and one diesel.

    Mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, the new 1.5-litre petrol delivers 99bhp at 6000rpm, and 111bhp at 4000rpm. Capable of a top speed of 113mph, it'll cover the 9062mph sprint in 10.8secs. Mazda won't release fuel consumption figures until closer to the car's launch date.

    Two power variants of Mazda's 2.0-litre petrol will be available. There's a 118bhp which hits 121mph and does 0-62mph in 8.9s; plus a 162bhp version capable of 8.2s and 130mph. The 148bhp 2.2 diesel does the 0-62mph sprint in 8.1sec and has a top speed of 130mph.

    A six-speed auto 'box will be an option on both the diesel and the lower-powered 2.0-litre petrol.

    The new Mazda 3 gets stop-start as standard, while the Japanese manufacturer's i-Eloop brake-energy regeneration system is available on certain variants.

    “Everything about the all-new Mazda3 is exciting, from the way it looks and feels to its dynamic performance, nimble responsiveness, reliability and operating costs,” Jeff Guyton, Mazda Motor Europe president and CEO, said. “We already have big expectations for this model’s success in terms of sales, but I suspect it may even surprise us.”

    The new compact makes up almost one-third of Mazda’s global sales.

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    Jim McGill


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