The new Mazda 3 has arrived, and not a moment too soon.
With stunning looks and a range of ultra-efficient engines, it’s just the car Mazda needs as certain corners of its range begins to look highly uncompetitive next to rivals.
One of those is the existing Mazda 3. We were thoroughly unimpressed when we tested the 1.6d Venture Edition, a car we described as “sub-par in almost every area”. Harsh? Not at all – the small family car segment is cut-throat competitive these days and Mazda is losing a lot of blood to increasingly talented rivals.
Thankfully, the company responsible for the pretty Mazda 6 and evergreen MX-5 isn’t going down without a fight. The new 3 looks even better than initial sketches suggested it would, both classy and dynamic and unusual enough to stand out from others in the class.
The 3’s folding lines are part of Mazda’s “KODO – Soul of Motion” design ethos, seen previously on the CX-5 and the 6, and expected on the next-generation MX-5. There’s no doubting it’s risen straight to the top of the class for aesthetics.
It should continue those improvements mechanically too, with a range of SKYACTIV engines designed for both power and economy.
Economy is aided by i-stop, claimed by Mazda to be “the world’s fastest idle-stop system”, and i-ELOOP, a capacitor-based (rather than battery-based) brake energy regeneration system. Power generated under breaking can then be used to run your radio, heating and other functions, rather than using extra engine load to spin an alternator.
The interior mixes sporty and sophisticated, with a design not dissimilar to that of the larger 6 and a central rev counter flanked by digital displays.
Priced from: Not yet announced
Available from: Autumn
We’ll have to wait a little longer for full details on the new 3, but those can be expected closer to the car’s launch in the Autumn.
Until then, we can only speculate, but Mazda’s initial images are hugely promising. If you’re bored by Golfs and Focii and appreciate good engineering, the 3 could be the best place to put your money – and if Mazda can infuse it with better driving characteristics than the existing, uncommunicative model, it’ll appeal to enthusiasts and family buyers alike.