All-new Mazda3 revealed in LA 28 | 11 | 2018

    MAZDA HAS LIFTED the wraps from the car it believes will start a new era for the Japanese carmaker: the all-new Mazda3. Unveiled to a small group of journalists ahead of today’s official launch at the LA Motor Show, the car is pivotal to the company’s future designs and technology. (Related: All-new Mazda3 to debut in LA)

    “The all-new Mazda3 is a fundamental step-change from what we’ve offered in the past,” Jeremy Thomson, Mazda UK managing director,” said after last night’s unveiling. “This is not just a replacement model, this is a turning point for the brand.” (Related: 2000kms in a Mazda3 ... in three days)

    A core model in Mazda’s line-up since it was first launched in 2003, the Mazda3 has sold more than six million units worldwide. So, understandably, getting this latest generation right is crucial.

    Available as both a five-door hatchback and four-door saloon (the only body panels they share are the windscreen and bonnet), buyers will also have the choice of two Skyactiv-G petrols — a 1.5-litre and 2.0 — plus a 1.8-litre diesel. A six-speed manual or automatic gearbox will also be available.

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    But it’s not just the cutting edge, super-sleek looks which are new. The Mazda3 will also see the introduction of a revolutionary new petrol engine called Skyactiv-X SPCCI (Spark Plug Controlled Compression Ignition).

    In simple terms it will deliver better initial response, more torque and free-revving performance. It’s also assisted by the company’s new M Hybrid system, which Mazda claims will deliver petrol-like performance with diesel fuel economy, and lower CO2 emissions. The new M Hybrid system will also be available for Skyactiv-G engines.

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    At 4459mm, the hatchback is shorter than its predecessor, but only by 6mm. It’s also 2mm wider, at 1797mm, and stands 25mm lower in height, measuring 1440mm. The combination means the new Mazda3 has a squat, purposeful look.

    This ties in with Mazda’s pledge that the car will not only deliver an improvement in quality and sound insulation — aimed at moving the car more upmarket — but it will also be more refined and sporty.

    The wheelbase has been extended by 50mm, and with the wheels pushed further into the four corners there’s more cabin space. The five-seater’s handling is also likely to have been enhanced.

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    The new Mazda3 range will include an all-wheel drive model, with an upgraded version of Mazda’s i-Activ AWD system working in conjunction with G-Vectoring Control Plus.

    A range of what Mazda calls “advanced i-Activsense systems” will operate in conjunction with passive safety technologies to protect occupants in the event of a collision.

    The newly developed Driver Monitoring system uses both an infrared camera and infrared LED to observe the driver’s condition while driving.

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    Not only does it monitors how wide open the driver’s eyelids are at any given time and the number of times he or she blinks, but also the angle of the mouth and face in order to determine levels of drowsiness or fatigue.

    If the system judges that the situation has become dangerous, it sounds an alert to make the driver aware.

    Customers can currently sign-up online on the Mazda.co.uk website to register their interest. The site will turn in to a pre-order website, probably around late February, with first deliveries scheduled for late Spring. The car is expected to carry a small premium in price over the outgoing model.

    Related: Roadtest — Mazda MX-5 Sport Nav+ 2.0-litre

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    Jim McGill

     

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