Defining the future of vehicle design and development, a new era beckons for Mazda and the small car segment, with the release of pricing, grades and specifications for the hotly anticipated and wholly reinvented Next-Gen Mazda3.
A century-long pursuit of driving pleasure has laid the foundation for Mazda’s evolution, with all facets of vehicle design deeply honed and dramatically improved, Next-Gen Mazda3 becomes the most refined Mazda yet and the precedent for those to follow.
Managing Director of Mazda Australia, Vinesh Bhindi, said Next-Gen Mazda3 sets a new benchmark for its class.
“Next-Gen Mazda3 firmly establishes a new era for Mazda and raises the bar for quality and equipment within the small car segment,” he said.
“Developed in line with our customer’s needs and wants, we’re confident Next-Gen Mazda3 is going to find many fans in Australia, where it’s been a favourite for more than four decades.”
Led by Mazda’s human-centred design philosophy and with the Mazda3 driver’s specific needs in mind, Next-Gen Mazda3 delivers new levels of quality in design, driving performance, dynamics, safety, and NVH.
Beauty by subtraction
Invoking the principles of classic Japanese aesthetics, where beauty is achieved by subtraction, Mazda has realised a mature expression of its KODO: Soul of Motion design language for Next-Gen Mazda3.
With only two shared panels between sedan and hatch, Mazda has made no compromises to maximise their appeal and celebrate the unique values and personalities of both cars and their respective buyers.
The hatchback presents a powerful, sporty and seductive look; the body sides adopt constantly shifting reflections that create an expression of vitality without using character lines, while powerful C-Pillars blend the cabin with a unique rear design to convey a solid road presence.
The hatch is further distinguished by a unique body colour offering called Polymetal Grey Metallic, which fuses the hard appearance of metal with glossy smoothness.
In contrast, the clean, sleek and sophisticated beauty of the sedan speaks of maturity and refinement; flowing from front to rear in a single motion, the body presents powerful proportions with a graceful profile. All elements at the front and rear adopt a horizontal orientation that accentuates the look of a wide and low stance. Its chrome plated signature wing expresses quality and elegance.
Both body styles adopt a new lamp design at the front and rear, stripping away all unnecessary elements to allow a sense of unhindered, clear beauty.
Harmony through clutter-free, human-centric design
The interior too embraces the ‘less is more’ mantra, achieving a simple and beautiful cabin that puts the driver at the centre, further strengthening the harmonious connection between car and driver that Mazda calls Jinba-Ittai.
The steering wheel, three-meter instrument cluster and ventilation louvers create a perfect symmetry in the cockpit, angled inward to face the driver, who can more easily find their ideal driving position with the steering wheel gaining an additional 10mm of movement at either end to offer an adjustment range of 70mm.
The climate-control panel and passenger-side louvers are integrated into the left-right axis that follows the line of the instrument panel. The new design also positions controls higher, where they are easier for the driver to use.
Information pertinent to driving is now more clearly displayed, thanks to a redesign of Mazda’s Human Machine Interface (HMI). Now standard equipment, the newly added TFT LCD meter, windscreen projected Active Driving Display and the larger 8.8-inch infotainment display are streamlined in their presentation of information and fonts are unified, effectively reducing driver distraction by ease of comprehension.
Mazda’s infotainment system, Mazda Connect, has also been reworked from the ground up. Enhanced system performance, connectivity and navigation functions make for smoother, easier operation; Mazda Connect boots up faster, basic operation is more intuitive and has a display quality befitting the advanced Next-Gen Mazda3. It also now adds Apple® CarPlay™ and Android® Auto™ as standard.
The centre console has been revised for easier operation and improved driver and passenger comfort; the shift lever has moved forward and higher up, cup holders are now positioned in front of the shift lever and the armrest is almost double its previous length, matching the height of the door trim armrest for superior front seat comfort.
The audio system was completely overhauled and optimised to provide clear sound for all occupants. An eight-speaker system is now standard while higher spec models get a premium 12-speaker Bose sound system.
Craftsmanship draws out the beauty of every surface
To achieve a deeper sense of quality, Mazda invoked the skills of Japanese craftsmen to give the interior a finer and more distinguished appeal.
The glossy black lacquer-look finish of Next-Gen Mazda3’s shift panel uses a technology called “two-layer moulding,” that gives complexity to the surface and elevates the quality feeling within the cabin.
That quality feeling is carried through to switches, which have been the focus of significant engineering efforts to achieve maximum operability and a consistent character that is pleasing and reassuring to the driver, instilling a deep sense of quality throughout the cabin.
Further enhancing the premium atmosphere, Mazda has developed a new grain that conveys the warmth and feeling of genuine, organic leather, which a uniform grain cannot match. With the help of skilled Japanese craftsmen, Mazda has introduced creases to leather with differing depth to give the interior a lively, rich expression.
Interior trim options have evolved too, with a new vivid Burgundy leather option available for the hatch and sophisticated Pure White leather available for sedan.
Advanced and evolved active and passive safety for a more assured ride
With these significant design changes comes the addition of new, advanced i-Activsense safety technology, an unprecedented list of standard equipment and passive safety improvements to support the driver further and enhance accident mitigation.
Next-Gen Mazda3 introduces the newly developed Driver Monitoring system that uses an infrared camera to observe the driver’s condition, Front Cross Traffic Alert (FCTA) to monitor blind spots at the front left and right of the vehicle and Cruising & Traffic Support (CTS), which helps reduce driver fatigue by assisting with accelerator, brake pedal and steering operations when stuck in traffic jams on the highway.
Standard equipment on the top spec model, these advanced i-Activsense technologies are also available as part of a Vision Technology option that can be added to any grade.
Setting a new benchmark for entry-level safety in the small car segment, the standard safety kit has been overhauled, offering a comprehensive suite of safety technologies on all grades that were previously only offered on the top grade Astina.
All Next-Gen Mazda3’s come standard with Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) with Stop & Go, Smart Brake Support, Lane-keep Assist System (LAS), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Forward Obstruction Warning (FOW) to name a few.
Next-Gen Mazda3’s safety credentials are further strengthened with the ratio of ultra-high-tensile steel rated at 980MPa or higher greatly increased, from the 3 per cent used on the previous model to 30 per cent.
Next-Gen Mazda3 is also the first car in the world to adopt 1,310MPa-grade ultra-high-tensile steel to form part of its framework, and the first Mazda vehicle to add a driver’s seat knee airbag as standard equipment.
Moreover, Mazda has improved measures that protect against frontal, side and rear impact, and to offer better pedestrian, motorcycle and bicycle protection. Seat design and seatbelts have also been improved to mitigate injuries for all occupants.
Moving to the driver’s rhythm to achieve a deeper sense of Jinba-ittai
Mazda’s Jinba-ittai philosophy demands that the car works in perfect harmony with the driver’s intentions to create a feeling of oneness and to provide greater safety and confidence.
This human-centric focus has led to the development of Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture, which address the whole picture to ultimately create a framework that fits with human sensibilities in terms of stability and comfort, dramatically improving ride and handling.
A new seat structure was designed to firmly support the pelvis in an upright position to allow occupants to maintain the natural S-shaped curve of their spine, maximising the inherent human ability to balance itself, meaning the occupant suffers less fatigue and experiences greater comfort, even on long drives.
Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture further evolves Mazda’s body concept, which is based on a straight framework and continuous ring structures, adding new front-to-back connections that complement the vertical and lateral connections of the previous body to form multi-directional ring structures. The result is increased rigidity while reducing lag in the transmission of energy, maximising the function of dampers and tyres.
The new multi-directional ring structures make it possible to concentrate energy input from the road surface in specifically chosen locations, which employ a newly developed damping structure, reducing vibration that would otherwise cause noise and does so without increasing vehicle weight.
Suspension too was extensively revised, designed based on the concept of smoothing the transmission of force to the sprung mass over time, ultimately improving vehicle stability, linear response and handling characteristics. The suspension system continues to use an evolved version of MacPherson struts in the front and a newly developed torsion beam setup in the rear.
NVH has been dramatically improved for Next-Gen Mazda3, with engineers striking a balance between achieving high-quality cabin quietness and harnessing the feedback that is important to driving safely.
Three sound characteristics that directly impact cabin occupants were significantly revised; volume, changes in pitch and tone over time, and the direction from which sounds originate.
Improving the basic insulation qualities key to reducing NVH, Next-Gen Mazda3 has applied a “two-wall” structure that leaves space between the floor carpeting and body panel beneath it.
To reduce wind noise and improve the rear seat occupant experience, a seal was added inside the parting lines between the roof panel and lift gate on the hatchback, or the rear window and boot on the sedan.
To minimise changes in road noise a sound-absorbing headliner and floor mats have been adopted to effectively suppress that noise by quickly absorbing the high-frequency sound without letting it reverberate within the cabin.
Further to this, tyres with optimised vertical spring action absorb vibrations to help prevent this noise from being transmitted directly to the ears of cabin occupants.
Mazda also optimised the engine control system and engine mounts to suppress any unpleasant vibration on start-up, at the same time ensuring a pleasing restart that is clear to cabin occupants.
Powertrains deliver a key to human-centric performance
Next-Gen Mazda3 offers three advanced Skyactiv petrol powertrain options, developed to deliver a performance feel that provides all drivers with the reassuring confidence of being in full control, along with a comfortable driving experience for all cabin occupants that is free of any unpleasant sensations.
Next-Gen Mazda3 will first be available with Skyactiv-G 2.0 and Skyactiv-G 2.5 petrol engines, with Mazda’s innovative and revolutionary Skyactiv-X available before the end of 2019.
Both the 2.0L and 2.5L adopt optimised intake ports and piston shape, split fuel injection, a coolant control valve and the 2.5L employs cylinder deactivation to deliver higher levels of dynamic performance, fuel economy and environmental friendliness.
With a high compression ratio of 13:1, the 2.0L engine offers 114kW at 6,000rpm and 200Nm of torque at 4,000rpm. The 2.5L has an equally high compression ratio of 13:1, with performance boosted from the previous generation to give a maximum power output of 139kW at 6,000rpm and 252Nm of torque at 4,000rpm.
Skyactiv-X will feature the world’s first implementation of a new combustion method, called Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI), which gives the superior initial response and powerful torque of a diesel engine, combined with the faithful linear response to rapid accelerator pedal action and free-revving performance of a petrol engine.
New era for Next-Gen Mazda3 names
With Next-Gen Mazda3 evolving to set new standards for design, quality and performance, model grading has similarly evolved to mark a new era for Mazda.
These new standards no longer align with the previous model’s entry point at Neo Sport and Maxx Sport, so these grades have been dropped, and engine information is now included in variant names with a letter and number denoting fuel type and engine capacity respectively.
Next-Gen Mazda3 is offered in six grades, starting with the G20 Pure, which employs Mazda’s Skyactiv-G 2.0 petrol engine, and is packed with an unprecedented level of equipment and advanced safety technology, reorienting the level of quality for a typical entry grade vehicle in its class.
Next-Gen Mazda3 will launch in Australia in April, with a starting price of $24,990 for the G20 Pure with manual transmission. The top-grade G25 Astina now starts at $36,990 for the manual variant.
The Vision Technology suite that comes standard on G25 Astina can be optioned to any model for $1,500.
Polymetal Grey Metallic body colour will incur an additional $495 on the car, as with Machine Grey Metallic and Soul Red Crystal Metallic paints.
Next-Gen Mazda3 will be on sale in Australia in the second quarter of 2019.
Next-Gen Mazda3 pricing
Manufacturer’s List Price:
|Soul Red Crystal Metallic paint||$495|
|Machine Grey Metallic paint|
|Polymetal Grey Metallic paint|