The Mazda 3 is a compact car that’s been in production since 2003. In Europe and North America, a performance-oriented version of the Mazda 3 was released, known as the Mazda 3 MPS and the Mazdaspeed3, respectively. A second-generation model was unveiled in 2008, with the hatchback debuted at the Bologna Auto Show and the sedan at the Los Angeles Auto Show. An update to the Mazda 3 was introduced in 2012. In the world of motorsports, the Mazda 3 participated in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, the South African Production Car Championships, and the NASCAR Stock V6 Series.
Where the previous Mazda 3 had a technical look going for it inside, this has changed with the new model offering non-leathery textures for hard plastics, some translucency in the knobs department, and a lot of flashing lights on stereo controls. The new fascia is also curvier and calmer, padded with slush moulding that extends behind instrument clusters. And speaking of the stereo, a new system is also in place with bigger, bolder, but simpler buttons and knobs. Everything is easy to control and added ease is provided through remote controls located on the steering wheel. Most importantly, the new stereo system sounds excellent.
In terms of space, there’s more than enough in the rear and it’s complemented by ample foot space underneath the front seats. Backrests also fold down, creating a stepped load bay while the boot itself is deep and long with high sills.
When the Mazda 3 got an update, it was expected as well to get a makeover in the design department. Indeed it did, but what it ended up with doesn’t exactly make it sound like the all-new car that Mazda is making it out to be. In fact, many components are unchanged. Probably the most striking upgrade to comment on would simply be the larger, softer-looking front grille the Mazda 3 is sporting. And where the previous model of the Mazda 3 had a waistline that gently rises, the new one was given quite a wedgy look.
While it’s true that there’s a lot of space at the back, it’s more of made for two people instead of three. This is because the seats themselves and armrests are shaped to accommodate two adults. Sure, you can fit in three at the back but the one sitting in the middle will definitely not feel comfortable for the duration of the ride.
As for performance, the Mazda fares well, though a base-spec model is nothing to be too excited about. Revs also drop too slowly when coming down from throttle and fluid progress is at times difficult to attain because the clutch doesn’t have a defined-enough bite. However, torque is spread evenly so the pull to reach a steady speed is consistent and not at all vigorous. Still, you are left feeling that the engine needs some kind of goading first before it does anything you want. New levels of refinement are achieved though with the introduction of a new diesel engine to the new Mazda 3 model.
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