So-called facelifts are part of the automaker's fixed program. And the more important they become, the faster the pace for new technologies, such as LED light, assistance systems and connectivity. Anyone who loses the connection here quickly follows.
Mazda grants its compact model Mazda3, the bestseller in the portfolio worldwide, in Germany after the two SUVs CX-5 and the smaller CX-3 the third best-selling vehicle in the program, the revision after three years. The refresh does not include the outer skin but rather the interior and the technology. You have to put old and new side by side to see the differences immediately. At the front, the Mazda3 got a more distinctive grill and flatter LED headlights. On the side there are new exterior mirrors with larger indicators and newly styled 18-inch rims, the rear is adorned with a modified bumper. The sheet remained as it is. Such changes would quickly cost millions due to the expensive pressing tools and are not worth the effort.
Of course, the developers deliberately made the interior. The requirement: a perceived better quality. Means: higher quality materials and more precise processing. This has been achieved. The surfaces look pleasant. Hard plastic was banished. Likewise the hand brake lever. Instead of it there is an electric parking brake and at the same time more space on the center console. Two cupholders are now holding small beverage bottles here. The new steering wheel with the thinner spokes and the closer buttons catches the eye immediately. The result: a nicer look, easier operation. For the first time there is a steering wheel heater for an additional charge.
The colored head-up display is also new. It has been enlarged in the display and now shows the speed sign because a higher quality camera has been installed. However, if you want to enjoy the head-up display, you have to dig deep into your pocket. The extra does not only require the Exclusive equipment line, which has been repositioned between the Center and Sports Line, you also have to tick the navigation system beforehand. Mazda charges a total of 1.340 euros. The so-called i-ActiveSense package also includes a reversing camera and a city emergency braking function.
In terms of drive technology, Mazda's engineers left (almost) everything the same. At the market launch next February, the customer can choose between three petrol engines with 100, 120 or 165 hp and two diesel units with 105 or 150 hp. The 100 PS petrol engine is practically irrelevant. It is only available as a till model in the basic configuration. Almost no extras can be ordered. The 120 hp version is definitely better served. It showed itself on the test drive as a solid model with sufficient performance. 5,1 liters, as the norm states, are utopian. Consumption levels out between seven and eight liters. Reason: The torque of 210 Newton meters is only at 4.000 revolutions. Not much happens underneath. It must therefore be switched more often, the engine turned higher.
The diesel behaves more confidently. Even the basic four-cylinder with 1,5 liters and 105 hp does a good job. Strong start, good draft and lower costs at the petrol station (3,8 l / 100 km according to the standard, around 6,0 liters in everyday life). Before that, however, € 23.490 must be paid € 1.500 more than for the representative with a petrol engine.
Of course, the whole thing goes much faster with the 150 hp top diesel (from 27.090 euros), to which the technicians have now implanted the same vibration damper as the 1,5 liter. The Mazda diesels are already among the quietest and quietest engines of their kind, not least thanks to the extremely low compression. No other series diesel worldwide creates these values.
All Mazda3 are now also equipped with the latest technology feature called "G-Vectoring Control" (GVC), which was introduced in the Mazda6 this year. Behind it is a driving dynamics software that is supposed to increase driving stability by minimally adjusting the engine torque by influencing the so-called self-steering behavior. GVC is not only supposed to provide better cornering behavior, but also corrects the small steering movements when driving straight ahead, which we make almost unconsciously. However, the GVC will only feel, if at all, very sensitive car drivers. But it doesn't hurt when it's on board. (Michael Specht / SP-X)