This fourth-generation Mazda3 was recently launched in Malaysia in sedan and liftback body types, with three trim levels priced from RM139,620 to RM160,638 on-the-road (without insurance).
Imported from Japan, the new Maxda3 is sold with a five-year warranty and a five-year free maintenance deals (both up to 100,000km - whichever comes first) including labour, parts and lubricants.
Local Mazda distributor Bermaz Auto Bhd recently organised a track event at Sepang International Circuit to demonstrate the new car's driving performance and G-Vectoring Control Plus (GVC Plus) technology, which further improves vehicle stability, steering response and driver comfort.
To get a good feel of the driving dynamics of the new Mazda3, the track event started with a few fast laps on the F1 track, where participants followed a lead car helmed by an experienced race driver in tackling the twists and turns of the circuit.
Both 1.5 and 2.0-litre Maxda3 variants were provided, and we found the Maxda3 to excel with responsive handling, and good mid-corner balance as we braked hard and slowed for the turns.
The chassis felt nimble, and the SkyActiv-Drive six-speed automatic is smooth and responsive.
In fact, we found that the 1.5-litre Mazda3 was the more fun creature to drive as it felt more perky during initial sprints and gunning out of the corners.
Next, it was a slalom and lane change exercise on a cone-filled car park area where the main purpose was check out the G-Vectoring Control Plus (GVC Plus) technology.
A BMW 330e plug-in hybrid and Mercedes-Benz A-Class were also thrown into the mix for comparison.
GCV Plus is the upgraded version of the vehicle dynamics control technology which was introduced about two years ago on Mazda cars, for better handling, stability and comfort by delivering improved cornering control.
The benefits of GVC are more precise steering, improved handling, better passenger comfort, and less fatigue for the driver and it is part of Mazda’s Jinba Ittai — “horse and rider as one” — philosophy.
With the new GVC Plus, vehicle stability and handling is further improved by using the brakes to add direct yaw moment control.
What this translates into is a better sense of control during obstacle avoidance maneouvres and on winding roads, as well as extra stability on slippery surfaces.
During the slalom and lane change exercises, the German premium cars performed marvellously as expected but the Mazda3 was quite competent too and felt refined as it smoothly tackled the cone-filled exercises.
GVC Plus is a subtle technology, and we did not experience discomforting body roll during the slalom and lane change exercises in the Mazda3.
Meanwhile, the same event also saw an Mazda MX-5 club gathering where over 100 owners from Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand gathered at the F1 track to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the world's best-selling roadster.
Mazda3 1.5-litre Liftback/Sedan - RM139,620
- 118hp at 6,000rpm
- 153Nm of torque at 4,000rpm.
- SkyActiv-Drive six-speed automatic with manual shift mode
- front and rear disc brakes
- 205/60 R16 tyres
- LED automatic headlights with automatic levelling
- Bulb daytime running lights
- LED rear fog lamps
- LED rear light clusters
- automatic wipers
- powered wing mirrors with integrated turn signal and auto fold
- body-coloured door handles
- fabric seats
- multi-function steering wheel with cruise control
- sunglass holder
- engine start-stop button
- electronic parking brake
- organ-type throttle pedal
- auto-dimming rearview mirror
- 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster
- colour heads-up display
- manual climate controls
- i-Stop Idling Technology
- G-Vectoring Control Plus (GVC Plus)
- No parking sensors
- reverse camera
- 8.8-inch full-colour infotainment display
- 8 audio speakers
- Voice command
- Apple CarPlay
- Android Auto
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Two USB ports
- 7 airbags
- Dynamic stability control
- Electronic brakeforce distribution
- Emergency brake assist
- Traction control
- Hill-start assist
- Auto-hold function
- Speed sensing auto-lock
- Rear Isofix anchor points
Mazda3 2.0-litre Sedan High - RM150,059
- 162hp at 6,000rpm
- 213Nm at 4,000rpm
- powered sliding and tilt glass sunroof
- dual-zone automatic climate control
- rear air conditioning vents
- 10-way powered driver's seat with two-memory slots
- leather seats
- walk-away locking system
Mazda3 2.0-litre Liftback/Sedan High Plus - RM160,638
- 215/45 R18 tyres
- front LED signature illumination
- LED daytime running lights
- front and rear parking sensors.
- adaptive front lighting system
- high beam control
- blind-spot monitoring system
- rear cross-traffic alert
- lane departure warning
- lane-keep assist
- driver attention alert
- front and rear smart brake support
- adaptive cruise control