PETALING JAYA: The fourth-generation Mazda3 has arrived, sporting more features and a vastly improved cabin.
Targeted at young families, the Mazda3 comes in three front-wheel driven variants starting with the 1.5-litre SkyActiv-G Liftback (1,368kg)/Sedan (1,361kg) with an on-the-road price (without insurance) of RM139,620.
Meanwhile, the range-topping Liftback High Plus (1,400kg) and Sedan High Plus (1,402kg), both with the same 2.0-litre engine, will be made available at RM160,638.
The variants will come in seven colour choices, namely Soul Red Crystal, Machine Gray, Jet Black, Deep Crystal Blue, Sonic Silver, Snowflake White Pearl and Polymetal Gray Metallic (Liftback only).
Additionally, these fully imported cars from Japan will come with a five-year warranty that includes a five-year free maintenance programme up to 100,000km (whichever comes first).
The SkyActiv-G 1.5-litre (1,496cc) engine, with a compression ratio of 14:1, has an output of 118hp at 6,000rpm and 153Nm of torque at 4,000rpm.
All that "twist" is managed by a SkyActiv-Drive six-speed automatic with manual shift mode and allows for a top speed of 200kph.
The 2.0-litre (1,998cc) engine gets a 13:1 compression ratio instead and produces 162hp at 6,000rpm and 213Nm at 4,000rpm while being married to the same gearbox.
Both petrol engines are able to utilise RON95 fuel and have been gifted with a direct injection system.
Regardless of body type, its wheelbase is 2,725mm and measures in at 4,460mm-long (sedan +200mm), 1,795mm-wide and 1,435mm-tall (sedan +5mm).
The suspension uses front MacPherson struts with a rear torsion beam across the board, along with front ventilated and rear solid disc brakes that are partially hidden by the 1.5-litre's (Sedan and Liftback) 16x6.5-inch wheels wearing 205/60 series tyres. A space saver wheel with a T125/70D16 tyre is found in the boot.
Standard provisions in the 1.5-litre variants include bulbed daytime running lights and LEDs for the automatic headlights with automatic levelling, front and rear fogs, daytime running lights and rear light clusters.
There's also automatic wipers, powered exterior mirrors with integrated turn signal and auto fold function, body-coloured door handles, door pillar garnish in flat-black, built-in antenna and dual polished exhaust tips.
Mazda claims the cabin is much better insulated against noise, vibration and harshness. The interior features fabric seats, multi-function steering wheel with cruise control function and gear-shifter wrapped in leather, sunglass holder, engine start-stop button and an electronic parking brake.
Also included are the organ-type throttle pedal, auto0-dimming rearview mirror, 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster, one-touch power window function with anti-pinch, colour heads-up display and sport-mode.
Sound-absorbing materials have been added to the headliner and floor mats as well as a new 'two-wall' insulation structure that leaves a gap between the body and carpeting on the floor for a significantly improved NVH level.
The list continues with manual climate controls, i-Stop Idling Technology and the more advanced G-Vectoring Control Plus (GVC Plus) system which has been evolved to further enhance the handling characteristics of the previous GVC system - especially in emergency collision avoidance maneuvres.
It has to be noted that parking sensors have been omitted, however, it does come with a reverse camera that's viewable on the 8.8-inch full-colour infotainment display (with eight speakers) for the Mazda Connect system.
The locations of the eight speakers have been placed in ideal locations, for example, the woofers have been moved into the front cowl, instead of traditionally placing them within the doors, to eliminate unnecessary vibrations.
The other speakers were positioned specifically to transmit sound directly toward the occupant's ears rather than reflect the sound off the car's windows or body panels.
The system also comes with voice command, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity and two USB ports - one at the front and another in the centre armrest.
For safety, there are seven airbags and the usual inclusions of anti-lock braking system, dynamic stability control, electronic brakeforce distribution, emergency brake assist, traction control, emergency stop signal, hill-start assist, auto-hold function, speed sensing auto-lock and rear Isofix anchor points.
Moving up to the 2.0-litre Sedan High variant for an additional RM10,439 adds on items such as keyless-entry, piano-black door pillar garnish, powered sliding and tilt glass sunroof, frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Additionally, it also comes with dual-zone automatic climate controls, rear air conditioning vents, 10-way powered driver's seats with two-memory slots, leather seats and a walk-away locking system.
For RM10,000 more, the range-topping 2.0-Liftback/Sedan High Plus upsizes the wheels to 18x7 alloys with 215/45 series tyres and adds on front LED signature illumination, LED daytime running lights as well as front and rear parking sensors.
In this variant, safety is further bolstered by the inclusion of an 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 and adaptive cruise control.