Small hatch and saloon is bigger and gadget-packed but is lighter and slippier through the air.

This is the all-new Mazda 3, which reaches UK showrooms this spring. Quieter, lighter and more aerodynamic, it promises all the benefits of new design that are now pushing to the fore.

From the front there’s a strong likeness with the Mazda 6 family car – in its sharply sculpted front arches and its bonnet swooping to a low grille. The car is slightly larger than the current one and pack more equipment but still tips the scales at up to 15kgs lighter.

Like other Mazdas, the 3 sets itself out as a sporty car, so the chassis is stiffer than before, to enhance handling responses. However, like other modern designs of its size, this car uses electrically powered steering, which can feel lifeless and artificial.

A choice of five engines – three diesel, two petrol – will be offered. The most powerful will be a 2.2-litre turbodiesel producing 183bhp.

The interior promises to be noticeably quieter than the current car’s, than to stiffer panels, improved noise reduction and better aerodynamics. Driver displays are new, while the gearshift now sits closer to the him or her, too. Sporty models will benefit from redesigned seats.

The new car will be available as a hatchback or saloon.

Stephen Jury


January 27, 2009

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