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Mazda applies carefully considered updates to its successful small car, the Mazda3

14 Jul 2006

JUST exactly why is silence golden? The car companies know because years ago some discovered that quietness was the hallmark of quality. Look at Rolls-Royce. Wags would quip that the only thing you’re likely to hear in the cabin of a Roller was the ticking of the clock. That exclusivity has diminished with the years as other car-makers realise that a serene interior ambience delivers a serene owner – and hopefully return custom. Although highly regarded in most areas, the Mazda3 never quite made the grade as a quiet achiever. There were minor quibbles with noise, vibration and harshness. Thanks to a well targeted facelift for Mazda's popular small car, however, those issues have been resolved.
Model release date: 1 July 2006 to 1 April 2009

Previous model


Released: January 2004
Ended: July 2006
Family Tree: Mazda3

The Mazda3 picked up where the venerable 323 left off. It lifted the bar on dynamic refinement and interior packaging, with a price that made it very competitive. The Neo and Maxx 2.0-litre four-cylinders were also relatively powerful, yet economical and safety levels were high. The SP23 opted for a larger-capacity 2.3-litre four-cylinder, which increased kiloWatts and torque over the rest of the range but in our opinion the 2.0-litre was more suited to the car. In reality, the 110kW/203Nm 2.3-litre adds little in the way of outright performance. That’s not saying the 2.3 is a dud it’s just that the 2.0-litre, with 108kW/182Nm, is such an accomplished engine there’s little point in paying the extra - except if you like the go-fast bits and extra equipment that come with the up-spec car.

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