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Fresh Mazda3 breaks cover

Mazda dynamo: The major drawcard of the facelifted Mazda3 will be the promise of increased driving pleasure brought through first application of the new G-Vectoring control system, along with retuned steering and suspension.

Dynamic upgrade, styling tweaks inside and out for Mazda small car on sale August 1

Mazda logo15 Jul 2016

By STUART MARTIN

MAZDA Australia has confirmed an August 1 on-sale date for its heavily revised Mazda3 after the all-important small car launched on the Japanese domestic market this week.

The brand’s top-selling model in Australia comes with a refreshed exterior design to maximise its presence and stance, various revisions to the cabin and a number of mechanical changes including the innovative new torque vectoring G-Vectoring Control system that GoAuto sampled in a prototype vehicle late last month.

Mazda Australia is still to confirm specification and pricing details, however managing director Martin Benders confirmed to GoAuto at the G-Vectoring drive in California that the upgrade would also include retuned suspension and steering, along with some body and interior changes.

Mazda Motor Corporation (MMC) in Japan has detailed the changes made to the domestic-market Mazda3, where it is known as the Axela, although many of these centre on diesel-powered variants which were recently dropped from the Australian line-up.

A new 1.5-litre SkyActiv-D diesel has joined the 2.2-litre oil-burner, with the latter also now available in Japan with a new-generation i-Activ all-wheel-drive system. Diesel engine refinement has also been improved across the board.

Similarly, the hybrid version, which offers fuel economy as low as 3.2 litres per 100km on the official combined cycle, is not slated for an Australian appearance at launch, notwithstanding the arrival of Toyota’s Corolla hybrid here last month.

Other points of interest on the Japanese-spec model include detail changes throughout the cabin, including a revised colour head-up display – the position of which is linked to the seat memory function for the driver – as well as a reshaped steering wheel and new traffic sign recognition system.

The latter uses a camera to assess speed limit and other road signs, relaying the limit to the active driving display as well as alerting the driver if the limit is breached.

Among other highlights are an electric park brake, adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beam and the ability to dim individual LEDs, and a pedestrian detection function within the auto emergency braking system that now uses a camera and operates at speeds up to 80km/h.

Delivered under the ‘jinba ittai’ driving performance banner that Mazda uses for the MX-5 sportscar, the new small car has, according to the company, been developed to ensure “a pleasing driving feel”.

The new G-Vectoring Control system is the first of a promised series of new SkyActiv-Vehicle Dynamics technologies relating to drivetrain and chassis controls.

The new system varies engine torque in relation to the driver’s steering input to tailor the vertical load on each wheel, which Mazda claims results in “smooth and efficient vehicle motion”, improved traction and a reduction in the need for minor steering corrections.

In addition, it is a highly versatile system adaptable to vehicles of any class and drive type. The only requirement is a SkyActiv engine and chassis, the former allowing precise control over torque output.

MMC president and CEO Masamichi Kogai said the brand was looking to create a strong emotional connection with its customer base.

“Mazda is striving to become an irreplaceable presence in the lives of our customers, to create a special bond with them and to be a ‘one-and-only’ brand they will choose again and again,” he said.

“In order to do that, we will continue updating our models with next-generation technologies based on our human-centred development philosophy, without concern for the timing of redesigns.”

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