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Hand-built Mazda3 pops up in Melbourne

Seeing red: Mazda’s pre-production 3 prototype will be used to gauge Australian buyers’ interest in the car.

Mazda tempts Australian buyers with a prototype of its all-new 3 small car

20 Aug 2013

MAZDA is trialling a hand-built prototype of its Mazda3 small car months ahead of the best-selling model’s introduction here.

The prototype, featuring hand-assembled Australian market production parts, is officially here for product testing, but will also be used as a promotional tool ahead of the car’s launch early next year.

The Soul Red car, featuring a 2.5-litre petrol engine, is what Mazda calls a “high-grade” model, featuring a suite of accessories that will be assessed for the Australian market.

The Mazda3 also features technology including a “full” suite of Skyactiv fuel-saving technology that includes a lightweight body, a head-up display that floats vital information such as speeds in front of the driver’s line of sight, blind-spot warning system and even an emergency braking system that can avoid or minimise a low-speed collision with the vehicle in front.

“The safety features available on All-New Mazda3 make it one of the safest small cars on the market, but it is also one of the most technologically advanced Mazdas ever produced,” Mazda said.

Mazda said the new 3 also features a new multimedia system that “offers improved phone, navigation, audio and social navigation”, as well as the Pandora music-streaming software that piggybacks off a smartphone’s data connection, and the Aha web-based radio services.

Australia had its first close-up look at the new Mazda3 – the old version has taken the mantle as Australia’s best-selling car several times in monthly VFACTS car sales data – at a global launch of the vehicle in late June that included Melbourne as one of the launch sites.

However, the vehicle presented at the launch was a left-hand drive version built for the US market.

Mazda said once the prototype had finished its Australian tour, it would be crushed.

And yes, that is where the front number plate goes.

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