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New Mazda3 specs leaked

Mr Popular: Mazda’s forthcoming new 3 is an impressive car – we drove a prototype last week – and leaked dealer spec information reveals it will be well-equipped Down Under.

Mazda to revive Astina nameplate as flagship of six variants for next-generation 3

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Mazda logo23 Oct 2013

By MIKE COSTELLO

MAZDA will offer no fewer than six specification levels on its eagerly awaited third-generation Mazda3 small sedan and hatch when it launches in Australia in January 2014.

A dealer ‘forward order bulletin’ obtained by GoAuto reveals rough specification levels of the entire new 3 range, which will again include variants called Neo and SP25, but will also feature Maxx, Touring, SP25 GT and – most interestingly – SP25 Astina nameplates.

Mazda previously used the Astina moniker on the 323, its predecessor to the first-generation Mazda3 released in 2003. In recent times, the Mazda3 has overtaken Holden’s Commodore as Australia’s top-selling car, and even in 2013 – it’s final year – it trails only the fleet-friendly Toyota Corolla.

Missing in action are the MPS hot hatch and any diesel offering. Mazda Australia says an oil-burner might surface down the track, but has yet to formally decide if Australia’s small diesel sales justify it, while an all-wheel-drive MPS petrol model is reputed to be in the works for a later date.

The internal document outlines ‘at a glance’ feature lists for all six variants, which appear fairly generous. Mazda circulates these documents to its dealer network to obtain forward orders, in this case for vehicles slated for Japanese production in December this year.

Pricing is not yet official, although expect pricing to be broadly similar to the current model, perhaps with a small premium. A starting point of around $21,000 for both sedan and hatchbacks will likely be around the mark (the current car kicks off at $20,330).

According to our information, the entry Neo hatch or sedan variant will come with standard equipment including 16-inch steel wheels, Bluetooth connection, cruise control, cloth seats, a four-speaker audio system and six airbags.

An optional Safety package with blind-spot monitoring and an autonomous braking system called Smart City Brake Support will be available on all variants, priced from somewhere close to $1000.

Moving up to the Maxx (a replacement for the current Maxx Sport) adds 16-inch alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel, larger six-speaker audio system and an MZD Connect infotainment system with standard satellite navigation and reversing camera.

The Touring grade replaces the current SP20 variant, and adds extra goodies above the Maxx such as dual-zone climate control and leather seats.

These three variants are all powered by a 2.0-litre SkyActiv four-cylinder normally aspirated engine – the same unit as found in the base CX-5 compact SUV – producing 114kW of power and 200Nm of torque, matched to either six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.

Each of the top three specification levels wear the familiar SP moniker, and are powered by the larger 138kW/250Nm petrol engine from the CX-5 and Mazda6, again matched to six-speed manual or automatic shifters.

The ‘entry’ SP25 warm hatch gets 18-inch alloy wheels, front fog-lights, a rear spoiler, keyless entry and dual-zone climate control. Expect pricing broadly similar to the outgoing SP25’s $31,490 figure.

Moving up to the SP25 GT nets extras such as bi-xenon headlights, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, leather seats, a premium 231 watt Bose amp with nine speakers and an advanced ADD driving display.

The new range flagship will be the SP25 Astina – likely priced in the high-$30s – which will come replete with a sunroof and i-ACTIVESENSE tech (automatic high-beam, radar cruise control, lane departure warning and the aforementioned autonomous brakes) as standard.

The colour list includes Snowflake White Pearl, Aluminium, Soul Red, Jet Black, Meteor Grey, Blue Reflex, Deep Crystal Blue and Titanium Flash. Seat trims will be black cloth, black leather or optional off-white leather.

We drove two prototype versions of the new 3 in Victoria last week – see story linked below – and can attest to the range of improvements Mazda has made. Our early impressions have the car on a par with the class-leading Volkswagen Golf.

Await full pricing and spec, to be published after next year’s launch.

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