2019 Mazda3 Next Generation Launch

2019 Mazda3 Road Test Review

2019 MAZDA3Mazda3 Next Gen Overview

Mazda launched their brand new next generation Mazda3.

This is the first car in the range to kick off the brand new generation of cars. It introduces a raft of new technology, and makes a lot of features standard that were previously optional, or only on high grade models.

The previous base grade has been discontinued as buyers made it clear their preference for additional features.

The 4th generation of Mazda3 continues the tradition of being a small but practical car started by its predecessor, the 323.

Next-Gen Mazda3 goes on sale this weekend.

There are 2 engines, 2 transmissions and 6 trim levels, all with a high level of technology. It competes head to head with Toyota’s Corolla on the outside, but is a clear winner when it comes to cabin and technology inside.

Models are: G20 – Pure, Evolve, Touring, and G25 Evolve, GT, and Astina. G20 models have 2.0L 4 cylinder engines, and G25 get a 2.5L unit. Neither is turbo charged.

2019 MAZDA3

Mazda3 Exterior

Mazda has taken a different direction to that of other Japanese car makers.

The hatch is the first of 2 body styles. A sedan will follow in the 2nd half of the year.

“Character liners” have been removed. The curvaceous body is smooth and sleek. A lowered bonnet, Auto LED lights, and a blacked out grille look mean and fast. A coupe side profile, and dramatic roofline gives Mazda3 a hot-hatch look. The play of light over the curves looks like concept drawings we all hope will come in to practice but rarely do.

There are 8 colours for the hatch and 7 in the sedan.

Wheels have been given the blacked out treatment ( Astina), and have been shod with tyres designed to reduce road noise. Wheels are 16” on Pure, and 18” on other models.

Further reductions in NVH (noise, vibrations, harshness) have been gained by adding “nodes” to the body construction. These rubber-like pads inside the frame turn vibration in to heat.

2019 MAZDA3

Mazda3 Interior

Noise reductions continue in the cabin with upholstery, carpet, and headlining designed to absorb unwanted sound. Holes cut in inner body panels allows extra noise in, so bass speakers have been moved to the footwell in a bespoke speaker box.

Other holes such as the transmission selector, and any other bolt holes etc, have been sealed with imporved grommets and tighter tolerances.

Colours have been kept dark and subdued to provide a relaxed ambience. Trim has been pared back in a “less is more” philosophy.

Instruments are angled towards the driver in a cockpit style worthy of a fights jet. All models have an HUD (heads up display) making the traditional instruments largely redundant.

2019 MAZDA3

Astina models have been lavished with leather, and all models have soft-feel surfacing, classy stitch details, and simplified instruments.

Seating follows the “S” curve of the human body to make long trips less tiring. Burgundy leather is particularly luxurious. Trim options depend on model.

Cabin lighting applies the same tone and intensity of white light so eyes are not strained, especially at night.

A large landscape mode LCD tablet is placed further back on the dash. It is angled to avoid glare, and to face the driver. It includes standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and is controlled via a revised command centre between the front seats.

Mazda’s project leader for the Next-Gen Mazda3, Kota Beppu, says his goal was to make people fall in love with the car. He wanted it to be an object of desire, and to be easy to drive.

He removed driver distractions, so the 8.8” LCD screen is not a touch screen. Instead, the menu system can be driven via the command wheel and buttons without having to look where fingers are being placed on the screen.

Cup holders have been moved forward of the gear lever. USB ports are located inside the bin under the armrest.

Steering wheel controls have been redesigned to be more ergonomic, and both the centre armrest, and door armrests are at the same height as each other. That is important on long trips.

Auto headlights and auto high beam are set on traditional stalks.

Mr Beppu stressed that white light, including headlights, was less tiring on the eyes.

Rear legroom is good for a small car but headroom for taller passengers is tight especially in cars with a sunroof. The windows are small thanks to a high waist and low roof but it makes the back seats feel cosy rather than cramped.

Rear seats fold 60/40, giving the boot a respectable 295L of amount of space.

Mazda continues to raise the bar for design, and is a clear leader in cabin quality and layout. Nothing else in the segment can touch it.

2019 MAZDA3

Mazda3 Features/Technology

All Mazda3 models get Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Better late than never. Sound, even on base models, is excellent. GT and Astina gains a 12 speaker Bose system. Speakers have been placed to face passengers rather than reflect off the windscreen.

Bass speakers in the footwell rather than the doors gives clearer low down performance. Audio engineers spent a lot of time to ensure entertainment can be enjoyed at whatever volume the listener desires.

The features list is extensive, but here are a few highlights.

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Mazda3 Engine and Drivetrain

There are 2 Euro 5, Skyactive-G engines: a 2.0L with 114kw/200Nm and a 2.5L with 139kw/252Nm. They come with either a 6 speed Skyactive-MT manual, or 6 speed Skyactive-Drive automatic.

In addition, the 2.5 has cylinder deactivation which cuts off a couple of pots to save fuel.

Mazda3 is a front wheel drive with a drive-by-wire throttle. Australia continues to suffer from dubious fuel standards, but Mazda3 runs on E10 of 91RON or better. That’s good for the hip pocket. Fuel consumption ranges from 6.4L/100k and 6.3L/100k for the 2.0 and 2.5L MANUAL engines respectively (yes the 2.5 is more fuel efficient), and 6.1 and 6.6 L/100k for the automatics.

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There were no manual models available on the launch programme.

The 2.5L is my pick of the two engines. It has that bit of extra power where it counts, but Mazda3 is not about performance, it is about the experience.

MacPherson struts at the front and redesigned Torsion Bar rear ends provide and unbelievably smooth ride. All models have a Sport driving mode.

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Mazda3 Driving Experience

Mazda3 is a peach.

Electric steering is beautifully weighted. It has the Goldilocks feel, not to heavy, not too light. Brakes are progressive and has an autonomous function just in case the car sees an obstacle you don’t. It is a trifle over enthusiastic and deployed as I came up to a traffic light.

Engineers have put a lot of effort in to a smooth, quiet driving experience, and it shows.

At some speeds, external noise is almost impossible to detect. Ride is tuned towards comfort but this hasn’t been at the expense of handling.

Astina gets the works and although paddle shifters are fun, you soon tire of it and let the car do its own thing. Gear changes, unless pushed hard, were undetectable. Occasionally it kicked down to slow on downward hills, but even then was smooth and controlled.

Hills are dispatched easily, and directional changes were made like a cat on carpet. There was just a hint of body roll, but you move so little in the seat, you feel as if you’ve been glued in to place.

The chassis is incredibly tight and rigid. The hatch weighs between 1,316 for the G20 Evolve Manual to 1,388kg for the Astina automatic.

If comfort was the aim, Mazda achieved that in spades. The last leg of our trip was a few hours out of some nice tight twists, back on to the highway, then an hour at 110kph. The trip was then left entirely to the little hatch set on auto cruise.

It kept the set speed fairly well, and slowed down as the traffic slowed. Speed signs showed up in the HUD as a cue to flick the control to set the new speed. Once back in town, the queue function took over.

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We experienced changes in road surface just like the big sister, the Mazda6, the little hatch just got on with it with no fuss.

I had the tunes through CarPlay while out of DAB range then switched back to radio once closer to town. The audio is sublime.

I had set the navigation to Sydney Airport where I was to drop the car off. I followed the route to find it was better than the way I usually go. Directions, speed, traffic signs and blind spot warnings, were all projected on to the windscreen in my line of sight. You might expect that to be intrusive, but once you’re used to it, you can’t manage without it.

Active lane assistance is reasonably unobtrusive and applies torque to keep you centred in the lane. It will try to stop you from changing lanes if it sees someone in your blind spot too.

When it came time to get out, I felt fresh. The seats were perfect and the driving position excellent. The company claims were 100% right. Mazda3 does what it says on the box.

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Mazda3 Safety

ANCAP rating: not yet tested (5 stars expected)

All Mazda3s have AEB and driver attention alert. Astina adds driver monitoring.

Blind spot monitor flashes in the side mirrors with a secondary warning in the HUD. Forward obstruction warning gains forward cross traffic alert in the Astina.

Other safety features HERE.

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Mazda3 Fit for Purpose

Small hatches are easy around town but Mazda3 is also brilliant on the open road. I’d happily do a roadtrip of as many thousand kilometres as I could afford. The boot isn’t huge but is plenty for a couple or small family. Rear seats are fine for 2 but tight for 3, and taller folk might want to call shotgun on the front pews.

Mazda3 Summary

Watch out Golf, Corolla, and Astra.

Mazda3 blitzes the lot for cabin quality. Looks are a matter of taste, I think it wins there too. The drive was incredibly comfortable and you’d almost manage a Sydney/Brisbane drive on a single 51L tank of juice.

What’s not to like?

Only that there is no Hot hatch version, and none on the horizon.

2019 MAZDA3

Also Look At:-

The Good:

  • Stunning exterior
  • Excellent cabin
  • Tech and safety

The Not so Good

  • No hot hatch version
  • Smallish boot
  • Space saver spare

Mazda3 Details

  • Model Price $24,990 – $37,990 MLP*
  • Engine 2.0L or 2.5L 4 cyl Petrol
  • Drivetrain 6 speed manual, 6 speed automatic
  • Power 114 kW @ 6,000 rpm, or 139 kW @ 6,000 rpm
  • Torque 200 Nm @ 4,000 rpm, or 252 Nm @ 4,000 rpm
  • Safety TBA
  • CO2 TBA
  • Economy ADR 6.4L/100k (man), 6.6L/100k (auto)
  • Warranty 5 Yrs. / Unlimited km Roadside Assist

*MLP – Manufacturers List Price includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of any options.

2019 Mazda3 Next Generation
  • Rating
4.0

Summary

Watch out Golf, Corolla, and Astra.

Mazda3 blitzes the lot for cabin quality. Looks are a matter of taste, I think it wins there too. The drive was incredibly comfortable and you’d almost manage a Sydney/Brisbane drive on a single 51L tank of juice.

About Alan Zurvas 108 Articles
Alan’s interest in cars began in his early teens and has been a member of several car clubs having owned a number of classic cars himself. He has a background in the corporate sector and has reviewed everything from restaurants to theatre and accommodation before settling on motoring. Alan is the founder of Gay Car Boys and is a contributor to AnyAuto