A C-Segmenter must be boring? The Japanese think differently about that.
Currently, the Los Angeles auto show is under way and there are some nice firsts. The Mazda3 was the one that definitely made the tongues loose . Once started as 323 and then he was indeed a bit boring. In the new names strategy that took place at the beginning of this millennium, the ’23’ rightly became superfluous and came the Mazda3 . Maybe still a pretty boring car, but in terms of driving characteristics a good car. The latter is what Mazda has tried to preserve. Meanwhile, we arrived at the fourth generation of the Mazda3: time to see what the newcomer does to its predecessor: the third generation .
With the images, the new Mazda3 is above, the old one below.
Japanese are good at everywhere a nice story around it. Just search on Google for what Mazda means by ‘ Kodo design ‘. That is what the design direction Mazda wants to go since the CX-5 in 2012 . Under Kodo we understand the design of the current Mazda’s, with the large V-shaped grille that runs through the pointed headlights. The old Mazda3 was designed according to that strategy and is by no means an ugly car. But it is nothing else than a standard C-Segmenter with a Kodo nose. That is not bad, but the new Mazda3 proves that it can be done differently. Largely based on the Kai Concept the new 3 gets a more Shooting Brake-like C-style. Bold, but Mazda gets away with it. The nose is slightly tighter than the previous one, with smaller headlights but the same grille. Behind the rear lights are almost the same, but the double LED rings give the car a special appearance in the dark. Almost like a Ferrari, you could say.
The interior has almost never changed. Why should they also: the Mazda interior is simple, easy to operate and well-organized. In the center console is a button with which you can operate the high-level screen, such as BMW’s iDrive. That has remained, but both the screen and the button have grown. If we look at the clock shop, it is striking that the new and the old 3 have a central tachometer, but where in the old 3 a set of digital meters has to accompany, the new one has an extra counter on both sides. A strange decision, given the trend that every car gets a digital screen.
Downsizing does not affect Mazda. Mazda cars must be drivers’ cars and a small turbo block is not in a driver’s car. The chief of the engine department deserves praise for that statement, but brands do not make small motors for anything. With the Skyactiv technologyMazda tries to make more efficient engines in other ways. The engine choices are almost the same as the predecessor, two petrol-four-cylinder of 1.5 and 2 liters and a 1.8 liter Skyactiv-D diesel engine. That is a small step backward compared to the 2.2-liter diesel unit in the previous 3, but in terms of power it probably will not care much (the numbers and specs are not there yet). Both a vending machine and a manual gearbox are available, as is four-wheel drive.
The Mazda3 was not a bad car, but in the Netherlands the car was always the worst of Opel, VW and Ford. If that is due to his thirteen-in-a-dozen appearance, then there is no reason to see the 3 as a serious competitor for the Astra, Golf and Focus. It has become a handsome car. In terms of technique, it looks like its predecessor, but the upcoming Skyactiv-X engine seems to be an innovative power source that the 3 can use well. In any case, it is no punishment if this car can be seen more on the Dutch roads.