My earliest recollection of Mazda was when I was growing up and the 323 was the car trending in my area. So much so that even when I see a Mazda now it gives me those nostalgic feels. Driving the Mazda 3 hatchback we had on test recently brought back many good memories and I must admit that Mazda brought it’s A-game with the current model.
The Mazda3 Hatchback has long been the wildcard choice in its segment. Sure, it’s easy to go for a Corolla, or a Civic, or whatever Sam the sales guy is offering a juicy lease deal on at the time, but eager drivers – enthusiasts – look to Mazda for their practical thrills.
Production of the Mazda 3 initially began in 2003 and the evolution of the design both on the exterior and interior are quite attractive especially when you place each generation side by side. The 2020 Mazda 3 has a minimalist approach in design, both on the interior and exterior.
It’s a good looking car, outside and in. This trim comes with 18-inch black-finished alloy wheels, signature LED lights front and back, body colour mirrors, and gloss black exterior detailing, and they look fantastic with the shimmering red paint.
The most notable thing on the Mazda 3 exterior is the height as it sits lower and has a lower roof than the previous generation. This design element gives the car a sporty appearance while the small design makes for a more intermate cabin. However, the design limits the amount of light flowing into the car.
Fortunately, the small sunroof does come to the rescue to open up the Mazda 3 to more light. The sharper design on the front of the car allows the Mazda 3 to have a more sporty and aggressive appearance. These design elements do contribute to making the car feel more luxe. I think the Mazda 3 has succeed in making you feel something toward it. Be it the design element or the engine response that feeling is present.
Open the door and you’ll see why the interior is my favourite element of the current model. It has that luxury feel because of the use of soft leathers finishes and on the seats and around the cabin. Sitting in the drivers seat all instrumentation feels ergonomically right and is placed where it should be. The 8.8-inch touch sensitive infotainment screen sits neatly on the dash board and has a knob that works very much like the ones found in BMW’s.
The volume button also sits next to the menu knob and this small design touch makes so much sense when you wish to select a track and increase the volume. The 12 speaker Bose system also ensures that you have all the rich bass you need when pumping your favourite hip hop tune. The infotainment is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto friendly, has three USB ports, dual-zone climate control, and blind-spot monitoring.
The Mazda 3 is available in 3 derivatives namely; the Active with its 1,5l engine that produces 88 kW and 153Nm of torque. Second is the Dynamic that has the same engine capacity but has extras such as cruise control, auto dimming of the rear-view mirror, leather wrapped steering, parking sensors along with many other features.
The Individual comes in tow with also has the same engine capacity as the Active and Dynamic, again there are more features compared to the previous two. The individual has keyless entry, auto fold mirrors 10-way power adjustable seat for the driver, including 2 memory settings, a 12-speaker Bose sound system with subwoofer and those 18’ alloy wheels we mentioned earlier. The Astina is the fourth derivative, this model has a 2.0l engine that produces 121kW and 213Nm of torque. Also, more features are available on this model such as daytime running lamps, adaptive front lighting system, rear vents, sunroof that power sides and tilts along with many added features.
The 2.0l Astina with automatic transmission we had on test was unfortunately lacking in power. However, I do feel the car Is beautifully designed and with great interior features and even though the engine power is not a favourite. The Mazda 3 does produce a very comfortable drive and at a cruising speed its very smooth with decent fuel efficiency that’s just under the 7.0l/100km mark.
Pricing starts at R369 100 for the hatch and R366 100 for the sedan. I’m more of a hatch kind of guy but the sedan does add that much needed boot space. In closing, Mazda gives you a 3-year unlimited kilometre warranty, 3 year Mazdacare roadside assistance and a 3-year Mazdacare unlimited kilometre service plan.
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