The new 2019 Mazda3 is here, and Mazda’s curvaceous compact car now boasts a more upscale design, refined driving, and comfort inside. Launched this week in Johannesburg, the new Mazda3 may not come in an EV or full hybrid form, but the automaker insists that its new Skyactiv-G engine technology will have far better implications for transportation.
It’s an important car for Mazda. Since its debut in 2003, over six million Mazda3 have been sold worldwide, in fact. Reflecting that, this new version is the first in the automaker’s line-up to adopt the new interpretation of Mazda’s Kodo design language, itself part of a push to take the range more upmarket. Nothing is being left to chance, therefore. Mazda has two distinct interpretations of the Mazda 3, one a hatchback and the other a sedan. Although they might share a name, the automaker insists, the two body styles are cars with very different personalities.
This new Kodo “Soul of Motion” design language means a more solid aesthetic, with sleek curves rather than sharp lines. The exterior lighting is new, the headlamps and tail lamps pared back to the bare essentials. There’s also a new colour for the hatchback, Polymetal Grey, designed to combine metal with plastic-esque glossy smoothness.
Inside, the “less is more” mantra continues. Extraneous detailing to the center console has been dropped in favour of sleekly combined controls, with plastics and other surfaces given a leather-style grain. Rather than regular piano black plastic, sections of the dashboard use two-layer molding to first lay down a laser-engraved black layer and then a clear layer on top. The hatchback can be had in an exclusive Burgundy red leather.
It all promises to be more comfortable to drive, too. The telescopic steering wheel has an addition 10mm of movement at either extreme, while front seat cushion tilt adjustment is now standard. The gear shifter is forward and mounted higher, as is the commander control; the armrest can be made longer as a result.
An 8.8-inch display sits on top the dashboard, with an 8-speaker audio system as standard. A 12-speaker Bose system is available as an upgrade.
Two petrol engines will be joining the fray. There are 1.5- and 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G engines. Both a 6-speed manual and a 6-speed automatic transmission will be offered. Mazda i-ACTIVSENSE , driver monitoring is also available, which uses infrared cameras and LEDs to track driver attention and how tired they are based on eyelid movement. Front cross traffic alert is also available, as is adaptive cruise control.
Pricing for the 2019 Mazda 3 starts at R359 900.
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