Having seen a whole range of new Mazda’s on the roads lately, catching my eye in a gorgeous ruby-like signature colour, I was superbly excited to check out the Mazda 3 from Mazda East Rand this month. Offering me the chance to drive the 2 litre 6 speed-auto, I was given the run down by Awie Greyling, who has been in motoring services since 2014, having carried over his love for vehicles from his years growing up in the industry.

Having had the privilege of getting to know Awie for the last three months has given me great insight into his commitment and dedication to the industry as a whole; Awie has also shown me what it is like to really, and truly, know your brand and the products it represents. Awie sums up the quality and reliability of the brand by stating with confidence that “there is no other car like a Mazda!”.

My guide to this car, Awie, is incredibly enthusiastic about this variant which he proudly notes is his favourite in the range. Called the Astina Plus, hatchback variant, the vehicle itself gives that glorious long-nose elegance of a classic sedan, whilst boasting the sporty short rear of the hatch, with cheekily-styled rear lights and the modern clean lines that hint at the technology under the hood.

Inside, the Mazda 3 is an absolute pleasure – the layout is concise and uncluttered, the heads-up display is organised, with a 7-inch screen that pops up on start-up which can be operated by touchscreen or a convenient knob on the centre console. With 2 USB ports, on-board navigation, blind spot monitoring and rear park assist (to name but a few), Awie tells me that the Mazda 3 is feature-packed from even the entry level variants, and offers more than any other hatch on the road. Added to this is really great boot space for a hatch back (which I can tell really impresses Awie) and sufficient leg room in both the front and rear.

The Mazda 3 offers a great driving experience, with smooth handling and the great response from a naturally aspirated 2 litre engine, which provides enough of a kick for me to give a cheeky nod to the hot rods at the robots, but still cruise down the highway in comfort and unhurried style. At 121 kW and 210 nM torque, this Hatchback averages about 6.5 litres per 100kilometres, and seems to be generally quite a pleasing all-rounder.

The Mazda 3, Awie tells me, also boasts the excellent active safety features expected of a Mazda, and with a 3 year/unlimited kilometre warranty and service plan (and a feature-packed, high end Mazda 3 starting at R415 900), this vehicle is a firm favourite on my list. It’s one-of-a-kind look and smooth as butter drive have definitely won me over.

Sharing my experience with the team at Mazda East Rand proves to be a fun experience: with smiles of delight and a knowing nod, Awie seems to have anticipated my great experience. To get in touch with the team at Mazda East Rand and browse their spectacular range, here are their contact details:

By Desh Pillay Bechan