With the launch of the seventh generation new Mazda3, via avant-garde innovation and vivid aerodynamics – the Mazda3 is a premium rendition of automotive architecture.

Every incremental detail about the new Mazda3 is designed with purpose: the refined Kodo Soul of Motion design-language, elemental cabin architecture, linear driving performance – a transmute of Jinbai-Ittai, horse&rider as one, along with Mazda’s SkyActiv G-Vector-Control System technology…in essence it is a car that is “less machine” and “more avatar”. That according to Mazda, the Mazda3’s greatest feature is you – the driver. For example, based on your driver inputs, G-Vector-Control will decipher a profile of your driving temperament and make available the necessary performance response bolstered by the car’s safety driver aids, like Dynamic-vehicle-stability-control, ABS/EBD: adaptive LED headlights, Rear-cross traffic alert, Reverse-camera, Blind-spot monitoring and Hill-start assist are inclusive of the Astina’s i-ACTIVSENSE safety features – along with seven airbags has earned it a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating with distinction.

Available in both sedan and hatchback guise, the first model I drove was the Mazda3 Astina Sedan flagship varient, powered by a 121kw, 2.0l, engine, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission – that’s good for 213nm of torque. While the 88kw, 1.5l, Mazda3, Dynamique sedan, aided by a short-shift 6-speed manual gearbox offers a smooth ride-quality, pliant cornering, impressive cabin and boot space. The Astina’s plush surfaces, palatial interior, is fit for the Royal Family and her Majesty’s Royal Corgis: minimalist, mature and precise cabin architecture that blends the laws of ergonomics with aesthetic perception. From operating the rotary-dial controlled 8.8″ screen-MZD Infotainment system, GPS Navigation, an augmented 12-speaker BOSE theatre surround sound system to orientating the heads-up display: speed, distance, road-sign recognition and GPS were all right in-front of me. Now naturally you feel connected to the car, plugged-in, and in control…but the reality is this…it’s actually the car…truthfully speaking, there is no other car imbued with the same level of sentience as the Mazda3.

An intuitive connection that translates into an exuberant driving experience. The floor mounted throttle-peddle, paddle gear-shift, linear acceleration, and buoyant steering response add to the sense of occasion – especially along a winding and scenic country road. All Astina models come standard with an active driver aid called G.V.C Plus, which micro-calibrates both your throttle and steering inputs: as well as equalise load-transfer under hard-braking scenarios with sufficient grip to all four 18″ tyres for improved cornering control. As I gracefully wielded the Mazda3 through a series of sweeping corners and alleyways that undulate along the Kromdraai countryside – I could visualise my corner-entry with more calculated finesse. However, the Mazda3 Astina offers more refinement and comfort than performance which customers may find a bit ambiguous.

With some journalists at the launch commenting that some “brand snobs” may find the Mazda3’s overall product offering and dynamic styling incongruent with its perceived performance delivery. Nevertheless, among the divisions best, the Mazda3 sets its face-like-flint against the VW Golf, the Renault Megane, Hyundai Elantra and the Opel Astra. Backed by a 3-year/unlimited km service plan, a 3-year/unlimited Km warranty, and a 3-year/unlimited km roadside assistance are also included.

Model line-up and Pricing

All-New Mazda3 1.5L Active Manual Hatch – R359,900 | Sedan – R357,000 (Incl VAT)

⦁ Max. Power 88 kW @ 6000 rpm
⦁ Max. Torque 153 Nm @ 4000 rpm
⦁ 6 speed manual transmission
⦁ 8 Speaker sound system
⦁ i-Stop
⦁ Headlamps – Auto on/off
⦁ LED Headlamps
⦁ Headlamp Levelling
⦁ 16″ silver metallic alloy wheels
⦁ Front rain-sensing wipers
⦁ Airbags SRS: Driver, Passenger, Knee, Side & Curtain
⦁ Smart keyless push-button engine start
⦁ Auto Hold
⦁ Auto door lock
⦁ Air-conditioning (Manual)
⦁ MZD Connect System
⦁ 8.8-Inch Display Screen
⦁ Commander Dial
⦁ Apple Carplay® & Android Auto®
⦁ USB connectivity ports – 2 Ports
⦁ Bluetooth® hands free system
⦁ Multi-function steering wheel with controls
⦁ Tilt & telescopic adjustable steering wheel
⦁ Driver height adjustable seat
⦁ Seat trim – Black Cloth
⦁ Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
⦁ Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)
⦁ Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD)
⦁ Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)
⦁ Head-Up Display (HUD)
⦁ Electronic Parking Brake (EPB)
⦁ Hill Launch Assist (HLA)

All-New Mazda3 1.5L Dynamic Manual – Hatch R374,200 | Sedan R371,300 (Incl VAT)
Auto 1.5L Hatch – R387,000 | Sedan R384,100 (Incl VAT)

⦁ Cruise control
⦁ Auto dimming rear-view mirror
⦁ Leather-wrapped steering wheel
⦁ Leather-wrapped gear shift knob
⦁ Rear centre seat armrest with cup holders
⦁ Rear parking sensors

All-New Mazda3 1.5L Ind Manual – Hatch R421,900 | Sedan R418,800 (Incl VAT)
Auto 1.5L – Hatch R434,700 | Sedan R431,600 (Incl VAT)

⦁ Smart advanced keyless entry
⦁ Auto fold mirrors
⦁ Dual-zone climate control Air-conditioning
⦁ Frameless Auto dimming rear-view mirror
⦁ 7-Inch TFT LCD Digital Meter
⦁ Standard black leather seat trim
⦁ Optional burgundy red leather seat trim (Hatch only)
⦁ 10-Way power adjustable driver seat
⦁ Lumbar support power adjustable driver seat
⦁ 12 Speaker BOSE® sound system with subwoofer
⦁ 18″ alloy wheels
⦁ 18” grey metallic alloy wheels (Hatch only)

All-New Mazda3 2.0L Astina Auto – Hatch R474,000 | Sedan 470,800 (Incl VAT)

Max. Power 121kW @ 6000rpm
Max. Torque 213Nm @ 4000rpm
i-Stop
Daytime Running Lamps (DRL)
Rear Combination Lamps (RCL)
Adaptive LED Headlamps
G-Vectoring Control Plus (GVC Plus)
Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM)
Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)
Parking sensors – Rear
Reverse Camera
Integrated Navigation
Rear air vents
Auto paddle transmission switches
Sunroof – Power slide & tilt glass
18″ alloy wheels
18″ black metallic alloy wheels (Hatch Only)

By Dean Joseph