Mazda proves an easy

rider

Mazda3 hatchback
Mazda3 MPS

MAZDA has upgraded its best-selling Mazda3 family saloon and hatchback range - with the emphasis on new features that improve ride quality and handling stability.

The result is a freshened model that the Japanese company says is more fun and predictable to drive on a daily basis.

Designers focused on updates that would enhance the car's emotional appeal with a muscular appearance that underscores the car's build quality, while new materials and colours help make the upgraded Mazda3 easier to use.

So the front end now looks more aggressive while the rear bumper is thinner, and inside the designers focused on lowering the number of eye-movements it takes to use the car's onboard systems from behind the wheel.

It meant replacing the previous silver of the lower section of the dashboard centre console with a black colour and ringing the dials and controls most-used by the driver in brighter satin-polish silver that's easier to see.

And to make the ‘3' more predictable and enjoyable to drive, Mazda has adopted what it calls Toitsukan - a Japanese word conveying the promise of  a more consistent and linear driving feel - and applied it to the steering, suspension and bodyshell characteristics, as well as the engine and transmission responses.

The past two years has seen the Mazda3 line-up expanded with several new engines and derivatives bringing the total number of different powertrains to seven.

The majority of these have been enhanced for better fuel efficiency and lower emissions, including the 2.0 DISI i-stop petrol with six-speed manual transmission, which produces 150PS.

Combined with Mazda's stop/start system, i-stop, that shuts down the engine when the cars stops, this unit now has better fuel consumption and sees CO emissions lowered from 159 to 157g/km.

The petrol line-up also includes the high-performance MZR 2.3 DISI Turbo with a special-ratio six-speed manual transmission for exclusive use in the sporty Mazda3 MPS.

Diesel flagship model is the high power 2.2 Turbo that produces 185PS, while the standard power 2.2 Turbo diesel produces 150PS and uses less fuel than the current engine.

Completing the diesel Mazda3 line-up is the MZ-CD 1.6 turbo diesel with a six-speed manual transmission.  It delivers 115PS.

Equipment and safety features have been inherited from the current range, but now also include  a new gear-shift indicator and navigation system.

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