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In the garage Mazda 3 Maxx hatch


Mazda is on a high right now after securing its best sales month in history in June with 8406 vehicles sold. And the Mazda 3 accounted for just under half those sales at 3741, snatching an impressive 17.8% per cent share of the <$40k small car market.

Engine

Powered by a 2-litre, four-cylinder in-line six DOHC engine, the Mazda 3 Maxx outputs 108kW at 6500rpm and 182Nm at 4500rpm.   Combined fuel economy figures for the six-speed manual and five-speed Activematic are 7.9l/100km and 8.2l/100km respectively.

Exterior

The new look smiley face may not be to everyone’s taste but it definitely makes the Mazda3 stand out. With stretched halogen headlamps, body coloured power mirrors and door handles and a rear spoiler and side skirts, the Maxx sits squat on its four alloys and looks agile and ready.

Interior

Chrome trimmed speedometer and tacho dials from sportier Mazdas like the RX-8 and MX-5 are used in the Maxx to compliment the open clutter-free dash.  The centre console slopes gently upwards from the gear stick giving the cabin a roomy and airy feel.  The seats are comfortable and supportive – 60/40 split fold in the rear – and the drivers seat has height and lumbar adjustment.

Cruise control, a six-disc sound system, a multi-function steering wheel and a trip computer are standard on the Maxx, as are an adequate number of storage compartments.

Safety

As well as a comprehensive airbag package, safety features include anti-lock brakes, dynamic stability control, electronic brakeforce distribution, emergency brake assist and traction control.

Pricing

The Mazda3 Maxx hatchback starts at $24,990 for the manual and tops out at $27,040 for the Activematic.

Driving

Managing Director Doug Dickson says the New Generation Mazda3 is a “winning combination of style safety, comfort and handling..” and for the most part we agree.

It’s no surprise Mazda are doing so well on the back of the 3. A smart airy interior with comfy and supportive seats sets up conditions nicely for the drive.

Our test car was the auto and refreshingly it had that clever knack of being able to make up its mind up at a moment’s notice, which is important when you need drop down quickly to merge. A lot of cars these days still can’t get it right and you find yourself in some sticky – and often dangerous - situations all too easily.

The Mazda3 Maxx is also quite a peppy car so mating it to a capable transmission makes it that much more fun to drive. Even with the auto it dropped well into corners - which it handled nicely, with little body roll.

The airy cabin makes longer trips very comfortable, as does the negligible road noise from the tyres and exterior mirrors.

Verdict: 8/10