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Mazda Australia has confirmed local pricing and specification for the much-anticipated, all-new fourth-generation Mazda3, with the hatch scheduled to arrive in April, and the sedan version following mid-year.
Headline news is a realignment of the model range, with the entry Neo Sport and Maxx Sport dropped.
Still comprising six grades, the new line-up starts at $24,990 before on-road costs for the entry-level G20 Pure (manual), stepping through the G20 Evolve ($26,690), G20 Touring ($28,990), G25 Evolve ($29,490), G25 GT ($33,490), and finally running up to $36,990 for the G25 Astina.
Engines carry over from the outgoing model, with two naturally aspirated, four-cylinder units offered. G20 models are powered by a 114kW/200Nm 2.0-litre, and G25 variants by a 139kW/252Nm 2.5-litre.
A choice of six-speed manual gearbox or six-speed automatic transmission, each driving the front wheels only, is available on all models.
Although the 3 remains a key part of its model mix, Mazda Australia acknowledges that small car sales are being swamped by an SUV wave and has made a conscious decision to push the small hatch and sedan further upmarket. Mazda adding that if a customer prefers an SUV it's happy to sell them a CX-5.
Going head-to-head with its arch enemy the Toyota Corolla, the new 3 will also do battle with the Hyundai i30, Kia Cerato, VW Golf, Honda Civic, and at least half a dozen other key competitors in the (gradually shrinking) mainstream small car market.
And standard equipment levels are high, with the entry-level Pure boasting 16-inch alloy wheels, a 7.0-inch TFT driver information display, an upgraded 8.8-inch ‘widescreen’ version of the Mazda Connect colour media display, a head-up display, keyless entry and start, air con, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB+ digital radio, auto LED headlights, ‘Multi-function commander control’, auto-folding (body coloured) exterior mirrors, sat nav, rain-sensing wipers.
Safety is a massive priority and with standard active tech including ABS, EBA and EBD, front and rear ‘Smart Brake Support’ (Mazda-speak for AEB), blind spot monitoring, ‘Driver Attention Alert’ (DAA), ‘Forward Obstruction Warning’ (FOW), lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, radar cruise control (with ‘Stop & Go’ function), rear parking sensors, rear-cross traffic alert, reversing camera, traffic sign recognition, a tyre pressure monitoring system.
On the passive side the airbag count has increased from six (driver and front passenger, side front, and curtain) to seven with the addition of a driver’s knee bag.
Over and above the Pure the G20 Evolve adds standard features including 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control air (with rear vents), auto dimming interior rear-view mirror, leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear shift, paddle gear shifters (auto only) and a rear fold down armrest.
Then the G20 Touring chips in with ‘Advanced keyless entry’, leather seat trim, illuminated vanity mirrors, 10-way power adjustment for the driver’s seat (plus lumbar adjust and auto slide function) with two-position memory (including the rear-view mirrors).
The G25 Evolve essentially maintains G20 Touring spec, with inclusion of the more powerful 2.5-litre engine. Additions to the G25 GT include, heated front seats, heated power mirrors, premium Bose 12-speaker audio (up from eight), and a heated steering wheel.
At the top of the pyramid the G25 Astina brings an electric sunroof, plus the choice of black leather or ‘Pure white’ leather in the sedan, or burgundy leather in the hatch.
The Astina also picks up the ‘Vision Technology’ safety pack, optionally available for $1500 on all other models.
The package includes, a 360-degree view monitor, adaptive LED headlights, ‘Cruising & Traffic Support’ (semi-autonomous accelerator, brake and steering support up to 60km/h), driver monitoring (using in-cabin cameras), front cross-traffic alert, front parking sensors and Smart Brake Support (Rear Crossing).
There are five standard colours – ‘Snowflake White Pearl Mica’, ‘Sonic Silver Metallic’, ‘Titanium Flash Mica’, ‘Deep Crystal Blue Mica’, and ‘Jet Black Mica’. An additional $495 brings the option of ‘Soul Red Crystal Metallic’, ‘Machine Grey Metallic’, or ‘Polymetal Grey Metallic’.
Accounting for around 50 per cent of Australian Mazda sales just five years ago, the 3 accounted for 25 per cent of the brand’s registrations last year. But more than 540,000 Mazda3s have been sold in its 15 year history here, and Mazda says the car attracts a 50 per cent re-purchase rate.
Mazda expects the entry G20 Pure and G20 Evolve models to account for more than 50 per cent of sales in the first year, with two thirds of customers choosing the smaller 2.0-litre engine, 60 per cent opting for the five-door hatch over the four-door sedan, and 90 per cent preferring the six-speed auto rather than shifting gears themselves.