The Japanese brand has boosted the features list for the small car range by adding Bluetooth - already standard in key competitors Cruze and Corolla - to the entry-level $20,330 Neo model without adding to the price tag.
The system will enable hands free phone use and music streaming, the latter also on offer via a USB input. A USB connection also allows for full iPod integration and function via the steering-wheel mounted controls and information being displayed on the centre display.
So far this year the Mazda3 has sold more than 28,000 units and was just ahead of the Toyota's HiLux range of two and four-wheel drive utility vehicles in second and the soon-to-be-replaced Corolla in third.
Mazda Australia's national marketing manager, Alastair Doak, says the Mazda3 is Australia's most popular car and the updates were designed to maintain that. “With the introduction of Bluetooth and USB across the entire range, offering even more value to the customer, we expect the appeal to continue.
“The fact that the latest enhancements come at no extra cost shows that we are intent on giving Mazda buyers more,” he says. Mazda facelifted the top-seller last year, so the extra equipment is part of an upgrade the company would hope helps keep the hatch and sedan range in the top tier of the car sales race, as the next Mazda3 is not likely until next year.
The Mazda3 MPS hot hatch has also been updated with changes to the paintwork and wheels, with no change to the $39,490 price tag. “It's a tweak with the MPS - it was made available to us, the MPS wasn't part of that facelift last year so it was an opportunity for us to bring some updates to the MPS as well,” Mr Maciver says.
Exterior mirrors, part of the rear spoiler and rear lower bumper are now painted in a black mica colour, the radio reception is now taken care of by a shark fin antenna and the alloy wheels have taken on a dark metallic hue. “The main volume market for the (Mazda6 MPS) car is the US but ultimately the volume wasn't there, that's the reason the decision was made to stop production of the car, there's no plans to add more MPS models,” he says.