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Mazda3 2015 review

EXPERT RATING
8
Derek Ogden road tests and reviews the 2015 Mazda 3 XD Astina with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

It’s a measure of the worth of diesel power in passenger vehicles over the past decade that Mazda has anointed its popular Mazda 3 with an oil burner, the XD Astina.

Powered by a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine mated with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, the hatchback offers an attractive combination of performance and fuel efficiency – all at a cost of $940 below last year’s launch price.

With class-leading power output of 129 kW, and 420 Nm of torque, the diesel engine also takes i-Stop and i-Eloop, Mazda’s regenerative braking system, to help the manual version achieve fuel efficiency as low as 5.0 litres per 100km, an improvement of 12 per cent over the previous, less powerful, diesel engine.

Among price cuts this month across much of the Mazda3 range, the XD Astina manual, now at $39,290 and Astina automatic, $41,290, have both come down by $940.

Styling

Up there in stylish street presence with the petrol-powered Mazda3 SP25 Astina, the new XD Astina holds its own with 18-inch bright alloy wheels, LED foglamps, a black painted lower rear bumper, a red accent around the front grille and black leather seats with suede trim.

Infotainment 

The present Mazda3 introduces head-up windscreen display, projecting driving information onto the windscreen directly in front of the driver without he or she having to look away from the road ahead.

The focal point is 1.5 metres in front of the driver’s eye point and requires minimal eye movement to focus. Info displayed includes vehicle speed, automatic cruise control speed settings, navigation turn-by-turn, plus various safety alerts among other things.

Aboard a Mazda3 for the first time is Commander control, which accesses vehicle systems via a knob and cluster of switches on the centre console linked to the 7-inch display screen on the central dashboard.

The system also allows, via a smartphone, access to Internet radio such as Aha, Pandora and Stitcher, and can read email and short messages aloud while the vehicle is in motion using text-to-voice technology.

It can also read aloud the latest Twitter tweets and Facebook news feed entries, and post audio messages using the Shout function and, being a high-end vehicle, a Bose premium audio system with Bose Centerpoint 2 virtual surround sound playback technology is fitted.

Engine / Transmission

The engine, which puts out 129 kW of power at 4500 rpm and 420 Nm of torque at a reasonably low 2000 revs, makes use of a two-stage turbocharger. A small blower operates at low engine speeds, and alternates with the large turbo at mid-range speeds to maintain optimum boost. At higher speeds the large unit takes over to supply boost to the greater mass of air the system must handle.

This, coupled with a low compression ratio minimises exhaust emissions, while maintaining decent performance and fuel economy.

Safety

Standard safety equipment includes Dynamic Stability Control, Anti-lock Braking and Electronic Brake force Distribution, the Mazda XD Astina is also fitted with Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, High Beam Control, Lane Departure Warning, Radar Cruise Control, Smart Brake Support, Forward Obstruction Warning and Smart City Brake Support. 

Driving

Gear ratios have been fashioned to manage the generous torque on tap resulting in snappy going off the mark, effortless overtaking and relaxed cruising at highway speeds.

Mazda claims the XD automatic is capable of getting diesel consumption down to 5.2 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined urban / highway cycle. That’s around what many petrol / electric hybrid vehicles manage.

The automatic test vehicle, chopped that to 4.5 litres per 100 kilometres cruising the motorway, but rose to seven litres-plus when tackling city traffic.

The car sat low and steady on the road despite being put through some rapid and harsh manoeuvres, reacting to steering input positively. Indeed, the XD Astina exhibited exemplary ride and handling characteristics, creating a calm cabin ambience.

Verdict

First introduced in 2003, the Mazda 3 has become a core element of the Japanese company’s sales with more than 3.9 million units let loose on roads around the world.

Pricing guides

$18,999
Based on 536 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$13,360
Highest Price
$29,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Maxx 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $10,800 – 15,840 2015 Mazda 3 2015 Maxx Pricing and Specs
Maxx Safety 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $9,900 – 14,850 2015 Mazda 3 2015 Maxx Safety Pricing and Specs
Neo 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $9,400 – 14,190 2015 Mazda 3 2015 Neo Pricing and Specs
Neo Safety 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $9,900 – 14,960 2015 Mazda 3 2015 Neo Safety Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.