Hyundai Elantra 2019 review
Hyundai has overhauled its Elantra range, and that means a fresh (and polarising) look and interesting new trim levels. So is it worthy of your attention?
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If you will indulge me, I'd like you to cast your mind back to the mid-90s. If you're too young, ask your parents or Google to do the same.
The 323 went dull for almost a decade and then when the 3 arrived, it was the sedan that I thought was the looker. Sure, they weren't completely different like the old days, but the proportions were nicer and it was just a better thing to look at.
Then along came the most recent fourth-generation 3, the BP. The hatch, I think, is the gorgeous one while the sedan is a more sober. And while still made of lovely proportions, it seems to have been... flattened a bit.
Thorough as we are here at CarsGuide, I spent a week with the new sedan to ponder not only its looks, but whether it's much different to the hatch.
|Mazda 3 2019: G25 EVOLVE|
|Fuel Type||Regular Unleaded Petrol|
The G25 Evolve starts at $29,490 (before on-road costs) for the manual almost nobody buys, and an extra thousand takes you to $30,490 for the six-speed auto.
The Evolve spec isn't skimpy, with 18-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, an excellent safety package, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, keyless entry and start, auto LED headlights, auto wipers, electric drivers seat, sat nav, leather wheel and shifter, leather seats and a space-saver spare.
Mazda's 'MZD Connect' has a had a big facelift to go with the very nice interior. Displayed on an 8.8-inch screen that looks like it belongs, it has DAB+, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and in-built sat nav. The eight-speaker stereo is quite nice if nothing amazing.
The sedan is oddly anonymous in this new Mazda3. It misses out on some of the cool detailing of the hatch, particularly the gloriously designed tail-lights - the circular sections are flatter and flush with the rest of the housing.
It's not ugly, not by a long shot and certainly isn't as polarising as the hatch. You can also see out over your shoulder.
The front ends of the hatch and sedan are fundamentally identical, with the funky grille shape and effects along for the ride.
From the side, both have good presence but the hatch's - I hesitate to use this word - stance is much more convincing. The good news is, the choice between them is more than a boot.
Inside is visually identical to the hatch. The new dash is refreshingly button free (although still a bit colourless) and the new screen looks terrific.
There's something about the consistency of detailing in the current Mazda range - all the fonts match on the switches, the instruments and the head-up.
It sounds ridiculous but that makes a huge difference in making the cabin feel resolved. The seats are terrifically comfortable, too.
The sedan rides on the same wheelbase as the hatch but the overall length is up 200mm. That might not seem like much, but that translates to a boot of 444 litres, which is a lot more than the hatch's 295 litres.
The rear seats seem slightly more roomy than the hatch. There are even air vents for rear seat dwellers, which is rather nice.
Mazda's 'SkyActiv' 2.5-litre engine lives on with a few more kilowatts into the bargain, in this case delivering 139kW/252Nm to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic.
The G20 makes do with 114kW/200Nm and feels a lot slower.
As ever, the SkyActiv engine drives the front wheels through a six-speed SkyActiv transmission.
Despite all the extra hardware south of the rear axle, Mazda reckons you'll sip standard unleaded (there's a bonus) at a rate of 6.5L/100km on the combined cycle, 0.1L/100km less than the hatch.
Our week with the car saw us average 9.8L/100km with mostly suburban driving.
As before, Mazda's has fitted 'i-Stop' stop-start which is quite clever. Most people hate stop-start, but this one covers both bases.
You can control whether it switches off the engine. Light brake pressure keeps the engine ticking over while a slight increase will cut the fuel.
Mazda's (very welcome) preoccupation with safety continues. The new 3 has seven airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, forward and reverse AEB, lane keep assist, reverse cross traffic alert, forward collision warning and a blind spot monitor.
Out back are three top-tether anchors and two ISOFIX points.
The new 3 scored a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating in May 2019.
5 years / unlimited km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
Mazda offers a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty which, like the clutch of advanced safety gear, is very welcome indeed.
Since the start of April 2019, you also get five years of roadside assist. In the past, you had to pay for that.
The company continues with the weird 12 months/10,000km service intervals, so clearly it doesn't seem to bother its customers too much.
The 'Service Select' program lists the price of each service up to the fifth. Total cost over five services is $1581 at an average of $316 per service (you'll pay either $299 or $342, plus extra items listed on the website).
Mazda tells that the set-up of the sedan is identical to the hatch. Sure there are differences like, say the tyres, but the idea is that the two drive identically. I, uh, I don't think so.
Plenty is the same. The engine and transmission do a good, less frantic job of moving the 3 along than the lower-powered 2.0-litre.
I can't stress enough how much better the 2.5 is. The 2.0 does a good enough job, it's just that you'll find it wanting with a load on about halfway up that steep hill. The 2.5 is much happier in traffic and the difference in fuel consumption is negligible, so the only real extra cost is the up-front spend for the G25.
The steering is just as keen and quick as the hatch's, too. The wheel responds very quickly to inputs and you don't have to do much twirling to get the car into a park.
It's not too quick a sneeze will send you into orbit, though, which is handy. The clever 'G-Vectoring' system is along, too, rapidly building driver confidence in the car's abilities.
What felt a lot different to me was the ride, something I noticed moments after picking up the sedan. I had a hatch overlapping with the sedan so was able to jump in and out over a couple of days to ensure I wasn't making it all up.
It seemed a little less busy than the hatch which felt a bit more loaded for bear. The sedan felt like it had a little more roll and carried a little more weight. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, a scaled-down 6 isn't a bad idea at all.
In town and at speed, the 3's past problems with road noise are a distant memory. No doubt strategic use of foam, carpets and other clever bits and pieces are a big part of the improvement, as well as stiffer bits and pieces.
The sedan is a bit easier to get around in as the vision over your shoulder is a bit better, unencumbered as it is by that slab of metal that is the hatch's C-pillar.
The new 3 sedan is just as good as the hatch, but different. Mazda has gone out of its way to make the two body styles look different enough to cover more than a few bases. This works on a global scale - the Chinese market absolutely loves a sedan but in Australia, the 3 sedan only accounts for around 10 percent of sales.
The new 3 really is something else - it looks feels a heck of a lot more expensive than it is (especially in Soul Red), drives beautifully without being startling and in the case of the sedan, rides very comfortably indeed.
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|G20 EVOLVE||2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$24,990 – 35,831||2019 Mazda 3 2019 G20 EVOLVE Pricing and Specs|
|G20 EVOLVE VISION||2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$29,440 – 33,214||2019 Mazda 3 2019 G20 EVOLVE VISION Pricing and Specs|
|G20 PURE||2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$23,990 – 33,985||2019 Mazda 3 2019 G20 PURE Pricing and Specs|
|G20 PURE VISION||2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$27,740 – 31,463||2019 Mazda 3 2019 G20 PURE VISION Pricing and Specs|
|Price and features||7|
|Engine & trans||7|