By Veeno Dewan
The Mazda3, one of the bestselling compacts in Canada for the last few years, and for good reason, this is a good-looking stylish, family car available in either a four–door sedan or a five door hatchback version.
For 2012-13 the Mazda3 also undergoes mild styling changes comprising of a new front fascia, rounded fog lamps and updated grille, along with improvements to body stiffness and handling. The technologically driven SKY models are differentiated with new blue engine cover trim, transparent blue headlamp rings, and SKYACTIV badges. Each trim line now adds new standard or optional features.
The Mazda3 comes as a four-door sedan or as a four-door hatchback, called the Sport as we tested. The hatchback is also the basis of the performance-oriented Mazdaspeed3.SKYACTIV includes: the lighter, more advanced SKYACTIV-G 2.0L engine, SKYACTIV-MT 6-speed manual transmission, 16″ alloy wheels, 4-wheel disc brakes, Dynamic Stability Control and Traction Control System. Also in the mix is USB and auxiliary audio input, tilt & telescopic steering, cloth upholstery, Bluetooth hands-free phone, 6 speakers, steering wheel mounted audio controls, cruise control & steering wheel cruise controls, rain sensing wipers, automatic headlights (on/off), heated front seats
The previous optional Comfort Package has been deleted, which included traction and stability control systems (now standard) and a power glass sunroof, which is now an $895 standalone option.
Other optional equipment includes Moonroof GS-L Package $1,400 includes: Fog lights, leather upholstery, 8-way adjustable power driver seat and leather-like sliding console lid.
Touring Edition $1,400 includes: Intelligent system with push button ignition system, LED taillights, dual-zone automatic climate controls, Auto dimming rearview mirror, Premium 10-speaker BOSE audio system, Centerpoint and Audio Pilot $895 Inside, the Sport GS features: fabric seat upholstery and a height-adjustable cushion for the driver; leather upholstery, heated front seats and a power driver’s seat available for the first time in the GS. Other GS standard-issue kit includes Bluetooth connectivity, wheel-mounted audio controls, rain-sensing wipers, a tilt and telescopic steering column and remote keyless entry.
The 5-door GS is powered by the bigger of two available engines in the Mazda3 with 167 horsepower and 168 pound-feet of torque, courtesy of a 16-valve, 2.5-litre inline-4. You can opt for the optional 5-speed automatic transmission, which includes a manual mode and operates precise and smoothly. The SKYACTIV-G 2.0L Inline 4-cylinder 1,998 cc has a torque figure of 155 at 6,000 rpm.
The four-wheel independent suspension, slick fast changing gear gives the car an excellent sporting feel and dynamic character. Zero to 100 km/h takes 8.7 seconds, and official fuel economy is averaged around City: 7.6 Highway: 5L/100 km.
Downsides are few, the Mazda3 has a narrow cabin and entry to the backseat is a little tight for the portly as the doors are narrow at the bottom. However nothing major, The 481 litres of cargo volume with the rear seat up and in place is adequate and versatile with the rear seats folded.
It is not hard to see why the Mazda3 is a good seller in Canada, it has good looks, a nice cabin great features and equipment levels for the price. A very good car to put on the shopping list.
2013 Mazda3 Sport GS-SKY priced from $20,590 price as tested $24,285