We took the new Mazda3 to meet its predecessor that was introduced here locally in 2009. Similar to the newer Soul Red Metallic car we have here, this particular Crystal White Pearl Mazda3 example came from the first batch of CBU models imported from Japan.
The previous generation Mazda3 was offered with three engine choices for the Malaysian market, a 1.6 litre 4-cylinder producing 103hp and 144Nm of torque, a 2.0 litre 4-cylinder with 145hp and 182Nm of torque, and the range-topping MPS powered by the fiery 2.3 litre 4-cylinder turbo flexing out 255hp and 380Nm of torque. The new Mazda3 currently only comes in a single guise, which is the 2.0 litre 4-cylinder SkyActiv producing 162hp and 210Nm of torque but 1.5 litre 4 cylinder with 99 hp and 150 Nm will be eventually introduced later to the Malaysian market. In all fairness, both cars featured here are the 2.0 litre model.
The styling have been subtly evolved, where you can still recognise the familiar pointy motifs used throughout the whole car. Noticeably the smiley grille is now narrower and moved up a bit to incorporate the Mazda logo on the nose. Overall the design have been updated with a more complex surfacing and criss-crossing lines used on the new car. A dash of chrome bits here and there adds a more premium feel to the new car as well. The dimension is not altered much, the new car is slightly wider and lower, and gains a 60mm worth of wheelbase but the bootspace is now down to 408 litres from 430 litres on the previous car.
The new Mazda3 is equipped with technology to deliver better performance for lesser fuel used. To achieve that, the new 2.0 litre SkyActiv G powerplant under the bonnet is helped by the ingenious i-ELOOP system that stores wasted kinetic energy generated when the vehicle is decelerating and reuse them back to power the vehicle’s electrical devices. On top of that, the i-stop system shuts down the engine when the car comes to a complete halt to save more fuel from being wasted. There’s also a new six speed gearbox replacing the five speed automatic transmission on the previous car. The new car’s claimed fuel economy is just 6.5l/100km where the old car will only manage 10.0l/100km.
While the new Mazda3 wins on the tech front, equipment-wise it loses out to the the old car. In the white car, you get goodies like cruise control, auto headlamps and wipers, dual-zone climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and interior ambient light to name a few. While the new car is missing those equipment, it gains a sunroof and a keyless entry. Both cars have the same amount of six airbags ABS as their safety equipment.
The driving dynamics is more polished in the new Mazda3, in a sense you feel the ride is more supple with the suspension is more sorted to iron out road surface irregularities. The white car has clocked more than 92,000km (and counting) on the odometer but still rides admirably, so this also proofs that Mazda builds solid cars. In the end, even though the power increase over the old car is not that significant (145hp @ 6500rpm, 182Nm @4500rpm versus 162hp @ 6000rpm, 210Nm @ 4000rpm), the SkyActiv engine with i-ELOOP technology and an extra gear ratio should lower the fuel consumption so you could enjoy more miles per tank.
|2009 Mazda3 Sport 2.0||2014 Mazda3 2.0 SkyActiv|
|Type||4-cylinder direct injection petrol||4-cylinder direct injection petrol|
|Type||Electrical power-assisted||Electrical power-assisted|
|Transmission||5-speed activematic||6-speed SkyActiv Drive|
|Type||MacPherson struts / Multilink||MacPherson struts / Multilink|
|Front||Ventilated disc||Ventilated disc|
|Rear||Solid disc||Solid disc|
|TYRE & WHEELS|
|Tyres||215/45 R17||215/45 R18|
|DIMENSIONS & WEIGHTS|
|Max Kerb weight||kg||1300||1220|
|Luggage Capacity (VDA)||L||430||408|
|0 – 100km/h||sec||10.6||8.8|