Today’s launch features the number three as a very prominent theme – the all-new third-generation Mazda3, which is also incidentally Mazda’s third SkyActiv-based model after the CX-5 and Mazda6. Fully imported from Japan, the all-new Mazda3 launches with the 2.0-litre SkyActiv-G sedan as the sole variant on offer with additional options set for introduction when local assembly commences in the third quarter of this year.
Sporting Mazda’s current ‘Kodo – Soul of Motion’ family look, the new Mazda3 follows the CX-5’s and Mazda6’s foot steps to establish itself as one of the most striking looking vehicles of its segment. External adornments that communicate a premium disposition include keyless entry, bi-xenon headlamps, daytime running lights, and 18-inch alloy wheels shod with 215/45 tyres.
Whilst the new 3’s familial resemblance with the CX-5 and the 6 is unmistakable from the outside, its interior layout features a wider deviation. Mazda’s newly-developed MZD Connect infotainment system debuts in the 3 featuring integration of audio, navigation, and handsfree telephone control. Interaction with the system is via a centre console-mounted rotary control dial and display on a free-standing 7-inch screen mounted on the dashboard above the central air-con vents.
The instrument panel sports a similarly unique layout with a circular central binnacle flanked by a pair of trapezoidal digital displays. In certain overseas trim levels, the central binnacle houses a tachometer with digital speedometer embedded inside, but the Malaysia-spec model currently receives a central analogue speedo with a digitally-generated tacho on the left and trip computer displays on the right. Other notable interior amenities include a sunroof, six airbags, start/stop button, paddle shifters, steering-mounted audio controls, and dual zone climate control.
Moving on to the juicy bits, the all-new Mazda3’s naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre petrol direct injected SkyActiv-G engine operates with a 14.0 compression ratio. Early versions of the SkyActiv-G engine that debuted with the CX-5 had come with 13.0 compression ratios, which we were told was a result of Mazda engineers mistakenly underestimating the octane levels of fuel sold in Malaysia. Outputs of the engine are rated at 162hp @ 6,000rpm and 210Nm @ 4,000rpm, comfortably the engine’s most potent state-of-tune we’ve seen thus far. The engine pairs with Mazda’s 6-speed SkyActiv-Drive automatic transmission as standard.
To enhance fuel economy, the new Mazda3 SkyActiv comes fitted with i-ELOOP regenerative braking and i-STOP idling stop function. Official fuel consumption figures of the vehicle relevant to our market were not stated on the vehicle’s literature released by Mazda, but the Mazda3 is claimed to be an energy efficient vehicle under definitions laid out by the latest national automotive policy. In the Mazda3’s 1,251 – 1,400kg small family car category, we are looking at somewhere less than 6.5 l/100km on the new European driving cycle (NEDC).
Available in a selection of four colours – Soul Red Metallic, Snowflake White Pearl Mica, Titanium Flash Mica, and Meteor Grey Mica – the all-new Mazda3 2.0 SkyActiv-G Sedan CBU is priced at RM138,935.50 with insurance. These Japan CBU units are being sold in limited numbers before CKD commences at the Inokom plant in Kulim, Kedah, where additional variants can be expected together with more competitive pricing and specifications.
Launched together with the Mazda3 today was the CX-5 2.5 to be offered as a high-spec alternative to the existing 2.0-litre versions assembled locally. Like the 2.0-litre model, the 2.5 is available with a choice of 2WD and 4WD drivetrains, both versions sporting identical trim levels being priced at RM165,083.90 and RM175,343.90 respectively.
Powered by the same 2.5-litre SkyActiv-G engine as found in the Mazda6, the CX-5 2.5 yields 184hp @ 5,700rpm and 250Nm @ 4,000rpm, and is fitted once again with the 6-speed SkyActiv auto as standard. It carries all of the CKD 2.0 High Spec model’s standard equipment whilst also adding i-STOP, sunroof, and a nine-speaker Bose audio system.
Interestingly, despite also assembling the variant in the Inokom plant for the Thai market, Mazda has had to bring the CX-5 2.5 as a CBU from Japan, due to Mazda’s limited capacity at the Inokom plant and long delivery period already accumulated for the CX-5. Upon commissioning of a new assembly line to boost capacity, sourcing of the CX-5 2.5 for our market will revert to local assembly.