The Australian introduction of the new Mazda 3 is fast approaching, and Mazda has high hopes that this next-generation car will retake its position as one of Australia’s most popular vehicles. Here’s everything we can tell you before our first drive on local roads.
It’s more expensive
With a higher base price than before and an ever-growing collective of competition, its success might not be as easy as it was in the past.
Bringing radically-evolved Kodo design language in both hatch and sedan forms, the hatchback’s imminent Q2 launch is upon us while the sedan body style won’t arrive until later this year. Price parity of the two body styles will ensure both are priced equally, but an increase of $3500 on the entry model will have some customers scratching their heads.
However, Mazda justifies that the price increase is fairly reflected by having more equipment as standard. With the inclusion of features like intelligent speed assistance, blind-spot monitoring, traffic sign recognition, lane-keep assist, lane departure warning, driver attention alert and radar cruise control all rolled into every Mazda 3 variant, buyers receive leading safety tech for a little extra money.
REVIEWED: Mazda 3 SkyActiv-X 2019 review
All cars will also receive a widescreen LCD infotainment system, head up display, keyless start, Apple Carplay and Android Auto, automatic LED headlights, reverse camera and tyre pressure monitoring as standard.
Read next: 2019 Mazda 3 pricing and specifications
It’s the Mazda 3, but not as we know it
Something that might catch people unaware is the new naming convention. Variants will now be preceded by the ‘G’ prefix, meaning ‘G20’ for 2.0-litre engine (114kW/200Nm) and ‘G25’ for 2.5-litre engine (139kW and 252Nm). Both come with a manual transmission as standard with the option to move up to automatic for $1000.
Further to that, new Pure, Evolve, Touring, GT and Astina model grades are on offer with varying levels of equipment, representing a further departure to previous model designations. Only the Evolve will offer both G20 and G25 engines.
Read next: 2019 Mazda 3 Photo Gallery
Wheels has driven it already
While the SkyActiv G petrol four-cylinder engines remain relatively unchanged, new levels of refinement and reduced road noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) are the hallmark qualities of the incoming car, said Wheels’ Ash Westerman when he first drove the new car in Los Angeles earlier this year.
“Vastly improved over the outgoing third-gen model, and now a deeply impressive, ultra-well-rounded small car.
“Only the lack of packaging advantages from the bigger body and the question of engine strength stops it short of a clean sweep. The latter seems certain to be addressed when the new SkyActiv X petrol engine, with strong torque thanks to revolutionary combustion technology, is offered around October.”
Los Angeles Auto Show: 2019 Mazda 3 hatch and sedan revealed
Form over function?
Speaking of the change in dimensions, the new Mazda 3 is 25mm longer than before but hasn’t gained appreciably in cabin space.
Westerman said that “sitting behind the driver’s seat set for my six-foot frame, rear head- and legroom is adequate, nothing more” and “boot space in the hatch has actually dropped slightly (was 308 litres; now back to 295L).”
Where Mazda has focused its attention for this Mazda 3 is ergonomics. The way people sit, bend, see and function while in a Mazda has been a key design consideration for the reimagined small-sizer.
Westerman noted that the front seats are vastly more accommodating and supportive than a top-spec Mazda 6 Atenza, and the driving position is spot-on.
“The instrument panel, HVAC controls and centre console appear far less cluttered with greater practicality evident in things like the dual cup holders forward of the shifter, and a generous bin ahead of that for a phone or sunnies.
Read next: Mazda's next-gen platform driven
“The multimedia screen is larger – now 8.5 inches – and positioned slightly further away from the driver to reduce the eye-focusing time from the road ahead to the display.
Conscious of the increased range of prices, physical quality has been upgraded too.
“You’ll instantly note the move to better quality materials pretty much everywhere, from the stitched dash top in upper-spec models, padded lid of the generous console box, as well as the uniform slickness and tactility of every button and switch.
“Even the warning chimes and the indicator’s ticking sound have been acoustically buffed in the quest for added premium-ness.”
Read next: View all variants in the 2019 Mazda 3 Range
Is this the new best small car?
When it comes to on-road dynamics, Westerman praised the 3’s steering to the point of it potentially pipping the best in segment. We’ll have to see for sure when we compare it soon, but Westerman also commended the car’s precision and driver involvement when pushing on through corners.
It’s no surprise that we can’t wait to get our hands on the new Mazda 3 to see how it fares down under and up against key rivals.
Read next: Small cars: a quick guide
Stay tuned to Wheels to read our first drive verdict soon.
Mazda 3 2019 price Australia:
- G20 Pure Manual - $24,990
- G20 Pure Automatic - $25,990
- G20 Evolve Manual - $26,990
- G20 Evolve Automatic - $27,690
- G20 Touring Manual - $28,990
- G20 Touring Automatic - $29,990
- G25 Evolve Automatic - $30,490
- G25 GT Manual - $33,490
- G25 GT Automatic - $34,490
- G25 Astina Manual - $36,490
- G25 Astina Automatic - $37,990