Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

What It Takes to Unwind; from the School Run to Hitting the Track on the Weekend, Mazda3 MPS Covers All Needs

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

What It Takes to Unwind; from the School Run to Hitting the Track on the Weekend, Mazda3 MPS Covers All Needs

Article excerpt

Byline: VANI NAIDOO

I don't know how Mazda would feel about the MPS reaching almost "cult-like" status among Saturday morning car clubbers, but I am happy to harbour a guess that the fact their quality workmanship and above-average product is sending pulses racing will be enough to produce a wry smile.

The wraparound cabin is definitely designed with the driver in mind, presenting cocooned comfort and cushioned supportive bucket seats.

Leg and headroom is much more generous in the front than back but rear seat passengers will still travel in comfort.

Black is the predominant colour, with splashes of red on the trim and door panels adding some variety. The console is snazzy and well laid out, although the digital turbo boost gauge takes a bit of working out.

Sat-nav controls on the steering wheel are a plus and make operation of the system much easier.

The previous model was one of the fastest hot hatches around but its vicious torque-steer dampened the driving experience.

Mazda has done much to counter that problem with stiffer drive shafts and more control of the intake volume and boost pressure to avoid sudden torque spikes.

It still takes a bit of getting used to and definitely requires driver participation but the MPS delivers a thrilling, more refined, butterflies-in-the-tummy ride. Power from the 2.3-litre direct injected turbocharged engine is delivered through the front wheels, courtesy of a six-speed manual that combines crisp, precise shifting. Gear ratios are spaced out, allowing for better use of the wide torque band.

The MPS is firm and sporty on the open road, exciting around corners and only loses its composure when negotiating particularly undulating stretches or those nasty oversized bumps in shopping centre car parks.

Mazda has modified the coil spring rates for the MacPherson strut front suspension, which together with the multi-link rear suspension, works with larger diameter stabilizers to keep you planted. …

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