Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Mazda 3 Turns Heads. Again Technology Takes Upper Hand

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Mazda 3 Turns Heads. Again Technology Takes Upper Hand

Article excerpt

I REMEMBER helping my dad service cars as a little girl.

It is one of those memories as clear as day, the sort that you can conjure up without closing your eyes.

And of course I use the term ahelpa, pretty loosely. I was more like the chief fetcher and carrier, handing out the tools, getting the oil bucket and opening the boxes of spark plugs.

If I was really lucky I got to give the coil a bit of a clean and top up the radiator.

Things were simpler then.

If the car didn't start, you popped your head under the bonnet, jiggled a few wires around, checked the battery, blew on the alternator and crossed your fingers.

Cruise control was a wonderful fantasy, air-conditioning a luxury and a car alarm the height of technology.

Things are different now, the bright blue engine cover on the Mazda3 SkyActiv is proof of that.

Mazda has used SkyActiv technology in the engine and transmission of the updated '3, redesigning pistons, inlet and exhaust systems to create the most petrol-efficient small car in the country.

The engine's compression ratio has been raised to an unusually high 12:1, internal components are lighter and mechanical friction reduced by some 30%.

This has been coupled with a transmission system that combines the best attributes of standard automatic, continuously variable and dual-clutch technologies to produce a car with better balance, greater feel and improved on-road performance.

If that all sounds a bit tricky, take solace in the fact that it works a without crossed fingers.

Comfort

The Mazda3 retains its room-

iness with high-spec well-shaped

supportive seating in soft leather.

Head room is pretty decent and leg room is no problem for adults in the rear provided those in the front are not giants.

Boot space is generous with a low lip and large opening that makes loading and unloading so much easier.

The steering is adjustable for both rake and reach and there are plenty of hidey-holes for storage.

On the road

It is here that the SP20's SkyActiv technology really comes into its own with the 2.0-litre engine producing more torque, power and better fuel economy.

Handling is sharp and it sits proudly on the road delivering a solid feel even on trying surfaces. Driving dynamics are exciting with the Mazda 3 barrelling into sharp bends with confidence showing little or no body roll.

The McPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension has obviously benefited from minor adjustments and although the ride is firm, it is a small concession for superior handling.

Engineers have also worked hard on reducing noise, vibration, harshness and succeeded in making this car one of the most refined in the segment.

The i-Stop system switches off the engine when you stop in traffic or at a red light to help optimise economy. …

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