Top Model Goes in for a Nosejob; We Put the New Mazda3 through Its Paces

Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England), July 2, 2006 | Go to article overview

Top Model Goes in for a Nosejob; We Put the New Mazda3 through Its Paces


Byline: BY TONY LARNER Motoring Writer

YOU'RE young, good looking with hundreds of thousands of admirers.

So would you risk all that by going for a facelift?

Well that's exactly what the Japanese have done with their multi-award winning Mazda3 and I was invited to sunny Sardinia to see the results.

Making changes to a relatively young model (still less than three years old) and one heading towards the million sales milestone seems a risky idea at first.

After all, if it 'aint broke, etc.

But the wily Japanese have opted for more of a non-surgical facelift by introducing subtle improvements to the looks and performance of their best-selling vehicle in Europe.

The upgraded Mazda3 has had minor reshaping work done on its nose, including an enhanced front grille and an updated rear bumper and new black bezels that support a sportier-looking backside.

There are also fresh aluminium wheel designs and seven new colours on offer.

Inside and the cabin has also been tweaked with new colours and fabrics, along with silver touches to the instrument panel and a padded steering wheel.

The new Mazda3 also comes with advanced keyless entry and start system which really brings the car bang up to date. With the smart card in your pocket, you can simply open the door, jump into the driver's seat, turn a rather clunky looking dial and zoom-zoom off.

Noise has also been tackled with the introduction of a new engine generator, while insulation material has been added to the underside of the bonnet and 'dynamic dampers' to the rear suspension.

Mazda say this has reduced noise levels by up to 1.5 decibels which sounds impressive on paper.

Yet while the 1.6 diesel model we drove around the mountains of Sardinia was far from a growler, it was not what I'd class as quiet.

Fuel economy has been improved by between 3.6 per cent (MZR 2.0L) and six per cent (MZ-CD 1.6L diesel) thanks to engine updates and improved aerodynamics on all sedan or hathcback models - a very cute move as oil prices continue to rocket. …

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