Text: Raymond D. Young / Photos: | posted August 30, 2004 00:00
Featuring non-conformist but definitely head-turning looks, this newest offering from Mazda is determined to seize its share of the C-segment pie by offering astounding features while being accompanied with very popular prices. The front end is a welcome sight amidst bug-eyed cars. Deciding to depart from the norm are the slim-lined headlamps, which instantaneously defined its athletic and energetic character, commonly known as the Zoom-Zoom character. Continuing the unique front styling is the curvaceous side silhouette that is free in form together with the rear end of the car. Overall styling cues hint that this car won't stay still or parked for long, it begs the would-be pilot to drive it, and, rest assured, the new engines will vow to stay in sync with the driving emotion.
Under the hood of each Mazda3 is a torquey and responsive MZR engine, which features SVT (Sequential Valve Timing) and VIS (Variable Induction System). The S and V models carry the 1.6 liter iteration, which is capable of unleashing 105 ps/6,000 rpm and, as mentioned, low down 145 Nm of torque at an easy-reach 4,500 rpm. The top-of-the-line R, on the other hand, carry the 2.0 liter variant which is rated at 141 ps/6,500 rpm, and torque at 181 Nm. Mated to Mazda's Active-Matic automatic transmission, this combination is poised to give its share of the fun driving factor, whether on city jaunts or highway straights.
Of course, the fun factor of the entire car won't be possible if the other vital components of that car aren't that cooperative. Teamwork values are stressed again and again in this car, as springing chores are assumed by the ever-proven tandem of strut-type and multi-link suspension designs as derived from its also award-winning brother, the Mazda6. Other plus points include the highly-efficient Electro Hydraulic Power Assist Steering System, which combines the good virtues of electric and hydraulic power steering systems. The braking section is not also neglected, as stopping power are the chores of large disk brakes all around, together with the must-be-default Anti-Lock Braking System and Electronic Brake-Force Distribution.
Mechanical talk aside, the interior of the new Mazda3 boasts of roominess, thanks to the 2,640 mm wheelbase, which happen to be one of the longest in its class. But take note that the increased leg, hip, and shoulder room measurements are not the only ones that this car boasts of. Interior appointments are indeed part of the show as well. Featuring integrated air-conditioning and audio controls accentuated with silver linings contribute to the youthful energy this car possesses. Airheads have their place in the Mazda3 as it also comes with a sunroof, for the top-spec R variant. Automatic climate control air-conditioning also keeps body temperatures in check, and supplies the requested cabin temperature on demand.
Of course, nothing capable would restrain the dynamic attributes of this vehicle but a plethora of active and passive safety features. Starting with the MAIDAS (Mazda Advanced Impact Distribution and Absorption System), which has an integrated triple-H structure that is hard-headed toward deformation, while dispersing impact energy in all conceivable collisions. A long wheelbase does not mean reduced rigidity for Mazda, as the new body and frame design has the contrary. Seat belts and air-bags also cushion occupants in the unlikely event of collisions.
Nice extra features try to overrule human decision like the rain-sensing wiper system, and the auto-headlight system will definitely be the guide of this sultry sheet metal when plying poorly-lit roads.
As said again and again by Mazda, it's the entire driving dynamics of the car that has them winning numerous awards all over the world, and it is truly one characteristic of Mazda that made them bold enough to assume the Zoom-Zoom driving tradition. Here is a car that is always waiting to be driven, from hard to aggressive, to smooth and relaxing, which the car both offers in style.
The Mazda3 is available at all Mazda dealerships with PHP 719,000 for the 1.6 S variant, PHP 780,000 for the 1.6 V variant, and PHP 915,000 for the 2.0 R variant.