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New Mazda3 sticks like glue

Created on 07/10/2016 @ 12:07
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Test Drive by Graham Breeze

Bosses at most car manufacturers tend to bamboozle me when talking technical, which is just what happened at a launch event for the new Mazda3.

When it came time to explain why the new 2017 model stuck like glue to some of the most demanding roads Scotland had to offer you needed a degree in motor engineering to understand what was being said.

So to put things in layman’s language let’s just say the updated Mazda3, 2-litre 165PS model I tested handled like a dream and it was soon clear why the Scottish Highlands had been chosen to demonstrate its’ stickability.

I’ve learned it’s all down to Mazda’s SKYACTIV technology which improves the connection between car and driver and a system named G-Vectoring Control(GVC) which varies engine torque and optimises load on the front wheels.

By monitoring steering and throttle position when you enter a corner under power, GVC momentarily reduces the amount of torque delivered to the front wheels, transferring a fraction more weight onto the front axle which allows the front wheels to turn more precisely.

Even on a straight road, GVC can reduce driver fatigue by cleverly taking away the need for the tiny corrections that some drivers make when driving straight. In doing this GVC lowers driver effort and reduces the amount of head and body sway small steering corrections can create for passengers.

The Mazda3 handled pretty well before but this takes things to a new level and it really has to be driven to appreciate just how good this new system is.

Highlights across the full Hatchback and Fastback range include, subtle exterior changes and an updated cabin. There’s four specification levels and the 2017 Mazda3 is priced from £17,595 to £24,195.

Outwardly you won’t spot a lot of difference, though the 2017 Mazda3 is marked out by a revised grille with a stronger three-dimensional look and a new front fog light bezel. Across both body styles, revised door mirrors feature wraparound turn indicators, while hatchback versions have a redesigned rear bumper.

I couldn’t detect a lot of difference inside the cabin either, though Mazda claim updates include higher-quality switch panels and handle bezels on the doors, plus a newly designed trim insert on the dashboard.

The adoption of an electric parking brake is new, creating space for a more practical centre console, and there’s a new leather steering wheel, which if combined with leather seats is heated.

A stand-out feature is the adaption of full-colour on the heads–up display system showing not only driving speed, but speed limits and driving instructions when used in conjunction with the SatNav system.

There are no changes when it comes to interior space and this model rates really well against opposition in the sector with the spacious boot easily passing the golf club test.

Across the range the 2017 Mazda3 now features auto power folding door mirrors, while range-topping Sport Nav versions get LED headlights and LED daytime running lights.

All 2017 Mazda3s come with chrome side mouldings, a shark-fin antenna and body-coloured door mirrors. On Sport Nav cars the redesigned grille is black metallic, while this range topping model also benefits from front and rear parking sensors.

The Mazda3, 2-litre 165PS model tested costs £22,370 and produced 48mpg while emitting 135g/km of CO2 and is a car that will really appeal for the driver who needs to feel in control.

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