A favourite gets bet­ter

The long-in-the-tooth Mazda3 now has Blue­tooth

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - STU­ART MARTIN stu­art.martin@cars­guide.com.au

AUS­TRALIA’S favourite car gets ex­tra stan­dard kit to keep it ahead of the small hatch ri­vals snap­ping at its heels.

Blue­tooth is now stan­dard in the en­try Mazda3 Neo to keep it in touch with its Corolla and Cruze com­peti­tors. The $20,330 sticker price re­mains.

The sys­tem en­ables hands­free phone use and mu­sic stream­ing, the lat­ter also on of­fer via a USB in­put. A USB con­nec­tion also al­lows for full iPod in­te­gra­tion and func­tion via the steer­ing-wheel mounted con­trols and in­for­ma­tion shown on the cen­tre dis­play.

The Mazda3 sold more than 28,000 up to the start of this month, just ahead of the Toy­ota’s HiLux range of twoand four-wheel drive util­ity ve­hi­cles. The soon-to-bere­placed Corolla in third. Along with a facelift last year, the ex­tra kit is in­tended to keep the 3 in front un­til the new model ar­rives next year.

The top spec Mazda3 MPS hot hatch gets cos­metic changes and no change to the $39,490 pric­etag.

‘‘ It’s a tweak with the MPS. It was made avail­able to us, the MPS wasn’t part of that facelift last year so it was an op­por­tu­nity for us to bring some up­dates to the MPS as well,’’ Mazda spokesman Steve Maciver says.

As to that anoma­lous acro­nym – MPS is sup­posed the stand for Mazda Per­for­mance Se­ries – the ‘‘ range’’ will continue to be counted on one fin­ger with no chance of new Mazda6 ver­sion. ‘‘ The main vol­ume mar­ket for the Mazda6 MPS is the US but ul­ti­mately the vol­ume wasn’t there, that’s the rea­son the de­ci­sion was made to stop pro­duc­tion of the car. There’s no plans to add more MPS mod­els,’’ Maciver says.

Facelift: The Mazda3 Neo is try­ing to keep ahead of its ri­vals

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