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It can read aloud the latest Twitter tweets and Facebook news feed entries, and also posts audio messages using the Shout function. A navigation system with data provided on SD media cards is available in conjunction with MZD Connect. Again, we warn you of the dangers of inattention. ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS Lower grades of the Mazda3 make use of the SkyActiv-G 2-litre four-cylinder engine, putting out a maximum of 114 kW and 200 Nm. The SP25 GT, our test car, takes advantage of the SkyActiv-G 2.5-litre motor producing 138 kW of power and 250 Nm of torque. The test vehicle powered through a six-speed automatic transmission.
Four exhaust pipes running from the exhaust manifold first form pairs, then a single pipe allowing greater distance for the exhaust gases from individual cylinders to travel before merging. This reduces exhaust resistance to enable efficient combustion.
In addition, the loop design of the exhaust pipe saves space, allowing the large-capacity catalytic converter to be positioned near the engine, reducing vibration. SAFETY The Mazda3 has a wide range of Mazda’s advanced safety technologies, collectively known as i-Activsense. These include hill launch assist, smart brake support and city brake support, emergency brake signalling, traffic sign recognition, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist and driver attention alert.
Rounding out the list are radar cruise control, forward obstruction warning and adaptive LED headlights. DRIVING A head turner when it first came out, the latest Mazda3 has been so successful that it seems to be on every street corner. The SP25 GT takes pride of place in the lineup.
Safety and even better handling are provided by Mazda’s G-Vectoring, which brings together G-forces when braking, turning and accelerating. For example, there’s less driver correction to steering due to optimum vertical loading of each tyre. All this goes on without the driver being aware, apart from the smoothness of the vehicle’s behaviour.
Extra performance can be called up by going into Sport mode via a switch on the auto transmission shift gate. ‘Sport’ spices up the engine, shift timing and shift speed, boosting acceleration, even with light pedal pressure.
Re-positioned A-pillars and side mirrors, the latter now mounted on the doors, make for much improved visibility for the driver and front seat passengers. In fact, all occupants enjoy an expansive view. SUMMING UP The figures tell the tale, Mazda3, one of Australia’s most popular cars, pretty much sells itself. The SP25 GT, at $31,990 on road, for my money, is the pick of the bunch.