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Ovens & Murray Advertiser - - NORTHEAST MOTOR GUIDE -

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.

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