NEW MAZDA3 IS SURE TO LEAVE YOU BEAM­ING

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Driveway -

A COM­MON ut­ter­ance from peo­ple who got into the Mazda3 XD Astina, top of the new Mazda3 range, was that ‘it’s like a BMW’.

The sleek diesel hatch sells for $39,290 for the six-speed man­ual, two grand more for the six-speed auto driven.

That might sound a lot for a Mazda3 but when you drill down into what you get, the price is some­thing of a bar­gain.

None of its di­rect com­peti­tors comes within a bull’s roar of the XD’s torque, rated at a mon­u­men­tal 420Nm from the 2.2-litre Sky­ac­tiv diesel donk. Some get close: the new Peu­geot 308 GT has 400Nm but costs more. Ford Fo­cus Ti­ta­nium diesel is nowhere near, nor is the VW Golf diesel.

But power and torque are not re­ally the is­sue here, it’s the over­all drive feel, fea­tures, tech­nol­ogy and the look that counts more for buy­ers.

And in this re­gard, the Mazda3 XD de­liv­ers in spades.

It has as stan­dard all the driver as­sist fea­tures op­tion­ally avail­able across most of the new Mazda3 line-up, all the luxury kit of­fered, a high tech con­nec­tiv­ity sys­tem and ‘wow’ fea­tures like the head-up dis­play, pad­dle shift, heated ex­te­rior mir­rors and even what Mazda calls i-Eloop, re­gen­er­a­tive brak­ing that works in con­cert with en­gine stop/start to achieve fuel econ­omy rated at 5.0 litres/100km for the man­ual, 5.2 for the auto.

As the flag­ship Mazda3, the XD has a long list of good­ies in­clud­ing driver as­sist/safety sys­tems like blind spot warn­ing, auto head­lights and wipers, lane de­par­ture warn­ing, for­ward ob­struc­tion warn­ing, smart city brake, re­verse cam­era, rear cross traf­fic alert, radar cruise con­trol and other handy fea­tures.

On top of that you get leather, Bose au­dio, a com­pre­hen­sive in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem op­er­ated by a com­man­der cen­tral con­trol dial, large centrally-mounted info screen, dual zone cli­mate con­trol, GPS, sun­roof, bi xenon head­lights with cor­ner­ing lights, sin­gle cen­tre speedo/tacho dial, key­less en­try and but­ton start.

It is a sur­pris­ingly sporty car for a diesel, of­fer­ing strong off-the-mark ac­cel­er­a­tion.

It’s a good size in­side and the boot is a de­cent size too.

Some­thing to con­sider if you can’t run to a Merc C-Class, BMW 320d or Audi A4 TDi. The XD is bet­ter value, has more per­for­mance and as much or more stan­dard kit.

The top of the range Mazda3 XD.

An­thony Martin on his way to fourth place at the Lu­cas Oil oval race­way.

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