It was then time when owning a hatch was a dream for many around the country while some were very well placed to afford a king sized luxurious sedan. Owning a sedan for a middle class man was just a dream but over a period of time the inclusion of new segments in the automotive world has changed the complete picture. Hatches have gone longer and wider while the cross breed of hatches and sedans, popularly regarded as crossovers has emerged big time. One such model that made its inception count in the Philippines market was the Mazda3 sedan that accounted for million sedan dreamers. Not just with its looks but the exclusive SKYACTIV technology that powers it, Mazda3 has attracted a million fans and admirers. After a hatchback version of the same, the company sighted potential in growing subcompact segment, which eventually made them introduce a car that can stand the high waves of competition. Just like the hatch, sedan version of the same was in talks for a quite a number of reasons which forced us to take charge trying our hands on the same. Powered by SKYACTIV technology and 2.0-litre engine, the sedan looks promising but how it actually feels on the road is the question which haunted us till we get behind the wheel. So, here’s what we found while driving the stylish Mazda3.
The Soul Red, about four thousand metres long Mazda3 sedan was awaited by me and my partner just when the brand’s official presented us the same and at the first glance it blew my mind like never before. Cuts, slashes, prominent character lines allied to aggressive V-shaped grille at the front were just fantabulous to witness in real. It gave me a sense of wow that I’m gonna drive this beautifully crafted road machine. It looked absolutely ravishing from the outside, be it its front or the side profile or for that matter the rear end, every glare to it made me say superb.
Starting from the front, it had the traditional Mazda’s V-shaped chrome grille that blended perfectly into the headlamps, which were quite attractive in themselves. Slim, sleek, swept-back headlamp cluster on either of the front were placed brilliantly keeping in mind the illumination it would generate in real. Lower down the bumper were the circular shaped fog lamps housed in black that were enhancing the splendour of the front. Adding more to the grandeur was the lower lip of the Mazda3 that stole the cake at once. Moving on to the side was special too, as the prominent character lines in accordance with the sloping roofline, door-mounted red ORVMs and a chrome lining over the windows imparted an exceptional character of the sedan. Main highlight of the exterior was the short rear trunk that adds further to its aesthetic appeal. The trunk lid, the wrap-around tail lamps and a bulky design of the bumper made it look a complete car from the outside typically from the back.
I would be really amazed if someone told me that he/she doesn’t like the looks this sedan adorns. It certainly has that ‘X’ factor that’s capable of attracting million eyes along the way. With zero doubts in my mind I would certainly rate the aesthetics of this car above others currently prevailing in the market, thanks to the design team of Mazda which hasn’t left any stone unturned in making this car look stylish, awe-inspiring and well-proportioned. Further, we have also penned down other aspects of the car too in the following sections, i.e. cabin, driving feel and our word on the same.
It was then time to step inside the car to feel it while planted on that driver’s seat and trust me as soon as I popped inside through the driver’s side, I was greeted by a plush cabin with everything just in place. A glance at the dash was pleasant. Being a compact class car, you’d expect little cutting in terms of quality, seating, fabrics and organization but I was surprised to witness the supremeness of the cabin. The brand has done every bit of it to make it look sporty and stylish without hindering its comfortable quotient. The design of the dash was clean just as you’d see in a German make. Everything inside the cabin looked organised and well laid up, thanks to the absence of unnecessary buttons and controls over the centre console. All the relevant functions like navigation, audio and connectivity features were packed inside a tab-like touchscreen which sits nicely over the dash’s centre console. Despite the touch enabled screen, Mazda had incorporated a manual interface just behind the automatic gear stick for controlling the integrated systems with ease.
The steering was nice and easy to hold with audio controls mounted on the same. While the tachometer was easy to understand and read with a big speedometer at the centre accompanied by two displays for other relevant information about the car like fuel status, trip details and more. The quality noticed at the dash and centre console extended throughout the cabin. The seats were nicely wrapped beneath a high-quality leather with adequate cushioning and support. Although, it looked a bit weak on lateral support thing but you can manage without it too. Adhering a compact structure, two heavily built persons on those front seats might face elbow brush quite a sometimes while the rear seats too looked a little crunched up. Legroom offered to the rear passengers was tight as compared to other options available in the market. Due to its compact nature, three adults might feel a sense of congestion on that rear bench and it looked good for two with a kid. On the storage front, it had considerable spaces to offer its occupants including the bottle holders in the doors, near the handbrake and a compartment just below the centre console. In addition to this, it had a 419 litres of cargo space which was generous as well to hold a couple of big luggage bags accompanied by small ones.
Finally, the section that most of the auto aficionados would be waiting to read, how does it actually feel driving the Mazda3 sedan? So, if the numbers fascinate you and you want to know what does the specs sheet of this sedan reflects, then here you go. This 2.0 R variant underpins a 2.0-litre four-cylinder 16-valve engine with SKYACTIV technology that is capable of pumping out a max power of 155 PS at 6000 rpm alongside a peak torque of 200 Nm at 4000 rpm. This engine comes mingled to a six-speed SKYACTIV automatic transmission system that’s responsible for transferring power to the front wheels.
Driving the Mazda3 was smooth as you like. Powered by the SKYACTIV technology, it not only offered a considerable fuel economy but was also fun when the race pedal was pressed hard. Built with the help of high tensile strength steel, it had shed off considerable amount of weight, which has enhanced its fuel economy as well. Driving it in city congested roads was fun as it was easy to maneuver due to its compact structure and electronic power steering which was fun to move around. The gear shifting was smooth and automatic transmission doesn’t leave anything for you to do. It cruises along the way at different speeds adjusting the level it should be working on.
The fuel economy figures were also kept in check at all times by me as well as my partner and what we recorded will surely stun you. During our drive on Manila streets, we marked a reading of 10.1 Kmpl that too when we drove it smartly through roads at an average speed of 20-30 Kmph. However, the figure reached a new high of 14.5 Kmpl when we took it to the expressways around Manila. The figures were good enough to entice anyone in the country and as a daily commuter these are probably one of the best figures you can encounter among the cars prevailing in the Philippines at present. With the presence of i-ELOOP and i-STOP features, the car performed brilliantly while the engine responded to the same in an unmatched manner.
On the comfort front, it proved me right as at the start of the drive, I was challenged by my partner that it would let us down. But, the final result was up to the mark. However, it didn’t match up the level of Germans and Toyotas but was good enough to ensure that passengers were well occupied inside that piece of metal. Bumps and potholes along the way were not pronounced and we had a generous drive. Even, we tried it to roll through the corners and the results were acceptable to a great extent. The engine was responsive and was ready to accept the orders from the word go unlike Hyundai Accent which we drove few days back. The MacPherson Struts suspension at the front and the Multi-link beam at the rear ensured that the drive was hassle-free. The car looked in control at all times and a firm grip with the surface was there, thanks to its 18-inch alloy wheels and stability control feature like Anti-lock braking system with EBD.
In the Philippines, it is available in following variants:
Mazda has put in all with the Mazda3 sedan, be it style, comfort, technology, quality and performance, it has everything covered. And, if you are considering this sedan as your next daily commuter then I won’t pause you on this front rather would support your decision big time. It might look a little overpriced but considering the after sales maintenance and extended free servicing, it is surely a hot deal to grab.