Mazda in the US has unveiled a host of mechanical changes to its popular small car and it could spell good news for Australian buyers
Mazda has given its 3 hatchback and sedan line-up a power boost in the US market, foreshadowing potential changes in Australia.
The upgrade applies to the Skyactiv-G 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine which has seen power grow from 139kW to 142kW. Torque remains unchanged at 252Nm.
In addition, fuel economy has also been improved due to the introduction of ‘updated cylinder deactivation technology’ accounting for an approximate two to three percent improvement.
Mazda USA says the updated technology allowed the 3 to be more efficient under unnamed ‘specific conditions’ and noted that the fuel consumption claim was yet to be finalised.
American testing requirements for fuel economy differ from Australia’s testing standards so the improvements could vary in our official figures but if the percent change was applied directly to the G25 Evolve SP hatch, for example, consumption could drop from 6.6 to 6.4L/100km on the combined cycle.
A spokesperson from Mazda Australia told Chasing Cars that 2.5-litre equipped Mazda 3s (referred to as G25 variants) already feature cylinder deactivation technology, but declined to comment on whether the latest US market changes would be carried over locally.
Given that Mazda USA and Mazda Australia both source their vehicles from Japan, it’s likely that these latest mechanical changes will be carried across to local models within the next 12 months.
The US market also receives turbocharged versions of the 2.5-litre engine making 186kW/434Nm and all-wheel-drive option, which Mazda Australia expressed interest in importing last year but no further developments have been seen since.
Despite the growing popularity of SUVs, the Mazda 3 remains a strong performer with Australian buyers. As of July this year, the Mazda 3 is the fourth most popular small car in Australia with 5520 units sold, behind the Toyota Corolla (15,136), Hyundai i30 (13,510) and Kia Cerato (8421).
The Mazda 3 is offered as either a sedan or hatch in a choice of Pure, Evolve, Evolve SP, Touring, Astina and GT grades, with a variety of additional technology and luxury packages available.
Buyers can opt for a choice of three petrol-powered four-cylinder engines, consisting of the ’G20’ 114kW/200nm 2.0-litre, the ‘G25’ 139kW/252Nm 2.5-litre or Mazda’s clever 132kW/224Nm ‘X20’ Skyactiv-X 2.0-litre power unit that uses compression ignition technology to save fuel.
Mazda continues to be one of a few manufacturers to offer a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic right across the range, with all power sent straight to the front wheels.
Prices start at $26,340 before on-road costs for the manual-equipped Mazda 3 Pure which includes a cloth upholstery, leather steering wheel, 16-inch alloy wheels and an 8.8-inch multimedia screen.
Higher grades net goodies such as leather upholstery with heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, a 12-speaker Bose premium sound system, 18-inch alloys and safety equipment such as a 360-degree camera.
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