New Mazda 3 HAchback : Reviews and Specs

What isn’t race-ready is the 1.6 MZR engine and the Activematictm transmission. There’s a new resonator in the intake, but it doesn’t give you a miraculous ten extra horsepower, and the engine doesn’t sound much different, either… though it maintains that mellow buzz that makes the current Civic 1.8 sound downright uncivil. It’s still slow, but it’s got decent shove between 3000 and 5000 rpms. There’s a slight hiccup when manually shifting between the widely spaced first and second gears, but the seamless transitions from second to fourth make it great for overtaking compared to similar 4-speed automatics. You’ll really feel the lack of power, though, if you’re trying to merge on the highway. Even considering the poor weather and virgin engine, a 0-100 km/h time of nearly 15 seconds is disappointing. That’s for the hatch, mind you. The sedan is, strangely, much faster with the exact same hardware.

StylishSolidGreat handling
Not much differentHeavySluggish engine
Still the style leader, but needs a better engineWhile not a fuel-miser, the Mazda3 isn’t as thirsty as the old Familia. Driven conservatively, at 60-100 km/h, we saw 11.2 km/l (50/50 City/Highway). Notch up the pace, hitting 100 to 120 km/h and revving more to get around trucks, and that goes down to 10.5 km/l (Monday rush hour). Drive it with more gusto or in Makati-level traffic and it goes down further (8.5 km/l, weekend fun).

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