The second-generation Mazda 3 has been on sale since 2009 and while we've yet to see it on our streets, it's apparently old enough to warrant not just a face-lift but a few technical upgrades as well.
"For the face-lift Mazda 3 we targeted a high level of comfort that would enable the driver and passengers to enjoy the ride in various driving conditions. We also wanted the car to be fun to drive with precision handling. Specifically, we focused on refining the driving feel by making the different vehicle movements--driving, turning and stopping--flow together. We call this Toitsu-kan, which translates as a consistent and linear driving feel. Thanks to its more linear behaviour, as well as improvements to the already impressive high-speed stability, the face-lift Mazda3 is more pleasing than ever to use on a daily basis," said Kenichiro Saruwatari, program manager of the Mazda 3.
Leading the Mazda 3's face-lift is a new aerodynamically efficient front bumper with a larger fascia around the air inlets, new round fog lights embedded in their lower sections, and a lower front lip that protrudes outwards.
Though the rear of the Mazda 3 sedan remains unchanged, the rear bumper of the hatchback has been redesigned, reducing the overall length of the car by 30mm while the rear lamp reflectors have been relocated closer to the side panels to give it a strong, athletic look that is emphasized further by the integrated rear roof spoiler. New 16- and 17-inch wheel designs with spokes that are twisted slightly backwards also give the car a dynamic look even when it's standing still.
As Mazda considers the Mazda 3's cockpit ergonomically superior with its driver-oriented sporty dashboard and great all-round view of the road, the designers focused instead on lowering the amount of eye-movement it takes to use the car's onboard systems from behind the wheel. This was achieved by replacing the previous silver of the lower section of the center console with black, with chrome rings on the control dials for faster recognition while driving. The red graphics on the multi-information display, LCD and gauges have also been changed to white for easier reading during the day.
For the technical updates, Mazda's engineers optimized the handling and ride comfort of the Mazda 3 even further to give the driver a consistent and linear feel while driving. The car's underbody structure has also been stiffened by a new forward cross-member reinforcement made of stronger steel and with more spot welds as well as a new single brace bar.
Even the face-lifted Mazda 3's drag coefficient has been improved at 0.27 for the sedan (from 0.28) and 0.29 for the hatchback (from 0.30), thanks to the aforementioned new front bumper design, the increased rigidity of the front tire reflectors that helps prevent deformation at high speed and the new and larger flat floor undercover designed to improve airflow.
In Europe, where the face-lift of the Mazda 3 will first go on sale, the car will be available with eight powertrains, with all but two engines being enhanced to deliver better fuel efficiency and lower emissions. Of the eight engines, three are diesel including the 2.2-liter turbo diesel mill with a power output of 185hp and 400Nm of torque while the five petrol engines are led by the turbocharged 260hp 2.3-liter powerplant with a pulling power of 380Nm used by the Mazdaspeed 3.