March 19, 2020 By Angel S. Rivero Photos by Kevin C. Limjoco and Chris Van Hoven C! March 2020 Issue

Mazda3 Sedan: A Piece of Premium Art

The Mazda3 has historically been an extremely important product to Mazda as it has always been a core model in the small company’s global lineup. The previous-generation Mazda3 in all its Jinba Ittai (concept of ‘horse and rider as one’) glory was already an outstanding product for its class, and the all-new Mazda3 elevates that position even further with its latest take on what is ‘Mazda Premium’ – a constant work in progress.

This fourth-generation Mazda3 is the company’s first production model to exude its evolved Kodo: Soul of Motion design philosophy. In embracing this latest design direction, the car has now been stripped of its character lines – banking on the ‘less is more’ or minimalist concept of Japanese beauty. And yet, the absence of the traditional lines now leaves behind a metal canvas of infinite, impermanent art – showcasing the dance of ever-changing reflections on the vehicle’s body, based on the constantly changing angles of light. Therefore, every environment and every hour of the day would express a different artwork on the moving body. And that, in my opinion, is one of the courageous moves Mazda’s design team has taken to the game – demanding that their engineers be able to replicate and mass produce metal bodies with such intricate craftsmanship, and daring to disrupt what the traditional definitions of car design are.

A lot of research into the human form has also been put into the development of the seventh-generation Mazda3. They like to refer to this special approach as their ‘human-centric’ vehicle design. Towards its fulfillment are many tiny details – such as how the new cushion and design of the seats keep the human pelvis in an upright position, thereby maintaining the natural S-curve of the spine; and always keeping the driver’s head in its most natural upright position in order to reduce driver exhaustion.

The new, large and soft armrest right next to the driver – which covers a large-capacity console box – is a delightful addition to the car’s overall, more premium feel. Much of the interior surfaces are soft to the touch, and delightful to the senses.

Just like with the exterior, visual noise is earnestly reduced around the instrument panels and the dash. Some of the related components are now smaller, and combined with one another to form more singular structures.

Interestingly, Mazda’s speaker layouts were considered even before the car’s engine and chassis layout study. This paved the way for the creation of Mazda’s unique speaker layout, which they pride themselves as having an architecture completely independent from those of standard audio manufacturers.

Asides from meticulously enhanced insulation around the door panels, the car is now also bestowed with better engine insulation and improved dampers – which perform more efficiently to soften any high-distortion energy. The vehicle is now constructed with significantly fewer holes than it once had (to eliminate as much noise as possible), and is even appropriated with some sound-absorbing upholstery, which are made from fine, fibrous materials which tend to trap sound energy and dissipate them as heat. Why, even the specially allocated floor mats and headliner material were chosen specifically because they help absorb noise.

This four-door sedan we tested falls under the premium range, which features the more powerful 2.0L SKYACTIV-G engine, alongside additional safety tech. There are also several enhancements to the car’s SKYACTIV vehicle architecture, now also incorporating G-Vectoring Plus (GVC+) as part of the package.

Specifications

Engine

Engine Inline-4, 1998 cc, dohc 16V, Direct Injection, 6-Speed AT
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 152 bhp @ 6000 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 148 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

Performance

Top Speed 215 km/h (134 mph)
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 8.4 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 9 km/L Overall

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) 1,495,000
What's Great +The most luxurious feeling interior in its class. Loaded with features.
What's Not So -Torsion beam rear suspension is slightly jumpy. Price.
C! Editors Rating 9.5/10
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