With the introduction of Kodo design and Skyactiv technology in 2012, Mazda demonstrated a bold new step in vehicle design and engineering. It was all revolutionary. While other automakers were playing it safe, Hiroshima-based Mazda was offering something timelessly beautiful and engaging to drive. The approach worked and the brand won the admiration of the motoring world.
Today, Mazda continues to push the boundaries of its design ethos and sophisticated engineering with the all-new, fourth-generation 3. Its evolution is a big leap forward as Mazda has obsessively tailored the whole vehicle based on the human body’s natural dynamics. This is the core of the new 3, touted as having human-centric design.
Embodying the essence of beauty in subtraction, the personalities of the all-new 3 are separated into two distinct entities. The Sedan evokes elegance, while the Sportback conveys a free-spirited, emotional appearance. Staying true to the evolution of Kodo represented by Mazda’s concept cars, the 3’s exterior contours flow without the obstruction of character lines. This form creates a dynamic and dramatic look as the vehicle’s surface interacts with light, reflections and shadows.
The fluid exterior continues into an interior that envelops occupants in a world of meticulously crafted symmetry and comfort, free from unnecessary distractions. Vehicle instrumentation has been laid out for intuitive operation. To maintain the driver’s upright posture, the seats have been designed to support the pelvis and keep the natural S-curve of the spine, preventing fatigue. The jinba ittai nature (vehicle and driver as one) of the 3 is taken to a deeper level with a more linear connection between man and machine.
Harmony between body and chassis inspired by the human movement of walking entails the second layer of control. By increasing body rigidity through the reinforcement of the monocoque, special dampers and tires are able to maximize their performance to absorb road feedback and divert unwanted vibrations to strategic areas rather than throughout the entire frame. This swiftly and efficiently smoothens out the jarring effects of road imperfections.
Cabin illumination, which includes an Active Driving Display (or heads-up display that is now projected on the windshield), gauges, infotainment screen and backlights for controls have been finely tuned to radiate visual uniformity. Each button and each knob give off an even tactile feel. All in all, this thoughtful attention to detail is aimed to arouse one’s senses.
Completing the serene cabin experience, NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) has been significantly reduced. Engineers achieved this by creating space between the vehicle body and the carpeted floor of the cabin, improving insulation, reducing holes in the frame and the body, and utilizing the sound-absorbing characteristics of the upholstery. In addition, 49 key design and engineering points were improved to lessen wind and engine noise. Even the use of damping nodes in certain areas of the chassis helped ease vibration noise.
The Sedan evokes elegance, while the Sportback conveys a free-spirited, emotional appearance
The three sound characteristics that affect occupants were the bases for such improvements. These are the sound volume, the variances in pitch and tone over time, and the directional source of the sound. The use of human research data and the dedicated, all-encompassing approach to constructing a more pleasing interior environment bring the 3’s refinement to unparalleled heights.
Appropriately angled toward the driver, an 8.8-inch non-touch LCD infotainment monitor with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is connected to either an eight-speaker audio system (found in 1.5-liter offerings) or the upscale 12-speaker Bose system (standard in the 2.0-liter Premium and Speed variants). Audio projection works in tandem with cabin acoustics to deliver an exceptional listening experience. Adjustments for audio focal points can be made for optimal listening pleasure for both the driver and the passengers.
G-Vectoring Control Plus (GVC-Plus), a feature that keeps the vehicle composed and under control through various maneuvering conditions, is one of the 3’s technological highlights. GVC-Plus induces confidence behind the wheel regardless of the driving skill level, and helps iron out the harshness of sudden vehicle movements and hard braking.
Expanded safety features (including a seventh airbag for the knee area), i-Activsense technologies (available in the Premium and Speed variants) and passive safety innovations all work together to provide a larger blanket of protection. Cruise control is now standard equipment for the 1.5-liter variants. Mazda Radar Cruise Control, the brand’s proprietary adaptive cruise control, is a staple in the 2.0-liter Premium and Speed offerings. Front and rear cross-traffic alert, cruising and traffic support (which maintains an appropriate distance from the vehicle ahead), lane departure warning, and smart brake support (which prevents front and rear collisions) are also part of the safety framework of the Premium and Speed variants.
Furthermore, Premium variants are equipped with a 360° camera system integrated into the Mazda Connect LCD monitor, which allows for easy navigation through tight areas or when parking. Toggling through camera views allows the driver to sort out blind spots and displays a broader view of the front and the rear, going beyond what the eyes can see from the driver’s saddle. Base variants come with a rearview camera instead.
Powering the new 3 are the tried-and-tested Skyactiv-G engines mated to a six-speed automatic transmission: 1.5-liter (109hp and 146Nm) and 2.0-liter (152hp and 200Nm). These gasoline engines are not just mere carryovers from the outgoing model. For better reliability and smoother operation, upgrades have been made to fuel spray delivery, knock retardation, thermal management and reduction in mechanical resistance.
The all-new 3 is now clearly aimed at a more mature and discerning audience that understands the value of premium craftsmanship, the beauty in simplicity, and the importance of an enriching driving experience. Whether in Sedan or Sportback form, the 3 is bound to excite your senses. All you have to do is immerse yourself within its premium and evolved character to know what we’re talking about.
Design that moves you
This branded article was produced in partnership with Mazda Philippines.