There has been, quite rightly I may well add, a lot of great vibes surrounding the all-new Mazda3 Hatch. Its design is progressive and with the way it uses light dispersion on its profile, very arty. The technology it utilises both in terms of driver’s aids and safety is impressive, its use of top-class materials easily equals many of the most prestigious Euro Marques and its ‘Jinba Ittai’ driveability leaves you chomping at the bit to drive. But what of the Sedan? I hear you ask.
It’s fair to say that Sedans are a shrinking market. Globally I assume but certainly, in New Zealand, Utes and SUVs are ruling the road thanks to their, well I’m sure you all know. But my friends, I come from an era that embraced cars of all shapes and sizes. Hatch’s for sure but also Station wagons and let me say it out loud, SEDANs.
Yes, the good old 4-door sedan was a sight to behold on any respectable person’s driveway. It had room in the cabin for four or even five people to ride in relative comfort and a boot for things that were happy to be out of sight and out of mind. Sure it was a simpler time but creativity and driveability prevailed – all these feelings (and more) came flooding back when I got behind the wheel of the new Mazda3 Sedan.
Like its ‘smaller’ hatch sibling, the Mazda3 Sedan comes with a light-refracting profile. From just below the shoulder line to the curvature of the sills, it offers a light play that seems to change the Sedan’s perspective as either sunlight or neons bounce off it. Like the weird mirrors at a funfair, you start to tiptoe or dance from side to side to see how the Mazda3 morphs (or maybe that’s just me). Size-wise, while both the hatch and sedan are the same width and height, the latter is a shade over 20cm longer, that’s about the third the height of the Mona Lisa, which will easily fit inside its 444L boot.
On the subject of fun, under the bonnet of my GTX model sat a very responsive 2.5L, 4-cylinder, 16 valve, SkyActive-G engine. Capable of 139kW of power and offering 252Nm of torque, it’s good in ‘Normal’ but excels in ‘Sport’, particularly as those numbers head to the road via a very competent 6-speed Auto gearbox and more importantly, effortlessly hug the corners thanks to the Mazda3’s rigid chassis and GVC+ (G-Vectoring Control Plus) traction system. It’s efficient too, thanks to it being able to shut down cylinders, it offers real-world figures of 6.5L/100km – apparently.
Being ‘middle of the road’ in terms of model specifications, the GTX didn’t come with leather furniture, however, don’t think for one minute that it feels sub-standard. Tip to toe, front to back, inside and out, there’s everything from a 7-inch TFT instrument display and 8.8-inch infotainment screen, to blind-spot monitoring and Driver Attention Alert.
Having the Sedan for around a week and having a full tank of fuel meant that I could really get to grips with it. Sure it’s great at bumper to bumper city driving (the stereo is rather punchy) but to me, it’s better on the open road. I’m a fan of the Mazda GVC system, there’s a natural feel to the way it lets the car handle (helping out when you get a little out of your depth), oddly, it seems to drive more like a rear-wheel propelled car. Design-wise, I think I preferred the all-round visibility that came with this sedan, it lightens the interior and helps at junctions (it could just be that my eyesight is fading as the years pass by).
I know it sounds a bit obvious, but the Mazda3 Sedan feels like a more compact Mazda6 (although not half the size). It’s well put together and is just as good looking as the hatch.
Call me a little nostalgic but I’m a fan of the sedan, there’s a large sense of familia(arity) about it, all wrapped around a modern and very capable drive that is.