Refreshed, reloaded and ready for action, the 2012 MAZDA3 delivers an advanced new powertrain, a sleek new face and an impressive new list of features.
More than almost any other manufacturer, Mazda has never been one to shy away from innovation and progress, particularly if that progress results in dramatic improvements to the overall driving experience. The latest Mazda introduction, a mid-generation, 2012 model-year update of the MAZDA3, serves as the perfect example; instead of resting on the laurels of a wildly popular compact sedan and hatchback, Mazda fine-tuned the car’s styling, upgraded its feature list and integrated groundbreaking new SKYACTIV® performance technology.
So, what’s SKYACTIV? In the simplest sense, it’s the future of Mazda performance: Advanced, innovative engine, transmission and vehicle body and chassis technologies that work smarter and faster to deliver more power, better responsiveness and dramatically greater fuel efficiency to already inspired Mazda models. In addition to the spirited and popular 2.0-liter MZR engine, new 2012 sedans and hatchbacks will get an all-new, high-efficiency SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter option.
More than four pounds lighter than the MZR, the SKYACTIV-G integrates dual sequential valve timing and advanced injection and combustion technology to deliver 155 hp (an increase of about five percent) and 148 lb/ft of torque (a 10 percent improvement) through a standard SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual transmission, or short-shifting SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed auto. And where the outgoing MAZDA3 made about 33 highway mpg, the SKYACTIV-equipped model will offer fuel economy improved by an incredible 21 percent to 40 mpg; (because of weight and aerodynamics, 2012 hatchbacks top out at 38 mpg).
Mazda engineers design and test each model to ensure optimum connection between car and driver; it’s the palpable difference between a Mazda and its closest competitors, and the driving force behind everything from weight shaving to gear transitions. With that in mind, the 2012 MAZDA3 gets a new Electro-Hydraulic Power Assist Steering System and specially tuned damping to ensure more nimble, more responsive handling with substantially more feedback and control. A more rigid and reinforced body sports more stability around corners, and SKYACTIV-G models get a special drive control system that regulates the distribution of torque, making acceleration more precise and far more rewarding than ever before.
Outside the hood, the 2012 MAZDA3 gets something of a facelift; the newest evolution sees a revised, sculpted front fascia with a more refined grille design, rounded foglamps and a more aerodynamic bumper and underbody. Minor changes streamline the popular sedan and hatchback, lowering drag coefficient by seven percent over the outgoing model, and complementing the new 16- and 17-inch wheel options nicely. An Adaptive Front-lighting System is now optional, and integrates auto-leveling xenon headlamps for superior visibility around corners.
Inside, the cabin of the newest MAZDA3 gets some upgrades of its own, designed with a considerate eye toward sporty refinement. A sleek black instrument panel, satin-polished accents and revised, easily read colors on the Multi Information Display and LCD screen modernize the well-appointed dash, and SKYACTIV models get special backlighting and an optional new shiftknob with satin-polish plating and a more comfortable grip. All 2012 models also get the option of a new Blind Spot Monitoring System, and in addition to the substantially reinforced frame, see standard Dynamic Stability and Traction Control, antilock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and six airbags.
With groundbreaking new powertrain technology and more refinement inside and out, 2012 is shaping up to be an outstanding year for the MAZDA3. The SKYACTIV is truly the limit.