2018 Mazda3… Now in its third generation.

The 2018 Montreal International Motor Show provided the venue for the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) to award Mazda three prestigious awards. Mazda’s CX-5 and CX-9 were celebrated as Best Small Utility and Best Large Utility Vehicles in Canada respectively for 2018. AJAC then cited the 2018 Mazda3 as being the Best Small Car in Canada. Winning this award is an incredible achievement. To have won it eight times previously is extraordinary.

Driving Matters informs every aspect of Mazda engineering. Working across multiple disciplines, from KODO design (Soul of Motion), i-ACTIV engines and transmissions, and i-ACTIVSENSE advanced safety systems, Mazda engineers endeavour to create vehicles that engage, delight, and perform seamlessly. The Mazda3 continues to reflect this quest to create cars that surpass expectations.

Available in both hatchback (Sport) and sedan versions, the Mazda3 is offered with the choice between two engines. A SKYACTIV-G 2.0 L DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder engine (155 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm, 150 lb. ft. of torque @ 4,000 rpm,) or alternatively a SKYACTIV-G 2.5 L DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder (184 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm 185 lb. ft. of torque @ 3,250 rpm). A 6-speed SKYACTIV-manual gearbox or a 6-speed SKYACTIV -automatic transmission is available with each engine. These engines provide smooth and effortless performance while returning surprising fuel economy.

Over the past five years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized Mazda as being the leading brand in North America for fuel economy (2016 model-year vehicles).

The Mazda3’s chassis tuning provides an unexpected and enjoyable driving experience in this market segment. Automotive journalists describe the car’s road manners as “Playful,” “responsive,” “sporty,” and “enthusiast friendly.” Mazda doesn’t just win awards for their vehicles. Mazda received AJAC’s 2017 Best New Innovation Technology award for the introduction of G-Vectoring Control (GVC). This ingenious system electronically reduces engine output when turning. So subtle as to be unnoticeable, it improves tire loading to enhance the car’s ability to turn.

Engaging performance, entertaining handling, and a cabin that has been noted as being “near luxury” in its refinement, all combine to create an experience that will please the enthusiastic driver. When equipped with the SKYACTIV-G 2.5 DOHC, the Mazda3 becomes an interesting and affordable alternative to entries from the European premium brands. Spending time with a Mazda3 quickly proves driving enjoyment isn’t limited to those who are willing to pay a higher admission price.

Mazda’s i-ACTIVSENSE range of advanced safety technologies enhance the Mazda3 driving experience. Quietly working in the background, these technologies provide an enhanced margin of safety.

i-ACTIVESENSE safety systems include:

Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring System (ABSM): Uses radar sensors to detect objects in the vehicle’s left or right blind spots, then provides a warning in the appropriate side mirror.

Adaptive Front-Lighting System (AFS): Provides enhanced nighttime illumination by moving up to 15º in the direction of the turn, allowing for the identification of potential hazards ahead.

Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA): When reversing from a parking space, RCTA detects and alerts the driver to any vehicle approaching from either side of the vehicle.

Lane-keep Assist System (LAS): Having detected a potential unintentional lane departure, the system will perform minor steering correction to safely place the vehicle back in the centre of the lane.

High Beam Control System (HBC): Automatically changes between high and low beam to help the driver quickly spot potential road hazards at night.

Smart City Brake Support (SCBS): Detects objects ahead at low speeds and prepares the vehicle to stop by adjusting the brake pads closer to the disc. If no driver action is taken, the system automatically applies the brakes.

Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC): Monitors the speed of the vehicle ahead and automatically adjusts cruise control settings to maintain a safe headway distance.

Forward Obstruction Warning (FOW): Detects vehicles ahead and alerts the driver to an approaching risk of collision early enough for the driver to take evasive action.  

Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR): Uses cameras to read road signs such as speed limit, do not enter, and stop signs. The colour Active Driving Display shows this information so the driver can stay informed without taking their eyes off the road.

Smart Brake Support (SBS): Assists in avoiding or reducing the severity of collisions at mid to high speeds by detecting vehicles and obstacles as far as 200 metres ahead. When a risk of collision is detected, the system slows the car automatically by applying the brakes.

A video explaining the function of many of these systems can be found at the following web site: https://www.mazda.ca/en/vehicles/mazda3/features

While avoiding an accident is always the best option, it’s reassuring to know the Mazda3 enjoys the highest safety ratings offered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The Mazda3’s nearest competitors in this segment are the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra, and the Subaru Impreza. These are all good cars that deservedly enjoy a loyal following, particularly in the case of the Subaru Impreza. Reliability and economy can be discussed in equal terms across these models. The Mazda3 sets itself apart by virtue of its fun-to-drive nature. For those who enjoy exploring all that Vancouver Island has to offer, the driver’s seat of a Mazda3 is an enticing proposition. As are the passenger seats…

As a perennial winner of industry awards, and enjoying long-standing as a “Best Buy” in consumer guide magazines, the Mazda3 is a car that needs to be on the short list of anyone thinking of purchasing a new car. Why not find out for yourself at Pacific Mazda? Zoom, Zoom. You’ll understand…