The third-generation Mazda3.
The third-generation Mazda3.

2014 Mazda3 set for Toyota Corolla battle

THE gloves are off in the fight to be Australia's best-selling car with the new Mazda3 cruising into showrooms.

Mazda managing director Martin Benders believes his product is now "in a different class" - throwing the gauntlet down to last year's leading seller, the Toyota Corolla.

The third-generation Mazda3 starts from $20,490, with range-topping SP25 Astina costing $38,190.

It's an aggressive pricing move from Mazda and the base model is actually more than $1000 cheaper than when the second generation was released.

Most impressive are the styling and driving dynamics.

This is a very sound offering from Mazda. It looks good, drives extremely well, and has a youthful internal appeal which is easy to use and operate.

Featuring some impressive technology, including a jet-fighter-like heads-up display on some models, the powerplants generate more power despite using less fuel.

Mazda is rightly confident with this compact new offering.

Adding to their bravado is an impeding line-up. More than 70,000 Aussies have registered their interest online to be informed when the cars arrive.

It will be available with two engines, a pair of four-cylinders with 2.0- or 2.5-litre capacity, in both hatch and sedan body styles. There will be six models each available with a choice of automatic or manual transmissions.

The Mazda3 was Australia's best-selling car in 2011 and 2012. It was just edged out of the top spot last year by the Corolla.

Vital statistics

Top seller: Australia's number one seller in 2011 and 2012.

Last year: Mazda sold 42,082 3s (Toyota sold 43,498 Corollas).

On sale: Mazda expects to sell about 4000 '3s each month during the initial stages.

Mazda3

Details: Front-wheel drive five-seat compact five-door hatch or four-door sedan.

Engine: 2.0-litre in-line four-cylinder generating maximum power of 114 kW @ 6000rpm and peak torque of 200 Nm @ 4000rpm.

Transmission: Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.   

Consumption: 5.7-5.8 litres/100km (combined average, depending on body type and transmission).

Bottom line: Neo $20,490 (m), Neo $22,490 (a), Maxx $22,990 (m), Maxx $24,990 (a), Touring $25,490 (m), Touring $27,490 (a).

Mazda3 SP25

Engine: 2.5-litre four-cylinder generating maximum power of 138kW @ 5700rpm and peak torque of 250Nm @ 3250rpm.

Transmission: Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.   

Consumption: 6.0-6.5 litres/100km (combined average, depending on body type and transmission).

Bottom line: SP25 $25,890 (m), SP25 $27,890 (a), GT $30,590 (m), GT $32,590 (a), Astina $36,190 (m), Astina $38,190 (a).  


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