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Mazda 3 1.6 Dynamic

Broadcast dates : 27th February 2005
3rd March 2005

Mazdaís styling in the past has varied from ultra conservative to quirky, somewhat difficult to define. The Mazda3, along with other new models in the range, is set to change all that.

First impressions are lasting impressions, and in this respect Mazda is onto a winner with the Three.

Solid five-spoke alloy wheels, a stubby tail, crisp light design and edgy V-shaped bonnet lines convey a strong personality.

In the engine department, Mazda has a well-deserved reputation for reliability and brisk performance, and in the case of our 1,6-litre Dynamic test model, outputs are 77 kiloWatts and 146Newton metres. Exciting?Ö hmmÖ maybe.

A big step forward for Mazda has been an integration of styling for its entire product line-up. Mazda nose, Mazda tail-lights, Mazda air-intakesÖ all recognizably Mazda, whether it be a 3 or an RX8 sports model.

On the 3, the interior is a little less successful than the strong exterior. The designers tried just a little too hard towards the zoom-zoom end of things, so itís a tad garish in comparison to the classy sheet-metal.

Nevertheless material quality is good and equipment levels are high.

No surprises in the basic concept of the Mazda 3. Front-wheel-drive, transverse engine, five-speed gearbox, these are pretty much standard issue in this class of car.
On the safety front there are six airbags, which is impressive, ABS brakes, but no skid control or traction control.

Nevertheless thereís a quality feel to the package thatís reassuring.

With such a lot of equipment and the accompanying weight penalty, performance is middle-of-the-road. Naught to a hundred takes eleven-comma-three seconds, and top speed is a hundred-and-eighty kilometres-per-hour, but handling is excellent.

A dirt road can throw up a carís suspension and body-shell shortcomings very quickly, but the Mazda earns its stripes here too. A good car, but ultimately itís the engine and gear change on this 1,6-litre model that let it down.

Power output on this particular model is pegged at 1986 levels, the old Mazda EGi also producing 77 kiloWatts. But down in the lower rev ranges the torque is pleasing, making it a very drivable car.

Mazda3 1.6 Dynamic
  • Engine: Transverse four-cylinder petrol, 1 598 cc
  • Power: 77 kW @ 6 000 rpm
  • Torque: 146 Nm @ 4 000 rpm
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 11,4 seconds
  • Top speed: 180 km/h
  • Fuel consumption: 8,9 litres/100 km (claimed figures)
  • Price: R179 990

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