Cleveland Sales:
(07) 3063 5644

Cleveland Service:
(07) 3063 5680

Springwood Sales:
(07) 3063 5656

Springwood Service:
(07) 3063 5660

Oldmac Mazda

New

Mazda2

Hatch | Sedan

 

Mazda3

Hatch | Sedan

 

Mazda6

Sedan | Wagon

 

Mazda CX-3

Small SUV

Next-Gen

Mazda CX-5

Medium SUV

 

Mazda CX-9

Large SUV

 

Mazda MX-5

Soft Top | RF

 

Mazda BT-50

Single Cab | Freestyle Cab | Dual Cab

Mazda3: A car for all seasons

Mazda's most popular car is turning 40 and, to celebrate, we're spanning the globe to take a look at the Mazda3 in four very different markets, beginning with Japan

Without doubt the Mazda3 is a truly global car. Built in six countries and sold in more than 120 markets worldwide, over four million examples have been sold since the first-generation launched back in 2003.

More than half a million Mazda 3s have been sold in Australia alone.

In fact, Mazda Australia reckons the 3’s local lineage can be stretched to 1977 with the first 323 model (see table below).

Truthfully, the car’s ancestry dates back further still. Mazda’s first small family range began in 1963 with the Giorgetto Giugiaro-styled Familia 800 and 1000 (referencing the engine size) sedan, coupe, wagon and utility range, followed by the R100 lineup from 1967-77.

Mazda3: A car for all seasons

Best-selling status

Since those relatively humble beginnings, the Mazda3 range has evolved to become a thoroughly modern vehicle, and one of Australia’s most popular cars.

Mazda3 regularly features at the pointy end of the best-seller’s list, and some months accounting for nearly 10 per cent of global Mazda3 production, Australian market 3s compete regularly with the Toyota Corolla for number one spot on the sales ladder.

And while the Mazda3 doesn’t enjoy a similar status at home in Japan, it is nonetheless a strong performer.

In Japan, the 3 is sold as the Axela – a nameplate combining ‘accelerate’ and ‘excellent’. Japanese Axela buyers tend to be around the same age as Aussie Mazda 3 owners, with men far more likely to buy the car than women (90:10 per cent). In Australia the mix is 63:37 per cent in favour of men.

Both Aussie and Japanese buyers prefer petrol-powered, automatic hatch variants.

A blossoming future

There’s nothing like driving a car in its home market to get to the core of what it’s all about – and there’s no better time to visit Japan than during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, or Hanami.

Literally, the viewing of the blossom, Hanami celebrates renewal and the coming of warmer weather, with a splendid sea of delicate pink flowers – accompanied by their intoxicating perfume.

The festival dates back more than 1300 years when the arrival of the blossom marked the beginning of rice-planting season, and was celebrated only by the aristocracy with music, and specially prepared food and drink.

These days Hanami is still celebrated with food, drink, and music; but is now also observed as the beginning of the new school and business year. As such, it’s typically enjoyed with family, friends and colleagues alike.

Mazda3: A car for all seasons

From Yokohama to the world

Mazda’s R&D centre in Yokohama has an integral role in the birth and evolution of the 3. And you don’t have to travel far from home-base to experience the splendour of the cherry blossom.

Each of Japan’s 43 prefectures, and indeed most of its larger cities, take pride in publishing the best viewing spots for the cherry blossoms, and exactly when the blossoms will be at their peak.

The Cherry Blossom Festival is embraced with vigour by all sections of Japanese society and a special division of the weather forecasting agency exists to predict when the blossoms will bloom. Depending on how far north you are, this can be any time between mid-January and early-May.

Incredibly, the festival is the fourth-largest travel and tourism event in the world, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors from right across Japan and the globe. Such is the size of the economic boom the festival generates, it too has been given its own name – Bakugai – the exploding of sales.

Mazda3: A car for all seasons

The same, but different

Speaking of exploding sales, it might surprise you to know the Mazda Axela sells nearly as many diesel-powered models in Japan as it does petrol. Hybrid and all-wheel drive models (neither sold here) also factor into the sales mix.

In fact, Mazda Australia withdrew the SKYACTIV-D (diesel) Mazda3 from local sales last year, leaving only the SKYACTIV-G (gasoline, or petrol). Find out more about SKYACTIV technology here.

For Japan, the Axela model mix is: petrol (55 per cent), diesel (40 per cent) and hybrid (five per cent). The 1.5-litre SKYACTIV-G Sport 15S Proactive front-wheel drive automatic hatch, similar in trim grade (but not engine spec) to our local Mazda3 SP25, is the most popular model overall,

Mazda3: A car for all seasons

Australian buyers also prefer hatchbacks over sedans. For us, the mix sees 62 per cent of buyers choosing a hatch, against 38 per cent for the sedan. In Japan it’s a 70:30 per cent mix in favour of the hatch.

Mazda Australia now offers the Mazda3 with a choice of 2.0 and 2.5-litre SKYACTIV-G engines, the former accounting for 70 per cent of all sales. Not surprisingly, 86 per cent of Australian buyers also prefer automatic variants (manuals account for 14 per cent of sales).

Locally, the Mazda3 Maxx hatch with a 2.0-litre petrol engine and six-speed automatic is the most popular choice, the Maxx grade accounting for 43 per cent of overall sales.

Mazda3: A car for all seasons

Delivering more of what we want

Our Japanese ‘Axela’ is a diesel variant, similar in specification to the range-topping Mazda3 XD Astina sold in Australia briefly during 2015.

When you consider the impressive acceleration and fuel economy offered from the (129kW/420Nm) 2.2-litre twin-turbo engine, it is a shame Mazda Australia no longer sells diesel-powered Mazda3 variants in Australia.

And it’s appropriate to drive the Axela in this specification, as it most closely reflects the desires of Japanese buyers. Ranked in order, Mazda’s market research says Axela buyers want a car with: stylish design, good driving performance, outstanding fuel economy, and right-sized proportions.

In no particular order, Aussie buyers appear similarly motivated, wanting stylish looks, fun-to-drive dynamics and performance, strong technology and safety credentials, roominess, and value for money.

Mazda3: A car for all seasons

Of bulls and blossom

Driving a ‘dirty’ diesel car through the midst of Japan’s amazing pink-blossomed landscape might seem like waving a red rag to a bull. But Mazda insists its SKYACTIV-D engines are among the cleanest available, using less fuel to deliver more power than competitor models; a point we’re sure isn’t lost on Mazda’s perennially blossoming Mazda 3 customers.

And while Mazda might be doing its bit to ensure the cherry trees will continue to blossom for future generations, our trip here has shown Hanami is a fickle attraction. Blooming briefly, the glorious pink blossom can be hard to witness in full splendour, and like the Samurai warriors they’re said to embody, the blossom’s time on earth is likewise brief but glorious.

Quite the opposite of the Mazda3, really.

Mazda3: A car for all seasons

Related reading:

Mazda3 – What you need to know Mazda3 History: Generations

1963-68 Mazda Familia specifications (typical):
Engines: 0.8 and 1.0-litre four-cylinder petrol
Outputs: 31kW/59Nm and 50kW/79Nm
Transmissions: Four-speed manual / two-speed automatic
Dimensions: 3700mm (L) x 1465mm (W) x 1340mm (H)
Weight: 720kg (min. kerb)

1967-77 Mazda 1000/1200/1300/R100 specifications (typical):
Engines: 1.0, 1.2 and 1.3-litre four-cylinder and 1.0-litre rotary petrol
Outputs: 37kW/76Nm, 43kW/94Nm, 51kW/91Nm and 82kW/130Nm
Transmissions: Four-speed manual / three-speed automatic
Dimensions: 3845mm (L) x 1480mm (W) x 1385mm (H)
Weight: 840kg (min. kerb)

1977-80 Mazda 323 specifications (typical):
Engines: 1.0, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5 and 1.6 four-cylinder petrol
Outputs: 33kW/69Nm, 44kW/94Nm, 61kW/98Nm, 51kW/103Nm and 65kW/120Nm
Transmissions: Four-speed manual / three-speed automatic
Dimensions: 3820mm (L) x 1595mm (W) x 1390mm (H)
Weight: 812kg (min. kerb)

1980-85 Mazda 323 specifications (typical):
Engines: 1.1, 1.3, 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol
Outputs: 40kW/79Nm, 50kW/95Nm and 65kW/120Nm
Transmissions: Four and five-speed manual / three-speed automatic
Dimensions: 3955mm (L) x 1630mm (W) x 1375mm (H)
Weight: 780kg (min. kerb)

1985-89 Mazda 323 specifications (typical):
Engines: 1.1, 1.3, 1.5, 1.6, 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol and 1.7-litre four-cylinder diesel
Outputs: 40kW/80Nm, 50kW/96Nm, 54kW/110Nm, 63kW/122Nm, 87kW/178Nm and 42kW/145Nm
Transmissions: Four and five-speed manual / three-speed automatic
Dimensions: 4110mm (L) x 1645mm (W) x 1390mm (H)
Weight: 936kg (min. kerb)

1989-94 Mazda 323 specifications (typical):
Engines: 1.3, 1.5, 1.6, 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol and 1.7-litre four-cylinder diesel
Outputs: 56kW/101Nm, 69kW/123Nm, 77kW/146Nm, 104kW/160Nm and 42kW/112Nm
Transmissions: Five-speed manual / three and four-speed automatic
Dimensions: 4215mm (L) x 1670mm (W) x 1405mm (H)
Weight: 910kg (min. kerb)

1994-98 Mazda 323 specifications (typical):
Engines: 1.3, 1.5, 1.6, 1.8-litre four-cylinder and 2.0-litre V6 petrol, 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel
Outputs: 56kW/104Nm, 66kW/132Nm, 77kW/146Nm, 85kW/156Nm, 107kW/179Nm and 53kW/127Nm
Transmissions: Five-speed manual / three and four-speed automatic
Dimensions: 4435mm (L) x 1710mm (W) x 1420mm (H)
Weight: 920kg (min. kerb)

1998-2003 Mazda 323 specifications (typical):
Engines: 1.3, 1.5, 1.6, 1.8, 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol and 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel
Outputs: 56kW/104Nm, 66kW/132Nm, 77kW/146Nm, 85kW/156Nm, 97kW/183Nm and 53kW/127Nm
Transmissions: Five-speed manual / four-speed automatic
Dimensions: 4435mm (L) x 1705mm (W) x 1410mm (H)
Weight: 990kg (min. kerb)

2003-09 Mazda Mazda3 specifications (typical):
Engines: 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 2.0, 2.3-litre four-cylinder petrol and 1.6, 2.0, 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel
Outputs: 62kW/90Nm, 87kW/140Nm, 77kW/145Nm, 110kW/138Nm, 126kW/214Nm and 80kW/240Nm, 105kW/360Nm, 136kW/400Nm
Transmissions: Five and six-speed manual / four and five-speed automatic
Dimensions: 4540mm (L) x 1750mm (W) x 1500mm (H)
Weight: 1253kg (min. kerb)

2009-13 Mazda Mazda3 specifications (typical):
Engines: 1.6, 2.0, 2.3, 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol and 1.6, 2.0, 2.2-litre diesel
Outputs: 77kW/145Nm, 110kW/187Nm, 194kW/380Nm, 124kW/228Nm and 80kW/240Nm, 105kW/360Nm, 136kW/400Nm
Transmissions: Five and six-speed manual / Four, five and six-speed automatic
Dimensions: 4595mm (L) x 1755mm (W) x 1470mm (H)
Weight: 1295kg (min. kerb)

2013-current Mazda Mazda3 specifications (typical):
Engines: 1.5, 2.0, 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol and 1.5, 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel
Outputs: 74kW/150Nm, 114kW/200Nm, 138kW/250Nm and 77kW/270Nm, 129kW/420Nm
Transmissions: Six-speed manual / six-speed automatic
Dimensions: 4580mm (L) x 1795mm (W) x 1455mm (H)
Weight: 1300kg (min. kerb)

This information has been sourced form motoring.com.au

Send us an Enquiry

Powered by ChronoForms - ChronoEngine.com