Mazda’s little compact car showed up to the 2011 New York Auto Show with a midcycle refresh that not only provides a refined exterior and interior, but also dishes out a new engine that utilizes Mazda’s innovative SKYACTIV fuel-saving and performance-oriented technologies.
The new engine is the first application in North America of the SKYACTIV technology and improves the Mazda3’s fuel economy by 17%, allowing it to go up to an impressive 40 mpg on the highway.
"SKYACTIV is not just an engine; it is the next generation of advanced vehicle performance and efficiency," said Jim O’Sullivan, President and CEO, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). "SKYACTIV embodies Mazda’s philosophy of engineering only vehicles that are fun to drive, satisfying to own and environmentally responsible; and there is no better vehicle to start with than the Mazda3, one of the most exciting sport compact cars on the road."
The 2012 Mazda3 also features improved sporty driving dynamics, responsive handling, and comfortable cabin space.
UPDATE 04/27/2011: Mazda has revealed four videos of the new 2012 Mazda3 - both sedan and hatchback - that shares details of the car’s design elements and shows them off in action! Check it out by clicking on the image above and remember to hit the arrow to see the rest!
Hit the jump to read more about the 2012 Mazda3.
Exterior and Interior
The Mazda3 already has one of the most impressive designs for the compact car segment, but the 2012 model gets a more sophisticated look with a restyled front fascia and an updated five-point grille opening for both the sedan and hatchback styles. This new front end dims down the broad-mouthed grin the 3 has had in the past which will make it more appealing in its segment. Mazda also worked on the openings on the outside edge of the front bumper and rounded out the fog lamps to smooth the front end even further.
The models that are equipped with SKYACTIV-G gasoline engines will also get an all-new engine cover featuring a deep blue metallic paint finish with black sections along either side. This is combined with headlamp units outfitted with a transparent blue ring around the center and a badge featuring a "SKYACTIV" logo against a clear-blue background.
The most impressive feature for the revised Mazda3 is the new high-efficiency direct-injection SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter gasoline engine. The new engine will deliver a total of 155 HP at 6,000 rpm and 148 lb-ft of torque at 4,100 rpm, and will be mated to a standard SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual transmission or an optional SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic transmission. The 2.0L engine will also feature a drive control system that utilizes coordinated controls of the engine and transmission.
Gas is a big topic these days so the SKYACTIV engine boasts of a fuel economy of 27 mpg on the city and 39 mpg on the highway when it is equipped with the SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual transmission.
Next to the 2.0L variety, Mazda will also offer the usual MZR 2.5-liter engine that delivers a total of 167 hp at 6,000 rpm and 168 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. When equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, it delivers 20 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway. When equipped with a five-speed electronically-controlled automatic gearbox, it gets 22 city and 29 highway.
Pricing for the 2012 Mazda3 has not been revealed yet, but we imagine the new SKYACTIV system will bump the price up a bit from the current starting price of $15,800 for the four door and $20,045 for the five door.
The new Honda Civic has also been redesigned for 2012 in both design and engine departments. Standard models will be powered by a 1.8-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine that delivers 140 HP. The HF line will deliver a total of 41 mpg on the highway, which is obviously better than the Mazda3, but the 3 still stands out with a tad bit more power.
The new Nissan Versa is powered by a 1.6 liter engine that delivers a total of 109 HP at 6,000 rpm and 107 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. It will go on sale at a starting price of $10,990, which we are sure will be significantly lower than the refreshed Mazda3. Of course, this is a prime example of the old saying, You get what you paid for. We’d still take the Mazda3 in a hearbeat.
- Much better looking than competitors
- SKYACTIV technologies
- Two engine options
- Competitors might deliver better fuel economy