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.

  • 2012 Mazda3
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
  • Transmission:
    six-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
  • Torque @ RPM:
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • body style:

Exterior and Interior

2012 Mazda3 High Resolution Exterior
- image 399602

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.


2012 Mazda3 High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 399627

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.


2012 Mazda3 High Resolution Exterior
- image 399599

Two of the Mazda3’s greatest competitors have also made their presence known at the 2011 New York Auto Show: the Honda Civic and the Nissan Versa.

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.

2012 Mazda3 High Resolution Exterior
- image 399601
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  (498) posted on 01.5.2012

Now that they have released the new Mazda3 model, I would be looking forward to the release of the sport version for this one. That baby is probably just right around the corner.

  (427) posted on 01.2.2012

Mazda cars are really oozing awesomeness. Whenever I see one on the road, it always stands out among the other cars. This Mazda 3 is not an exception to one of their awesome cars.

  (347) posted on 12.2.2011

Mazda3 is really notorious with this kind of vehicle. It looks so classy and unique on their platforms, which is very noticeable on it. However, I’m still not satisfied with the engine that they used on it.

  (328) posted on 11.29.2011

What I love most about Mazda 3 is the fact that it has two engine options. I love the front light of this car even the color. I must agree that it is much better than to its competitor.

  (300) posted on 10.16.2011

Oh!! I really love the appearance of this Mazda3. It is so stunning and looking so fabulous on its sleek body paint and simple detailing, and I noticed also that it had an impressive figure performance.

  (231) posted on 10.11.2011

I’m impressed with its SKYACTIV engine that can deliver 155@6000 horsepower is I bet can give a better performance on this Mazda3, it’s a great thing in car that aside from having a good looks it can also offer some impressive interior technologies and can perform better and that’s what I saw here in Mazda.

  (256) posted on 10.11.2011

It is really already looking great on its color, and I love the angst that the headlights of it expressing, but I wonder if what will be the interior of this will look like, and the engine is quite impressive for it.

  (762) posted on 09.28.2011

Mazda have its advanced unit, been developing of a more improved features of their dynamic sporty car. For me their designs are very unique, together with highly techno system engine. Competitive brand.

  (577) posted on 09.8.2011

Mazda3 is really quite impressive for it have a SKYACTIV technologies, fabulous styling and cool front headlight. It is rather almost perfect, just the engine performance is kinda disappointment for us.

  (300) posted on 09.1.2011

I love the angst that this Mazda3 had. A better looking than its competitors indeed, it already looks great with its color and I really love the headlights of it.

  (453) posted on 08.17.2011

Mazda cars are really unique and stunning. Whenever I see one on the road, it always stand out among the other cars. This Mazda 3 is not an exception to one of their awesome cars.

  (428) posted on 08.3.2011

What I love most about Mazda 3 is the fact that it has two engine options. I love the front light of this car even the color. I must agree that it is much better than to its competitor.

  (412) posted on 07.21.2011

The revision of Mazda3 is so great most especially the new gasoline engine that they deliver. Mazda3 design is simple but very appealing and the SKYACTIV technology that they add on the interior of Mazda3 is so impressive.

  (377) posted on 05.23.2011

Well, one good thing about the Mazda3 is that it is actually quite reliable. In fact, the car can be easily driven in any conditions, which is a testament to it’s strength.

  (410) posted on 05.4.2011

I like the color of this car though I wasn’t impressed with its performance.
However, The good thing is that it comes in tow engine options and the SKYACTIV technologies
is quite amazing.

  (445) posted on 05.4.2011

I think this car is kind of gas guzzler! Though aesthetically, this car has an awesome styling and design but it doesn’t have a better performance.

  (474) posted on 04.29.2011

I would still probably wait for the Mazdasport3. I expect that one to be a lot sportier, not only in terms of performance, but also in the looks as well.

  (412) posted on 04.27.2011

Actually, since the Mazdasport3 is derived from the Mazda3, putting the SKYACTIV system would be quite easy. What they need to do is to match it will the sports tuning of the car.

  (683) posted on 04.26.2011

Well, if they had already released the Mazda3, the Mazdasport3 is probably isn’t that far behind. I wonder how they will be able to incorporate the SKYACTIV system on that one.

  (359) posted on 04.25.2011

They been offering a fuel efficient car but i think there’s a lot of car that offers better than this though I have to admit that its good looking ride.

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