Don’t fix what ain’t broke seems to be Mazda‘s stance on the popular Mazda3. The 2017 compact sticks mostly to last year’s design with just a few updates including LED headlights.
The model received a redesign just three years ago in 2014. Mazda’s goal with the 2017 is to up “the game” again both in terms of design and handling.
The exterior changes aren’t huge, but overall they do make the model softer. That makes sense with it largely appealing to drivers looking for a practical, yet fun, car and not so much something sporty.
Exterior tweaks start with new distinctive grille. It sticks to the classic Mazda wing design under the KODO Soul of Motion philosophy. The redesigned bumper on the 5-door hatchback option has a more straightforward design. Both LED headlights and taillights are now offered.
Inside updates really get exciting. Well at least exciting in the sense that they are everywhere. Mazda starts with a newly designed leather steering wheel. The steering wheel comes directly from the CX-9 model and can now be heated. More insulation and weather-stripping makes the interior quieter. Other little improvements are 10-inch larger opening for the 3x larger door cubbies, sliding cover over the cupholders, and standard electronic parking brake.
The Mazda3, like the 2017 Mazda6, also introduces the automaker’s new G-Vectoring Control system to the U.S. lineup.
It will improve handling for most drivers, it just depends on your style and view of improvement. It works by adjusting the torque output at the front axle. Increased damping in the suspension makes driving at lower speeds smoother.
The new Sport Mode on automatic-transmission models adds some fun.
Engine options will stay the same. You have your choice of a 2.0-liter or a 2.5-liter four-cylinder. The 2.0 gets 155-horsepower with 150 pound-feet of torque. The 2.5 gets 184-horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque.
New safety improvements include auto emergency braking system that uses a front-view camera to detect pedestrians and an improved Traffic Sign Recognition system. Both these are apart of the i-ActivSense safety suite that includes blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane keep assist, automatic high beams, adaptive headlights, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. Whew.
The new Mazda3 sedan and hatchback will go on sale next month. Exact pricing will be released soon.
Photo Credit: Mazda