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Mazda 3 hatchback unveiled at Bologna motor show

By Tim Pollard

03 December 2008 11:34

Click here for the mini convertible video

You’ve already seen the teaser photos of the Mazda 3 saloon, then the full story on the 3 sedan and of course the first pictures of the Euro-spec Mazda 3 hatchback. Time, then for the full official details and engineering story of Mazda’s Focus rival.

Talk about rinsing out the launch of a new car…

Yes, welcome to the PR stage-managed launch process typical in 2008. Today Mazda goes public at the Bologna show with its new 3, so at last we see the full engine details and more info on the company’s biggest-selling car.

The new 3 arrives in Europe in spring 2009, and we’ll get the saloon and the hatchback bodystyles again. They’re impressively sleek of shape – the saloon’s drag figure being a svelte 0.28 and the hatchback’s 0.30.

The design won’t win any awards, but it is a welcome update on the outgoing car’s. Mazda claims the interior is up to 11% quieter than before, thanks to those sleeker aero details and improved soundproofing.

And the engines on the new Mazda 3?

• 1.6-litre petrol, 104bhp/107lb ft, 44.8mpg, 149g/km
• 2.0-litre petrol, 148bhp/138lb ft, na, na
• 1.6-litre turbodiesel, 108bhp/177lb ft, 62.8mpg, 119g/km
• 2.2-litre turbodiesel, 148bhp, 265lb ft, 52.3mpg, 144g/km
• 2.2-litre turbodiesel, 183bhp, 295lb ft, 50.4mpg, 149g/km

Mazda – again – has made the welcome move of trimming weight from the new 3 and, model for model, it weighs around 15kg than the outgoing model. A neat touch that will benefit fuel economy, emissions and handling. What’s not to like about that?

The new 3 is based on the same running gear as before, but beefed up with stronger steels for a much more rigid architecture, says Mazda. Suspension is by MacPherson struts up front, multi-link at the rear, while power steering is electro-hydraulic on all models. Wheel sizes vary from 15 to 17 inches.

As we’ve come to expect, even family cars in 2009 come with a baffling array of technology nowadays. The new Mazda 3, depending on spec, can be ordered with anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control, bendy lights that peer around corners, tyre pressure monitoring and the like.   

>> We’ll be driving the new Mazda 3 soon. Come back for our full first test review

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