Gloves are off: Mazda 3 throws down the challenge for an ultimate passenger vehicle

Hatch’s interior front half certainly puts rivals in the shade...

Thu 09 Mar 23


“THIS seat fits like a glove,” said daughter No. 2. “And what about the tapestry? Black seats with brown trim. Subtle?” “As long at the collars and cuffs match, well, it’s not a problem,” I ventured. “Huh?” she responded.

The 2022 Mazda 3 G20 Pure Hatch’s interior front half certainly puts rivals in the shade and is more than a match for similarly-sized luxury brands.

We were on the Darling Downs early in the morning with outside temps down to 15 deg. Daughter No. 1, a vegan and animal rights supporter, slipped on a pair of neat woollen gloves … “you can shear ‘em, but don’t eat ‘em,” she counselled. Which got me thinking. The last thing you’ll find in a glovebox is a glove … or a women’s gauntlet, which describes the extended cuff glove fashion we see at weddings. Maybe the Japanese manufacturer should consider ‘gauntlet’ a future brand, such as ‘Mazda throws down the gauntlet’.

Anyway, if we don’t wear gloves that often, they’ve been around for a long time. They were depicted in an ancient Egyptian tomb dating to the 5th dynasty. And for your useless information file, the most expensive glove auctioned belonged to pop king Michael Jackson. It sold for $619,000 to a resort in Macau. Small passenger vehicles like the Mazda 3 – a small car that’s not an SUV or ute – continue to sell exceptionally well in Australia. In fact, last month it was the small segment that performed the best out of all passenger categories, selling more than 7800 vehicles and bringing in a 9.2% market share. But it’s the Mazda 3’s inside those matters; everywhere you look there’s attractive, soft-touch plastic or leatherette trim, even in the centre console and at the base of the infotainment screen. Attractive stitching details abound, including along the front of the dash and along the sides of the centre console.

All this surrounds an Apple CarPLay/Android Auto, electric parking brake and intuitive control functions. This front-drive Mazda is available with the choice of two Skyactiv-G four-cylinder petrol engines – a 114kW/200Nm 2-litre and a 138kW/252Nm 2.5-litre or 2-litre 132kW/224Nm mild hybrid. Regular versions offer six-speed manual or auto transmissions. The range includes Pure, Evolve, Touring, GT and Astina spec levels, all equipped with front and rear autonomous emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist and rear cross-traffic alert.

It’s the Mazda 3’s inside that matters … everywhere you look there’s attractive, soft-touch plastic or leatherette trim, even in the centre console.

Standard features include keyless entry, 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar and memory, side mirrors with memory and reverse tilt-down functions, auto-dimming driver’s side mirror and a ‘vision technology package’ that incorporates 360-deg. camera, front cross-traffic alert, front parking sensors and driver monitoring. Comfort equipment brings dual-zone automatic climate control, rear-seat air-vents, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, an 8.8-in. central infotainment screen and a 7 in. digital instrument cluster, plus an eight-speaker stereo and a leather steering wheel and gear shifter. The Mazda 3 ANCAP safety rating of 5 starts with seven airbags covering both rows of seats, backed up by several semi-autonomous driving systems designed to keep you out of trouble. These detect cars, cyclists and pedestrians and pull you up hard if you don’t, in both forward and reverse gears. A real-time traffic sign recognition system has one of the best blind-spot monitors, both projected onto the windscreen in your line of sight via a colour head-up display. Fuel efficiency is given at 6.4L / 100 km and the Mazda 3, for $30,572 drive away, is backed by a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty with five years of free roadside assistance. Zoom, zoom … get the first punch in.


  • Orson Whiels

    Orson Whiels has been a motoring writer for many years and was motoring writer at Queensland Country life in the 1960s-70s and then motoring editor at Australian Timberman.)


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