In the Japanese domestic market, the Mazda3 is known as the Axela, and it’s just received a subtle facelift.
Judging by the photographs, not much has changed in terms of styling (you may just be able to spot the new headlamps and grille up front). But the mid-cycle update does include the addition of a new engine and some new dynamic features, too. All of these additions are aimed to improve the Jinba-ittaidriving philosophy that Mazda has been adhering to over the past four years.
The Mazda3 range in Japan gains a 1,5-litre turbodiesel engine, which joins the existing SKYACTIV-D 2,2 with all-wheel drive (which hasn’t been available in South Africa). The new diesel powertrain makes use of an optimised boost control for improved accelerator responsiveness. Both diesel engines are also said to be quieter than before.
The updated Mazda3 gains a new G-Vectoring Control system, which is essentially a torque distribution system that gathers the vertical load on each wheel to make for smoother dynamic cornering, collision avoidance manoeuvring and more stability on slippery surfaces. Changes in acceleration are also said to be smoother.
Other additions include a new multi-function steering wheel, more driving information on the HUD (including traffic sign recognition), adaptive LED headlamps and autonomous braking.
All of these options will be available in Japan from launch mid-July. No word yet on when or if these upgrades will reach South Africa.