• 2012 Mazda 3

    Date:23 March 2012 Tags:,

    In the world of compact cars, 6 litres/ 100 km has become the new benchmark. For the latest 3, Mazda achieved that figure with the new Skyactiv four-cylinder. This engine, which earned a Popular Mechanics Automotive Excellence award, utilises a variety of innovative tweaks – a high 12:1 compression ratio being one – to improve combustion and lower frictional losses. Paired to either a six-speed manual or an automatic, the new engine produces 115 kW. The 3 also offers options such as a blind-spot monitoring system, which used to be available only on more expensive cars. We spent a day in the new 3 and found that this fuel miser still entertains. The steering clearly relays what’s going on at the front tyres, and overall the car feels better built than others in its class. The new engine may pack quite a bit of bleeding-edge tech, but it doesn’t sound sporty or behave exotically. In fact, it’s quite tame. There’s enough power to keep the experience behind the wheel lively, but it could use a little more grunt. Still, that’s a compromise we’re willing to make to hit that magic 6 litre/100 km. – Ben Stewart

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