8

10

Model

3

Price

$20,490

The Numbers

2.5-litre 4cyl petrol, FWD, 138kW, 250Nm, 6.0L/100km

The Topgear Verdict

Great run-out deals on current-gen models at the moment, but wait for the new one. It's worth it.

2013 Mazda 3

The 3 has been locked in a fierce fight with the Corolla for ultimate domination of the Aussie car market. Will the new one put Mazda back on top?

If early indications are anything to go by, then yes, it should. We got a few quick laps of the Anglesea proving ground in some pre-production prototypes as the complete line-up is still a few months away from its local launch, and we reckon the new models have sorted any issues with the current generation.

But the last one was near-perfect, right? That’s why it was Oz’s best-selling car for two years.

Strangely, we got that one right. Australians generally are idiots – that’s why Tom Waterhouse and Big Brother are so popular – but the current-gen 3 really is a Very Good Car. The new one however brings in much improved NVH levels, more chunk to the steering feel and some sleek new styling with subtle hints of the RX-8 as part of Mazda’s KODO design philosophy.

Any new tech goodies?

Yep. There’s a funky 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is controlled via an iDrive-style controller that now incorporates internet radio and app support for Facebook and Twitter. Higher-grade models will also come with a head-up display.

What sort of engines will we be getting?

Mazda has confirmed that current plans are for a 2.0-litre petrol with 114kW/200Nm and a 2.5-litre petrol with 138kW/250Nm that will bring a 25 per cent improvement to fuel efficiency over current models. A diesel could be on the cards in future, too.

Will it be any good for me if I’m a rev-head?

Not really, sadly. Performance is perfectly fine, but it won’t make you blissful in the pants if you live your life at the redline. There isn’t a particularly sporty note to the engine either, but this isn’t supposed to be a sports car.

So when can I get one and for how much?

The new range is expected to launch in January or February next year, but it won’t be sub-$20k. You’ll need to get a clearance deal on current stock for that, but it’ll be sooo last year by then. So queue up like you’re a nerd at the Apple store for the midnight launch of the iPhone 6 and splash the cash on the new model when it arrives.

Reviewed by: Tim Booth

Driven: November 07, 2013