The new Mazda 3 is a triumph of design and engineering in a car accessible to a wider audience
A Mazda 3 is not the most usual feature for our pages in Essential Algarve, but the reason for this choice is easy to understand: the new model has just been named Red Dot Design Award’s Best of the Best.
This means that, of all the cars released in the last 12 months, the world’s most prestigious automobile design award deemed this Japanese model the best among the best. The fact that it tied for the award with another car only serves to validate Mazda’s feat: the second winner is, most likely, the most beautiful Ferrari of the 21st century. Named Monza SP1, it has just the driver’s seat and would cost €1.5 million if every one of the 1,000 units the Italian brand will produce hadn’t already been sold. For the Mazda 3 to be at the same level as a car like this, something must have gone incredibly well for the brand’s design department, and that deserves to be highlighted and celebrated.
The new model follows the Kodo aesthetic lines implemented by the Japanese bench- mark in 2011 and which has stemmed a fantastic product range. Besides the 3, the 6, CX-3 and CX-5 models are true stylistic accomplishments and a lesson on how to make a car appealing with time and not just in the present — the clearest and most objective sign of good design.
The driving quality of the Mazda 3 keeps up with the excellence of the exterior design, which means the Japanese engineers are, at least, on the same level as the designers. The brand’s new spokesmodel in the C segment can finally stand against the Volkswagen Golf and the Mercedes A-Class, and soars to the category’s top-three, positioning itself as the most balanced choice between reason and emotion.
The four-cylinder, two-litre engine churns out 122 horsepower and is extremely smooth, while the six-speed gearbox is the perfect ally to explore its full potential. Mazda has, without a doubt, one of the best manual transmissions on the market in terms of feel and precision, right after Porsche. There is no greater compliment. Equipped with deactivation tech for one of the cylinders and a small hybrid system that helps reduce consumption, the Skyactiv-G can average around 6 litres/100km.
There are many reasons why this is an exceptional car, and the new Mazda 3 gathers a lot of them in a very attractive and always interesting package. Forget about SUVs.